April 30, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Recap and Thoughts - UDFAs - Competition Winner

The 2012 NFL draft has come to a close and the Broncos have made seven selections in total. As the offseason whines down and before we gear up again for training camp we will be taking a deeper look at each player and what he brings to the team. But for now here are my thoughts on the players and what transpired in the draft.

Rd Pick Player Position - School Notes
2 4 (36) Derek Wolfe DT - Cincinnati via TB (w/ #101 for #31 and #126)
2 25 (57) Brock Osweiler QB - Arizona State
3 4 (67) Ronnie Hillman RB - San Diego State via CLE (for #87 and #120)
4 6 (101) Omar Bolden DB - Arizona State via TB (w/ #36 for #31 and #126)
4 13 (108) Philip Blake OL - Baylor via NYJ (Tim Tebow)
5 2 (137) Malik Jackson DE - Tennessee via STL (Brandon Lloyd)
6 18 (188) Danny Trevathan LB - Kentucky via NYJ (Tebow)

36 Derek Wolfe
Derek was one of the players that I reviewed at the start of the month as apart of the Defensive Tackle Prospects that I looked at. Here is what I had to say about him at the time: "Wolfe would be an UT. He has a long frame. He could get bigger in the legs and arms. Displays good foot work. He is Ok off the snap but gets a little upright. He is solid against the run but disappears when doubled. He is not very disruptive and affecting the pocket. Has a good motor.

When you start getting down into these guys they are all development prospects. Wolfe is no expection, he has a good frame and some tools to work with but I think he lacks the athleticism to play under tackle. I saw nothing special to warrant a 2nd or even 3rd round pick. I would have him in the fourth with a possible starter potential most likely a rotation guy though."

That was my initial assessment of Wolfe but it should be noted I can only see so much film on a guy and those games he may have been having an off day. I was honest I did not see anything that made me sit up and take notice. But from a production stand point Wolfe was probably the top interior pass rusher (other than Fletcher Cox) left in the draft. There were 3 maybe 4 guys that have shown good production rushing the pass from an interior position in the whole draft. I also think Wolfe's character played a large part in his drafting, the work ethic and passion is clear to see. Some have questioned whether this was a 'reach' and I would tend to agree with that group but Wolfe said he had 'a lot' of contact with the Ravens and was pissed when they didn't take him in the first. He truly believes he has the talent to be a first round pick. It was probable the Ravens intended to take Wolfe at 35# but when Upshaw dropped they had to pounce. Leaving Wolfe to go to the Broncos. For that matter he probably was rated quite high on draft boards around the league.

Wolfe will see time early with the Broncos in the rotation but I doubt he starts off as a three down player. He will see most of his time on passing downs where he will put his pass rushing skills to good use. Wolfe brings youth and talent to a very old position and should be a regular for many years to come.

It will be always unknown whether the Broncos were targeting Doug Martin or not at 31 but we still got a solid player in the end.

57 Brock Osweiler
This year I did not review any Quarterbacks but I will not lie and say I didn't look at any. There were two Quarterbacks that I watched a bit of tape on to get an idea of their talent and both had been linked to the Broncos. They were Nick Foles and Brock Osweiler. What little I did see of Brock I liked. I thought he moved well for a big man, had decent vision of the field and of course that cannon arm. At times I do think he struggled with pressure and his release can be a little slow but he has 3 maybe 4 years to work on it behind Manning. I don't expect Manning to 'mentor' Brock at all, he has more important things to do. But what Brock needs to learn from him is his habits, how to read defenses and breakdown film. Then work on his techniques both passing the ball and his footwork. Plus learn that playbook from cover to cover (or screen to screen on the tablet). Then be ready when your number is called.

I do really like Brock's potential and that he is insurance but I question doing it now. The convention wisdom is we could have drafted a QB in next years or the year afters draft. But 'Franchise QBs' don't grow on trees no matter what the Browns or Raiders think. The fact Brock is a good friend of Jack Elway should have made this connection quite obvious but I missed it with everything else that goes on in draft world.

The one person I do feel sorry for is Princess. We have gone from having one of the best looking QB corps to Peyton 'Long Neck' Manning and Brock 'Giant' Osweiler. Hopefully Adam Weber with his golden surfer boy locks can make the team to bring up the 'hottest rating' of our QBs.

67 Ronnie Hillman
A surprise pick for me considering the number of Running Back prospects I looked at this year. I think I missed him because there were just so many smaller backs to look at in this years draft plus he was projected much later than where he was.

From what little I have seen of Hillman I know he has speed, lots of speed and is very elusive. It should be noted that he didn't play behind the greatest offensive line which struggled against better competition. Also he has added a decent amount of bulk since the end of the college season. How much I don't know. But I have seen him make guys miss, is quick and drives his legs. I am very interested to see what Hillman can do on third down. The comparisons to Marshall Faulk don't hurt either.

101 Omar Bolden
Bolden is another guy I over looked and mainly because of the injuries. When healthy he was really fast, maybe not Devin Hester/Chris Johnson fast but still more than fast enough. He has everything you look for in a corner, size, speed and talent. This pick will all be about health. If healthy Bolden good do anything.

