The 2012 Broncos' drafting in the rounds seem to be complete. After six rounds, multiple trades and some unexpected picks the Denver Broncos' freshman class of 2012 are:
- Derek Wolfe, DE, Cincinnati
- Brock Osweiler, QB, ASU
- Ronnie Hillman, RB, SDSU
- Omar Bolden, CB, ASU
- Philip Blake, C, Baylor
Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee
- Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
Sometimes drafts go like you anticipate. You get big name players at positions of need (Von Miller) or you get big name players at future positions of need (Tim Tebow) or you grab big name players that are "interesting" picks in that they don't make a whole lot of immediate sense, either at the number they were picked or their position, but you know/hope that they will contribute in some way (maybe Tim Tebow again?).
Then drafts sometimes take a wild turn and the names your team selects seem to come from left field. I kind of feel like this draft was more of the latter than the former. That isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. Just consider how much of an impact Orlando Franklin made in our run to playoffs last year and how many people were kind of like who is this guy?
I had to dig deep to get a grasp on the Bronco selections this year. I realized at the Osweiler selection the Broncos weren't exactly drafting Best Player Available (BPA) or even necessarily BPA at a position of need. Before the draft began Elway made the comment that they would be drafting players that could make an immediate impact (read by many including this gullible author as exciting talent that could be starters day 1 of week 1). Aside from the Brock Osweiler pick I do think the Broncos have players that, while not exactly the big name types that many people had mocked to us, can make an impact right away, just perhaps not as every down starters.
I think normally the very first pick your team makes in the draft is a name many people generally know something about. The Derek Wolfe pick was a surprise but after some digging around this selection has definitely grown on me. While he may have been a reach at 36 the important thing is the Broncos got a guy they very obviously wanted and didn't have to risk losing him to another team willing to select that high. Wolfe will add yet another pass rushing threat to an already stout pass rush. The Broncos definitely intend to make life as difficult for opposing QB's as possible.
The Osweiler pick is baffling to me. I thought for sure the acquisition of Peyton Manning meant that we could really focus on other needs during the early parts of our draft. Obviously the Broncos really liked Osweiler and plan on developing him over the next few years as a backup. I will say that if Osweiler is called upon in the next year or two to start we could be looking at being in a position to select one of the more elite QB's destined to come out in the next three years. I choose to trust that EFX are happy to have passed up on all that available talent to select this guy but I fear that Osweiler may be a name that doesn't contribute significantly until the post-Manning era.
Perhaps the multiple games watching Darren Sproles run all over them or the comparison to LeSean McCoy helped convince the Broncos to select running back Ronnie Hillman. His speed and elusiveness can be extremely effective in our new offense that will ask its running backs to do far more than simply run between the tackles. While I think Moreno has one final year to prove his value on this team, Hillman provides that big play runner that could find significant success in an offense that doesn't entice defenses to dare you to run and thus giving a running back a little more space in which to work. The Broncos were the #1 running offense last season and they did it with brute power. There will be a bit more finesse to that running game this season and it could play nicely to the strengths of Hillman and Moreno.
I'm still trying to collect information on the final four players drafted but it is clear the Broncos intend to add some competition to big areas of need. Bolden, if he can shake off his injury bug, is an interesting depth CB on a team that desperately needs a few good corners opposite of Champ Bailey.
The O-Line pick of Philip Blake, combined with his age, tells me the Broncos are looking to find some upgrades there quickly. We can't protect our Manning investment enough. J.D. Walton is not sleeping easy tonight.
Finally, by getting more depth at DE and LB in their final picks the Broncos are looking for that deep impact player in a position that we need to take some chances on. I especially like the Trevathan pick. After watching the Patriots expose the general inability of our linebackers in pass protection, it's good to see the Broncos selecting a guy that can help shore up that deficiency.
Troy Hufford scouts, in comparison to newly re-signed and possible competition Wesley Woodyard:
Trevathan can cover, blitz, and tackle in the running game. I don't think Woody is better than Trevathan in any of those respects... Trevathan seems like the answer for the Gronkowski's of the world.
Bottom line, I'm even more excited now to get these guys into training camp and pads and see how they measure up against their first competition, their new teammates. Can't wait for Kaptain Kirk's training camp reports on these guys. What are your initial reactions?