Welcome to Wide Receiver Heaven, Mr. Sanders. Your football immortality awaits you. You are about to be plugged into the best roster spot a Free Agent Wide Receiver could hope to settle into. Gone are the days where your offense's first priority is to run the football. Where the QBs main goal is to avoid sacks and wait for a WR to get open in the passing game. Now you are part of a pass first offense that will move quickly, and the ball will be in your hands as soon as you get to your spot.
You are about to be a part of a special offense where you will be surrounded by elite players. You will have an elite QB throwing passes your way with pinpoint accuracy. You will be lining up across from an elite WR1, an elite slot WR, and an elite receiving TE. Oh and there is an elite Left Tackle that is coming back that will buy that elite QB more time to throw. Welcome Mr. Sanders to one on one coverages where defenses will have to focus all of their attention on everyone else.
And welcome to an offense where your QB will raise your game to its peak, like he has with so many other WR's before you.
Emmanual Sanders was one happy guy in his introductory press conference. And we can see why. He was hoping, waiting, for a call from the Denver Broncos. He knew that this was the ideal landing spot for his talents. So there was no need to even visit or hesitate when the Broncos showed interest. Go make it happen young fella. You are about to be a football household name. Peyton Manning will help you take your game to the next level.
That is, by the way, what Mr. Manning does best. He takes a WR, and helps elevate his game to reach his potential. He takes an average WR with potential, and helps him be productive. He takes a good WR with potential for greatness, and sends them to the Hall of Fame. Peyton has had a number of good WR's over the past decade. And they have thrived in his offense, and under his direction.
Back in the day, he was surrounded by first round draft picks. Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, and Dallas Clark. 3rd rounder Brandon Stokley was viewed as the best slot WR of all time by Peyton and the coaches at that time.
I found it interesting to note all of the Round one Draft picks of the last decade. Not all first rounders will succeed in the NFL obviously. But it was interesting to see how many names I didn't recognize.
|2002||1||20||GNB||Javon Walker||WR||2009||0||1||3||39||83||14||132||1||267||4011||31||Florida St.|
|2003||1||2||DET||Charles Rogers||WR||2005||0||0||0||4||15||2||17||0||36||440||4||Michigan St.|
|2003||1||3||HOU||Andre Johnson||WR||2013||2||7||10||90||154||23||54||0||927||12661||61||Miami (FL)|
|2003||1||17||ARI||Bryant Johnson||WR||2011||0||0||4||26||139||5||-8||0||314||3938||16||Penn St.|
|2004||1||29||ATL||Michael Jenkins||WR||2012||0||0||5||39||130||2||4||0||354||4427||25||Ohio St.|
|2004||1||31||SFO||Rashaun Woods||WR||2004||0||0||0||1||14||7||160||1||Oklahoma St.|
|2005||1||7||MIN||Troy Williamson||WR||2009||0||0||1||8||49||6||58||0||87||1131||4||South Carolina|
|2006||1||25||PIT||Santonio Holmes||WR||2013||0||0||6||47||103||0||1||0||0||0||16||89||0||381||5963||36||Ohio St.|
|2007||1||2||DET||Calvin Johnson||WR||2013||3||4||7||65||106||19||167||1||572||9328||66||Georgia Tech|
|2007||1||9||MIA||Ted Ginn||WR||2013||0||0||3||28||104||31||239||2||197||2604||11||Ohio St.|
|2007||1||32||IND||Anthony Gonzalez||WR||2011||0||0||1||16||40||99||1307||7||Ohio St.|
|2009||1||10||SFO||Michael Crabtree||WR||2013||0||0||4||31||63||2||14||0||279||3629||22||Texas Tech|
|2009||1||29||NYG||Hakeem Nicks||WR||2013||0||0||4||36||70||2||8||0||311||4622||27||North Carolina|
|2010||1||22||DEN||Demaryius Thomas||WR||2013||0||2||2||32||53||0||1||0||0||0||3||6||0||240||3698||30||Georgia Tech|
|2010||1||24||DAL||Dez Bryant||WR||2013||0||1||3||36||59||5||1||0||293||4104||40||Oklahoma St.|
|2012||1||5||JAX||Justin Blackmon||WR||2013||0||0||1||9||20||3||22||0||93||1280||6||Oklahoma St.|
|2012||1||13||ARI||Michael Floyd||WR||2013||0||0||1||11||32||110||1603||7||Notre Dame|
|2013||1||8||STL||Tavon Austin||WR||2013||0||0||0||6||13||0||1||0||0||0||9||151||1||40||418||4||West Virginia|
|1996||1||7||NWE||Terry Glenn||WR||2007||0||1||9||67||137||0||2||0||0||0||20||139||1||593||8823||44||Ohio St.|
|1996||1||24||BUF||Eric Moulds||WR||2007||0||3||11||76||186||29||163||0||764||9995||49||Mississippi St.|
|2001||1||9||SEA||Koren Robinson||WR||2008||0||1||4||35||96||23||115||1||294||4244||16||North Carolina St.|
|2001||1||16||NYJ||Santana Moss||WR||2013||0||1||9||72||187||51||287||0||722||10167||66||Miami (FL)|
|2001||1||30||IND||Reggie Wayne||WR||2013||1||6||13||115||196||0||1||0||0||1||4||0||0||1006||13566||80||Miami (FL)|
Marvin Harrison was a mid first round pick. There were three players picked before him. Reggie Wayne was selected in the late first as the sixth WR taken. Both were annual pro bowlers as Colts.