108 Philip Blake
The center from Baylor...where have I heard that before. Blake is a tough mauler that can play any of the interior positions and provides great depth. Blake is a very smart player, he scored a 35 on the wonderlic at the combine. Plus he is very strong and has a powerful lower half. The one down side I see with Blake is his age, turning 27 this year is not something you like. That means he has missed at least 4 years of being in the NFL. But hey sometimes that happens, Blake needs to show up and learn the offensive quickly if he wants to start.

Do I think he beats out JD? I don't think so. Their paths crossed out Baylor and Blake had to play RT because JD was at center. This will be an interesting battle in training camp.

137 Malik Jackson
Jackson is a guy I did scout and here is what I said: "He has a huge frame, I love his size. He may be better as a UT in the 4-3. he has pretty good footwork. His torso is huge. Shows good hustle on plays and a great motor. I thought he showed good strength fighting against the OL. He is fast off the snap and can get around the edge. He needs work on his run defense. He played UT and DE in college. Surprisingly how fast he is at covering ground and I love that he is versatile. I think he is strong enough to play inside or out in the NFL he just needs to have better pad level. Really surprised people are down on this guy. Seems like a great kid.

I was really surprised with Jackson. I love the versatility and potential he has. If he is still there in the later round this kid could be a steal. With more strength training and technique coaching he could be a starter someday and will play early in a rotation. I really want this guy on our team."

I still feel the exact same why about Jackson. He does need to get stronger. He was 284 at the combine after playing at 266 in college. I think if he can get to 290 and keep the weight on plus build strength he could be a starter in a few years. I love the size and potential, great pick.

188 Danny Trevathan
Trevathan was my favorite prospect from the draft and for me is the reason I look at prospects. At the time going through the Linebackers none of them stood out to me, Tank was aggressive but meh and Linebacker is my favorite position, so I was disappointed. Danny was the last linebacker I looked at out of the group and picture my frame of mind. Bored and wanted to get this over with. Then I put on the tape, he made me sit up and sit on the edge of my chair. He was just a tackling machine. He sniffs the plays out quickly and navigates through traffic amazingly. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Danny he is what I said at the time: "He could get bigger and probably needs to if he wants to play in the NFL. He lacks some muscle in his lower half. He looks tiny on tape (must have put on weight for the combine, he was 220-225 in college I think). He needs to get better in coverage but he is one of the better backers I have seen doing it. He is an Ok blitzer. He has great vision for the ball carrier, always knows where the ball is. He is an excellent tackler, maybe the best wrap up guy from this group. He struggles with offensive linemen blocks. He has had great production and is a tackling machine. He finds his way through traffic easily. He is always activity, he has a great motor.

Danny is the one guy I want to draft, above all others. He could be the Wesley Woodyard of this draft. If he makes it deep into the fifth or sixth round you have to pick him. He provides depth at ILB and WLB and could be a special teams ace for years. Develop him for a few years and grow his body and I think he could be a starter in the NFL.

After going through the linebackers up to Danny there wasn't a guy that stood out to me and said 'Draft me'. Tank Carder is probably the only early round guy I would look at because I like his intensity and he can fill that SLB spot which is vacant."

I have really high hopes for Danny, I think he can be something special. If he can keep his weight and get to 240 then build a heap of strength I can envision him starting at ILB. Danny Trevathan 6' 237 pounds, Jon Beason 6' 237 pounds, just saying.

I think the Broncos did a fantastic job getting the guys they wanted and moving around the board. Yes they probably gave up a little value but when your Superbowl favorites teams ain't going to want to trade with you much. I don't think they really reached on a guy, this is how they had them graded and went after them. There is also the thinking that the Broncos didn't get 'impact players'. But if you look at Aussie's Mock draft and my roster breakdown there are not many holes to fill and draftees ain't going to take the spots of veteran starts. I think they filled out the roster and added quality depth across the board. I would give them a B for this job.

Undrafted Free Agents
The Broncos managed to sign 13 UDFAs, they are as follows.

Steven Johnson, LB Kansas
Jamie Blatnick, DE Oklahoma St.
Mike Remmers, OT Oregon St.
Elliot Coffey, LB Baylor
Duke Ihenacho, S San Jose St.
Gerell Robinson, WR Arizona St.
Austin Wuebbels, G Missouri
Wayne Tribue, G Temple
Anthony Miller, TE, Cal
Coryell Judie, CB Texas A&M
Aaron Brewer, Longsnapper San Diego St.
Jerry Franklin, LB Arkansas
Eric Page, WR Toledo

It was interesting to note we signed so many LBs from the group and most are smaller guys. The one guy that I loved we signed was Coryell Judie. I thought we would draft this guy and I think he will be very hard to cut in the preseason.

Draft Competition - Broncos Blog Draft Guru

The results were very close and I think will be controversial when you review them. From the second part of the competition only Jazzy scored some points. The results are in the table below.

PersonTotal Score

That means for the Broncos Blog Draft Guru for the 2012-13 season...Digger is the BBDG! Congratulations.

