The draft has come and gone, and for the Broncos, an off-season unlike any other in it's history should begin to quiet down, with the exception of a few UDFA signings over the next few days. Time to take a look back at the weekend and see if the 4 new Denver Broncos were the right choice, and if they will actually help on the football field. In the coming days I will be reviewing the Broncos roster, projecting the depth chart, and comparing it to the other teams in the AFC West.
Before we get to that, I wanted to thank everyone that made blogging the draft on the MHR such a blast. I could name names, but the risk of forgetting anyone is too great, but of course thank to OhNo for writing the draft pick run-downs as the Broncos were making their picks. We experienced our biggest weekend to date, and expect that growth to continue as we head through the summer. The MHR began as a tool for me to deal with my "issues" and addiction to the Broncos as well as the NFL, but over the 8 months the MHR has existed it has become much more and I have all of you to thank for it. Thank you for being polite and couorteous, while at the same time maintaining varying opinions. Thank you to everyone, for in your own little way, taking ownership of the MHR and the content. And most importantly, thank you for making the MHR what it is quickly becoming, the best Denver Broncos fan blog on the web. You guys are the greatest fans in sports!
As for the draft, a few thoughts I have about what the Broncos did, and how they did it.
Coming in, the Broncos had added 12 veterans to this team through various means. Because of that I felt the Broncos would shed draft picks in order to get certain players they had targeted. In the end, they did just that. Many people were surprised that the Broncos had to trade up in order to get Jarvis Moss. Count me among them until I thought a bit about it. Mike Shanahan has never been afraid to go and get his guy. He has done it numerous times in the past. It is plainly obvious that Shanny is giddy when it comes to Moss, and he will go get the pick he feels is the right place to draft the guy. Shanny felt Moss was a value at 17, so instead of risking Moss being gone at 21, Shanny made the move to get the guy he wanted. Like it or not, you have to admire the aggressive nature at which the Broncos operate during the draft. It is better to make a move to get your guy than to wish you had when the team right ahead of you picks him instead.
As for the thoughts about making a trade with the Browns, the Broncos did the right thing by NOT doing it. The Broncos are going to be playing close to the cap the next 2 to 3 years because of all the contracts signed this season. There will also be cap hits becuase of the Al Wilson and Jake Plummer moves. The Broncos don't need and can't afford high picks. They are trying to win now, and adding picks next year doesn't fix the D-line for 2007. Keeping the #21 pick, in order to get the guy you want, trumps trading out of the first round and taking someone you are not as high on.
In the second round, the Broncos went D-End again, and Tim Crowder would appear to be the perfect compliment to Jarvis Moss. If you put an stock into NFL Draft Countdown, they had Moss rated 4th among DE's and Crowder 6th. Sure, the Broncos could have traded down, then pulled a move like the Cowboys to grab Anthony Spencer, but then the Broncos are taking chances with their next picks. In essence, the Broncos got two solid DEs instead of one.
Looking at the college careers of Moss and Crowder, both were very solid at a high level in college, and right now today Crowder might actually be the more steady, solid player. Below are the stats for each --
Jarvis Moss --
Tim Crowder --
Very similar to say the least. Both of these guys are going to be solid players in the NFL and will play a significant role on the Broncos defense next season.
There is more I like about Moss as well. He'll be a monster right away on special teams, doing things like this --
Jarvis Moss Field Goal Block
The owner of the video won't allow it to be embedded, but it is worth watching. Jarvis Moss has some serious hops, and he will block a field goal next season, lock it.
The Broncos went O-line in Round 3, and again took a guy from a big-time football school, Ryan Harris from Notre Dame. There seem to be questions abouot Harris' work ethic and motor, blah, blah, blah, but Harris fits the exact mold of the typical Denver Broncos offensive lineman. At 6-4, 305, Harris is deemed "undersized", which he is on most teams. Not in Denver. He is quick, athletic, and after starting at Notre Dame for four years Harris has a TON of experience playing against top level talent. The Broncos also have the luxury of having some depth on the O-line, allowing Harris to get his feet wet gradually. The Broncos might have been able to make a better pick here, but if it was O-line they wanted they could have done a lot worse than Harris.
The Broncos final pick might be the most controversial. Marcus Thomas, also from Florida, seems to have all the talent in the world. Jarvis Moss, Thomas' teammate with the Gators called Thomas the most talented player on the team last year. He also went on to say he cried when the Broncos chose Thomas because he knows the type of man Thomas is. This pick will either blow up in Shanny's face or be the type of pick that reminds us why Shanny is alled the Mastermind.
Here are Thomas' numbers in college --
The questions about Thomas all see to be character-related, and make no mistake, they are huge questions. Thomas was suspended twice last season by Florida coach Urban Meyer. The second time Thomas was kicked of the team, missing out on the opportunity to win a National Championship. Before that, Thomas was projected to be the best DT in the draft this season, right up there with Alan Branch, Amobi Okoye and Co. With the ties Shanny has to the Gators, you can bet Shanny talked to Urban Meyer about Moss and Thomas to get a feel of where the problems came from, and if they can be corrected. From what I have been able to ascertain, Thomas hung out with the wrong crowd and made questionable decisions when he went home to Jacksonville. Being so close to home was probably a detrimate, and coming to Denver, and having a familar face like Moss with him, will allow Thomas to focus solely on football, which will be the best thing for him.
This wasn't a sexy draft. Didn't have the drama of 2006, when the Broncos made the move to get their quarterback of the future. It was a solid draft. If you have listened to MHR Radio you have heard me talk at length about my preference towards players who play big time college football at big time programs. Shanny has had a tendancy to try and find those diamonds in the rough from small schools. That, at times, has backfired, with guys like Darius Watts being the waste of a high draft pick. Not this year. Three of thr four players came from schools that have won the last two National Titles and the other played for Notre Dame, who annually have one of the toughest schedules every year. There are alot of wins in the belts, and winning begets winning. These guys are used to winning football games, and those are EXACTLY the type of players I want playing for the Broncos, WINNERS.
Only time will tell how this draft works out for the Broncos. For me, with only 24 hours to think about it, give the Broncos a solid B, not only for addressing the most glaring needs the team had, but for filling them with solid players, from solid football programs, with a tradition of winning, just like the Broncos.