Cornerbacks; Free Agents and the Draft

You ever hear the one about the Broncos being interested in Darrelle Revis? OK, here goes…

Two blowhards walk into a bar, and “they” say the Denver Broncos are interested in acquiring Revis Island.

So now people think the Broncos are interested in Revis Island.

Get it? That’s it. That’s the joke. Now people think the Broncos are interested in Darrelle Revis. Urggg.

Can you really imagine somebody who gets paid for their opinions, sitting at a desk in Dove Valley pitching the idea of spending a 1st and 2nd round pick, along with $12M per year and a fat signing bonus, to trade for Darrelle Revis - to a team that already ranks 3rd against the pass, 2nd in overall yards allowed and 4th in points allowed? I mean, it would have to be a joke right? April Fools Day? You may as well Donald Trump your self if it‘s not a joke, because you is fired my dude.

Too much money. Too many resources.

I’ve heard the other jokes about how the Denver Broncos could afford it too, what with our whopping $20M in cap room and whatnot.

Folks that follow this line of reasoning probably don‘t play Monopoly very well. You see, Boardwalk and Park Place are nice, but if by attaining these pieces you’ve sacrificed your ability to build around them, well then, I’m guessing you probably learned this strategy in Oakland. Or Philly. And here’s a hint.. They lose a lot.

The Eagles tried out that “dream team” approach only a couple years ago. Exhibit A in what not to do. The Broncos, instead, look to shore up weaknesses through free agency merely as a means to an end. Peyton Manning was an exception to the rule, my friends. Peyton Manning is an exception to every rule. Overall, though, The Johns have shown us a clear business model. They buy relatively bargain free agents to fill holes so that they can be more flexible in the draft - so that they‘re not so desperate at a position so as to reach for it.

Now I still fully believe that the Best Player Available (“BPA“) approach is a myth like unicorns and good Justin Beiber songs, but by not being desperate for a specific position, the Broncos are then in better shape to move back from the first-round or to take value in the other rounds.

My guess is that John Elway doesn’t view Free Agency as the brick and mortar used to build a team; he sees it as the putty used to temporarily fix the cracks and the leaks of previous mistakes. Free agency, to Elway, is for short-term solutions, while the draft is for long-term solutions. In other words, Revis Island is not a location on John Elway’s map.

The key three at corner for the Broncos are Champ Bailey, Chris Harris and Tony Carter. Two phenomenal youngsters in their prime and an aging superstar. Since Revis is an absolute non-option, many of us are now looking to the first-round to “eventually replace Champ“. But here’s the thing with that, if you want to draft a first-round corner, you better have a plan for how to get immediate impact from him. That’s a true story folks. Newton’s ninth law states that all first-rounders are expected to make impact, even though they sometimes don’t.

You only get a first-round pick about as often as you get a birthday, so the trick is to use it wisely. The guy you draft needs to be at a position where there is room for him to make impact. So what’s the plan, I ask you, in drafting a CB in the first-round? Who does he replace and upgrade in this 3rd ranked pass defense? Until you can answer that, you’re not allowed to mock-draft a CB to the Broncos in the first-round ever again. This also is law, I do hereby decree. Kidding, of course. Well, kind of. Or not. I report, you decide. Welcome to the Spin Zone.

OK, behind the key three, you’ve got the talented yet enigmatic Tracy Porter, and then 2012 4th rounder Omar Boldin. That’s five corners. Teams generally keep five corners. So if you add a corner before say the 5th round, then it means one of these guys have to go.

Omar Boldin will be gunning to take somebody’s job in 2013, and has recently said exactly that. Not that it will be easy, but it’s certainly not time to give up on this 2nd year player either. It’s tough to crack the lineup of an elite pass defense, so let’s not fault him for that.

Champ had a bad day on a horrible day to have a bad day, but he’s not going anywhere either. Chris Harris is a young rockstar and Tony Carter isn’t too far behind him. One of Taylor Swift’s breakup songs is, in fact, rumored to have been written about young Chris Harris. That’s how cool he is. So “they” say, anyway.

Speaking of our young guns, I want to underline for a moment that four of our five corners are age 26 or younger and still developing. I’m going to say that again…. Still developing, all those guys. Still very young, those guys, and were a major part of an elite defense and an elite pass defense. Begs the question, are we really in such dire need for a corner? Well anyway, Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Tony Carter and Omar Boldin are all four locks to make the roster. We can bank on that much.

