Draft Grades through round 3

I'm one of those who has been puzzled by our draft so far. Not because of the players themselves. I welcome them as Broncos and look forward to seeing them play next year. And I also see how they fill needs for us and improve our team. But I continue to believe that so far, we have reached and thus have not improved our team as much as our competition have improved their teams.

I'm using someone else's grading system here to rank these picks. National Football Post has detailed scouting reports for each of the players. And they also have an overall ranking system that makes sense to me - an assessment of the player's likely upside and the obstacles they will have to get there, I don't agree with their rankings player by player - and no NFL team should either. But with nearly 100 picks made, we have reached a sample size where it becomes possible to make a real broadbrush assessment of how different NFL teams have improved their teams through the draft rounds that are most likely to have an impact in the next two seasons. So here's the raw summary (ranked roughly in order of how many picks teams have had and then how the teams have done):

Cincinnati Bengals - 5 picks, 5 probable starters

St Louis Rams - 5 picks, 5 probable starters

Philadelphia Eagles - 4 picks, 4 probable starters

Indianapolis Colts - 4 picks, 3 probable starters

Cleveland Browns - 4 picks, 3 probable starters

Miami Dolphins - 4 picks, 2 probable starters

New England Patriots - 4 picks, 2 probable starters

Pittsburgh Steelers - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Tampa Bay Bucs - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

New York Jets - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Minnesota Vikings - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Green Bay Packers - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Baltimore Ravens - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

New York Giants - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

San Diego Chargers - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Tennessee Titans - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Houston Texans - 3 picks, 3 probable starters

Seattle Seahawks - 3 picks, 2 probable starters

Kansas City Chiefs - 3 picks, 2 probable starters

Jacksonville Jaguars - 3 picks, 2 probable starters (plus a punter???)

Detroit Lions - 3 picks, 2 probable starters

Buffalo Bills - 3 picks, 2 probable starters

Chicago Bears - 3 picks, 2 probable starters

Denver Broncos - 3 picks, 1 probable starter (and it's Brock Osweiler folks)

Arizona Cardinals - 2 picks, 2 probable starters

Carolina Panthers - 2 picks, 2 probable starters

Dallas Cowboys - 2 picks, 2 probable starters

Atlanta Falcons - 2 picks, 1 probable starter

San Francisco 49ers - 2 picks, 1 probable starter

Washington Redskins - 2 picks, 1 probable starter (really pathetic given what they did to get RGIII)

Oakland Raiders - 1 pick, 1 probable starter

New Orleans Saints - 1 pick, 1 probable starter (barely)

I've cut-n-pasted the scouting reports from this site on the players we've picked.

Derek Wolfe -- A tall, long-limbed defensive tackle who coils up well for a guy his size and looks a bit thicker in the mid-section/base than his weight would indicate. Can keep his base down off the snap and extend his arms into contact vs. the run game. However, lacks ideal natural anchor strength. Possesses decent natural power and did a better job keeping his legs under him as a senior. Uses his length well to shed, showcases some violence when asked to shed and finds the football well. However, simply lacks the physical make-up to simply hold up well at the point and too often gets a bit upright and knocked off balance through contact inside.

Also, did a better job in 2011 getting off the ball on time and playing with better leverage. Does a nice job extending his long arms into contact and will keep his base under him as a puncher. However, he's a linear athlete who doesn't initially overwhelm on contact, lacks the explosion to quickly get back into his opponent or side-step laterally. Works hard through contact and uses his length well to work himself free. However, isn't a real explosive or sudden laterally kid.

Impression: A high motor, had working kid who finds the football and uses his length to make plays. Doesn't have the anchor to play inside in a 43 front at the next level. However, as a two gap five-technique in a 34 he's got the skill set to fight for playing time in a rotation and create some negative plays vs. the run. Overall rating 5.8

Brock Osweiler -- What I like…

- Possesses a tall, long frame and doesn't have any trouble seeing over the line of scrimmage.
- Exhibits a high release point and is never going to see many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
- Is a sneaky athlete when asked to create outside the pocket for his size. Even ran some read option earlier in the year.
- Can be a threat to find the first down marker with his legs. Can work his way around the pocket with some goofy athleticism and keep drives alive with his legs.
- Keeps a wide throwing base in the pocket and generates good torque from his lower half.
- Is a quarterback who can transfer his weight well off his back foot and because of his wide base isn't a guy who needs to step up into throws consistently.
- When he sees the pocket open up, does a nice job keeping his knees bent and stepping up into the pocket in order to throw.
- Possesses big hands, can grip the football and cleanly spin it outside the numbers.
- Showcases good arm strength with the ability to make all the throws.
- Exhibits good velocity working the intermediate pass game and showcases the ability to throw in rhythm down the seam.
- Demonstrates natural touch down the field on bucket throws and when his feet are set he can put the football in a spot where only his receiver can make a play.
- Is at his best throwing to still targets underneath, receivers who find soft spots in coverage and sit down.
- Showcases a passion for the game with the natural leadership qualities that his teammates seem to respect.
- Is a former basketball recruit at Gonzaga who still has a lot of upside to his game long term.

