The mad rush of Free Agency is over, and now our focus moves toward the draft which is exactly 3 weeks away(April 26th). So you know what that means, It's Mock Draft season. Lets do a quick overview of the signings the Broncos have made thus far.
Signings: Peyton Manning QB, Tracy Porter CB, Mike Adams S, Andre Caldwell WR, Joel Dreessen TE, Jacob Tamme TE, and Caleb Hanie QB.
Re-Signings: Wesley Woodyard OLB, Joe Mays MLB, Jason Hunter DE, Britton Colquitt P and Manny Ramirez G/C.
My take: We're obviously set at QB, With Manning and now Hanie to back him up. Porter and Adams are both much needed veteran additions in the secondary. Tamme and Dreeseen give Manning two nice receiving options to go along with Julius Thomas and Virgil Green at the Tight end position. Caldwell replaces Eddie Royal, who signed with the rival San Diego Chargers. Woodyard and Mays will compete for playing time at both linebacking spots and Ramirez adds much needed depth along the OL. Hunter is a good rotational player and Colquitt was arguably the best punter in the NFL not named Lechler.
That leaves a couple positions not addressed that we need to target in the Draft. One of those glaring needs is Defensive Tackle. We're very thin there, and the loss of Bunkley hurts alot. What we need, even if we retained Bunkley is a young stud DT. We have all been wanting one for years it seems, ever since I started seriously following the Broncos back in the Jake Plummer days, we have needed a young DT. Well I think finally this is the year we get our DTs.
A few other area's I could see us addressing are Running Back, Cornerback, Linebacker and Offensive line. McGahee is a year older and more than likely won't come close to producing like he did the year prior. Cornerback is a need even though we signed Tracy Porter. Champ isn't getting any younger, Porter only signed a one year deal, Harris is still unproven at this point and Goodman may not be on the roster come week one. I consider LB a need. DJ is facing suspension, yes we have Woodyard behind him but can he start and produce if DJ is out? We resigned Mays, but he shouldnt be starting, and Irving is a question mark still. We're set at strong side with Von, but Haggan is a FA so a backup is needed there. Interior OL depth has to be considered, especially after Manning was signed for that much money. You're paying Manning alot of money, you have to protect him. Beadles and Walton are average and can still improve, but we should add competition. Also we have to have protection for Kuper, I'm not sure if he'll be ready for camp and the season. Offensive Tackle needs to be considered too. Clady is a FA after the year, do we draft a guy as insurance for Clady? Also do they keep Franklin at Right Tackle? Anyways, lets start mocking.
1. With the 25th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select: Devon Still DT, Penn St. 6'5 303lbs
Pass rush: Comes fast and hard off the snap if given a step by backpedalling linemen in pass protection. Will work through the whistle. Tries to swim past his man when there is room to maneuver, bothering the quarterback but rarely getting there. Effective taking up two blockers and flashes some quickness outside on twists.
Run defense: Most productive against the run when slanting into the action. Strong at the point when keeping his pads low, but his height means a constant battle to prevent linemen from getting under his pads. Fights through doubles, at times still finding the ballcarrier through traffic. His anchor against doubles when not attacking the pocket is inconsistent; blown off the line too often. Good effort to reach ballcarriers coming into his area; keeps his eyes on them and can make the play even when moving back or losing his balance. Must work on defeating cut blocks with his hands.
Explosion: Combination of size and strength has not yet been harnessed. Inconsistent off the snap, more often last one to move than the first. Does not knock back better linemen. Fatigue becomes an issue later in game, losing his explosiveness off the ball and hustle.
Strength: Rarely dominates his man at the point. Capable of shedding with strong hands and tossing aside guards if their heads are down, but could do so more regularly.
Tackling: Wide body and long, strong arms envelop backs running between the tackles. Good vision and strength lets him bring down backs by a shoelace, even if falling to the ground. Possesses nimble feet and fair change of direction for his size; chases ballcarriers around the line and can stay with elusive backs after they make a move. Gives some chase to the sideline on quick throws and when backs try to run outside.
