As I was packing my bags for my trip to New York, I started to seriously ponder the weight of this draft on the future of the Denver Broncos. With 10 picks, the Broncos have the ability, and flexibility, to do anything they want to get any player they want. As in life, however, there are 'wants' and there are 'needs'. What will determine the final success of Draftivus 2009 for the Orange and Blue is if they spend enough time focusing on the 'needs' instead of chasing the 'wants'.
Everyone here has done an excellent job laying out the needs of the Broncos. You have done a great job discussing the proposed wants as well. Just so we are on the same page, I'll lay out my needs and wants --
Broncos Needs -- DT, DE, LB, S, CB, C
Broncos Wants -- QB, RB
The 'NEEDS' are pretty obvious. The Broncos defense was historically bad, and the team did a solid job of addressing some areas in free agency, especially at the back end of the secondary. Now they need to address the Front-7. If the Broncos are to have any success next year they have to stop the run and get to the quarterback -- with a 4-man rush. That is the key. Nothing cute or fancy, and please, NO GIMMICKS, just line up and kick the tail of the guy in front of you.
They NEED to add some attitude, whether it is Rey Maulaluga or Brian Cushing, B.J. Raji or Brian Orakpo/Aaron Curry, Aaron Maybin. For the perfect 5-technique D-End, Tyson Jackson would look great with a horse on his helmet, but his stock is rising fast.
The point is, there are several defensive players, good ones, that will be available at #12 and #18. The Broncos NEED multiple defensive players to add youth, speed and toughness to a group that too often looked old, slow, and soft. Using #12 and #18 on two probable defensive starters is simply smart football.
There is little doubt that Josh McDaniels WANTS to put his imprint on the team and fast. He is a quarterback guy and I am sure he wants to find a young quarterback in this draft to groom.
Of course, none of that is as much fun as drafting the next stud, franchise quarterback, especially with the off-season we have endured. It's funny to me. Twelve weeks ago, people were blasting Mark Sanchez for coming out after only starting for 1 season at USC. Remember, the kid couldn't see the field with John David Booty in front of him. Enough said. Now, he's the second coming of <fill in the blank with a comparison we have heard> and everyone is touting how great he will be.
The reports are rampant that the Broncos are intrigued by Sanchez, that McDaniels, based on the success he had with another USC QB that didn't play. Matt Cassel was a 3-year project for McDaniels in New England, and he sat and watched one of the best, if not the best, QB in the game, especially fundamentally in terms of footwork. Sanchez wouldn't get the same luxury, especially in QB-crazy Denver.
The Broncos would likely have to trade up to get him, meaning fewer draft picks. That means fewer needs get addressed by taking a flier on a want. Are you starting to understand where I am going with all of this?
We hear all the time that you can't win big in the NFL without a 'Franchise QB'. I agree. What is the assurance that Sanchez is going to be a franchise guy? Because Jamie Dukes says so?? I also know that you can't win big in the NFL if you can't stop anyone.
This might be the biggest Draft in the history of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have the opportunity to bring 5 of the Top-84 players in the draft to Denver to rework a .500 football team that could easily be deemed overachievers. While some of you WANT to see a quarterback or running back drafted in the first round (or both), the Broncos have to focus on their NEEDS.
Denver needs to be a team that intimidates. It needs to be the homefield advantage it once was. That starts with defense, and with the tremendous opportunity in front of them to fix many of the holes, the Broncos NEED to do the right thing.