Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Broncos season ended prematurely but we can still reflect on the rookie's progress.
DEREK WOLFE - 2nd Round, Pick 4 - Started all 16 games, 6 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 26 tackles, 14 assists.
Derek Wolfe impressed me this season. He played 1007 of 1161 snaps (unofficial). He had 7 QB hits and 13 hurries which adds more value to his pass rushing that he brings to the Broncos. Wolfe however was a much better run stopper. Many times he would disappear in pass rush situations. If he can polish his game a bit more he will be a great starter for the Broncos down the line.
BROCK OSWEILER - 2nd Round, Pick 25 - Played in only one game, 2 of 4 passing for 12 yards.
I really do not have an opinion on young Osweiler. I mean, we all have an opinion the Broncos using a second round pick on a QB but as far as how Osweiler looked, there really is not enough of a sample size. The pre-season is a tough way to evaluate because he is a project QB. Be interesting to see how he has progressed in the 2013 pre-season.
RONNIE HILLMAN - 3rd Round, Pick 4 - 14 games, 84 rushes 327 yards, 1 touchdown, 10 receptions, 62 yards, 2 fumbles
Ronnie Hillman's season has mixed feelings for me. The speed that was hyped about after the Broncos drafted him was certainly there. Hillman also seems to be a dual threat back being able to catch the ball quite well. However, where he really struggled was pass protection. Several times, Hillman struggled picking up the blitz which was evident in the playoffs when Knowshon left the game and the Ravens exposed that. Hillman appears to me as a complimentary back who can make some plays but for sure has some issues to be worked out.
OMAR BOLDEN - 4th Round, Pick 6 - Played all 16 games, 14 returns for 270 yards, 19.3 average, one pass deflection and 4 tackles on defense
Bolden did not get a ton of playing time only being out for 67 pass coverage plays. However, Bolden proved to be right up there with David Bruton on special teams for the strong play. Several times Bolden was able to field a bouncing punt to pin the opponent deep. He also tied Steven Johnson for the lead in ST tackles with 10.
PHILLIP BLAKE - 4th Round, Pick 13 - No stats
My only thoughts of Phillip Blake are that there is a large chance he does not make the team next year. NFL Drafts are filled with offensive lineman and Blake showed in pre-season games that he did not have the ability to block at the NFL level at that time. He will have to work hard in the offseason to prepare for a battle for a depth spot at training camp.
MALIK JACKSON - Round 5, Pick 2 - 14 games, 3 tackles, 2 assists
Malik Jackson had an alright season. He was in for 123 plays on defense with 2/3 of them being pass rushes. Jackson could be a bubble player unless he extremely improves. In 43 plays against the run he had 3 tackles. He played multiple positions on the defensive line and was a project coming out of college so next season again will tell the tale of Malik Jackson.
DANNY TREVATHAN - Round 6, Pick 18 - 16 games, 1 sack, 3 pass deflections, 2 tackles, 9 assists
Danny Trevathan was a major surprise for many in the Broncos community. Trevathan was brought in on many passing situations and as the season progressed was able to make some plays. I think Trevathan could be a good depth player for the Broncos down the road.
STEVEN JOHNSON - CFA - 11 games, 1 tackle, 1 Forced Fumble
Johnson was a nice find. In a limited time, his presence was felt as he contributed on Special Teams. He tied for the team lead in Tackles on ST's along with Omar Bolden with 10 stops.
Took 6 defensive snaps (3 run, 3 pass coverage) with 1 Tackle. He was thrown at one time, to no avail.
The Broncos have done well in years past finding college free agents that end up making the team. I think Johnson will be in a good position for next season since the Broncos had a pretty solid group of special teams players this year.
All in all, it is too early to give this class a final grade. After year one, I would give it a C, but I think the grade of this class comes out to how Brock pans out. It will be interesting to see where the Broncos go in the next draft to continue to build the depth the Broncos need.