Intangibles: Suffered torn left ACL/MCL in August 2007, broken left ankle in August 2008. Cousin Art Still played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Another cousin, Levon Kirkland, was a standout linebacker with thePittsburgh Steelers.
My Take: Still certainly wouldn't be my first choice at DT, But the rest more than likely will be gone. I'm holding out hope that Michael Brockers falls to us, but if we get Still, i certainly wouldn't be upset. He's a great interior pass rusher which will help with VonDoom coming off the edges. Productive in the run game, and has some pretty good bloodlines. Would more than likely be a starter from Day one. Still is an athletic guy and could flourish under Fox and Del Rio.
Other Options: Michael Brockers DT LSU, Kendall Reyes DT UConn, Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina, Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama, Kendall Wright WR Baylor, Peter Konz C Wisconsin, Cordy Glenn G/T Georgia, and Doug Martin RB Boise St.
2. With the 57th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select: Alameda Ta'amu DT, Washington. 6'3 348lbs
Pass rush: Surprising initial quickness off the snap. Wide-bodied frame makes it difficult for him to split gaps, but shows a burst when he has a lane. Developing swim move. Relies mostly on a simple bull rush at this point, which is quite effective in collapsing the pocket. Only phone booth quickness. Gives good effort in chasing down the quarterback, but tires quickly.
Run defense: Strong, stout interior presence who often requires double-team blocks to keep him from clogging running lanes. Short, thick legs and thick trunk which aid him in anchoring. Inconsistent in his effort pursuing laterally and downfield, but surprises opponents with his quickness for such a large man. Short arms could lead to problems against NFL-caliber offensive linemen with longer arms able to get into his chest …
Explosion: Flashes an explosive initial burst off the snap to split gaps, especially when guards vacate the hole to pull. Has the upper body strength to rock his opponent back onto his heels. Quicker and more athletic than his body would lead you to believe, flashing startling explosiveness as a tackler when he gains momentum.
Strength: Powerful man who often requires double-teams. Excellent strength in his upper and lower, though his short limbs limit his effectiveness, at times. Relies heavily on his bull rush to pressure the quarterback. Often is at his most effective as a run-stuffer by simply creating a pile in the middle due to his ability to anchor.
Tackling: Makes most of his tackles by simply bludgeoning the ball-carrier. Lacks the quick-twitch muscles and lateral agility to break down in space, but has such great strength that he often is able to grab the ball-carrier with one arm, slow his momentum and grab on with his other arm to pull the ball-carrier to the ground. Inconsistent effort in pursuit, but generates impressive momentum when he's moving at full-speed and can rock the ball-carrier with an explosive hit.
Intangibles: Struggled with his weight early in his career. Has weighed as much as 390 pounds and played at 360, at times. Committed himself to extra conditioning and taking rice -- a staple of the Samoan culture -- out of his diet. He weighed in at 337 pounds for the 2011 Holiday Bowl. Suffered a broken foot during his senior year of high school.
My Take: Ta'amu may be a bit of a reach here, but he'll be gone by the time we pick in the third. The AFC West is a run heavy division, it has the likes of Charles, Hillis, Matthew's(Who always has his best games against us), and Darren McFadden. A big run stuffer who will take up multiple blockers and space is needed. I know there will be some concern with his weight while playing in Denver, honestly i'm not sure if it will be a big deal. Ta'amu will be a two down run stuffer who will come out on passing downs and nickel packages. For me it's a toss up between Mike Martin and Ta'amu here, but if Brandon Thompson falls to us here, he'll be the pick I believe.
Other Options: Mike Martin DT Michigan, Brandon Thompson DT Clemson, Brandon Boykin CB Georgia, Brian Quick WR Appalachian St. , Amini Silatolu G Mid Western St., Kelechi Osemele G Iowa St, Lamar Miller RB Miami, LaMichael James RB Oregon, and Kevin Zeilter G Wisconsin
3. With the 87th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select: Cyrus Gray RB, Texas AM. 5'10 206lbs
Inside: Lacks great size for running inside but owns a compact build with relatively thick upper body and strong legs. Runs hard every carry, side-hops to find creases inside and usually falls forward for an extra yard. Bulls through arm tackles to find the end zone or first down. Holds ball high and tight in close quarters. Lines up at fullback in short-yardage situations, churns legs and lowers pads to pick up tough yardage. Won't move piles at the next level, but can bounce off them to keep moving if allowed to.
