So we are at the end of our season and hopefully everyone has been able to find some consolation in the fact that our tragic playoff loss came to a team that deserves to be, and is, in the SB. We have a great team and there is much to be excited about for next year. We've got some solid young players to build around a great QB. I honestly believe we are a few players away from really being an unstoppable team. Here is how I would like Elway and Fox to keep restocking our team with "human talent".
We need to start by signing Big Vick. This guy had a comeback, career year after finally abandoning his quest to "play lighter" and putting on the weight. He was serious when he said it was "good weight" too. This guy flew to the ball. He was disruptive and stayed a part of the play with his relentless pursuit of RBs. He may get some good offers but I believe he will chose to stay in Denver and we won't have to overpay for him. He is a great part of this DL rotation.
I believe we will let Bannan (although he exceeded my expectations) walk as well as Warren.
Keep Brooking for another year. I know he is old and not very good in coverage, but who would you rather have sub in for our soon to be replacement, Mays or Brooking? Although not very good in coverage, his veteran leadership, ability to put his guys in the right spots meant almost everything to our defense. With him in the line-up I think we won every game (except for the last one). Irving might be ready to take over the middle or maybe even Steven Johnson will earn the job, but MLB is one our biggest unknowns at the moment.
Give Clady his money. He had his head scratching moments this last year but overall he was a great protector of Peyton's blind side. He deserves an extension and I hope he gets one.
Keep Dan Koppen. Walton will be back but Koppen, even though old, filled in wonderfully. No reason we can't bring him back for another year to backup JD.
Let Lance Ball go. He can be replaced. I hope the coaching staff sees this. I would like to address this position in the draft because I don't see us spending a lot of money in FA on this position.
This is honestly one of my favorite portions of the offseason. I, like many of you, get annoyed at all the countless mock drafts that come out every week. Some border on the absurd and others could be realistic, but almost all never come very close to what actually happens on draft day.
I don't claim that mine will come close to being true but these are some players who I hope we are targeting and the rounds they might be able to be had in. Now, of course, after workouts, their positions could rise or fall but these are the types of players that have me excited about the draft and I hope the Broncos pick some real payers in April. Hope you enjoy.
Round 1 Pick 28:
Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia. 6-3 232lbs. After the Te'o fallout I can definitely seem him falling and after workouts I would not be surprised in the slightest if Ogletree is the first MLB off the board. He, IMO, could be the most complete MLB in the draft. He is very fast, solid in run support and verygood in coverage which is sorely what we need in a MLB. He isn't afraid to lay the big hit and plays very physical. He is a converted Free Safety and perfect size for a Fox/Del Rio LB. Watch in the highlight how he stops Bama RB Lacey at the goal line (and forces a fumble) and his chase down speed. Having a trio of Miller, Ogletree and Woodyard would give us one of the best LB corps in the entire league and Alec could be the biggest missing piece of an already solid defense. Personally, I would be ecstatic if Ogletree fell to us, but as draft day nears, I believe it will become more and more unlikely and that we could definitely see him go in the top 15. I could also see us trading into the top of the 2nd round if our guy(s) isn't there.
Other LBs to consider in Rd 1.
Kevin Minter (6-2, 242) is a solid prospect but IMO plays a little slower than I like and I question whether he could keep up with faster TEs. I can see him having a Brandon Spikes type of impact.
Manti Te'o (6-2, 255) is also solid and after all the drama surrounding this hoax, I could very well see him falling to us. I don't believe he'd fit our scheme as well because of his size and he'll probably not run as fast as I'd like. He definitely looked slow in the Bama game, but make no mistake, this kid can ball on the defensive side of the ball and could be there when we pick (though I think the Raiders could take him).
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama, 6-1 220lbs. In my opinion he will be the 1st RB off the board. I don't think he'll last this long but if he does we should look at him. He is a big bruising back with good speed and would be the perfect compliment to Moreno and Hillman. The best part about him is that he has fresh legs (only 204 carries last year, and 355 in his 3 year college career). In each season he never averaged worse than 6.5 YPC. Normally I don't like taking RBs in the 1st round, but Fox does, and if you can grab a guy who can have a Doug Martin type impact, you have to look.
Round 2 Pick 58:
Montee Ball, RB Wisconsin, 5-11 212lbs.
