April 30, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Day 3 - Round 4-7 - Discussion

Another day of the draft is complete and we move forward into the final day of the draft. The Broncos picked up two picks in the last day for rounds 4 and 5. Bring the total picks to 5 for the final day of the draft. Look for the Broncos to get one maybe two defensive tackles with these picks as this area has not been addressed in the draft yet.

In the last day of the draft the Broncos made three selections. They took a safety Rahim Moore, a Tackle (guard) Orlando Franklin and a ILB Nate Irving. Here is a few quotes from each.

Rahim Moore:

"First of all it's a blessing. I feel thankful. I thank God I met with the Broncos at the Combine. It's been one of my favorite teams after watching (CB) Champ Bailey and being a big-time fan of him. It's truly a blessing. I'm so excited."

"I understand the game. I put in work. The coaches around me are able to prep me and I can't wait to get around Brain Dawkins and Champ."

Orlando Franklin

"They told me they see me playing right tackle."

On his on-field demeanor

"I like to think of myself as the most physical offensive lineman that was in this draft, and I am looking forward to bringing that nature to the Denver Broncos."

On describing himself

"I am a physical player that is going to do whatever he can to get on the field as quick as possible and that is going to work hard for 60 minutes and bust my behind to make everyone around me better."

Nate Irving

On his style of play

"For those people who don't know me, I'm just a physical linebacker who likes to impose my will and punish the ball carrier or get a blocker out of my way to get to the ball carrier."

On where he thinks he will play

"I talked to the coaches, and they like me in the middle."

On whether he thought being drafted was a possibility after his accident

"I never did. I put everything up in the hands of God, and I just did what I was supposed to do."

John Fox also had some interesting words:

On whether there was a specific pick that they looked at using on a defensive tackle

"Well, I think coming into the draft-it is a deep draft and there are still guys on the board that we have interest in. Every draft has its own personality and the way this one was falling, we acquired guys that are going to make us a better football team."

On addressing the rush defense in the draft

"I think we have a lot of holes, as I mentioned before. We have (rounds) four through seven tomorrow. We get back to work, and we know there will be options out there on the other player pool. We'll just take it a day at a time."

The final day should be an interesting one for the Broncos.

On the competition front I think most of us still didn't poorly but lets hope for a better final day. ~ Aussie.

April 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Day 2 - Round 2-3 - Discussion

Another day and the drafting goes on. After the first round the Broncos came away with Von Miller. An outside rush linebacker, who will now need to prove himself in a 4-3 scheme.

"(Von Miller) was the No. 1 defensive guy we had on the board," Head Coach John Fox said. "We really just had to wait for Carolina, then once they turned their pick in, he was pretty much our guy."

"He's a rare talent, there's no doubt," he said. "I've been doing this, this is my 23rd draft, and he's got those rare abilities, the things you can't coach. He's got a lot to learn, this is a level jump, it's a different game at this level as far as the type of plays you see and the type of offenses you see, but he has a lot of ability. It's not just the speed, it's the quickness, the explosion, the length of his arms -- his first step is as good as I've seen. There are a lot of tools that we can work with. He seems to have that uncommon ability to be great, as far as the want-to. He's a great young man, we feel like he'll represent our organization very well. We're just excited to have him and feel great about his abilities both on and off the field."

I hope like many Broncos fans that he works out. But he should be a solid player at the SAM position.

Lets look forward to round 2 and 3 as we try to fill some more holes. Look for DTs, Safeties, Corners and RBs at the next 3 picks.

As for the competition after the marking of Part 1, it sees myself with a score of 6 and with Jazzy and Digger both on 3. It will be tough going for the both of them to catch up. ~ Aussie.

April 28, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Round 1 - Discussion

Hey everyone, it is time to get prepared for the first round of action. There looks to be a number of surprises and twists to occur in this draft. I will be here hopefully to discuss them all with you guys and gal if you are around. Lets have some fun.

For those interested, over at DenverBroncos.com they are running a live stream of the Broncos draft room. It will be interesting watching, click here for the live stream.

Also the competition will be closed soon. Looks like it will be between myself, Digger and Jazzy. Because of this there will be a new Broncos Blog Draft Guru crowned by the end of the draft. ~ Aussie.

April 22, 2011

General Discussion and all that other stuff

Below is the 2011 Draft Competition Submission post if you want to enter submit your submission on that post. This post though is for all the other things we talk about so talk away, also did you check out the 'Some more fun with Pictures' post? You should it is good. ~ Aussie.

2011 Draft Competition Submissions

Hi everyone, this is the post to submit your submissions for the draft competition for Broncos Blog Draft Guru (BBDG). This post is only for submissions, I will have another post up for general discussion shortly. I have also re-posted the information and rules below. Good luck everyone ~ Aussie.

The Competition Submission

The first part is as follows, for each team in the 1st round you need to pick the player that you think that team will pick. Now we are not going to worry about what position that pick is. For example 2nd Denver Broncos Peterson, we are not worried about the 2nd position but the player that is picked. So if you think the Broncos will pick Peterson put down Broncos Peterson. You need to pick the player that will go to each team in the draft. For each correct pick you will get a point. There are a maximum of 32 points that can be gained from this section.

The second part you will need to pick the 7 round draft of the Broncos. Now this can be a little hard and tricky. You can pick the draft as it is with the current picks available to the Broncos. The other option is you predict the trades you think the Broncos will make, for example trade down from 2#. If you chose the right player(s) with a pick that is from a trade this can be the difference between winning and losing. Correct picks of players picked by the Broncos is 1 point. If you correctly pick the ROUND that player is picked in that will give you an extra point. Correct pick of player but in the wrong round will only be 1 point. In this section creative is rewarded by the chance of getting more points from trades but it is a risky option than picking with the current picks. Bonus points may be awarded for correctness of trades.

The blogger with the highest combined point total from both parts will win the title of Broncos Blog Draft Guru (BBDG)!

Rules and Notes:

Look out for the 2011 Draft Competition Submission post, this is where you submit your competition picks. It is a good idea to start working on it now as you will need it! You have up to the start of the draft that is 8:00 EST of draft day to submit. Any submission after that will not be accepted. Changes and updates will be allowed leading up to the draft. You can submit as much as you want in the comments but it will be your LAST submission that I take. Therefore there is only one entry per person. Also if you update multiple times can you delete the older comments, it will just make it easier for me thanks.

Each person's results will be able to be viewed, so you can see everyone’s results. I will post them all up after I tally up the results which will be after the completion of the draft. I will post up the winner on here with an analysis of the points for each blogger that participated. Some digression will be taken when marking picks so as to be as fair as possible. As grandmaster of the competition I will get to make this decisions so try to be as clear as possible so I understand what you are doing. Again I will be as fair as possible.

In the event of a CBA being signed you can also, if you are game enough, predict a trade for a player or trade a player. For example the Broncos trade a 6th to a ‘Team’ for X player or Orton to ‘Team’ for X. If you are game to do as such and you are right I will award this person 2 points for correctness of trade (the picks), 2 points for correct player and 2 points for correct team. The other option to make this easier I will award points on the player. If you think we will get X Player put him down. I will not take into account what pick is traded for him. Example ‘Trade for X Player’. If you guess the correct player two points, but you have to be game and it could change your mock draft completely. Good Luck.

Some more Fun with Pictures

Hey Broncos fans, I had these pictures laying around so thought I would post them up for your enjoyment. The first is a picture of Dawson doing his thang.

The next picture is of Mel Kiper and if you know anything about Kiper you will love this picture.

And finally my favourite one...

That is it for today, check back tomorrow for the Draft Competition Submission post. ~ Aussie.

