Less than a week before the draft, the Denver Broncos have already shaken up many mocks around the country with the Brandon Marshall trade to Miami.
Marshall's departure from the Broncos leaves the team with the 2nd best slew of picks in the first two rounds, or three in the top 45 (Tampa Bay has three of top 42). The Broncos also are one of only four teams in the draft with four picks in the top 80.
As John pointed out this morning, the Broncos are in a fantastic position to take advantage of what many are calling the most talented draft ever, and within a week there will be a bunch of young names attached to those numbers. The Broncos traded Marshall's production for the potential of the next two drafts, and are in a fantastic position to capitalize.
They must not miss on these high picks.
Based on the short list of prospects the Broncos have brought in, it seems like they are looking at players who can come right in and produce rather than last year where a lot of the prospects were developmental guys who would sit for a year or two while they learned the nuances of the game.
In any case, the 2010 NFL Draft is going to be very fun and eventful for Denver Broncos fans, and here is how it could shake out when all is said and done next Saturday evening.
Before the draft, heck, maybe sooner rather than later, I think the Broncos will send tight end Tony Scheffler out to the Arizona Cardinals for a third round pick. Josh McDaniels indicated at his press conference today that the Broncos have had calls regarding Scheffler, but that the Bengals were not one of those teams who came calling. That doesn't necessarily mean the Bengals won't come calling, but the Broncos have offers, and none from Cincinnati. The Cardinals are in a similar state of need for a tight end, so I think Scheffler is a good option for them with one of their two third round picks.
***TRADE: Broncos trade TE Tony Scheffler to Arizona Cardinals for pick #89***
After the Broncos trade Scheffler, I think their next move will be made in the draft. The 11th overall pick is a very nice asset to have. The Broncos have not worked out many players who are worthy of the 11th overall pick, but they did bring in Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain for a visit.
When the draft rolls around, here's how I see the top 10 shaking out:
1. Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DL, Nebraska
3. Bucs: Gerald McCoy, DL, Oklahoma
4. Redskins: Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State
5. Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga, OL, Iowa
6. Seahawks: Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma
7. Browns: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
8. Raiders: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
9. Bills: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
10. Jaguars: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Looking at that top 10, the best available prospects according to the guys who have had connections with the Broncos are:
1. ILB Rolando McClain
2. DL Dan Williams
3. WR Dez Bryant
4. OLB Brandon Graham
Each of those players could help the Broncos in a number of ways, both in the present and in the future. I don't see the value in any of them at 11 overall for a number of reasons, so if I'm Josh McDaniels, I would strongly consider trading down. As has been mentioned numerous times around here, the Titans are an obvious team who could be looking to move up based on their need for a defensive end or cornerback.
Another team who might be in even better position to move up in the draft is the New England Patriots, who hold four picks in the top 53 and three in the second round. Patriots beat writer and blogger Mike Reiss over at ESPN indicated he would be surprised if the Patriots stand pat (no pun intended) with all of their second round picks, unlike last year.
Still, I think the Titans could be the Broncos' best bet. It's no question whom the Titans woule be targeting with the 11th pick. They have huge holes both at cornerback as well as defensive end. The Titans would undoubtedly go with either Joe Haden or Brandon Graham here, depending on which position they value higher. I think the player they would likely move up for here would be Haden, the cornerback from Florida. The Broncos and Josh McDaniels in particular indicated their desire to move down in the draft today, so I think this move has a good chance of happening.
***TRADE: Broncos trade pick #11 to Tennessee TItans for pick #16, #77, #222***
This trade puts the Broncos in a fine situation. Not only do they obtain an extra third round pick, they ensure themselves one of their top targets in the first round of this year's draft.
After the Titans select Haden, I foresee the draft shaking out as follows:
11. Titans(from Broncos): Joe Haden, CB, Florida
12. Dolphins: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
13. San Francisco 49ers: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
14. Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Mays, S, USC
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
This would bring the Broncos to another intriguing scenario. The top two players available on Denver's board at the moment, at least according to what Josh McDaniels potentially indicated on Friday, are Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant and Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams.
McDaniels confirmed today something I've believed for a while now, and that is that the character concerns of Dez Bryant have been vastly overblown. He said that Bryant is not off of Denver's draft board, and I don't think he's lying. The question is, do the Broncos bypass their biggest need (center) for a wide receiver or a defensive lineman?
That is a question I have had a very difficult time answering in the last couple of weeks. I cannot decide whether or not the Broncos are going to select a wideout in the first round, but I could definitely see it. I think it's also important to note that Denver has Sean Weatherspoon, Tim Tebow, and Maurkice Pouncey high on their draft list. They could again mortgage the 16th overall pick in order to move down one more time.
Despite my initial projection that had the Broncos trading down yet again with Philadelphia who needs Earl Thomas, I think the Broncos make a huge splash here with a storyline that will be watched very closely during and after the draft.
