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The Denver Broncos Draft Snapshot Under Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders

2009 Draft: 1/12 Knowshon Moreno Starting RB Tremendous Upside
  1/18 Robert Ayers Starting LOLB Tremendous Upside
  2/37 Alphonso Smith Fell on depth chart Traded after 1 year for a draft pick
  2/48 Darcel McBath Backup FS Safety of the future
2/64 Richard Quinn #2 TE Questionable future
  4/114 David Bruton Backup SS Safety of the future
  4/132 Seth Olsen No show on depth chart Cut after 1 year
  5/141 Kenny McKinley Bubble WR To IR in 2nd year
  6/174 Brandstater Waived before TC Cut from 2nd team in 2 years
  7/225 Blake Schlueter longshot OL Cut after 1st TC
2010 Draft: 1/22 Demaryius Thomas Injured at start of career Unknown future
  1/25 Tim Tebow #2 QB Tremendous upside
  2/45 Zane Beadles Backup G/T Will be a gameday active every week
  3/80 J.D. Walton Starting Center Tremendous upside
3/87 Eric Decker #4 WR Tremendous upside
  5/187 Perrish Cox #4 corner/return man Tremendous upside
  6/183 Eric Olsen Backup interior OL Takes Seth Olsen's spot on roster
  7/225 Syd'Quan Thompson Longshot CB Makes 1st year roster
  7/232 Jammie Kirlew Longshot OLB Cut after 1st TC
  • In two years, McX have hit the draft hard, selecting 10 players in 2009, and 9 players in 2010. In a rebuilding phase, they clearly feel that the draft is the locus of team building.
  • Out of 19 selections, 14 are still with the team, a retention rate of 74%, three quarters of their selections.  That will likely continue to drop due to several factors: 1)More draft picks will be added, but at a likely slower rate (i.e. perhaps only 7-8 picks in 2011) 2)We will continue to see development or lack thereof in players who are not clear starters at this point.
  • Of the five draft choices that are no longer with the team, only two never made the 53-man roster.  4 never contributed in a game, and one was traded for another player and a draft selection.
  • In McX's second year, they will see a little over 50% of their overall draft selections contributing on gameday, as either starters or critical STers.  Over 60% of them will be on the 45-man active roster.

With two roster cutdowns now under McX's belt, they appear to have a solid grasp on using the draft to build the core fo the team.  They are retaining and developing what I believe to be a slightly above-average number of draft choices, while manipulating their roster moves to acquire far more than their allotted share of draftees during the rebuilding process.

I don't get too excited by where a player was drafted, or what it took to acquire them: the longview doesn't support the thesis that only high or numerous draft picks help the team.  It is like saying that money is the root of evil.  Money is just money, and draft picks are just draft picks.  Individual players and their development will determine whether or not the team has helped itself.  In five years, no one is going to give a wahoo whether Perrish Cox was a 1st rounder or a 5th rounder if he is producing, just like no one cares when Dumervil was drafted.

One last quick point: we can't have our cake and eat it too.  The "player evaluation problem" that is being blamed for the departure of players like Smith, Green, and even Kirlew, is the exact same process that netted us Cox, Ayers, Decker, Walton, etc. Left unchecked, the attitude that tries to combine the two phenomenon under one heading (i.e. a "player evaluation problem") will eventually try to resolve the contradiction by splitting the heading into what is known as a false dichotomy, which simply means that an unreal alternative is invented to allow them to maintain a contradictory position on an issue.  What I am seeing right now is the ressurection of the "McD is rash and arrogant" line, but any number of false dichotomies could be endorsed.  As anyone can see, this contains the seeds of its own undoing, in that it just creates a second contradiction that must be straddled as well.  If it was rash and arrogant to draft or trade Smith, then it must have been rash and arrogant to draft Cox, or Squid, or Walton...  You see how that works?  If you humor someone engaging in this kind of self-deception, even if you do it in the form of rebutting dichotomy after dichotomy, eventually you will face them on the battlefield of pure subjectivism, the position that contradictions are a valid form of knowledge.  You are the only one who has something to lose in such a face-off, so it is best to just ignore it.