April 19, 2011

2011 Draft Competition

That’s right everyone the draft competition is back for this year. The Prize is the same as last year, the bragging rights for the coming year as the Broncos Blog Draft Guru (BBDG). Last year 80# and Doc came away with the crown after everyone did a pretty terrible job, I wonder if these two will be back to defend their crown? Like last time this competition will be made up of two parts. Part 1 is the complete mock of the first round of the draft. Part 2 is a complete draft for the Broncos. Below is more on the rules, scoring and examples of how to answer.

The Competition Submission

The first part is as follows, for each team in the 1st round you need to pick the player that you think that team will pick. Now we are not going to worry about what position that pick is. For example 2nd Denver Broncos Peterson, we are not worried about the 2nd position but the player that is picked. So if you think the Broncos will pick Peterson put down Broncos Peterson. You need to pick the player that will go to each team in the draft. For each correct pick you will get a point. There are a maximum of 32 points that can be gained from this section.

The second part you will need to pick the 7 round draft of the Broncos. Now this can be a little hard and tricky. You can pick the draft as it is with the current picks available to the Broncos. The other option is you predict the trades you think the Broncos will make, for example trade down from 2#. If you chose the right player(s) with a pick that is from a trade this can be the difference between winning and losing. Correct picks of players picked by the Broncos is 1 point. If you correctly pick the ROUND that player is picked in that will give you an extra point. Correct pick of player but in the wrong round will only be 1 point. In this section creative is rewarded by the chance of getting more points from trades but it is a risky option than picking with the current picks. Bonus points may be awarded for correctness of trades.

The blogger with the highest combined point total from both parts will win the title of Broncos Blog Draft Guru (BBDG)!

Rules and Notes:

Look out for the 2011 Draft Competition Submission post, this is where you submit your competition picks. It is a good idea to start working on it now as you will need it! You have up to the start of the draft that is 8:00 EST of draft day to submit. Any submission after that will not be accepted. Changes and updates will be allowed leading up to the draft. You can submit as much as you want in the comments but it will be your LAST submission that I take. Therefore there is only one entry per person. Also if you update multiple times can you delete the older comments, it will just make it easier for me thanks.

Each person's results will be able to be viewed, so you can see everyone’s results. I will post them all up after I tally up the results which will be after the completion of the draft. I will post up the winner on here with an analysis of the points for each blogger that participated. Some digression will be taken when marking picks so as to be as fair as possible. As grandmaster of the competition I will get to make this decisions so try to be as clear as possible so I understand what you are doing. Again I will be as fair as possible.

In the event of a CBA being signed you can also, if you are game enough, predict a trade for a player or trade a player. For example the Broncos trade a 6th to a ‘Team’ for X player or Orton to ‘Team’ for X. If you are game to do as such and you are right I will award this person 2 points for correctness of trade (the picks), 2 points for correct player and 2 points for correct team. The other option to make this easier I will award points on the player. If you think we will get X Player put him down. I will not take into account what pick is traded for him. Example ‘Trade for X Player’. If you guess the correct player two points, but you have to be game and it could change your mock draft completely. Good Luck.

Examples of Submissions:

I don't mind if your part 1 and part 2 don't line up. But if you get it right in one and wrong in the other you will have to live with that.

As long as I can understand what has happened then it shouldn't be a problem.

Part 1
Carolina – Patrick Peterson
Denver – Cam Newton
Buffalo – Von Miller
Cincinnati – AJ Green
Arizona – Blaine Gabbert
Cleveland – Marcus Dareus
San Francisco – Nick Fairley
Tennessee – Tyron Smith
Dallas - JJ Watt
Washington – Jake Locker
Houston – Julius Jones
Minnesota – Cameron Jordon
Detroit - Prince Amukamara
St. Louis – Corey Liuget
Miami – Ryan Mallet
Jacksonville – Ryan Kerrigan
New England – Aldon Smith
San Diego – Mike Pouncey
New York Giants – Anthony Castonzo
Tampa Bay – Justin Houston
Kansas City – Phil Taylor
Indianapolis – Derek Sherrod
Philadelphia – Gabe Carimi
New Orleans – Da’Quan Bowers
Seattle – Jimmy Smith
Baltimore – Cameron Heyward
Atlanta – Mark Ingram
New England – Akeem Ayers
Chicago – Nate Solder
New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson
Pittsburgh – Aaron Williams
Green Bay – Brooks Reed

Part 2
1st. Von Miller
2nd. Marvin Austin
2nd. Martez Wilson
3rd. Robert Sands
6th. Julius Thomas
7th. Chris Prosinski

If you predict a trade can you outline the trade and make a comment about it. For example:

1st. JJ Watt (Trade down with Titans for their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th for our 1st)

If anything is unclear just let me know and we will revise the rules. ~ Aussie.

April 15, 2011

Aussie's 2011 NFL Mock Draft

It is time for me to put up my mock draft. It is full of twists and turns and a whole lot of craziness. Good luck understanding all of my thoughts as I changed this constantly, editing different section at a time so it may not line up. But I hope that some of the information I provide is useful and insightful to you guys and gal. Enjoy...

This year’s draft will be dominated by defense players as teams move towards trying to prevent offenses putting up big points. Luckily this draft is heavy with defensive backs and defensive lineman. There are no real stand outs at linebacker (other than maybe Miller and Wilson) but there are a number of serviceable players at the position in later rounds.

When making a mock there are a number of things I like to take into account when looking at picks. These are the types of things General Managers and Head Coaches look at. This is looking at the current roster and trying to think like the coach. To see what he is seeing with the roster and the needs that need to be filled. Also knowing what is available in the open market (Free Agency) and possible options there. What is available in the following years draft needs to be taken into account so you can know what players you can target. There is the need to take into account what your competitors are doing, who they are picking and their needs and what you will be facing next year in the division (say the Chiefs get Jones or Green, we may need a corner). There is also the need to understand the scheme and what the coaches like to do with their players. Finally when picking picks it is also about maximizing what you have and the combination of players you can get with your draft.

Let’s start with the roster and look at the needs for the team. There are a number of holes in the roster. On defense all three levels could do with an impact player and an upgrade of talent. For offense we are better off, but need a run blocking/pass catching TE, speed back (change of pace back) and offensive tackle if Ryan Harris is not retained (depth on the OL is also an issue). Using these needs let’s look at the current roster and try to get into the heads of Elway, X-man and Fox or EFX.

Before we start there is something that needs to be taken into account with this kind of analysis. That is Head Coaches and personnel men are cocky and egocentric. Another man’s trash is their treasure. For example Shanny brought in Jamarcus Russell for a workout even though he saw him failing first hand. It is the reason that after the Jets cut Gholston he will be signed by someone else. NFL management look past previous poor play and see what they can be. They back their ability to turn and mold that player into something better. That being said let’s finally look at the current roster.

We will start with defense as we have needs at many if not all positions, plus we need to think of this defense as that of a 4-3, which Fox will be implementing. Starting with the defense line and defensive ends lets being. The current players on the roster that will play DE in the 4-3 are Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter, Ryan McBean, Louis Leonard and maybe Kevin Vickerson a little. Elvis Dumervil would be a lock at one DE spot but who could play the other? The idea would be Ayers and Hunter battling it out for the other position at DE and I personally think that is an good idea as Ayers is very strong against the run, as is Hunter but he has a little better record as a pass rusher. This would offset Doom’s terrible run defense. If I am Fox I would give these two the chance to excel and feel I could mold them into good players. Give Ayers a year in a new position and see if he is the solution if not, Hunter and others could provide solid depth for the year.

Looking at this as X-man I would see heavy money already invested into this position, a former first round pick and then Doom’s contract. That is a lot of money locked up in DEs. Spending picks and money elsewhere would be preferable. Ryan McBean I see as being too slow for the outside position, he could slide down the line into the middle as a DT if the coaching staff thinks he can do that. They probably keep McBean as a backup. Leonard is an unknown, he was brought in though as a big 3-4 DE so I don’t see him staying. Vickerson would be a DT but could play a little DE.

Verdict: Got some solid players that we will let play and see what happens. A later round flier on a DE or FA could be an option.

