Monday, May 9, 2011

NFL Draft Team Grades-Denver Broncos

There has been a tremendous amount of upheaval in the last couple of years in Denver. Bad trades, bad hires, bad fires, and all sorts of mayhem in between. Things were stabalized somewhat when Pat Bowlen hired John Fox to make up for the mistake of hiring Josh McDaniel and allowing him to run the star QB out of town. This draft is ever important if the Broncos hope to swing things around and quickly get back on the winning train. Bringing in John Elway to help mold the new direction of the franchise was not a bad idea to get things started. Let's see how the Broncos did...

Round 1, Pick 2
Von Miller, LB
Texas A&M

What a way to start the draft! Von Miller isn't just a home run...he's a Bo Jacksonesque moon shot. Miller was one of the most productive players in the nation in 2010. Miller Miller collected 17.5 TFLs on the season for 2010, and has 39 over the last two seasons. He has 27 sacks over the last two season as well. The Broncos get a premier pass rusher, and a leader that can be counted on for years to come.
Grade: A+

Round 2, Pick 13 (From San Francisco)
Rahim Moore, FS

Moore was the nation's leading pick artist in 2009 with 10 on the season, but that total fell to one in 2010. He is not built like a safety, and looks as if he would get bowled over by the larger receivers and backs in the NFL.  The Broncos may end up moving him to Corner, but he will start very soon. One just has to hope that his regression in stats isn't a sign of things to come.
Grade: B

Round 2, Pick 14 (From Miami)
Orlando Franklin, OT/OG

Franklin is a tank. He is built solidly for the tackle position, and rumors of his possible transition to guard, while maybe true, should be waived to keep him at tackle. His demeanor is pure nasty, and he is a mauler. Tackle is the perfect spot for him, and he could start for a very long time. Another big hit!
Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 3
Nate Irving, LB
NC State

Irving is hyper productive in every way. He had 92 tackles, 21.5 TFLs, and a team leading 7 sacks. He has the potential to be yet another rookie starter for the Broncos, and again, could be part of a brand new long term foundation of the organization. Teaming him up with Miller will give the Broncos one of the best young LB corps in the league.
Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 11 (From San Francisco)
Quinton Carter, SS

The Broncos are building one hell of a young defense for the future. Carter will team with Moore to give Denver a very stout back end of the secondary. Carter was a dominant tackler, and had 97 tackles last season. He broke up 6 passes, and picked off 4. With those numbers, you can tell that Denver lined up a massively physical player, who will not shy away from anything. He's built like a small linebacker, but runs like a deer.
Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 32 (From Green Bay)
Julius Thomas, TE
Portland State

Thomas is very strong athletically. He's another former hoops player turned TE, so it would seem like there is an attempt to find the next Antonio Gates here, but Thomas has experience coming in. The problem is that the experience is minimal, as he has only played one season of college football. This was the first questionable pick for the Broncos, but he does have some major upside. Still...kind of a reach here.
Grade: C

Round 6, Pick 24 (From New Orleans, New England)
Mike Mohamed, LB

Mohamed led the Golden Bears with 96 tackles in 2010. He is not a pressure guy, and the plays usually come to him. He does not fit the bill as a potential starter here, but could be a decent reserve and special teamer. Not terrible, but average at best for the next level.
Grade: C

Round 7, Pick 1 (From Carolina, Green Bay)
Virgil Green, TE

Injury issues were the only reason why the Broncos were able to get such a high value player with such a low pick. Green finished the 2010 season with 515 yards and 5 TDs, which was good enough to finish 2nd on the team. He finished thrid for our All Bilo FBS TE of the Year behind Michael Egnew and Ladarius Green. Virgil Green is a pure talent when healthy, and if he is healthy, the Broncos could have stolen a starting TE in the 7th round. Worth the chance and the pick.
Grade: A

Round 7, Pick 44
Jeremy Beal, DE

Beal finished the 2010 season having led the Sooners in TFLs with 19 on the year, and he had 38 over a two year period. He may not be very big for a down lineman, but damn is he productive. Major disruptor in the backfield. Also has 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons. Huge production, and with the right guidance on the next level, a huge steal this late.
Grade: A

Potential Surprise Player
Beal, Green

Potential Flop
Mohamed, Thomas

Sure To Be a Star
Miller, Moore, Franklin, Irving, Carter

Sure To Be a Flop
No sure thing here

Final Team GPA
3.44 out of 4
This draft reshaped the roster in many ways, with as many as 6 new starters in their 9 picks, even if it takes a little while for all of them to grab jobs. One of the best draft classes in the NFL for 2011, and the Broncos just made sure that they are back on the right track. Solid work here.

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