What I don't like…

- At 6-8, he's an overly tall quarterback prospect who has a lot of addition length and moving parts to his game.
- Looks lethargic with his footwork when asked to move around in the pocket and re-set his feet.
- Has a tough time keeping his footwork in rhythm and his ball placement really suffers underneath when asked to find a secondary target.
- Because of his natural size/length has a longer release and the ball takes a bit to come out of his hands.
- His release point is inconsistent as well, has a tendency to drop his elbow at times when he needs to get the ball out quickly or look vertically down the field.
- Doesn't have a great feel for the game, struggles pre-snap to recognize defenses.
- Doesn't do a great job anticipating where the blitz is coming from and identifying his hot man.
- Isn't overly natural vs. pressure, eye level has a tendency to go down quickly and he doesn't give himself much of a chance to find secondary options.
- When he does get flushed outside the pocket the speed of the game starts to speed up. Isn't real accurate when being chased and struggles with ball placement.
- Has a tough time with ball placement when trying to throw intermediate patterns on time to receivers in rhythm. There are a lot of moving parts to his release/footwork and struggles to be accurate.
- Tends to make his decisions on where he is going with the football pre-snap. Will force the football into tight windows and struggles to identify underneath coverages consistently.
- Gets happy feet and is very excitable when his initial target isn't on and he's forced to try to go through his progressions. Doesn't have a great feel for the offense at this stage.
- Was a guy who needed another year of school in order to better understand the offense and improve his ability to decipher defenses, both pre-snap and through the play.
- Works predominately from the gun and has a tough time settling his feet and balancing himself before the release point. Looks content to simply just skip backward into his drop, set and throw.
- Has only 15 starts to his name during his three year career at Arizona State
- Is 7-8 as a starter and never won consistently in the Pac-12 as a starter.

Impression: Osweiler would have been much better served to stay for his senior year and develop his overall feel for the game. Because of as now he struggles to decipher defenses and honestly didn't display a great feel for his own offense either. The guy has some talent and can sling the football. However, much like Ryan Mallett last season, he's going to need to play in an offense where he can throw the football down the field and isn't going to be forced to make many quick throws underneath, where he struggles with timing, footwork and ball placement.
If everything falls into place for Osweiler, meaning he develops as a quarterback mentally, has time to work at his trade and falls into a perfect fit for him physically (Steelers, Patriots, Raiders) he does have the talent to eventually fight for a starting job in the NFL. However, he rates much closer to a developmental later round pick and reminds me some of Cardinals QB John Skelton. Overall rating - 6.1

Ronnie Hillman -- Doesn't possess a ton of girth through his frame. Looks a bit lean in the lower half and lacks ideal natural power. Displays a decent first step when asked to press the line of scrimmage. But doesn't run with much forward lean. Pops upright and lacks ideal lower body strength when trying to pick his way through traffic and create on contact. Doesn't look overly comfortable running the football between the tackles. Displays the suddenness to pick his way through traffic and will lower his pad level a bit when trying to quickly change directions inside and finish. However, too often is forced to gear down and will slow his feet. Looks more sudden as a one cut guy once he gets toward the edge. Can put his foot in the ground and side step a defender at full speed. However doesn't have a great base under him when changing directions and can be tripped up easily at times. Too often looks to bounce the run prematurely outside the tackle box and doesn't exhibit a great feel inside.

Absorbs contact well for a smaller back and can keep himself from taking too many big shots inside. But. I don't see him routinely lowering his pad level into contact and finishing runs churning forward. Showcases a willingness to block in the pass game. Takes good angles, drops pad level and will stick his head into contact. But isn't' overly physical on the play. Will catch the football out of the backfield and even down the field, but isn't the most consistent of pluckers.

I don't see a real dynamic quality to his game when asked to explode out of his breaks and accelerate toward daylight. He looks more smooth than explosive and doesn't have the type of initial burst or straight-line speed to outrun angles toward the perimeter or in the open field. Plays like a 4.55 guy.

Impression: Looks like a reserve only to me. Has some natural running qualities, but runs a bit upright and doesn't have a real explosive quality to his game. Overall rating - 5.7

I really hope these ratings are wrong. When I use the term "probable starter" I'm using their term for a 6.0 or above player. I'm not bothering to distinguish the great starters from the regular starters. And a lot of these probable starters will likely "bust" because they were simply drafted by the wrong team in the wrong situation for the wrong skill set.

But just wanted to throw this out there for comment.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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