Next up the Defensive Tackle position. The current players on the roster are Kevin Vickerson.... and Mitch Unrein. Vickerson could get a starting position but I think Fox may think about upgrading this position. Anyways Vickerson could provide good depth. Fields (not signed) is interesting, I have a feeling he may be kept, his size and experience may interest Fox but if not he is gone. Marcus Thomas will test the open market but I think he may stay as depth/rotation player just because he is playing his nature position. Plus his athleticism and speed will intrigue Fox. Mitch Unrein is the unknown of the group. McBean may play some DT if not cut.

Verdict: We have Vickerson and that is about it, we need a few depth players but another quality starting DT is needed at the very least.

On the list next is the Linebackers and I will do these as a group. The reason being a number of existing LBs have been moved to DE. The LBs on the current roster are Mario Haggan, DJ Williams, Wesley Woodyard, David Veikune(who also could go back to DE), Dominic Douglas, Braxton Kelley, Joe Mays and Lee Robinson. This will be an interesting group depending on how Fox uses and plays these guys. Some have suggested that moving DJ Williams back to the Weak side LB position or the Strong Side LB position. The problem is that these positions could be filled by other current positions. It is about getting the best combination out of the players. I feel that Williams for this season will stay at MLB unless we pick someone up and move him back to WLB. Haggan can play the SLB and Woodyard could play the WLB otherwise. I like Mays as a LB but he struggles greatly in coverage and he would be terrible as a MLB, Mays would have to really step his game up and learn to cover before we even think about starting him. In the 3-4 we can manage to hide this problem by having Woodyard or Williams covering for him. He is a back up and special teamer until(if) he learns to cover. That leaves us with David Veikune, Dominic Douglas, Braxton Kelley and Lee Robinson. Veikune could be interesting and probably will get a backup role. The others though probably won’t make the team other than special teamers and practice squad players.

Verdict: Is a solid group there but depth is an issue and no stand out, amaze me type of player. If DJ is going to be moved back to the Weak side a starting ILB is needed. A new starting SLB is also an option as I can see Haggan being traded, maybe to somewhere like the Texans or the Skins.

Finally on defense the secondary, let’s start with the corners. On the roster we currently have Champ Bailey, Andre Goodman, Perrish Cox, Syd’Quan Thompson, Nate Jones, Cassius Vaughn and Chevis Jackson. There is so much uncertainly around the CBs. Champ Bailey will be back, but Cox is facing chargers, he may go to prison or could face a suspension from the league. Andre Goodman has been injured and his play has slipped. The question here is what do the Broncos do? Other than Champ would do you do? Cox and Goodman are solid starters but both have to be on the field. Nate Jones should be cut but will probably stay because of his ‘versatility’. Thompson I think has locked down that Slot/Nickel/Dime spot and Vaughn will be retained as special teamer and kick returner. Jackson is the unknown of the group and will struggle to make the team.

Verdict: Depends on Goodman and Cox, if Cox goes to jail then we can probably cover his spot but we are light on in the way of starting corners. And if Goodman is injured again we are screwed. FA or the draft need to be used to address this position.

Time for the safeties. The current roster of safeties looks like this Renaldo Hill, David Bruton, Brain Dawkins and Darcel McBath. This is the biggest area of concern, Dawkins is old and there is no certainty that he won’t retire. I think with a good front 7 Dawkins can still flourish and show some passion, but I ain’t holding my breath. Hill has been ok/average I think he stays but an upgrade at his position is needed. Darcel McBath could be a starter if he can stay healthy. If he does I can see him taking over one of the safety positions. Bruton is the one that interesting me the most. He has talent but stiff hips, he made one bad play and caught burned (pretty sure Josh Barrett did that against the Panthers) and people want to get rid of him, the game before that he had a blinder. Bruton stays, young and talented players are not just cut, they are developed. Man I miss Barrett.

Verdict: I think we could keep all these guys, but another young and talented player is needed if the others don’t work out, two if Dawkins retires.

Think about it this way, with all the uncertainty about Dawkins, Goodman, Cox and Hill they could all miss time and that is almost all the starters in the secondary, this issue will need to be resolved and soon hopefully.

Now to the offense side of the ball, picks on this side of the ball are not as badly needed as defense but there is room to fix up some holes.

First RT, this only becomes a need if Ryan Harris is let go, which would be terrible, in a ZBS Harris is one of the best (if he can stay healthy). This can be solved through Free Agency or a late round draft pick. Plus we need depth, if Clady goes down who plays LT?

Next up is the running backs. We have guys like Moreno, White, Ball and Bucky. Moreno is the main guy, White should be the bruising back if he is healthy and Ball is serviceable. Bucky I think is gone because of his age, though he may have played his way back into a limited role at the end of last season. A real quick smaller change of pace back could be used to help create miss matches, but this would be a luxury pick. An option in FA is also possible.

Tight end is up next and a pass catching TE that can also block has been suggested. Problem is Fox only really uses blocking TEs and we only have Quinn at the moment. Dan Gronkowski was improving before his injury and could get a look at the position. An undrafted or cheap blocking TE will be picked up either late in the draft or FA.

Finally I come to FB, not a need, more of a luxury pick than anything else. To be honest I like Larsen, I think he should get a few more touches. The guy knows how to pick up the first down. The only way I see us getting another FB is if Larsen is cut which I doubt because he is such a good special teams player. Would like to see Larsen get a look at LB, but he was better suited to the 3-4. If he changes position then FB is needed.

Available Free Agents.

There is a good list of Free Agents available this year and if (when) FA starts the Broncos could be in play for a few guys. There are a number of good QBs that could be looked at. If the Broncos trade Orton or cut Quinn and make Tebow the starter a backup veteran QB will be needed. Guys like Bruce Gradkowski will be interesting to have a look at, plus there are a number of other serviceable QBs available.

There are a number of good backs that should be looked at instead of drafting guys. Players like DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson, Darren Sproles, Ronnie Brown, Michael Bush (though he got arrested) are there and should be looked at.

Solid group of tackles and guards available, like Jared Gaither or Carl Nicks. Depth players and a possible starter can be found from this bunch.

In Free Agency there are a lot of good players available for the defense side of the ball. There are guys like Mathias Kiwanuka, Charles Johnson, Ray Edwards at DE and the same can be said for the DTs. Keep an eye on Kris Jenkins, he has played for Fox before. We lack depth and good players on the DL, I expect a few to be drafted and one or two to be signed in FA.

If we don’t pick an ILB in the draft I can see us going after one of the older vets for the position in FA, Stephen Tulloch is by far the best and I like him. But Barrett Rudd is an option, guys like Rocky McIntosh or Paul Posluszny (if let go) are an option. James Anderson is in play as well but the Panthers will want to keep him. There are a number of guys that can get it done, I expect one or two LBs to be bought in to fill out corps. If we don’t pick any LBs we will need to find starters from FA.

There are also a lot of good corners that can be had. Ike Taylor, Brett Grimes, Richard Marshall are all available and if Cox and Goodman don’t work out there are options. At safety there are players like Roman Harper, Dawan Landry, Bernard Pollard another solid group. If not addressed in the draft I can see one of each being picked up.

The next thing to do before starting the mock is to have a look at next year’s draft. This is hard to predict and a lot of things can change in a year but there looks like there will be a solid number of good quarterbacks, offensive tackles available plus some stand out corners, inside linebackers and defensive ends available next year.

With good spending in FA and a solid draft I can see us having a power house defense in the next few years, if not this year.

Division Rivals

We have three and we all know them, the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers. Against all three this year we struggled against the run and we know we have to address our run defense. But both Cassel and Rivers had big games in the air against us, though that was mostly the number 2 corner or the under routes to running backs or WR in the LB corps. This will need to be fixed. Offensively we struggled to run against these guys. We struggled against the blitz coming from the second level against the Chargers (Phillips).