Outside: Patient stretch runner, presses line but waits for a crease before heading upfield or cutting inside a block. Has enough straight-line speed to be a breakaway threat once past the second level. Sets up defender with a quick cut to either side without dancing, though he loses his balance when brain moves faster than his feet. Uses stiff-arm to hold off oncoming inside-out tacklers. Puts ball in outside hand on runs to either side. Improving his instincts and burst, able to avoid tacklers in the hole and turn on the jets once seeing open field. Waits too long to make a cut on some stretch runs, allowing inside-out defenders to get a hold of him.
Breaking tackles: Not the strongest back in the class, but difficult to bring down in the open field because his balance, active legs and strong upper-body allows him to run through arm tackles. Shows some shifty hips in space, can cut inside or stop short to break the ankles of would-be tacklers. Success as kick returner comes from quick cuts in open field and straight-line speed, also tough enough to bounce off poor tackle attempts and keep feet moving.
Blocking: Does more than get in the way as a pass protector. Stands up to linebackers in the backfield and will deliver a punch on quarterback draws. Lacks the size and tenacity to sustain, however. Willing to take a hit on play-fakes up the middle to protect the quarterback.
Receiving: Uses as slot receiver at times during his career because of his receiving skills, but mostly catches dump-offs in his current role. A threat on screen passes due to his speed and strength in traffic. Dances after the catch at times, does not show immediate acceleration once stopped. Inconsistent adjusting to poor throws, must secure the pass before making a move.
Intangibles: Sherman referred to Gray as a "guy you want to marry your daughter" because of his attitude and work ethic on and off the field. Accepts whatever role he is given on the team, supports teammates who may get more touches. "We" player, deflects praise to teammates.
My Take: Gray would be a perfect compliment to McGahee. He's very fast and is a capable receiver, which is important in a pass heavy offense. Gray is a hard runner with some power, his legs keep going so he isn't easy to bring down. Homerun threat once he gets to the second level, which is something we have been missing for years.
Other Options: Chris Rainey RB/WR Florida, Casey Hayward CB Vandy, Trumaine Johnson CB/FS Montana, Robert Turbin RB Utah St., Dwight Bentley CB Louisiana Lafayette, Nick Toon WR Wisconsin, Gregg Childs WR Arkansas, Sam Spence OLB Miami, Ben Jones C Georgia, and Leonard Johnson CB Iowa St.
4. With the 108th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (Via the Jets), the Denver Broncos select: Chris Rainey RB/WR/KR/ST, Florida. 5'8 180lbs
Strengths: Perhaps the most explosive cutting ability and straight-line speed of any athlete in the 2012 draft. Can make defenders look silly due to his lateral agility and sudden acceleration. Versatile. Saw time as a running back, receiver, punt returner and kick returner for the Gators … Looks natural catching the ball out of the backfield and has shown the ability to track the ball over his shoulder and snatch passes outside of his frame … Has struggled a bit with durability over his career but is willing to play with pain … Relishes his opportunities on special teams but is not just a return specialist … Explosive burst led to his breaking the school and SEC record with six blocked punts.
