Hello there MHR. It has been far too long. For those of you who know me, I want to apologize for my lengthy absence. I was known around here for writing my "Studs and Duds" post-game articles. I tried to write them after every game. Last year, I headed into the new season with every intent on writing every week. However, life decided to throw some curve balls at me. Due to a mix of a hectic school schedule, family and personal issues that all seemed to hit at the same time, I found myself with little time or energy. I was unable to write and I have missed it greatly. However, I find myself with a little time and I'm eager to discuss some of the things that have been going on with the Broncos.
The first thing I want to do is say thank you to John Bena and Kaptain Kirk. I was pretty surprised when I heard about the change that was happening at MHR. Bena and Kirk are gone from this blog, but their love and passion for the Broncos lives on. I want to thank John for helping to grow this website into the best Broncos blog on the internet. I've met many people via MHR that I am proud to call friends. I've had many discussions, arguments and twitter wars with the great people of MHR and none of it would have been possible without John. Kaptain Kirk was the gear that kept MHR running. I saw how much time and effort he put into this website especially last year. He works incredibly hard and I'll always be grateful for the work he put into this site. So a Mile High Salute to John and Kaptain. HORN.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk Bronco football.
Obviously the most important upcoming event is the NFL Draft. I've seen many mock drafts and many pre-draft reports and there are a bunch that I don't agree with. Here is my assessment of the Broncos needs.
1. Wide Receiver
I'm shocked at how few people realize how shallow the Broncos depth is at WR. Here are the current WR on the Broncos roster: Andre Caldwell, Eric Decker, Trindon Holliday, Greg Orton, Gerrell Robinson, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker.
That gives the Broncos 3 starting WR in Thomas, Decker and Welker. The rest? A mix of young, unproven talent (Orton, Robinson), a returner (Holliday) and a veteran who couldn't beat out Matt Willis (Caldwell). The Broncos depth at WR is suspect at best. If an injury were to occur to Demaryius or Decker, the Broncos offense would be greatly affected. I see a lot of mocks where the Broncos are taking a RB but not many where the Broncos take a legitimate receiving threat. Don't believe the Broncos have a great need at WR? How about when Decker becomes a free agent next year? He is surely going to want to be paid like a 1,000 yard receiver, especially if he does it again this year. Is Elway going to fork over the cash to Decker when we still have Clady to resign along with the 25 contracts that will expire within the next 2 years? I have my doubts. It would be smart to grab a WR as insurance for this year and to groom for the year's to come.
3 of my favorite Wide Receivers that aren't being talked about enough are Robert Woods, Aaron Dobson, and Marquess Wilson
2. Running Back.
The Broncos have a unique situation at RB. They have some good runners on the team. The current RB's on the roster include: Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, Mario Fannin, Jeremiah Johnson, and Lance Ball. If the current running backs stayed healthy, I don't think they would need to draft a RB high at all. However, there are serious doubts that the Broncos top 2 running backs can stay healthy. McGahee is turning 32 this year which is right about the time running backs start to see their skills drop off immensely. Knowshon Moreno might actually be made of glass. The Broncos won't be able to pose much of a threat if their starting tailbacks are Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball who somehow continues to be a coaching favorite. So the Broncos are going to be looking for a RB (a bruising runner according to reports).
Everyone knows about Lacy, Bell and Taylor. 3 of my favorite sleepers are Zac Stacy, George Winn and Kenjon Barner.
The Broncos have an influx of talent at Guard, but a lack of talent at Tackle. That isn't to say Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin aren't good players because they are. But Clady wants a new contract and the only backup tackles on the roster are Chris Clark (mediocre talent) and Paul Cornick (?). It would be wise for the Broncos to be on the lookout for a tackle in the mid rounds.
A couple guys I like include David Bakhtiari and Jordan Mills.
After the whole ridiculous Dumervil fiasco, the Broncos find themselves lacking a pass rusher from the Defensive End position. The projected starters are Derek Wolfe and Robert Ayers. I'm a believer in Robert Ayers and I saw serious improvement in him as a pass rusher last season in his limited snaps. However, even I am not foolish enough to believe we should go into the season with him as the starter and to give him no competition. Finding a pass rusher will be one of the Broncos biggest jobs in the draft. Even if the player they find is a mid-late round situational 3rd down pass rusher, Ayers needs to be challenged to step up.
My favorite pass rushers include Bjoern Werner, Alex Okafor, and Malliciah Goodman.
The Broncos don't actuallly need a cornerback. They have a very good group of CB's in Champ Bailey, Dominique-Rogers Cromartie, Chris Harris, and Tony Carter. They also have Omar Bolden who they drafted last year. So why will they draft a cornerback? Well, Champ is turning 35 and DRC, Chris Harris and Tony Carter are all becoming free agents in the next 2 years. So the time is now for the Broncos to draft and groom a corner.
A few of my favorites include: Jarmar Taylor, Darius Slay and Jordan Poyer.
The Broncos have a significant need at middle linebacker. I sincerely hope Elway is bluffing when he says he is going to let Nate Irving and Steven Johnson battle it out for the starting job. I'm interested to see the progression in Nate Irving, but surely there must be a plan b? If there is no plan b, there has to be better competition for him then an undrafted rookie from last year. If there is one position that badly needs depth and competition, it is middle linebacker. But who should they target?
Here are 3 players who I think could step in from day 1 and help this team: Manti Te'o, Kevin Minter and Nico Johnson.
Those are the 3 top positions of need on both sides of the ball from this writer's point of view. I believe the Broncos are going to try to move back into the 2nd round and pick up some extra picks. If that happens then I like one of these players to be drafted to the orange and blue: Manti Te'o, Tank Carradine, Kevin Minter or Alex Okafor. Of course anything can happen and I can't wait to see it unfold.
Live Mock Draft
The Final thing I want to talk to you all about is the live mock draft happening this weekend. In case you didn't know, Turf Show Times is running a 7 round mock draft this weekend. The Draft starts at 2pm ET on April 20 and 21. This draft is a pretty big deal. There are representatives from every NFL team blog. Each team has a "GM" and that "GM" puts together a war room. The war room is responsible for discussing what picks to draft as well as all potential trades. Along with GM's and War Rooms, there will be guest analysts who will be following the draft on social media. I requested and received the Broncos GM position. So now, I am looking for 3-5 people to be in the "war room" with me. The type of people I'm looking for are people who have been following the draft close enough to be able to make competent suggestions for all 7 rounds. I also need people I can rely on to be there on draft day. If you are interested, please say so in the comments below. I'll try to make contact with those I choose for the war room.
That's all there is for this post. I hope it won't be another year before I can make another one. Until next time, MHR.