The Raiders don’t have a first round pick but need help on the OL and at the QB position. Expect them to draft a WR and RB that has speed and talent, especially if Bush leaves. Corner is also a need for them.

The Chiefs need a NT and Phil Taylor is in play for them, we need to hope Walton is up to the task. OL help is needed. A solid number 2 receiver for Cassel is a must. Plus some defensive help, an OLB or DE to help Hali with the pass rush would be much liked.

The Chargers have a strong roster, it really depends on who leaves. They may need RBs or WRs or safeties. But I expect the Chargers to get some LB help, most likely at ILB.

So simple, stop the run, run the ball and protect the passer and we should be one up on these guys.


We have talked a bit about the scheme that Fox runs. His offense is more of a two TE, two WR with a RB scheme. Rarely goes to the 4 wide and uses a running back committee. His TEs have to block and well. But McCoy will call plays, don’t be surprised with Royal and Decker on the roster to see a number of 3 and 4 wide sets with Moreno catching out of the back field. Main thing to take away from this is that Fox is not a big user of TEs. But if he had a good one he may use him.

On defense Fox uses a 4-3. His DTs are usually bigger (up in the 330 range) with athleticism to get after the passer. His DEs have normally been bigger than other 4-3s like the Bucs. Use a heavy 270+ DEs, think Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson. With the bigger boys up front Fox likes to use smaller fast linebackers, like Jon Beason, that can tackle and cover the entire field, no idea what he would do with bigger linebackers with the speed of smaller guys. His secondaries have never been amazing, just very solid. Question will be Dennis Allen’s influence on the defense. With the Saints they use creative blitz schemes with blitzs coming from the third level, from Safeties and corners, where as Fox wants his guys to play in a zone. Will be interesting to see what happens on that side of the ball this year.

Mock Draft

Finally we get to the mock draft. This has changed a lot me over the past months and keeps changing. But these are the thoughts and ideas I have been having. Also if you skipped the other bits and came straight here, shame on you haha.

The Broncos have the 2, 36, 46, 67, 184, 194, 246 picks as it stands now.

Having looked at the prospects over the last few weeks I have found that there is value for DEs in the 1st, DTs in the 2nd round, value for Safeties in the 3rd and value for Linebackers from the 4th onwards. Value for OTs, mainly right tackles, is in the later rounds from the 4th onwards.

First we need to look and guess what the Panthers do at number 1 and know what their needs are (plus Fox probably knows this better than most). There are only three options I see the Panthers having. They are going Quarterback, do they like Newton or Gabbert? Picking a WR for Clausen, AJ Green, or going defense and picking Nick Fairley, Dareus or Bowers. All three are possible options but for this I say they don’t draft Gabbert and go one of the others. Which then means EFX can do what I want which is they decide to trade down!

The Panthers pick say Newton or Fairley, most likely Newton. This leaves Gabbert still available. A team that needs a QB and thinks the Bills could be going QB wants to jump ahead of them and get Gabbert. My choice is the Titans at number 8. The Titans have got rid of Vince Young and have a new Head Coach, new coaches mean new schemes which generally means new QBs. They have Collins but they like Gabbert as the future, he is everything that Young wasn’t. Even with Collins it could mean Gabbert sits a year or two. Anyway they trade with the Broncos for number 2 moving the Broncos all the way back to number 8.

Note: For my mock I am not sure what to think about the CBA. I am going to provide both examples on scenarios that may happen if the lockout is lifted or not. But this doesn’t mean I will trade a whole heap of players for picks. I am thinking about this realistically and going to say that there may be a player involved in the trade down and probably Orton as the only other trade, that is for later though.

The trade with the Titans will be our 1st, number 2# for the Titans 1st, number 8#, the Titans 2nd rounder, number 39# and a maybe a player, I like Jason Jones or Will Weatherspoon or Tony Brown. (Brown and Weatherspoon have both played for the Panthers, Fox drafted Weatherspoon) For this mock though we take the 3rd rounder the Titans are offering.

I think 8# then becomes the perfect position for the Broncos, we could take Miller or Peterson if they fall this far, as well as Bowers, Fairley and Dareus, if they get here. But the two players we are targeting are JJ Watt and Tyron Smith. Both of these guys of course are also slated to go to Dallas at 9 one behind us, so again 8 is the perfect position. Tyron Smith is a freak, has played RT for the last two years. If Harris isn’t retained or doesn’t come back I think Smith is realistically the pick and fits perfectly into our ZBS/Power system. But for this mock draft and in my fantasy world we decide to go defensive and the pick is JJ Watt.

With the number 8# pick in the draft the Broncos select JJ Watt, much to the dismay of Jerry Jones (who dies of a heart attack due to shock of losing his guy to Elway haha) and X-man who can’t believe they are spending so much money on DEs (the numbers! What about the numbers!). Watt is the perfect LE in the 4-3. He can hold up in the run and provide the pass rush against the bigger right tackles. On passing situations he can be kicked inside to DT and Ayers can be brought onto the field at DE. For Wisconsin Watt was rotated through all four DL positions in an attempt to create mismatches and Watt wrecked havoc by doing so (in other words he is ‘versatile’, the NFL’s favourite word). I also have a bad feeling that Doom will be suspect in the run defense and struggle to get sacks in the 4-3 (Don’t believe me? Ask me why and I can explain my thoughts). Which will mean we need another solid DE and that will be Watt, who with Ayers and Hunter can be a solid group of DEs. Crazy thought if we take a DE could you see Doom playing the SAM linebacker position?

Note: I also preferred this option of Watt & Wilson than Miller and say a 2nd round DE. I did not see a combination of changing players that I thought would have the same impact as Watt/Wilson then Miller and another player. I like Miller a lot but for this Watt & Wilson was a better fit for me than Miller and 2nd round DE. After the first round DEs the rest are terrible in this draft. Reed is ok but is not amazing.

Watt for me is the closest thing to resembling a former second overall pick taken by Fox and that was Julius Peppers. Watt may not have the freakish ability of Peppers, but he goes close, has very similar size and agility as Peppers. Didn’t produce like Peppers did but Watt decided not to return for his senior year. He could have built up his production a bit more if he had. Plus he is still learning the position after making the transition from TE. I think Fox may see Watt and may see a harder working version of Peppers with a little bit less Athleticism.

Plus have you seen this guys shoulders? He is a huge human being.

If you were paying attention above then you will know that the Broncos next pick will be Martez Wilson. With the 36# pick in the draft the Broncos select Linebacker Martez Wilson. Wilson I think fits in perfectly with the LBs that we have and will get a chance to start at SLB and maybe ILB, but I think he is best suited to play the SLB. Here he can use his pass rushing abilities, has the size to be a force in the run game and can cover. And it allows him to develop his knowledge of the game. If you threw him in at ILB he would struggle making the correct reads and running the defense. At SLB we hide this concern and let him develop into the dominating player I think he can be.

Isn’t the prototypical short and fast LB of Fox’s system, but I have a feeling he will over look his size as he is a speedster and will be able to get it done in this system.

The only concern with this pick is the neck injury. It worries me since we had another Wilson struggle with neck injuries. But since he played a full year and if he is cleared medically I think he will be one hell of a player.

The plan is that in next year’s draft we are in a position to take one of the top two ILB. Wilson at SLB, DJ at WLB and then Burflict or Manti Te’o at ILB would create a fearsome Linebacker corps. For this year I think we take a later round guy in the hope he works out, if not I expect ILB to be addressed in the first round next year or FA.

Also have you seen his scare? It is bad ass.

The next pick we have is number 39# (from the Titans trade), I think this would be the pick we trade back to pick up extra picks. I think the Seahawks are the perfect candidate as they will need to trade up from 57 to get a look at the QBs early in the second (say Mallet). They trade their 2nd (57), 4th (99), 5th (156), 6th (173) and a future pick for our pick 2nd rounder 39#. That still leaves the Hawks with a 5th and 7th in this draft.