Weaknesses: A bit of a luxury prospect for the next level. Certainly is a versatile, playmaking athlete but provides next to nothing as a blocker which means he'll be an obvious focus of the defense whenever he's on the field. Caught most of his passes on simple dump-offs and quick screens. Struggled tracking the ball over his shoulder as well as adjusting to poorly thrown passes over his career … Has had continued issues with his shoulders dating back to high school which will require a close look by team doctors at the Combine. Character red-flag … Was charged with aggravated stalking (a felony) after sending a threatening text message to a former girl friend in 2010. The charges were dropped as part of a pre-trial agreement in which he had to complete an intervention program …
My Take: My inner Al Davis is kicking in. Rainey is FAST, and would be a weapon on a team that uses him right. A guy as explosive as Rainey in a Peyton Manning offense could be dangerous. He could line up in the slot, in the backfield, be put in motion, and as a deep threat. I know he isn't a big guy, but if gets the ball 5-10 times a game, there's a chance he can do something big with it. Also, he's a helluva special teamer, and not just as a returner. He set a SEC record with 6 blocked punts. He might be gone by this pick, but if he's available here, we have to pounce on him. I'd consider him with our third round pick even.
Other Options: Joe Adams WR/KR Arkansas, Chase Minnifield CB Virginia, Josh Kaddu OLB Oregon, Brandon Washington G Miami, Josh Normal CB Coastal Carolina, and TY Hilton WR Florida International.
4. With the 120th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, The Denver Broncos select: Josh Norman CB, Coastal Carolina. 6'0 197lbs
Strengths: Long-armed press corner with size, athleticism and ball skills. Gets an effective jab on the receiver and has loose enough hips to turn and run. Good agility and balance when shadowing his target. Competitive player. Plays the ball as if it was thrown for him, showing burst back to the ball as well as good timing for the jump ball. Good hand-eye coordination. Rips the ball out of the hands of receivers as they grasp at it (35 career PBUs) and shows good hands to make the interception (13 career INTs). Possesses long arms (32.5) and can extend and snatch the ball as well as track the ball over his shoulder. Cagey. Will bait quarterbacks to throw in his direction and shows a surprising burst downhill. Alert run defender willing to take on and discard receiver blockers to get to the action. Enjoyed a strong week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game and and a late call-up to the Senior as an injury replacement, impressive in both environments … Big play artist on special teams, registering a school-record four blocked kicks …
Weaknesses: At his best in press-man coverage as he has a high backpedal and loses a step turning without a cushion. Plays with adequate speed but there are concerns about his ability to handle the truly explosive speedsters of the NFL. Makes himself vulnerable to big plays on occassion by attempting to bait the quarterback. Was arrested in October 2009 for driving with a suspended license.
My Take: A very athletic corner with tons of upside. He's very fast and has good ball skills. Wouldn't be pushed into much playing time in his rookie year, would primarily be a special teamer his rookie year. A year to get used to the speed of the NFL should be good for him. He blocked 4 kicks in college, so he has value on special teams. Also he's a willing run stopper, which is huge as a corner. I think learning under Champ Bailey would be great for him.
Other Options: Nate Potter G/T Boise St., Omar Golden CB Arizona St, Vontaze Burfict MLB Arizona St, Phillip Blake C Baylor, Ryan Lindley QB San Diego St., Marcus Forston DT Miami, George Iloka S Boise St., Nick Foles QB Arizona, DaJoHn Harris DT USC, Michael Brewster C Ohio St., and Tommy Streeter WR Miami.
5. With the 137th pick(Via Rams) in the 2012 NFL Draft, The Denver Broncos select: Terrance Ganaway RB, Baylor. 6'0 247lbs
Strengths: Thickly-put-together throughout his frame and runs with power, showing the leg drive to push the pile. Runs balanced and close to the ground with the natural strength to stay on his feet through contact as defenders slip off of him load to tackle and easily runs through arm tackles. Has good vision to find the hole and get north/south. Gets good initial push and always seems to be falling forward for a positive gain. A hard runner with a workhorse-type back mentality. Does a nice job picking up the blitz and using his frame to impede rushers. Earned the starting running back job as a senior and made the most of his opportunity, leading the Big 12 in rushing and finishing third in the NCAA with 21 rush scores finished the season with six 100+ yard and three 200+ yard performances. Has good bloodlines as the nephew of former NFL defensive lineman Jeremiah Trotter.
