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Trading Up - A Two For One Pay Off For the Broncos

I was reading through the usual football sources as a muse for my next project (aside from the By The Numbers series) and I happened upon a Bill Williamson piece mentioning the possibility of the Broncos trading up in the upcoming NFL Draft. I hadn't given it much thought before this since our favorite 4-12 Team has quite a few talent needs, no pre-draft Free Agency and only six chances to make a difference in it's future. I thought, "Kap, you're an explorer--why don't you probe the Undiscovered Country?" So I assembled a Landing Party, grabbed a Tri-Corder, set my Phaser to "Stun" and stepped up to the Transporter to begin a new journey. I'll see you after the jump. Ready? Energize....

The Broncos, own the 2nd, 36th, 46th, 67th, 186th, 189th and 247th Overall picks in the 2011 Draft. Many have speculated trading back from the #2 spot to gain multiple picks, but history shows us the chances of that happening are very slim. Personally, I believe the Broncos need to hold fast to that pick and get a solid playmaker. However, they could move up into the 16-17th pick range if they were to bundle their two-2nd round picks. Just for kicks, let's examine the contingencies, beginning with the first scenario that I've outlined.

Using the NFL Draft Value Chart from Walter Football we can see that the #36 Overall pick has a value of 540 points and the #46 Overall pick is rated at 440 points. Combine those and you have a total of 980 right? Okay, now we look at the Chart once more and we see that the 16th pick has a 1,000 point rating and the 17th a value of 950. Trading those picks straight up for #17 is feasible. So who has the No. 17 pick? The New England Patriots, a team that is very open-minded about trading out of the 1st round to pick up 2nd rounders. Now that we have a reasonable story line, we can move on to a player that should be available around the 17th pick. The guy I'm targeting here is J.J. Watt, the 6' 5", 290 lb. Defensive End out of Wisconsin.

Why Watt?

You may recall I wrote a couple of pieces on Pat Kirwan's Production Ratio and Explosion Number. There is also a formula used for Lateral Agility. To reiterate:


A player with a Production Ratio of 1.00 or more is considered worth looking into.


An explosion Number of 70 or above and you may have someone special on your hands.


A player who notches a .50 using this formula is considered to have outstanding lateral agility. Players with low differentials are often viewed as more straight line-ish or tight-hipped, which tends to allow them to perform better running the 40 than it would in a shuttle.

J.J. Watt scores very well in each of these categories. He has a Production Ratio of 1.20. His Explosion Number is 80.83 and he scores a .60 in Lateral Agility. I haven't heard about any red flags on his character and the only news I've heard about J.J. is that he is rapidly moving up the draft charts.

Now stay with me here. with the 2nd pick, the Broncos are expected to take Marcel Dareus (at least that's what the consensus says) or Von Miller. Again personally I like Nick Fairley, but I won't go there for this exercise. I have already dismissed Patrick Peterson at this pick for multiple reasons. The main one being, no cornerback has ever been drafted with the 2nd pick. In fact, only two Defensive Backs have been drafted at #2 in Draft history (I went back to 1936) and they were both Safeties; Jerry Stovall in 1963 and Eric Turner in 1991. See for yourself. The other reasons are: a Cornerback doesn't pressure the quarterback on every play and his single digit Wonderlic Score concerns me. Can this guy be smart enough to make good life decisions if I'm paying him #2 money?

Let's move on shall we?

In the scenario that has the Broncos selecting Dareus, the front seven would look like this:

Left Def. End Left Def.Tackle Right Def.Tackle Right Def. End
J.J.Watt Marcel Dareus Kevin Vickerson Elvis Dumervil

Joe Mays Wes Woodyard D.J.Williams

Of course, Robert Ayers might have something to say about that, but having two edge rushers on the outside and two run stuffers in the middle, the first line of Defense could be established with starters in the first two draft picks. Keep in mind, there are still three picks left to fill a Linebacker (Casey Matthews at #67 anyone?), a Tackle and either a Defensive Back or Tight End.

What. you're not sure you like that scenario? How about we take a look at Plan B.

Plan B has Von Miller taken by the Broncos with the #2 pick. If Denver is satisfied with Ayers (and face it, he should be more effective with Doom in the lineup), I would pass on taking Watt at #17 and go with Marvin Austin. At that point, the the front seven looks like this:

Left Def. End Left Def.Tackle Right Def.Tackle Right Def. End
Robert Ayers Marvin Austin Kevin Vickerson Elvis Dumervil

Von Miller Joe Mays D.J.Williams

Marvin Austin has a Production Ratio of .79, an Explosion Number of 77.9 and a Lateral Agility Score of .44.

Okay, so this wasn't a complete Mock, just a partial one. These are two scenarios I could see happening if the Broncos were use their two 2nd round draft picks to trade up into the first round on April 28th.

Eighteen more days people!

Go Broncos!