Moving on and the next pick the Broncos have in the draft is the 46# pick in the second round. And it is time to sure up the front 7 with getting that DT to play next to Vickerson. At this pick there are possibly four or more DTs that could be picked. They are Drake Nevis, Stephen Paea, Marvin Austin, Corey Liuget and Muhammad Wilkerson. Two or maybe three of these guys could go in the first round but at least one of them should be there and available to pick. The order I like these guys is Paea, Liuget, Wilkerson and Austin. I like Liuget, he would be a dominate force in the middle allowing Ayers and Doom to go wild but looks like he is a first rounder as the top DT after Dareus and Fairley. Wilkerson is like Dareus but with slightly more athleticism and length, plus he should go in the first. Leaving Paea who is a shorter DT but amazingly powerful. His knee injury will turn a lot of teams away and there may be the issue of him regaining his previous form, as your explosion through the legs is very important to a DT, but I think he will still be there. Austin who has really turned it on in the last month, he is a real boom or average pick tough.

Therefore with the 46# pick in the draft the Broncos select either one of these three, it will be Liuget if he falls. But I don’t see that happening. Fox isn’t a fan of Paea’s athleticism so he takes Austin. Austin is a big DT who could have gone in the top 15 if he hadn’t been suspended the year. His teammate’s great play could be put down to his disruptive play in the middle of the field. Austin will be a huge steal when we look back on this draft. He will be a good DT and will get help from guys like Watt and Wilson taken before him. There is just something about Austin that screams to me that he is the Fox type of DT, is a match made in heaven.

His main concern was what he did in college to get suspended. It looks like Austin has turned it around though, seems to have matured having the year off and I think could be a better player for it.

The Orton: Now this is the point you are probably think ‘What about that Orton trade’ well this is where it comes in. I think Orton will go to a team that is ready to win now, a team that needs the QB to get them over the edge. There is only one team in the league that I think could be in that position. That is the Vikings. I envision Orton being traded to the Vikings for draft picks but probably not in this draft. The Vikings will keep their 1st this year and their 2nd, they will trade us a future pick from next year’s draft. We are asking for a 2nd rounder for Orton, a 2nd rounder in this draft is worth a 1st in next year’s draft (see Phonzy Smith trade). The Vikings believe that they are playoff bound, maybe even Superbowl bound so they trade their 2012 1st round pick to us on the believe that it will be a late first rounder. This would be good business by the Broncos as it gives us a lot of ammunition going forward, much like what the Patriots do every year.

The next pick in the draft is number 57# and it would be the hardest out of the lot, the Broncos need safety help in a bad way. But at this pick they could go another DT or LB. Foster is an option so is Bruce Carter. Safety is the biggest need but we like some other safeties later so we look at a few other players. The players I would target here are Mikel Leshoure RB, Ras-I Dowling CB and Marcus Gilbert OT, and in that order. Gilbert is a Right Tackle prospect that could come in and start right away. He is also the former teammate of Tebow and knows how to protect him. This is a bit of a reach here and there is value for Tackles later in the draft, so I say we pass on Gilbert. That leaves Leshoure and Dowling. If Leshoure falls this far he will be the pick for sure, fits perfectly into Fox’s system. But unfortunately he doesn’t make it this far. Leaving as going Dowling at CB, not the biggest need but there is age in the secondary and we need to get at least one corner.

Dowling I like, he has great size and above average speed, has a long history of getting intercepts too. With work could be a starting corner, reminds me of Cox a little but with less problems. And in the second is good value, has had leg injuries this year which have limited him, otherwise he would have been a first round pick. Is a good fit for a zone team that runs a Tampa 2 style defense (which Fox does). He ran in the 4.37 and 4.42 range at his pro day which is good enough for a starting corner. But needs some work and is a bit of a project but I think he can help out our team. Especially when Goodman is gone, Jones is gone and Champ is at Safety. Check out the Corner Prospects for more, click here

Pick number 67# is up next and it is time to address the safety position we either choose between Tyler Sash or Robert Sands. Sash is the more consistent player but Sands is a freak at 6’4-5. The Broncos like Sands better because of his upside and make him the #67 pick in this draft. The PREDATOR!

Here is a bit about the Predator. He is tall, wiry but strong. Has speed to reach either sideline to prevent big plays. His length affects passing lanes on the blitz and running down the seam. Plays with attitude on every snap. Likes to make the big shoulder-first hit and churn his legs to stop ballcarriers' forward progress. Covers running backs on wheel routes and can handle tight ends in man coverage. Aggressive filling to stop the run, attacks plays behind the line when playing the box. Long arms allow him to wrap up most ballcarriers when technique is good. Fair ball skills and straight-line speed to intercept jump balls and late throws over the middle. For more check out the safety prospects, Click Here

We need the Predator on our defense. I really like this guy as a safety in our system. He is tall and rangy allowing him to effect passing lanes. Is really good in the deep and playing zone which is what Fox asks of his Safeties/DBs. He does have stiffer hips and struggles in man which has some saying LB would be better for him. But like I said Sands in our system and with work I think he can be one of the better safeties in the league. I like Sands late in the 2nd but if there in the 3rd then jump all over him. Plus look at him, he is a badass mofo. PREDATOR!

The next pick we have is number 77# in the third round. Again I think we are going DT and getting one of the bigger boys that Fox likes in his system. The two I think that we will target are Kenrick Ellis and Jarvis Jenkins. Both have strong points and weaknesses but it really comes down to what Fox would prefer. For this I say he picks Ellis.

Ellis is an intriguing prospect who could develop into a complete starting defensive tackle capable of clogging up the middle, making plays in the backfield off penetration, and collapsing the pocket. Has a pretty rare combination of size and explosiveness. Can be disruptive with his power or quickness. Counters and the screen game can be used to beat him at times. Plays with some fire and has a solid motor. Is a project player though, is going to need some work for the pro level, but I have faith in Nunnely’s and Fox’s ability to get the best out of him. For more information on Ellis check out the defensive tackle prospects page, DT Prospects

The next pick is in the fourth round and it is number 99# I see two options in this round and it will either be ILB or OT. If Casey Matthews is here in this round he will be the pick he fits the system well. Not the most athletic but his measurables lie about his football speed which is much better. If not available the other options could be Colin McCarthy or Ross Homan. The offensive tackle prospect I like here is Joseph Barksdale, but he isn’t my favourite option. I say we get lucky and Matthews falls to us.

Casey is intriguing, many will believe that he should play the weakside position because of his size, but he is too slow for that position for my mind. The best position for him would be at inside linebacker. Where he can be off the line reading the play as he has great intangibles to make the play. His intangibles make him a faster player then he was timed. I was not impressed with his hand size and shoulder problems though at the combine. But he is a football player, may not have the measureables but like his brother they are just players. He will be taken on day 3 hopeful and by us.

The next pick will be in the fifth round at number 156# I think it is possible we go back to back picks on ILB prospects, especially if we don’t get Matthews and pick one of the others. There are two linebackers I like in this round. They are Lawrence Wilson, who fits very well into our system and Herzlich, who I think can be a great player. But since we got our guy Matthews in the previous round we target an Offensive Tackle prospect and I like Jah Reid as a RT in the ZBS who also has the size to push the pile.

Reid is a big guy, has good arm length but his arms are a little small for a guy of his size, you would expect them to be bigger. Hasn’t had any injuries in his career and played for 3 years on the right side. I think he has a lot of upside and can start in the league. Has to work on his technique but he has the work ethic to get it done and get better. And if he is available here in the 5th round I say jump all over him even if Harris stays. Provides great depth at the tackle position for us.