Now this pick is only if we pick Ogletree in Rd 1 and not Lacy. Moreno stepped in admirably for an injured Willis McGahee. Hopefully the injury he suffered himself isn't serious. Injuries seem to be the main concern for Knowshon and it seems he hasn't escaped that giant shadow yet. Ronnie Hillman did well in his carries but IMO he is not a #1 back. Montee Ball has put up phenomenal numbers the last 2 years and would be exactly the type of back we need to complement Hillman and Moreno going forward. He is a powerful back and very quick as well, capable of breaking a home run. My only concern with Ball (and this may be why he is slated to go in the 3rd round on most mocks - or because of the system) is that he has had over 300 carries his last 2 years in college. His legs won't be as fresh as other players and with the RB position being as short as it is, I'm not sure we'd get 7 years out of him. But hey, TD only played 6 good years and he did pretty well for us. I am normally an advocate of picking RBs late in the draft (like an Alfred Morris) but I think Ball has the talent worthy of a late 2nd round pick.
David Amerson, CB, NC State, 6-3, 194. David is a very tall corner who would match up nicely with taller wideouts in the league. I'm not sure what kind of 40 time he runs but if he runs fast, he could go well before we pick. Some are saying he should make a switch to safety. CB was not a weakness for us last year but it is never too early to plan ahead and, like pass rushers, you can never really have too many CBs. If we took Amerson and he proved to win a starting job, Tony Carter could become trade bait.
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky, 6-3 343. Kuper will hopefully come back fully healthy but his backup was a serious concern. ManRam was a turnstile and backup guard needs to be addressed. I doubt the Broncos would look for O-line depth this early but Warford is a hell of a prospect. My concern would be his fit in the Zone blocking scheme we run.
Arthur Brown, MLB, (6-1, 231) is the other MLB prospec that I really like. Small like a Fox LB, he could be another good addition and possibly have a Lavonte David type impact in the middle of our D. I could see him rising into the first round after workouts and interviews and if we can't get Ogletree I would love to grab Brown with our 28 and Ball with our 58. If we go with Lacy I would love to have Brown with our 2nd round pick (if he is still available). He is fast and seems to have very good instincts.
Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno St, 6-1 215. If we let both Bruton and Leonhard walk, I could see us making a pick like this. Fox and Del Rio both love defensive backs and in today's pass first league you can't have too many good ones. We were in several defensive looks this year where we had 3 safeties on the field. With athletic guys like Thomas ballhawking the backfield, we could have a very dangerous secondary. Imagine a backfield with Champ, Harris, (Bolden or Carter) with Quinton, Rahim and Phillip as well. Some might complain about an early S pick but this would not be an indictment of Moore as much as getting another dangerous weapon to put on the field.
Round 3 Pick 90:
Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern,6-2, 328. This guys played in a small school against smaller competition but he dominated. 191 tackles, 52.5 Tackles for loss, 25.5 sacks, 7 passes deflected and a production ratio of 1.86 (about the same as Kawann Short). This guy has the size to anchor against the run but also collapse the pocket in the middle, which is just what we need. He may not be ready to start right away, but if we re-sign Big Vick like I hope we do then we have a solid backup NT in the mold of Vince Wilfork or Ty Warren in his prime. I couldn't find any video highlights of him since he is from such a small school but keep your eye on this guy cause his name could be called earlier than expected in April.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma, 6-1, 190. Let Willis walk and bring in this kid to backup Stokley in the slot. He's fast. My concern would be his size and his ability to consistently go over the middle but I like him and think he would be a great fit in a Manning offense, where shorter receivers like Harrison and Wayne flourished. I could only find 2011 highlights.
Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida St, 6-4 265. As you can see I really like defense in this draft. Aside from have the best name in the draft, this guy provided the yin to Bjeorn Werner's yang for the Seminole pass rush this year with 11 sacks. He could go much earlier but if he is there in rd 3 he would be a great pick up, and with a nickname like Tank, how do you go wrong?
Round 4 Pick 122:
Joe Kruger, DE/DT, Utah, 6-6, 280. While I believe Joe will go to a 3-4 team like his brother, I think he could be a phenomenal fit for the Broncos. The Krugers have relentless motors which I love in linemen and he can play all 3 downs IMO. He could play DE like Wolfe and stay at DE while Wolfe moves inside. Paul has really come on of late and even though Joe may not be as good of a prospect as his brother, with a couple of year development, he could be as good with the right defense.
Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois 6-0 190. This kid played on a bad team so his stock might not be high now but it's climbing. He turned some heads at East/West practices and finished the game with a fumble recovery and an interception. He could and probably will be a 3rd rounder if he runs fast in his workouts.
I'd really like us to target another WR, OL and possibly even another DT like Brent Russell from Georgia Southern or Brandon Moore from Texas. I think those guys could really be developed, the production ratio for both is off the hook (although Brandon Moore has such a small sample size that it probably isn't accurate).
I'm excited to see what the Broncos do this April and where Fox and Elway see our priorities when it comes to FA and the draft.