I'm wearing the GM hat this morning (aka "Throwing Theories on the Fanpost Wall"), and although I know it's heresy to give away draft picks, since the 4 years of cheap (and prime age) labor from rookie deals can make a franchise, I'm arguing that for *this year only,* if Elway consolidates a few picks to trade up I'm not going to be the least bit upset.
Reason being, I'm guessing we'll only have space for SIX picks from this years draft, if we take all 7 picks, we likely are going to have to gamble that someone doesn't get poached off of our practice squad. We saw how last year's team was stacked, and our 5th round pick WR Tavarres King, whom we didn't even have space for on the 53, was eventually poached by the Panthers (you can argue it was foolish not to make space for King by getting rid of a TE or DB if you want, but the point still remains).
Furthermore, we all know that this year's draft is supposed to be the deepest in years, since 150 underclassmen have declared (more than usual, next year's draft is supposed to be weaker accordingly). There are two ways to look at this:
- The players at the top of a deep draft are even more talented than normal premier picks
- Players in the middle of the draft are as talented as premier picks in other years
It's probably a little bit of both, although the 2nd position is probably more accurate. For that reason, I think if we can get say, 6 players out of rounds 1-5, instead of 7 players, we'll have a better chance of landing long-term impact players (since a 2nd rounder this year will likely compare to 1st round talent next year, and a 3rd rounder this year is comparable to a 2nd round talent next year, and so on).
As well, since we don't have space for 7 picks, why wouldn't we consolidate and take 5-6 studs with a higher probability of turning into productive players, instead of late round gambles that we'll have to expose to our practice squad anyways?
The following are 46 players we are very likely to have on our 53 man roster next fall (backups are italicized).
I also expect 2 more depth/veteran signings, same as the Phillips & Jammer signings late last year. I would expect 1 to be a backup OL, and also likely a veteran RB (I really don't think Elway expects a rookie RB to be able to pick up blitz protection for PFM if it actually came down to it). For me, that put's our roster tally at 48.
You can argue whether we'll keep both Tamme & Dressen, or whether Bolden or McCray make the 53, let's say 2 of them don't make it for argument's sake, ok, back down to 46. Still, that's only 7 spots left, and we know Elway is great at finding those UFA's (how many years in a row now do we have an undrafted rookie making the 53?). So, 7 draft picks "might" be able to make our 53, but it seems unlikely, especially if we end up adding 3 cheap veterans instead of 2 in free agency still:
QB's: We carried 3 last year
RB's: We carried 5 last year, I'm betting on a veteran to be added still.
WR's: We carried 4 last year
TE's: We carried 4 last year
OL: We carried 9 last year, we only have 5 "starting grade" OL on the roster currently!! Painter, Harewood, Farrell, Cornick, Garland don't have experience. I'm betting on a veteran "depth" signing and 1-2 rookies to be added still.
DE's: We carried 4 last year
DT's: We carried 4 last year
- Fua (a 2011 3rd round pick of the Panthers)
LB's: We carried 5 last year, the media seems to think Mosley/Shazier/Borland will end up being drafted, which works for me, but John Elway said in a quote the other day, he's not that worried about MLB.
- Steven Johnson
- Lerentee McCray (I'm including since he seemed primed to make the roster last year before his injury in the final pre-season game)
CB's: We carried 6 last year, I'm betting on a CB to be one of our draft picks.
- T. Carter (tendered for $730K)
FS/SS's: We carried 5 last year (we actually carried 11 DB's in total, Jammer being that hybrid 11th DB)
- Bruton (special team stud)
- Bolden (2012 4th round pick, a CB before being converted to safety in Aug 13, I'm putting him in this list as a backup/hybrid DB just b/c I don't see the Broncos giving up on him just yet, as well he contributes on ST's).
- Aaron Brewer (LS)
I did not include players currently on the roster that the Broncos have invested time in already that could make the 53, such as: Brandon Marshall (LB), John Youboty (DE), or other players signed to "Futures" contracts at the end of 2013 such as: Jerome Murphy (CB), Erig Hagg, John Boyett, Charles Mitchell, etc
Alternatively, I believe that Elway purposefully chose Q. Smith & Painter last year, knowing that roster space would be tight, and knowing that he could IR Quanterus and PS Painter without risking losing the developmental players. Elway could go this route again, selecting a few players that he knows will be safe for a year.
In the end, I could be off by one or two on the roster count, but this argument is an exercise to demonstrate why TRADING UP this year would not be a horrible idea. (edit: to clarify, I mean trading away picks 5-7 or some combination of those for another player or two from rounds 1-5, see poll options below).