Unfortunately for the first time in a number of years I was not able to watch the draft as I was visiting friends in France. With no access to any WiFi and the extortionate prices my phone provider charges I had to wait until Monday coming back to the UK to find how the draft had played out. The excitement I had as I turned on my phone after coming out of the Eurotunnel soon disappeared and an underwhelming feeling emerged as I scrolled through the 6 rounds. Such a feeling is often the case as your own views on draft picks are not often matched or indeed possible in the real world of the NFL but this seemed more so than usual. After a few days of reflection and discussions about the draft I wanted to put together my thoughts on the players drafted and the draft as a whole.
What I liked - Denver have needed an Under Tackle who can get pressure on the QB for too long and his college production supports that. He is a big man who can add some weight. He has a good motor. His combine showed that he has good athleticism and has obviously spent time in the gym.
What I dont like - Did they prioritise this need and draft the top player who fitted this particular need rather than the top player who fitted a need. I had him with a 3rd round grade as I think his run game needs a lot of work and therefore would be a situational player.
Overall - For now I trust the judgment that Wolfe can be the guy to get that much needed pressure up the middle. Mayock and Kiper had a high grade on him and there are reasonable doubts over Worthy, Reyes and Still to be able to offer the pass rush which the Broncos crave.
What I liked - There werent that many players with a 2nd round grade who I thought could have helped the team. If he is as good as they hope as a 2nd rounder he is a steal.
What I dont like - Brock is a project he will not see the field for at least 3 years if at all, at a time when this team is still in need of quality starters. Think he was a 3-4 round grade. Lavonte David was still on the board, I had a 1st round grade on him.
Overall - This is the pick which disappointed me the most. He may be a good QB in the years to come but I am not sure Denver have the luxury to pick that type of player at the moment. If you develop a good team a 1st round rookie QB can come in and find the transition easier when he is needed.
What I liked - I will admit I know very little about him. His record is very good and he has a reputation for being a home run hitter which the Broncos need at RB.
What I dont like - The size he played at. The level of competition he played against. That they traded a 4th rounder for him when there are other players in that range who could improve the team. He was not high on a number of 'draft experts' board. I know that team boards can be very different but this does concern me that so many boards did not have him that high.
Overall - It seems they have added a skill set to the roster that they were lacking. With a project taken with their 2nd pick their 3rd pick had to be one who could make an impact immediately. I will trust their judgment for the time but moves like this are what distinguish the good GMs from the average ones.
What I liked - He was a team captain in college and he seems a very high character guy. He would probably have been a 1st-2nd rounder if he had played his last year in college. A number of players recently have come back from serious injuries and performed well in their rookie year. He can also perform as a kick and punt returner.
What I dont like - He has had serious a injury and can he get back to level he played at when fit.
Overall - This could wind up being the best pick of the draft. Definitely worthy the injury risk and could allow the Broncos to move on from Porter if he performs to his ability.
What I liked - Center and guard are weak therefore getting a guy who can compete at both positions is a great move at this stage of the draft.
What I didnt like - I was totally against getting a Center when there is a development prospect on the roster already. If we needed a Center a veteran who could allow Walton to develop would have been preferable.
Overall - Initially was against it but hearing that he has been told that he will be considered as a guard has warmed me to his selection especially with Kuper's injuries and a real lack of depth on the O line.
What I liked - When I initially saw the Broncos picks his name jumped out to me as my favourite pick of the draft. He has all the physical tools to be a good strong sided DE. He can play DE and DT. He was in the 2011 All SEC team. It strengthens the edge rush potential and the interior rush potential and all for a limited hit on the salary cap.
What I dont like - He needs work on technique but who doesnt as a 5th round pick.
Overall - I think Jackson is a strong addition to the D line. He could early on get some reps in a rotation with Robert Ayers.
What I liked - One of my pre draft wishes was to get a Will to come in and develop before DJ's contract comes to an end. Trevathan is a solid tackler and can blitz well. He will be very good on special teams.
What I dont like - To be picky I would like to see him develop his coverage skills.
Overall - Another very good late round pick who can come in and contribute in some way early in his career.
My choice of a UDFA to shine
Coryell Judie - I think Judie has a genuine shot at getting a spot on the roster. He is best suited to a zone coverage scheme and the drafting of Bolden as well as the signing of Porter and attempted signing of Samuel suggest this is something we will see more of in Denver next season. He also has a reputation for being a good blitzer. Vaughn has only looked like a special teamer and Thompson has been blighted by injury. This position could be the most exciting training camp battle to watch.
The draft as a whole
If you had said to me before the draft the Broncos will get a DT with pass rushing skills, a potential replacement for Peyton, a RB with play making skills, a potential number two corner with a 2nd round grade in the 4th, another guard, another strong sided DE and a potential replacement for DJ then I would have been a happy man. Whilst my initial feeling of being underwhelmed has subsided and there are positives to come from this draft I still hold a degree of reservation about this draft. By picking Brock with the 2nd pick this has meant that those other 2 2nd day picks have to contribute in some way this season. With the lack of success in the 2nd and 3rd rounds in recent years I think this may well be understandable. I hope this reservation turns out to be unfounded and I look forward to the start of the season with as much excitement as ever.