So Peyton was surrounded by talent. But he really helped those guys maximize their skills. Not every first round player becomes a pro bowl hall of famer.
But not long after that, the talent declined around him. The offensive line in front of him was weakend. Marvin Harrison was replaced by 6th round prospect with potential, Pierre Garcon, for example. Here was a draft profile:
POSITIVES: Nice size possession wide out with a nice feel for the position. Displays good vision, effectively works the zones of the defense and finds the open spot on the field. Extends to make the reception away from his frame, displays outstanding eye/hand coordination and adjusts to catch the errant throw. Plays with balance, body control and effectively uses the sidelines.
NEGATIVES: One speed receiver who lacks the second gear. Gathers into routes displaying choppy footwork and not quick exiting breaks.
ANALYSIS: Garcon has been ultra-productive on the small school level and could find a home in the NFL as a fifth receiver. He was also effective returning kicks early in his college career, which gives him added value at the next level. PROJECTION: Early Sixth Round
Brandon Stokley was replaced by Austin Collie, a solid prospect taken in the fourth round. He was well on his way to a 1,000 yard season before injuries took him in 2010. His replacement, Undrafted Free Agent Blair White, combined with Austin for over 1,000 yards receiving that year.
Jacob Tamme took over that year for injured Dallas Clark. Tamme was a fourth round prospect. He was paid by the Broncos to come over with Peyton two years ago on a 3 year, 10 million dollar contract
And we have seen similar development here in Denver. Demaryius Thomas was a very talented WR, but raw. Some doubted if he would fit with the style of offense that Peyton would run. Eric Decker was a solid, but not elite, prospect, who has been an awesome Robin for Batman. We have seen DT go from a raw talent, to a top 5 WR in the league. We saw Eric Decker as a solid WR with potential, become one of the best #2 WR's in the league. He is getting paid 7 million dollars a year to play with Rexy over in New York.
Julius Thomas was a very raw player with little football experience. He thrived in the practice fields of preseason workouts, but never did that come to fruition on the field. With health and Peyton Manning, he is well on his way to being another Jimmy Graham.
Peyton is not the only one to help his WR's develop. Other good QB's make there WR's shine. Wes Welker was undrafted. He was a stud in NE, and a stud in Denver last year. He was replaced with similar production by a seventh round player in Julian Edelman. Marques Colstson was a 7th rounder. Victor Cruz, another undrafted diamond in the rough, is getting paid as a number one WR for the GMen.
With Peyton Manning, his WR's have always played up to their potential. Not one WR has been put in the starting rotation and failed with him. The offense not only gives players the opportunity to shine. But Peyton's tireless work ethic rubs off and helps refine WR skills. They become better route runners. They learn to read a defense more effectively. They enhance their ability to catch a football. Backups become quality starters. Quality starters put up upper echelon numbers. Talented players become pro bowlers.
It's the reason I don't particularly care for 12 million dollars being spent this year towards Welker and Sanders. I think that younger, cheaper WR's could be developed and utilized. Also paving the way for when the OZ rises to power.
But with that being said, I am excited for another potent offensive attack this year. Julius Thomas has another year under his belt. He was like a rookie last year. Virgil Green may be utilized a little more. He is an ultra gifted athlete himself. Demaryius Thomas is now entering his 3rd season with Peyton, on a contract year. Welker reads a defense like a QB. Yes Decker will be missed. Especially in the red zone. And at the beginning of the season. That can't be understated.
But with the signing of Emmanual Sanders, you have a guy with more speed, (4.4 40), versatility, (Plays inside and out), and elusiveness,(smaller and shifter). As the season goes on, he will get more acclimated to the offense. And his game will no doubt benefit from playing with number 18. This offense can be scary good again.
Welcome to Wide Receiver heaven Emmanuel. Enter the pearly gates of Mile High Stadium. May it be heaven for all of Broncoland. And hell for the rest of the NFL.