In round six we have gotten two picks, number 173# and number 189#. For this round I think we take some prospects on the offensive side of the ball that we think can help this team. The first is the speed back/change of pace guy. For me this pick has to be Noel Devine. He is a smaller guy at 5’8 and 179 lbs but he has so much speed, posted a 4.26 at his pro day (sorry Al). I like Devine very much, I think he has cleaned up in the last few years but there is that character concern. Played with a toe injury last season, which meant he wasn’t as explosive or effective, but he still produced. Devine I believe is better than McCluster was last year. McCluster was the cleaner prospect but Devine is a powerhouse for a small guy. Did more reps on the bench then pretty much every other RB though giving up 30-40 pounds to them. Barry Sanders is one of his idols and he has a little bit of Barry in him, is elusive and makes people miss. Once on the outside it is see you later. I like Devine at this pick, we need to add some speed to our team. For more on Devine check out the Running Back and Tight End prospects, RBs and TEs

With the other pick in the sixth round (189#) We pick a TE, Julius Thomas is an option but my favourite pick would be Rob Housler and I say we take him. Struggles in the blocking side of being a TE but is a great pass catching TE. Reminds me of the TEs that play for the Patriots, even Tony Scheffler. Comes off the line real well and gets on top of the safeties fast. But is only a pass catching TE at this point in his career. Terrible on the blocking side of things, gets pushed over and struggles to seal the edge. Would need to improve this greatly to be effective in Fox’s system, may need to add a bit of bulk, 10-15 pounds. But as a receiving TE he is one of if not the best in this draft. I say we take a risk on him and try to make him better and more productive. Something about him just screams big time TE, I just get the feeling he could be something special and late in the draft I say take the risk. For more on Housler check out the link above.

Our final pick in the draft is in the 7th round and I think it is around 246ish. For this many have said take the Best Available Player. But not me wahaha, there is only one guy I want and that is the Safety Chris Prosinski, who you probably never heard of. A little more on the 6-1, 210 lb safety Prosinski,

Though Prosinski stayed in his home state of Wyoming, he could have gone to schools like Boise State, Georgia Tech, Harvard and Princeton. Getting recruited by good football programs and Ivy League schools is a clue about his strong combination of athleticism and intelligence -- something his play for the Cowboys also made evident.

He received one of five prestigious National Football Foundation National High School Scholar-Athlete awards before his redshirt season, and his first year on the field saw him rack up 37 tackles in reserve duty. He then earned honorable-mention Mountain West honors in 2008 (88 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass breakups), second-team all-conference accolades in 2009 (140 tackles, 3.5 TFL, six PBUs, two forced fumbles) and 2010 (108 tackles, two INTs, five PBUs, two FF).

Prosinski's excellent pro day workout (4.39 40, 39.5-inch vertical, 4.28 short shuttle, 6.85 three-cone), in addition to his durability, intelligence and production, will help regional scouts to sell their superiors on the tough safety's merits as a late-round addition to the roster.

If it wasn’t for Prosinski’s impressive workout he would be at the top of the undrafted free agent class instead he will be picked late in the 7th, right where we are luckily. Some of compared Pronsinski to John Lynch, I like the comparison but Pronsinski has more speed. Would be an upgrade over McCarthy and there is hope there that he becomes a starter. Some positive and negatives are below.

Positives: Centerfielder with straight-line speed and high football intelligence. Excellent closing speed when getting to the sideline or to ballcarriers over the middle. Most secure tackler on the team when technique is sound, keeps legs moving and uses arms to wrap after contact. Also cuts down ballcarriers with his shoulder when coming downhill. Recognizes routes coming into his area and has the recovery speed to get the angle on running backs down the opposite sideline and deep throws from play-action. Breaks up passes in front of receivers, at times making the interception, without interfering. Team captain in 2010.

Negatives: Sometimes resorts to ducking his head on open-field tackles instead of staying low and square. Not an intimidating hitter. Hesitates when plays slow down instead of inserting himself into the pile to prevent further yardage. Engulfed near the line on run plays by linemen and larger tight ends. Inconsistent finding his way through trash when flying up into the box.

That is it for the draft but before I finish up and summarise there is one name I want to throw out there and that is undrafted FA Michael Morgan from USC. I think he is another linebacker we could pick up to contribute to the LB corps. That is it for prospects lets summarise all this craziness.


First I may have gone overboard with the trades but that was to make this mock draft make more sense. What you should take away from them is not the picks but the rounds and the players I chose. I believe these are guys we could be targeting in those rounds. I did the trades to show how it may be done, in all likelihood these trades do not happen. Also take away from this the prospects I mentioned but did not pick, these are also guys I think we could be looking at.

To recap these are the players that were selected in my mock:
1st - 8#, JJ Watt DE
2nd - 36#, Martez Wilson SLB
2nd - 46#, Marvin Austin DT
2nd - 57#, Ras-I Dowling CB
3rd - 67#, Robert Sands S
3rd - 77#, Kenrick Ellis DT
4th - 99#, Casey Matthews ILB
5th - 156#, Jah Reid OT
6th - 173#, Noel Devine RB
6th - 189#, Rob Housler TE
7th - 246ish#, Chris Prosinski S

Let’s check the list of position needs:
Player with Badass scare, check
Player with Dreads, check
Player with Flowing locks, check
Player with Crazy eyes, check
Player with Speed, check
So on that account the mock was a great success, haha, no in all seriousness I think this mock fills a lot of needs and adds depth and talent to the roster.

I selected in total 11 players, 8 on defense (5 in the front seven and 3 in the secondary) and 3 on offense. I think it adds a lot of talent to the roster with a number of possible starters but also adds some much needed speed to the team. We pick up the 4 required starters with the possibility that all the others can start in the future and contribute in some capacity. Plus our defense gets some manly men and badasses that is need to improve the image of our defense, provide some more nasty to the team. Our defense needs to be aggressive like that of the Ravens or Steelers.

With this mock I can see us winning at least 4 more games. We have filled 4 if not more key starting positions on defense and can build on that next season. I envision a record of 8-8 give or take 1-2 games, therefore playoffs are an option. This record would put us in the position in next year’s draft anywhere from 10-20 where we can get a top ILB if Matthews doesn’t work out.

That is it for my mock, if you managed to follow it and understand what I did you must have a really high IQ as I didn’t haha. Though most of you may disagree with this mock or think another prospect would have been better than the ones I selected. So let me know what you think in the comments below. Oh and look out for the mock competition in the next few days. ~ Aussie.

April 12, 2011

Right Tackle Prospects

Well the machine moves on, the league and players seem to be talking again and the Broncos are working out draft prospects (Ellis, Moch and Coulson). Last week we took a look at the running backs and tight ends we could be going after in the draft. This week we take a final look at draft prospects as we will be looking at Tackle prospects. These Tackle prospects I have slated for Right Tackle, this would be an area of need if Harris is let go. Here we go...

Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Height: 6-5. Weight: 310.
Hand Size: 11 in.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.93.
Bench: 31. Arm Length: 36 3/8 in.
Projected Round (2011): Top 15 Pick.
Date of birth: December 12, 1990 (age 20)
Grade: 8.3

Smith is one of the best prospects on the hoof in this class. Blessed with an ideal NFL frame and has the outstanding feet and athleticism necessary to be a starting left tackle. Does a great job staying in front of speed rushers, locks on and sustains, and can anchor against the bull rush. Shows solid power in the running game and is really productive out in space. Football IQ is lacking. Fails to find his target at times in the running games and is a tick slow recognizing blitzes. Smith could come off the board early in the first round due to his rare physical gifts.

Smith possesses ideal height and length combined with rare speed and mobility for an offensive tackle. Can sink his hips to counter the bull rush. Moves his feet really well to shadow quicker speed rushers. Very comfortable blocking in space pulling on the perimeter and getting to the second level. Has a mean streak.

Would benefit from adding more bulk to his frame. Does not have natural football instincts. Overall awareness is lacking. Can be baited by stunts and twists. Does not recognize the blitz as quickly as you'd like to see. Can be beat by speed-to-power pass rushing moves.
He had a 29 vertical and 9-1 broad jump. He posted a 4.68 short shuttle, 7.48 three-cone drill and did 31 bench reps (which is insane with his arm length).

