With the 70th Pick in the 2007 SBNation Mock NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select....
Victor Abiamiri, DE -- Notre Dame
The Broncos had a few glaring needs coming into the draft. The defensive line was definitely one of them. By trading up to grab Alan Branch in round 1 I feel we were able to fill one need along the line, but defensive end was still a weak spot. By trading the second round pick to move up to get Branch I figured the upper echelon of DE would be gone by pick #70, so I attempted to get back into the second round, even if it was to get LB David Harris. Those attempts failed, and Harris nearly fell to us as well. After he was selected by the Lions at the end of Round 2 I set my sights on getting the best value available.
All the while, I was keeping a close eye on Abiamiri. I know there are some questions about the former Irish standout, but once you get to this point in the draft that is true for everyone. The Broncos have a need, and in most projections Abiamiri is a 2nd round selection. By getting him here, at the top of Round 3, the Broncos are getting solid value. Based on the Broncos recent history in the 3rd round, I say it's a damn good pick.
I have said it time and time again. I am biased towards players that play at big time schools against big time competition. Notre Dame fits both bills. Sure, Abiamiri may not have played his best games against the Irish's best competition, but who the hell else did Notre Damn have on that defense. On the right team, with the right talent around him, VA can flourish. unlike some of the DE prospects that went higher I feel that VA is still growing as a football player, and will get exponentially better over the next 2-3 years. That's not to say he won;t be a solid contributer now, but his ceiliing is high as well.
At 6-4, 267, VA has good size, with room to add on. His 40-time was the best, but I believe in football speed and Abiamiri seems to have it. You look at his college stats, and VA improved every season, making the most significant jump after Charlie Weis took over, which proves to me that with the right coaching VA responds positively.
THis pick is sure to get some criticism, and I am open to it, but with the two picks I have made for the Broncos so far I feel I have significantly improved one of the glaring needs of this defense, and at the same time have injected youth into was was an aging core. With abother 3rd round pick to come, I am confident we can address another weakness with more solid value in the draft.
Feel free to let me know how you feel!