Weaknesses: Poor acceleration and takes too long to get up to full speed a slow starter with little burst to his game. Too hesitant when the hole isnt there and wastes time running laterally. Tight-hipped and doesnt show much wiggle or open-field shiftiness. Stops his feet too quickly and needs to consistently keep his legs moving through contact. Not overly physical for his size and wont run over defenders doesnt break enough tackles. Will run with inconsistent pad level at times and struggle to get through the line of scrimmage at the next level. Needs to watch his weight and stay conditioned. Has limited experience catching the ball out of the backfield and needs to improve his technique in pass protection.
NFL Comparison: Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
-- Dane Brugler
My Take: I really like this guy. He's a type of back that Fox would like I believe, big guy who is strong between the tackles and would be a good goal line back too. Would battle Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno to be the Third back. I wouldn't be surprised if he saw sometime at FB either.
6. With the 188th pick (Via the Jets), the Denver Broncos select: Kellen Moore QB, Boise St. 6'0 197lbs
Positives: Highly intelligent and has been extremely productive, making very few mental mistakes. Very smart and plays like an offensive coordinator on the field. Extremely accurate with above average ball placement ? puts the ball where he wants and understands where it needs to be. Plays with infectious confidence, allowing his teammates to feed off of his poise and fearlessness. Always keeps his eyes downfield and works through his progressions very quickly, making snap decisions. Bright individual who breaks down information in a flash and reads defenses well with very good pre-snap recognition ? knows what to look for with a firm grasp on situations and scenarios. Good short-to-intermediate arm strength with beautiful touch. Very good feel and comfort level in the pocket, maneuvering his way to avoid pressure. Very even-keeled and never panics ? always in control of his emotions. Has a knack for finding the open target with very good vision and enjoys spreading the wealth ? didn?t miss a beat after losing his top two receivers from 2010. Works hard to prepare and lives in the film room ? student of the game and works hard at what he does. Very high career completion percentage (69.8 percent) and doesn?t miss when he has time to survey the field and set his feet ? deadly accurate when he?s in rhythm and makes smart decisions. Very good game manager with a lot of savvy and self-belief ? acts as a veteran point guard always in control distributing the ball. Very good experience as a four-year starter with a near-perfect collegiate record of 50-3 ? most wins every be a college quarterback (good chance this mark will never be reached again). Holds almost every school passing record and is near the top of several NCAA records. Vocal leader and sharp on and off the field ? looks like a future coach. Has stayed relatively healthy and toughed-out minor injuries. Moore has all the intangibles ? intelligence, coach?s son, gym rat, winning resume, etc.
Negatives: Lack of height, measureables and overall size are huge red flags ? looks diminutive in the huddle. Lacks the arm strength to drive the ball downfield to keep defenses honest; throws too many rainbows/soft-tosses and lacks the cannon to zip the ball all over the field and threaten secondaries deep. Only an average athlete and has limited mobility; doesn?t have the legs to consistently evade pressure. Funky mechanics, making too many passes off his back foot with his momentum going backwards; has several habits that work for him, but won?t be able to get away with them at the next level. Gets lazy with his footwork and balance. Gets himself in trouble at times when he rushes his throws and tries to force things; appears to pre-determine a lot of his throws, staring down his targets. Played behind a very good offensive line that gave him a clean pocket most of the time; struggles to always recognize extra pressure and adjust accordingly. Accuracy on passes over 20 yards is very streaky; finesses passer with too much air in his deep throws. Almost all of Moore?s collegiate snaps came from shotgun formation with very little experience under center ? fumbled the snap in the bowl game when he lined up under center. Played in an offense centered around his strengths and wasn?t asked to face top competitions week in and week out.
NFL Comparison: Chase Daniel, New Orleans Saints
-- Dane Brugler
My Take: I doubt Moore would ever be a starter. He doesn't have a great NFL arm, but he's accurate and is a good precision passer. What I really like about him is his smarts. Mannings offense will be tough to learn. Manning will be getting a majority of the reps throughout the OTA's and Camp. So we need a guy who can learn the offense be able to operate it. I think Moore can do that. He would compete with Adam Weber and Caleb Hanie for the backup job.