After the 2005 season, the Broncos had some questions going into the offseason. The Broncos had a great season going 13-3 until eventually losing in the AFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Jake Plumber had a poor performance in that game and the relationship with the fans was diminished a little but his job was assumed to be pretty secure heading into 2006.
This draft turned out to be one of the best ones the Broncos have had in the last while even though the biggest names out of it do not play for the team anymore.
Here was the draft class of 2006:
Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt - 11th Overall - People knew that Jake Plumber would not be around forever and it was not like he was a superstar anyways so there was always question about who would be the next guy. Jay Cutler was drafted 11th overall after the Broncos traded up to that spot and he was the type of quarterback that Mike Shanahan likes, a mobile guy with a strong arm (sound like anyone else that played for us?). Cutler made his debut in week 13 but lost to the Seattle Seahawks but picked up his first win the next week. Cutler finished the season going 3-2. In 2007 and 2008, Cutler was the Broncos starter putting up large passing numbers but struggling with interceptions. He went 15-17 in those two years and concluded 2008 with a 3 game losing streak failing to make the playoffs leading to a Mike Shanahan firing. Josh McDaniels arrival along with the Shanahan firing made Cutler upset and was eventually traded to the Chicago Bears where he remains today.
Tony Scheffler TE Western Michigan - 61st Overall - Tony Scheffler is another one of the picks that would eventually be traded away during the McDaniels era. Scheffler was inserted into the offense when Cutler took over after seeing more limited time earlier in the year.Scheffler caught two touchdowns in one game against San Diego as his most notable moment. Scheffler had a foot injury in 2008 which caused him to miss a month and a half of the season but ended up playing well the rest of the year finishing with 5 touchdowns.Scheffler continued to be a top weapon for the Broncos totaling 71 receptions in 2008 and 2009. After being benched for the last game of 2009 due to reportedly problems in the locker room, Scheffler was traded to the Detroit Lions.
Brandon Marshall - WR- Central Florida 119th Overall - Marshall is a tall receiver at 6'4 and is known as a big target. He lacked speed but made up for it in toughness. He was projected for late in the draft. In Marshalls rookie year, he missed multiple gams with a kneee injury but still ended up scoring two touchdowns. In 2007 Marshall took on a full time roll despite a groin injury. He finished third in the league with 102 receptions and 7 touchdowns. His success continued recording multiple 100 reception seasons again and having one game against the Colts where him and Kyle Orton connected for 21 receptions, an NFL record. After having locker room issues, he was eventually traded to Miami for two second round picks and was recently traded to Chicago for two third round picks.
Elvis Dumervil - DE - Louisville 126th Overall- Dumervil was considered to be a great pass rusher but dropped due to his size at 5'11. He finished his rookie year with 8 and a half sacks after getting more playing time as the season progressed . In 2007 he was the starter at end and ended up getting 12 and a half. In 2009 when Mike Nolan and Josh McDaniels took over, questions were raised on if Dumervil could play an outside linebacker role. Dumervil continued to play end on third down and led the NFL with 17 sacks. In the preseason in 2010 he tore his pectoral and missed the entire season right after signing a six-year extension. He has become one of the top pass rushers in the league and had 9.5 last year.
Domenik Hixon - WR - Akron - 130th Overall- Hixon is a 6'2 180 pound receiver. Hixon played in four games and then was involved in the hit that almost paralyzed Kevin Everett. The Broncos released him in October and he was soon signed by the Giants where he remains today. He has won two championships with the Giants and re-signed with them in March.
Chris Kuper - G - North Dakota - 161st Overall - Chris Kuper is a 6'4 302 pound guard. He only played in one game in 2006 but has been a starter at right guard since 2007. He was injured at the end of the 2011 season with a broken leg. He has been a key player for the Broncos and was a big part of the Broncos league best run game.
Greg Eslinger - Center - 198th Overall - Minnesota
Eslinger dropped a lot in the draft. He was projected for the third round. The Broncos picked him up but he remained on the practice squad. He played in NFL Europe but never made the Broncos roster. He was passed around on multiple teams and eventually back to the Broncos but nothing ever came of it.
This draft had the potential to be one of the best the Broncos ever did. Its hard to say if this draft was good because the best players out of this draft are not on the Broncos anymore. Cutler, Scheffler, and Marshall were great here and just as good at their teams now but are no longer here so is it a good draft? I still would grade it high. We got Dumervil and Kuper out of it as well.
Colby's Grade:-------- A ----------