Pass blocking: His best trait. Flashes very good initial quickness and gains good depth with his initial kick-slide. Plays on the balls of his feet with good forward and lateral balance. Shuffles his feet laterally to mirror the defender. Has the long arms and strong hands to lock onto the defender. Loses focus and relies too much on his agility to remain in front of the pass rusher. Becomes susceptible to swim moves when he doesn't use his hands aggressively. Has the agility to handle converting to the left side.

Run blocking: Good positional blocker. Quick off the snap and can catch and turn his opponent away from the play. Does a nice job of walling off his target, but needs to get stronger and keep his feet churning to drive his opponent out. Too often gets stood up by defenders, creating a pile that the ballcarrier must run around, rather than clearing a hole for the play to run through. Isn't afraid of contact and can drive the defender off the ball in short-yardage situations with his initial push, but isn't yet strong enough to finish blocks consistently.

Pulling/trapping: Good mobility to pull and lead the toss-sweep. Good balance and straight-line speed getting to the second level. Struggles to hit the brakes and re-direct and allows his arms to flail at the defender, which could draw holding calls at the next level.

Initial Quickness: Inconsistent with his initial get-off. Capable of being the first off the snap, as he often is when he anticipates a blitz to his side or has to get out in front of a sweep play, but can also be among the last off the snap.

Downfield: Good athleticism and effort to make downfield blocks. Looks for someone to hit and will peel back if necessary to pop a defender giving chase. Good overall athleticism, but struggles changing direction and therefore must do a better job anticipating where the defender is going to be, rather than allowing him to rush past.

Intangibles: Only three years removed from high school. Occasionally moved to left tackle during games, but all 24 of his career starts were at right tackle. Missed the Boston College game in 2009 due to an academic suspension. Missed the 2010 Notre Dame game with a sprained knee. Played on special teams, blocking two kicks in 2010 (Washington State, Arizona State). Not yet a finished product. Turned 20 on Dec. 12.

In 2010, he was first team All Pac-10 and won the Morris Trophy award as the conference's top offensive lineman.

My Take: Smith is a freak athlete, he has size and speed, freakishly long arms and huge hands. I think his current ability, his technique and footwork, limit him to a RT role. He would need a lot of work to play on the left side. But we have Clady there so Smith could play for us on the right side which would become Tebow’s blind side if he plays. To pick Smith we would have to trade down at least once to the 5-10 area. The Cowboys seem to really like him though. Seems to cut a surprising lot, but when he doesn’t he can stand up defensive ends because of his long arms and stop them dead in their tracks. Also very young. Me likey...

Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
Height: 6-6. Weight: 330.
Hand Size: 9 ¾ in.
Arm Length: 33 ½ in.
Combine 40 Time: 5.43 unofficial, 5.46 official.
Bench: 30.
Projected Round (2011): 2-3.
Grade: 6.4

Gilbert has the height, length and athleticism NFL teams are looking for in an offensive tackle. Could become a quality starter with some added power and attitude. Does a really good job in pass protection getting set, engaging with his long arms, riding ends past the launch point, or mirroring inside moves with his feet. Gets out of his stance quickly and can seal and wall off defenders when run blocking but isn't a mauler. Not going to blow defenders off the ball and is susceptible to the bull rush. Awareness is adequate but still improving. Gilbert's a mid-round prospect with upside to start.

Gilbert has great size, length and mobility. Displays a quick set, can mirror speed rushers, and can push them past the pocket with his long arms. Comfortable moving laterally when run blocking. Can get out on the edge and pull. Has the athleticism to get to the second level. Solid instincts.

Can be pushed into the passer by the bull rush. Doesn't get too much movement off the ball in the running game. Fails to keep driving legs after initial contact. Takes poor routes to targets in space and at the second level. Doesn't play with tenacity until the whistle.

Pass blocking: Solid pass protector with a quick set, fluid lateral movement and willingness to go out and punch his man off the snap instead of waiting for the rush to come to him. Usually keeps his feet active and arms extended while engaged. Sustains after initial contact and can anchor against most ends. Good balance to protect the inside lane. Reacts quickly to late blitzers on most plays, escorting them around the pocket with his length. Must become more consistent picking up linebackers off the edge against 3-4 fronts. Gets down well to cut block on quick throws, but needs to get more of his opponent to take him out. Will lunge while recovering from strong initial contact.

Run blocking: Effective size and mobility to be an extremely effective positional blocker at the next level. Anchors against strong defensive ends well, resets his hands to sustain the block. Moves his feet to wall off backside run support and sustain until the play is away. Also has quick feet to the second level; does more than get in the way, will extend his arms to fully negate linebacker (raises them off the ground at times). Good drive-blocker, churns forward after engaging and will usher his man downfield for seven to 10 yards. Could potential turn defenders out of the hole. Athletic and long enough to block down on tackles and still push blitzing linebackers out of the play. Body control and posture must be more consistent; loses his balance when leaning forward against defensive ends or lunging towards linebackers at the second level. Will get tripped up in trash.

Pulling/trapping: Effective trapping inside and getting out in front of plays run to side because of his quick feet. Moves around the guard or tight end well for his size, is flexible enough to turn the corner and find a target. Takes out linebackers in space by latching on or laying out his tall frame on cut blocks. Needs to use his hands to get through trash and will get tripped up at times because he leans too far forward. Does not always adjust well to inside defenders; can get a hand on smaller defenders but is best when heading straight for his target.

Initial Quickness: Gets off the snap very well for his size, gets into his opponent if man-up on the outside or tries to get to the linebackers in a hurry. Strong punch and arm extension to pass protect or lock up his man on run plays. Quick kick-slide to mirror most strong-side ends, though not elite in this area; his length allows him to compensate against quicker college defensive ends.

Downfield: Has the mix of hustle and athleticism to get a hand inside on the tackle, push aside a linebacker and reach a safety ten yards downfield on a single run play. Does not always hit inside defenders or other intended targets, however, as quicker defenders will sidestep him because he runs upright. Can be too satisfied just getting in the way, needs to sustain downfield blocks longer to prevent his man from chasing down plays.

Intangibles: Reliable, durable player who consistently gives good effort. One of the team's senior leaders for 2010. Mature, well-liked player with no known character issues. Studies his playbook and constantly looks to improve. Father is a retired Secret Service agent.

My Take: Gilbert is versatile. He played guard then RT and then LT last year. Solid kid, doesn’t have the huge muscularly physic of Smith but is a solid dude. Surprisingly short arms for a guy his size which means in the NFL he will be a RT only. Also a former teammate of Tebow so he knows his style. Is technically very sound and could be a good pick in the second or third round.

Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
Height: 6-5. Weight: 325.
Hand Size: 10 in.
Combine 40 Time: 5.33 unofficial, 5.38 official.
Arm Length: 36.
Bench: 29. Vertical: 29 Broad: 8’7.
3 – cone: 8.27 secs.
Date of birth: January 1, 1989 (age 22)
Projected Round (2011): 3-4.
Grade: 4.9

Barksdale's a backup right tackle prospect with exceptional size but less-than-adequate athleticism for the next level. Uses his strength to stop the bull rush in pass protection, but has a difficult time dealing with double-moves or edge rushers. Can create some running room by walling off defenders but doesn't fire off the ball, get a ton of movement, or excel locating targets at the second level. Has good football IQ, picking up blitzers and staying home against stunts, but limited athleticism still causes him to be a step late at times. Developmental prospect worthy of a late-round pick.

Barksdale has ideal size for the tackle position. Capable of thwarting power pass rushers and using his windspan to push rushers past the pocket. Does a good job getting into position while running blocking and letting his size take over. Can picks up blitzing linebackers and stays home against stunts. Experienced and durable.