As for Porter, the fifth and final piece to this puzzle, well he’s actually another puzzle unto himself - a puzzle that I’ve only gotten the corners completed on thus far. Truth is, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Tracy, but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts he’d be willing to sign somewhere for about $2M per year on a short term deal. That’s half of what he got paid last year, which seems like a good ballpark figure after the year he had.

On the flip side, however, and while the complete reasoning still remains murky, Tracy appears to be on the outside looking in at this point. He’s the one with the biggest bubble over his head. Well, actually he’s the only “bubble player” at corner. He’s the only question mark here. Keep him and we’re set. Dismiss him and we need to add one.

So back to the beginning we go. The short of it is that fans want to draft Champ Bailey’s replacement to groom. Just like they did last year. And the year before that. Just like I wanted to be a little bit taller. And to have a slumber party with Mila Kunis. But again, for this year at least, it’s probably not going to happen.

It’s not that I expect us to avoid this position like the plague when April rolls around, because I don’t. Corners are too important to ignore. It’s just that no person we draft at corner is likely to give us the immediate impact and upgrade you seek with a 1st round pick. Thus making other positions higher on our to-draft list.

Also, I have a hard time believing that any corner we take in the 2nd or 3rd round would have as much upside as Tracy Porter still has. We’ve spent a year with him and for the very affordable rate at which I believe we could retain him, I think he’s worth another year to see if he can be coached out of his bad habits and to get past his health issues. My guess, however, is that the front office and/or the coaching staff disagrees with me. For whatever reason, my Magic 8Ball is telling me that Del Rio never forgave him for that one horrible performance he had early in the season when he got toasted and benched.

I’m hoping Tracy Porter remains a Broncos, thus making the entire position group a non-issue. That’s my hope, but my gut is telling me that it is more likely than not that Tracy Porter has played his last down as a Denver Bronco. Truth be told, Porter might not be ubber interested in re-signing here anyway. He would have an easier time becoming an actual starter elsewhere than he would have here in just cracking the rotation into the key-three with the Broncos. He has to know how tough it would be to get playing time in this elite defense. Which is, again, the same problem Boldin had last year, and is the same problem any new draft pick will have this year. So how badly do we really need a cornerback again?

If Tracy Porter does indeed get the ax, then drafting a cornerback becomes infinitely more likely. I still don’t think you draft one in the first-round, because for all intents and purposes, that guy isn’t likely to play anything but special teams in his first year. But I do think that with Tracy gone, combined with Champ’s age, then it would be time to draft a true stud to groom up. The two issues, when combined together, could potentially bring a total non-need to the forefront of needs at the speed of light. The reason is that once you’re already in need of a corner, and once you have room to add one, then the issue becomes about replacing Champ Bailey rather than about replacing Tracy Porter. It likely makes us more willing to pay a heavy price to obtain that lotto ticket.

In my mind, this would become a Brock Osweiler-esque situation. Ideally, you would want a guy whose main reason for not going in the first round is due to his relative rawness. Like Os, the tradeoff here should be that he has more of what you can’t teach and less of what you can. People don’t often draft corners in the first-round that can’t immediately produce, so let‘s just look to steal the one that gets away... We don’t need our guy to immediately produce anyway. Essentially, we want the guy with the higher ceiling but who is also less NFL-ready. We want the guy that’s too promising and too good to be called a project, but also not ready and polished enough to be taken in the first-round.

For comparison’s sake, let’s say I would take David Amerson (North Carolina State) in the 2nd round over maybe Jamar Taylor (Boise State). Amerson gave up big plays last year and many see him as having potentially come out a year too early. He needs additional coaching and experience to refine his craft before being trusted with a hefty work load, but his elite size and elite ball skills give him the edge over the more ready and speedy Jamar Taylor. That would not be the case, however, with a team who was looking for immediate production.

I’m Rodney A, a long-time contributor here at MHR that got banned prior to the start of the season. If this profile isn’t banned also, and if people are interested in the post, I’ll follow this up in a few days with my thoughts on MLB and then DL, eventually ending in a unique name and position that I think we’re most likely to draft. If this profile gets banned and the post deleted, I’ll work to start posting at SB Nation sister site, MockingTheDraft, during the offseason. Looking forward to your thoughts…

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

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