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MHR Roundtable - Marshall's Trade for Two Second Rounders

Welcome to the first ever installment of MHR Roundtable, a collection of brief thoughts by several of MHR's experts on current events and issues.

This week, the Roundtable will opine on the decision to send Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for a second round pick in 2010, and a second round pick in 2011.  Those opinions follow after the jump...

Tim Lynch - MHR Staff Writer

The Brandon Marshall trade was both a relief and a disappointment.  He was so exciting to watch play the game of football.  Whenever he caught the ball you knew he had the chance to make something big happen.  His off the field troubles and mental immaturity had grown tiresome, however. 
As for the trade itself, loved it.  The Dolphins are already diving back into rebuilding mode as they are actively trying to get rid of their star players.  Offering up Ronnie Brown for a second rounder, looking to dump Ginn(ST star at least), reluctant to take an aging Jason Taylor.  I think they will remain competitive, but I'm seeing a sub .500 team in 2010, which means the other second rounder is likely going to be a high one. 
The Broncos sit in a perfect position to nab a WR in the second round and I'd be more than a little angry if they select Dez Bryant next Thursday.  If the Broncos draft from the #11 spot, then it should be Sean Weatherspoon.  Take Damian Williams in the second or trade up to pick up Pouncey late in the first - waiting until the 3rd to pick up a WR or two. 
As it stands right now, the Broncos had five picks in the first two rounds last year and now have another 3 picks in the first two rounds this year.  A trade back from #11 could yield another second rounder, which would be ideal in the incredibly deep draft of 2010.

TJ Johnson - MHR Statistician Consultant

In March, right after the Boldin trade went down, I wrote that I thought the value of Marshall was a 2nd-round pick based on Marshall's premium over Boldin (age, production, risk, ceiling, etc).  This was due to the fact that I believed the Boldin trade helped to set the market value of free-agent wide receivers in the current market dynamics of the NFL.  In this light, I believe that Denver got more than the market value for Marshall.

Now that Marshall is the highest paid wide receiver in NFL history, I find it almost laughable that I ever thought Marshall was even close to staying in Denver.  Denver was never going to open that kind of bank for the guy, given his production.  I keep hearing that he is Top-5 at his position and that he had 3 seasons of 100 catches or more, but these are foolish statements.  If you are targeted (as Marshall was) 178 times in 2007, 194 times in 2008, and 154 times in 2009, and you don't catch 100 balls, you are a terrible wide receiver.  If anything, Marshall should have had more catches.   When one applies more meaningful rate stats, like yards per catch or yards per targeted throws, Marshall disappears into the wilderness of average NFL receivers.  In short, although he is now paid like a Top-5 receiver, I'm downright giddy that Denver is not the one doing the paying.  We'll need that money to spread across the roster.

Ernesto Ruiz - MHR Draft / Roster Analyst

I, for one, am satisfied with the outcome of the Brandon Marshall saga.  I honestly believe that this may well be another case of addition by the subtraction of an offensive superstar for this franchise.  I have long felt that Marshall is overrated by those who rely on traditional counting statistics alone.  Rate stats, on the other hand, expose him as a bit of a fraud amongst the elite wide receivers in the NFL.  Brandon's certainly been productive, but he hasn't been proficient.  Therefore, while his talent is undeniable, he definitely isn't irreplaceable.  Personally, I am glad to be rid of him and the shadow that his drama cast over the organization.  The fact that they received a return for him that was better than market value (and media expectations... again) is a credit to their administration.  Remember, he is now the highest paid WR in the league, he didn't want to be a Denver Bronco and he remains a character concern.  I am now, however, even more concerned about what I already perceived to be a lack of depth at WR. 

Eddie Royal, doubtless our best remaining player at the position, is coming off of a disappointing second season as a pro and is likely best suited for the flanker and/or slot roles.  Jabar Gaffney, who played well last year and filled-in admirably for Marshall himself on occasion, has never been relied on to lead a receiving corps for an extended period of time.  Everyone else on the roster is doubtful (Brandon Stokley and Kenny McKinley) at best or uninspiring (Brandon Lloyd and Matt Willis) at worst.  Free agency offers little hope, but the upcoming draft contains at least a dozen attractive options and the Broncos staff has done their due diligence in culling that crop.  Look for them to add multiple prospects to address this need and expect it to be met.

Steve Nichols - MHR Resident Coach

I like this move on several levels.  Two second round picks is more than I though we could get for Brandon.  Coming from a team (Miami) that has to contend with the Patriots and the Jets, I think those picks could both be in the upper tier of the second rounds too.  While Brandon is an elite WR who could have helped us, he often hurt this team too.  I would have supported him staying OR going, but leaned towards cutting ties.  (I also wrote my collegues that I didn't think there was much interest around the League for Marshall).

Orton will now likely be in a position to spread the ball around more (igniting Royal), and I think this helps.  I also continue to believe that we have a deep chart at the WR position.  Denver will likely bring in another WR in the draft or in a trade (or FA) to shore things up further, but I think we would remain good even without such a pick up.  If Scheffler (TE) leaves too, Denver may have even more picks to play with.  Despite Scheffler's receiving skills, we're moving towards a system with TEs that are more "blockers".  I think Denver is now in a position to make great strides in the draft this year and next.

Good move for Denver, good move for Miami, and even a good move for Marshall (who won't be winning many games, but will get a fresh start if he chooses to mature a little).

Sayre Bedinger - MHR Scouting / Roster Specialist

I think getting two 2nd round picks for Brandon Marshall is outstanding.  That gives the Broncos four picks in the top 80 of this year's draft, which puts them up there with the Eagles, Bucs, and Patriots as one of the top teams ready to take advantage of this stellar draft.  It also gives the Broncos tons of flexibility, and three picks in the top 64 of next year's draft, which is also outstanding. 
Initially, I thought the Broncos would get a 1st and 3rd, maybe more for Marshall, but his market was not what I initially projected it to be.  Considering John Clayton and Drew Rosenhaus both essentially guaranteed the Broncos would get a late first and early 4th round pick for Marshall, two 2nd round picks is a steal, and a great deal by the Broncos.  Not to mention, the Steelers and Cardinals combined didn't get as good of value for Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes respectively.

The most important opinion is YOURS.  Drop it in the comments section below, and tell us what you think.