This entire off-season I have been in fervent denial of drafting a mike linebacker with the twenty-eighth overall selection, now just ten days away. Why in this reformed, finer-tuned, faster-paced NFL would we need a middle linebacker. Sure, Al Wilson was great, a calming influence and naturaul born leader that anchored our defense for nearly a decade. After all middle linebackers are designed to move from station to station shedding blocks racking up hundreds of tackles in the process. But, the Broncos played in nickel and dime packages 65% of defensive snaps last season. It's the sole reason three legitimate starting caliber cornerbacks, including a pro bowl nickel guy are currently on contract. It seems completley serviceable to let Stewart Bradley, Nate Irving, and Steve Johnson compete for their share of snaps in base packages while drafting Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey, or Willis McGahee's replacement. Right? But what if the Broncos had the oppurtunity to hit two birds with one draft pick. We all know Von Miller slides into defensive end on passing situation, usually the nickel. Meanwhile, guys like Wesley Woodyard and DJ Williams/ Danny Trevathan play the remaining linebacker spots. John Elway said it himself... uh-oh (because all pre-draft talk is completley truthful). But the Broncos have the oppurtunity to select a guy that has the ability, athleticism, and versatility to play both the mike in base packages and backer in dime and nickel schemes. Of course there are only few prospects that have this range of skills and the ability to do it as a rookie. That's why with my hopeful first round pick I select Alec Ogletree.
Round 1(28): Alec Ogeltree, LB, Georgia
Analysis: The Broncos sent a contingent that included Jack Del Rio to UGA's pro day. Of course that could have been to see a range of defensive prospects from Ogeltree to Jarvis Jones to Bacarri Rambo, etc. At 6-2 240 lbs Ogeltree has the perfect size and thleticism to play three downs in the NFL, and with previous experience at safety he has the potential to be the coveted tight end killer- at the very least he will be more than serviceable in coverage. Without the DUI Ogeltree would be a top 10 draft pick, and recent new has teams as high as the Rams (at 16) considering him. However, sources also say that teams, including the Texans, have effectivley ruled the young linebacker out due to character concerns. I think this pick makes alot of sense, and if the Broncos are blowing smoke to secretley draft a mike, it would explain the presence of Joe Mays still on the active roster.
Round 2(58): Trade with Arizona Cardinals, recieve picks #69 and #103 in exchange for #58 and #234
Analysis: The Cardinals move into draft a QB like Barkley, Broncos grab another 4th rounder.
Round 3(69): David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Analysis: The Broncos covet tall corners, and I've read numerous stories on their admiration for Seattle's stable of DBs. Amerson has some very bad tape from a couple of games last season, but he was dominant in his junior season and would be given the oppurtunity to learn technique without the added pressure of playing a high percentage of snaps. Also has the ability to possibly play S.
Round 3(90): Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Analysis: Who knows where this guy will get drafted? Who knows when any of these guys will be drafted this year? I think a guy that could legitmatley miss much of the offseason and behind the curve doesn't warrant a selection in the first two rounds, but he's a top notch prospect with uncanny running ability.
Round 4(103): Luke Marquardt, T, Azusa Pacific
Analysis: At 6'8 the dude is an absolute beast. As a converted tight end, Marquardt posseses the athleticism to contain the edge against speed rushers and the strength to stone wall bigger targets. The Broncos o-line coach Dave Magazu recently visited a private workout for Luke at Azusa. Scouting reports show Marquardt has the potential to be a bookend tackle, and a great swing tackle in the time being.
Round 4(125): John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Analysis: The former Buckeye racked up 14.5 TFL's and 9 sacks thanks to a relentless motor and his draft stock was hurt due to a positional change to outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl. Very solid against the run, with loads of potential to improve at the next level.
Round 5(161): Earl Wolff, S, North Carolina State
Analysis: Wolff joins Amerson as two former Wolfpack in the Broncos secondary. With a 4.44 40, Wolff has the potential to become an elite coverage safety even making multiple INTs in one East-West Shrine practice. However, with 100 plus tackles in the past two season he excels in the run game.
QB- PFM, Brock, UFA
RB- Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman, Marcus Lattimore, Knowshon Moreno
WR-DeMaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Gerrell Robinson, Trindon Holliday, UFA
TE- Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Virgil Green
LT- Ryan Clady, Luke Marquardt
LG- Zane Beadles, Cris Kuper/Manny Ramirez
C- JD Walton, (hopefully Dan Koppen), Phillip Blake
RG- Luis Vasquez, Cris Kuper/Manny Ramirez
RT- Orlando Franklin, Luke Marquardt
SDE- Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson
DT- Terrance Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein, Malik Jackson
WDE- Robert Ayers/Von Miller, John Simon
SAM- Von Miller, John Simon, Nate Irving
MLB- Alec Ogeltree, Stewart Bradley, Steven Johnson
WLB- Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan
CB- Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, DRC, David Amerson, David Bruton
SS- Quinton Carter, Mike Adams
FS- Rahim Moore, David Bruton