1. With the 16th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Surprise, surprise! Josh McDaniels made it known on Friday evening that this team is legitimately interested in Dez Bryant. I will leave that up to you as to whether or not it was a smokescreen, and it very well could have been, but I severely doubt Josh McDaniels would pass on Bryant twice in this draft. At this pick, Bryant comes a bit cheaper than he would at 11, he fits the description of "best player available", and he fills a big need for the Broncos who have multiple picks to use to move up or down as they need to.
17. 49ers: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
18. Steelers: Dan Williams, DL, Tennessee
19. Falcons: Jason Pierre Paul, DE, USF
20. Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
21. Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
22. Patriots: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
23. Packers: Anthony Davis, OL, Rutgers
24. Eagles: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
25. Ravens: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State
26. Cardinals: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
27. Cowboys: Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho
28. Chargers: Terrence Cody, DL, Alabama
This would be a spot in which we would need to make a jump, and we are in a fantastic position to do so. The Jets don't have a gigantic need at this point, and could easily afford to move down and pick up some extra picks.
***TRADE: Broncos trade pick #45, #80 (670 pts.) to New York Jets for pick #29 (660 pts.)***
2. With the 29th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Maurkice Pouncey, Center, Florida***
This pick would seem, on the surface, to be a no-brainer. The Broncos have a dire need at center, and they make a very necessary and relatively inexpensive move up to go and get him. Pouncey has unlimited potential and can be penciled in as the opening day starter from day one. Great pick here by the Broncos, and a fantastic first round of the draft, addressing two huge needs with players the Broncos have high on their board.
30. Vikings: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
31. Colts: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
32. Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
The Broncos are in a good position on day two. In this situation, they hold the 11th overall selection in the 2nd round, and could add a number of different players. Let's see how it all shakes out.
33. Rams: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
34. Lions: Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
35. Bucs: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
36. Chiefs: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
37. Eagles: Patrick Robinson, CB Florida State
38. Browns: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
39. Raiders: Brian Price, DL, UCLA
40. Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
41. Bills: Roger Saffold, OL, Indiana
42. Bucs: Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
Back on the clock. After acquiring Bryant and Pouncey in the first two rounds, the Broncos are free to select the best player available on their board with this pick. A pick that would be the story of day two of the draft...
3. With the 43rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
After hearing what Josh McDaniels had to say about Tim Tebow, I'm convinced that our front office is high on the former Florida star. McDaniels seemed confident in Tebow's new throwing motion. He raved about his personality. Essentially, he regurgitaed what I've been saying for months. The Broncos are not committed long term to a quarterback, and Tebow has the chance to be a great one in this league.
This pick is fantastic value, considering Tebow could easily get picked in the first round, and our coaching staff obviously has a lot of faith in this kid.
5. With the 77th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Eric Decker, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
After getting the playmaker in Dez Bryant, the Broncos should look for a possession type receiver to compliment him on the other side. Decker has bear claws for hands, and has been one of the most reliable receivers in college football over the last four years. I think the Broncos would love to add Decker, especially in this slot.
6. With the 89th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida
The Broncos made a surprising move to cut Andra Davis earlier this offseason. Josh McDaniels indicated at his pre-draft press conference that inside linebacker is a position we would like to address at some point in this draft, and Spikes is great value here in the third round. He timed very slow at his Florida pro day, but there's no question about his ability, leadership, and toughness. This would be a nice value pick for the Broncos.
7. With the 114th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Zane Beadles, Guard, Utah
Beadles is a big guard prospect who would provide the Broncos with some much needed depth, and some insurance in case Seth Olsen were to flop. Either way, the Broncos need depth along the offensive line, and Beadles could help provide that. He plays with a mean streak, and was academic All-MWC.
8. With the 183rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...A.J. Jefferson, Cornerback, Fresno State
Jefferson is a big, athletic cornerback who has great speed who will help the Broncos out immediately on special teams and add depth to their already deep secondary.
9. With the 220th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Danario Alexander, Wide Receiver, Missouri
Alexander may be an injury risk, but he is more than worth it at this point in the draft. If this pick required the Broncos taking a third receiver, they could make it work. Alexander led the nation in receiving in 2009, and though he has had a series of injuries and did not perform well in offseason workouts, he has superb size at 6'5" 215, and could be a steal if he stays healthy.
10. With the 222nd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Brandon Banks, Return Specialist, Kansas State
To be able to get a guy like Banks this late is a nice steal for the Broncos. Banks has world class speed, and would be a great get in the draft for the Broncos, who really need someone who can specialize in returning kicks and punts.
1. Dez Bryant, WR
2. Maurkice Pouncey, C
3. Tim Tebow, QB
4. Eric Decker, WR
5. Brandon Spikes, LB
6. Zane Beadles, G
7. A.J. Jefferson, CB
8. Danario Alexander, WR
9. Brandon Banks, RS