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2008 NFL Draft - Grade The Broncos Two First Picks

Before the draft I expressed my deisre for the Broncos to trade down. I kept hope alive all the way until Roger Goodell said Ryan Clady's name. It isn't that don't like Clady. Just the opposite. On MHR Radio the other night, I called Clady the safest pick for the Broncos if he was there, and by the sounds of Mike Shahahan he thought the same thing.

There were plenty of trades, which speaks to the sheer fluidity of this draft. That doesn't mean it is easy to get a deal done. It was becoming clear with all the movement around the Broncos that they weren't going to be able to get something done. At that point the Broncos had no choice but to punt and take the best fit.

Clady gives the Broncos something on the O-Line they haven't had in a long time. Natural, God-given talent. The Broncos have gotten so much out of guys drafted in the late round, so much over-achievement, that at some point you need to add real talent to the equation. Clady is that guy, the 2nd best OT on the board, behind only Jake Long, the #1 overall pick.

The Broncos have tried this before, we all are still trying to forget George Foster, but Clady is different. To hear him talk, to see his answers to the meda after the selection, shows an intelligence that Foster never had. That intelligence, along with his comfort in a zone-blocking scheme, should help Clady come right in and make an impact.

The Broncos most important asset is Jay Cutler. Cutler needs protected and Clady should give Cutler that protection for the next decade. For that, I can't help but be satisfied.

In the 2nd Round, the Broncos drafted the KR/PR we have been clammoring for. Eddie Royal might be a name that you aren't familiar with, and it may have been a bit of a reach, but with no 3rd round pick the Broncos had no choice but to get the guy the needed right at #42.

Royal was a 4-year player at Virginia Tech, a big-time football school, and made significant contributions all 4 season. Again, what was most impressive to me, and Styg did a nice job talking about this, is this kid's character. He was very well-spoken, spoke of being a team player, of doing whatever he could do for the team.

Royal will instantly improve our return game and that alone makes him worth it. Remember, in the SBNation Mock Draft I selected Chris Johnson at #42. We needed a guy to make plays day 1. Royal will come in and do that. He also provides insurance for Brandon Stokely, whose injury history speaks for itself. Only DeSean Jackson could have provided the same spark. The difference? Character.

Overall, I give these first two selections a solid B. The Broncos have several needs and both of these picks are attempts to address them. There was no surprise. There, was no reach for a guy with a questionable past. It is time the Broncos brought in players we could be proud of. It looks like that has started today.