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2008 NFL Draft -- Denver Selects DT, Carlton Powell

Regardless of how you rank our offseason needs, there is no doubt we had three critical issues to this teams success:

  1. Score TDs in the redzone
  2. Stop the run
  3. Improve STs

As I peruse our 2008 draft class, I see just how deeply complex football is, as on the surface we seem to putting a lot of effort into #3 above, when I would probably rate it as a distant second to #2.  But that is where the complexity lies.  By addressing 3 you indirectly optimize 1 which in turn has an effect on 2 which improves 3 which...

I think you get the point.

And not to be overlooked in the drafting or non-drafting of a DT is the fundamentally flawed stature of this years DT class.  Outside of Ellis and Dorsey (who I wil leave out of the discussion from here on out)  there simply wasn't anyone that I felt the Bronco's absolutely must get.  I have looked at more DTs this year than in any year of the draft, and I have extensie notes on 27 (!!!) DTs alone, making up almost a fifth of scouting I did across ALL positions, and with every prospect I watched and then tossed aside, I was disgusted by what was the most gratuitous display of inconsistency that I have ever seen.  There was only ONE consistent, well-rounded DT in this draft (again, outside of the top two) and that was Trevor Laws, but on the the other hand, what he did consistently, the other DTs did much, much better, but inconsistently.  How do you balance and grade that?  I graded it by giving everyone D's and sending them home.  It was frustrating to think that perhaps our biggest need simply wasn't going to be plausibly addressed in the most important drft in Shanny's tenure.  The only option was to focus on value.

And Shanny and Co. did an amazing job of that.  They waited patiently for other teams to take the character risks, the motivationaly challenged, and the one dimensional, and let a gem like Powell fall right into their lap wiht their late pick in the fifth round.  It doesn't matter how many picks separate Laws and Powell on draft day:  very little separates them on the field.  Denver got STELLAR value with this pick.

Powell is a big guy who can still get bigger, a rarity for late picks.  Great competitor who plays to the whistle and gives his all every snap.  He is a solid character guy, with no injury history worth mentioning, and multiple awards in his closet for having the most hustle.  He doesn't go to the ground easily, and when he does go down gets up quickly.  He is one of the few effective run stoppers who actually has a variety of pass rushing moves outside of the bull rush.  He also one of the most consistent DTs at keeping olinemen out of his chest and doesn't suffer from bad leverage to the extent that many of the other DTs do. 

Powell was drafted to be part of a runstopping solution for Denver, but in two or three years, if he can manage to get some of the coach's confidence, he should be a presence on rush and passing downs.  Unlike a lot of the other, riskier picks, Powell has enough tools to be viewed as the kind of producer Denver would like to line up alongside Robertson, even if those tools aren't likely to evolve into elite moves.

Effective value slipping tnrough the cracks to Denver, in a DT draft that will burn more teams than it helps.  This is a player that Denver can get excited about, without putting anything at risk.  After the last few seasons, this draft is coming as a breath of fresh air.