Not a great overall athlete. Lacks some quickness and flexibility. Speed rushers give him problems in pass pro. 3-techiniques can beat him to the point in the running game. Not overly comfortable blocking in space. Not a true road-grader. Has natural strength but doesn’t doesn't play with nastiness.

Positives: Ideal size. Long arms with an even distribution of weight. Versatile player who has only four years of experience at tackle. Came to LSU as a highly touted defensive tackle prospect and that defensive mentality is occasionally seen on tape. Gains good depth on his kick-slide and has the lateral agility and balance to mirror the defender. Long arms and strong hands to control. Can turn and seal off defenders in the running game, giving backs an easy lane to run through. Shows some athletic ability getting to the second level and, while not nimble, can get in the way of the linebacker, essentially making the block. Legitimate upside. Might just be scratching the surface of his potential and could wind up a better NFL player than he was in college.

Negatives: Lacks the elite athleticism necessary to remain at left tackle in the pros -- though he started and earned second-team All-SEC honors as a senior. Has a troubling tendency to drop his head and bend at the waist on contact, which puts him off-balance. Can be overwhelmed when he gets lazy and doesn't keep his feet moving. Remains a technically flawed prospect who has been able to get by on only his natural ability.

My Take: There are a lot of good words out there about Barksdale, he has all the measureables you look for in a tackle prospect. I prefer him on the right side but he has played most on the left so the transition may be hard for him. Limited knowledge of the position (came to college as a DT but played tackle for 3 years) and with work could improve greatly. But that depends on his effort. Would need to take his game to the next level if he wants to be a starter. He would be could value in the 4th.

Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida
Height: 6-7. Weight: 327 combine, 321 pro day.
Hand Size: 10 ¼ in.
Arm Length: 34 3/8 in
Combine 40 Time: 5.26 unofficial, 5.4 official.
Pro Day 40 Time: 5.29 and 5.32.
Bench: 28. Vertical: 29.5 in. Broad: 9’3.
3-Cone: 7.73 secs, 7.59 at pro day.
Projected Round (2011): 4-6.
Grade: 5.0

Reid's a physically gifted prospect who needs some technical refinement and to improve his recognition skills but has a chance to become a starter down the line. Good pass blocker who uses his size well, forcing rushers wide past the pocket. Has pretty good feet and flashes the ability to slide back inside and get to the second level to pick off linebackers. Main issue is he plays high. Doesn't jar defenders off the ball and can be knocked backwards by the bull rush. Has proven to be very durable and has a solid work-ethic. Reid's a potential Day 2 pick with upside.

Reid has great size and length. Comes out of his stance quickly and uses long arms to push ends past the launch point. Slides his feet well, agile. Wall-off run blocker who gains initial position. Can block out in space. Very durable and has a lot of starts under his belt. Hard-worker.
Struggles with his pad level due to natural size. Vulnerable against bull rushers who get into his chest. Loses the low-man battle in the running game. Doesn't drive legs and get much movement off the ball. Leans and lunges at times. Awareness is below average. Doesn't play with much of a mean streak.

Strengths: Has a long frame with above-average athleticism. Has no injury concerns and has strong experience as a three-year starter. Shows ability to ride rushers past the pocket with long arms. Possesses adequate quickness and gets into position on time. Controls college defensive linemen when he locks on due to decent upper-body strength. Flashes the awareness to help out inside when necessary and is a tough player who worked hard to lose weight after enrolling. Is athletic enough to find linebackers and engage targets at the second level.

Weaknesses: Does not possess a mean streak, lacks violent punch at the point of attack. Plays very high and back on his heels, allowing defenders to gain early leverage and get under his pads. Waist-bender who allows his height to work against him, top-heavy when engaging quick rushers. Awkwardly attempts to sit into his stance and often loses balance when trying to mirror opponents. Lean into targets. Struggles with hand placement, allows rushers into his body. Lumbers in space at times and does not consistently break down when asked to make a block at the second level. Gets lost looking for blitzers and possesses below average awareness when facing added pressure from the defense.

My Take: Of the tackle prospects that I have here Reid is my favourite. He is a big guy, has good arm length but his arms are a little small for a guy of his size, you would expect them to be bigger. Hasn’t had any injuries, and played for 3 years on the right side. I think he has a lot of upside and can start in the league. Has to work on technique but he has the work ethic to get it done. And if he is available in the 5th round I say jump all over him.

Jarriel King, OT/G, South Carolina
Height: 6-5. Weight: 317.
Hand Size: 10 ¾ in.
Arm Length: 36 3/8.
Combine 40 Time: 5.03 unofficial, 5.06 official.
Bench: 23. Vertical: 30. Broad: 9’6.
3-cone: 7.6 secs.
Projected Round (2011): 4-6.
Grade: 3.3

King has a great frame and the athleticism to be a reserve left tackle at the next level. He excels in pass protection, as he can sink his hips to thwart the bull rush and also locks out his arms effectively to push edge rushers past the pocket. He is naturally strong, but his slow first step prevents him from getting a strong initial position and consistently generating a good push. He has missed time due to an irregular heart beat that may end his chances at an NFL career, but he has enough talent to be a later round pick.

King is tall with a thick muscular build. Shows good awareness recognizing stunts and blitzes and has the foot quickness to mirror defenders in pass protection. Strong kid with a good power base that has the agility to make blocks in the second level.

Slow off the ball and will struggle to block quicker edge rushers. Does not always play with sound leverage which neutralizes his strength. Takes poor angles at times in the running game. Lacks the mean streak to dominate an opponent. Has a serious heart condition.

Positives: Ideal body type to play offensive tackle at the next level -- long, solid frame, broad shoulders, long arms. Raw athlete with upside and significant room to develop as an offensive lineman after being converted from a junior college defensive end. When able to get off the line quickly and extend his arms, King shows "shutdown" type flashes in pass protection. Showed some versatility at South Carolina, starting two games at left guard in 2009. Possesses the athleticism to be an effective blocker in the run game with the ability to get downfield ahead of the run and engage defenders at the second level. Struggles to get leverage against opposing defensive linemen when run-blocking, often coming off the line too upright and getting pushed into the backfield. Similar problems when run blocking downfield, not getting low enough to properly use his legs and drive defenders backward.

Negatives: An alarming list of off-the-field struggles and run-ins with the law including a trespassing conviction, a theft charge, and an assault and battery charge stemming from an altercation with a former girlfriend. Inconsistent timing of first step off the line often leaves him beat to the edge by opposing defensive ends, resulting in poor footwork and inability to establish proper position. Has a tendency to over-anticipate and "reach" for the defender off the line rather than slide-stepping into a solid stance, extending his arms and allowing the defender to approach him. This overpursuit often results in bending at the waist with a subsequent loss of balance, forcing him to have to "chase" down defenders who beat him to the edge. Absorbs too much of defender's initial punch by bending his back rather than bending his knees; relies too heavily on arm and upper-body strength for proper extension. Lack of quickness off the line leads to inconsistent hand placement inside the shoulders of opposing pass rusher, making him vulnerable to strong initial punch and bull rush. Lacks consistent footwork and slide-step technique to handle change-of-direction, fake and spin moves by pass rushers at the next level.

My Take: Has the measureables that you look for in a tackle prospect. But I think he is a grade A asshat, in other words an idiot. Has a lot of character concerns, I can see the Raiders drafting him late.

Other than the guys listed there are a lot of OT prospects that could go real late in the draft if not undrafted. Would not surprise me to see us draft a guy late and get another in the undrafted crops.

Well that is it for the draft prospects, I have enjoyed looking at all the prospects over the last few months and hope I unearthed a few that you may not have heard of. Next week I will post up my Mock Draft which I have been working on for what seems like forever. But it is close to being finalised. After that, to finish off our count down to the draft we will be commencing the mock draft competition. I wonder if 80# and Doc will be back to defend their crowns? I will have more on that in the coming weeks. ~ Aussie