Full breakdown of the results are in the comments. Any issues or complements hit us up in the comments ~ Aussie.

April 28, 2012

2012 NFL Draft - Day 3 - Round 4-7

Before looking at what is coming today let's recap what happened yesterday in round two and three.

Round Two
Rams - Brian Quick
Colts - Coby Fleener
Ravens (From Vikings) - Courtney Upshaw
Broncos (From Buccaneers) - Derek Wolfe
Browns - Mitchell Schwartz
Jaguars - Andre Branch
Rams (From Redskins) - Janoris Jenkins
Panthers - Amini Silatolu
Bills - Cordy Glenn
Dolphins - Jonathan Martin
Jets (From Seahawks) - Stephen Hill
Chiefs - Jeff Allen
Bears (From Cowboys through Rams) - Alshon Jeffery
Eagles - Mychal Kendricks
Seahawks (From Jets) - Bobby Wagner
Patriots (From Raiders) - Tavon Wilson
Chargers - Kendall Reyes
Rams (From Bears) - Isaiah Pead
Packers (From Cardinals through Eagles) - Jerel Worthy
Titans - Zach Brown
Bengals - Devon Still
Lions - Ryan Broyles
Falcons - Peter Konz
Steelers - Mike Adams
Broncos - Brock Osweiler
Buccaneers (From Texans) - Lavonte David
Eagles (From Packers) - Vinny Curry
Ravens - Kelechi Osemele
49ers - LaMichael James
Packers (From Patriots) - Casey Hayward
Giants - Rueben Randle

Round Three
Colts - Dwayne Allen
Rams - Trumaine Johnson
Vikings - Josh Robinson
Broncos (From Browns) - Ronnie Hillman
Texans (From Buccaneers) - Devier Posey
Bills (From Redskins) T.J Graham
Jaguars - Bryan Anger
Redskins (From Bills) - Josh LeRibeus
Dolphins - Olivier Vernon
Chargers (From Panthers through Bears and Dolphins) - Brandon Taylor
Chiefs - Donald Stephenson
Seahawks - Russell Wilson
Texans (From Eagles) - Brandon Brooks
Jets - Demario Davis
Dolphins (From Chargers) - Michael Egnew
Bears - Brandon Hardin
Cardinals - Jamell Fleming
Cowboys - Tyrone Crawford
Titans - Mike Martin
Bengals - Mohamed Sanu
Ravens (From Falcons) - Bernard Pierce
Lions - Dwight Bentley
Steelers - Sean Spence
Browns (From Broncos) - John Hughes
Eagles (From Texans) - Nick Foles
Saints - Akiem Hicks
Patriots (From Packers) - Jake Bequette
Falcons (From Ravens) - Lamar Holmes
Colts (From 49ers) - T.Y Hilton
Bengals (From Patriots) - Brandon Thompson
Giants - Jayron Hosley
Raiders (Compensatory selection) - Tony Bergstrom

Day two of the draft was just as interesting as the first. The Broncos again sent fans back to the drawing board and scratching their heads. The Broncos made three picks today and one trade. They selected a DT, QB and RB. The players that were selected by the Broncos were Derek Wofle, Brock Osweiler and Ronnie Hillman. To select Hillman they had to trade up in the third round. They moved from the back end of the round to the front trading with the Browns to do so, we gave up a 4th in the process. We will have more on the draftees in the coming weeks.

For now here is some comments from a number of people....

"I’m just absolutely completely ecstatic to be a Denver Bronco. It’s a dream come true. I absolutely can’t wait to get to Denver, and can’t wait to get to work and give everything I have to that organization." One of the newest Denver Broncos, quarterback Brock Osweiler, in his post-pick press conference

"I think Derek is a guy that plays a five-technique end as well as three-technique defensive tackle. He’s got good length, good speed for that length—6’5, 300 lbs. He’s got the frame to get bigger. Very, very productive as far as creating havoc for the quarterback; he does a great job with his hands, snatching off things. He’s the most productive guy stat-wise of all the tackles in the draft. He’s got a great motor. There are some testing things we do, he’s a high character guy and [we are adding] a great attitude to our defense." Denver Broncos head coach John Fox on one of the newest Broncos, DT Derek Wolfe

Julius Thomas ‏ (@Julius_Thomas): Congrats to all my new teammates. Special day for em. #BroncosNation
Robert Ayers (@1_900_ayersjr): I just watched Hillman’s combine footage and looked up his stats on NFL.com EXPLOSIVE!! And has great hands.. #greatpick
Robert Ayers (@1_900_ayersjr): Bronco Nation welcome the “Giant Gunslinger” from the desert @BrockOsweiler Glad to have ya big guy..
Robert Ayers (@1_900_ayersjr): Welcome to the Denver Broncos D-Line Derek Wolfe… Glad to have ya big dawg.. #letdowork
I just think Ayers was happy we didn't take a DE.
Von Miller ‏ (@MillerLite40): I’m loving what we’re doing in the draft!!! Brock Osweiler was a beast at ASU!!!!!!!
Chris Harris‏ (@CHarris_25): I’m liking the pick Derek Wolfe

Today there a numerous quality players still available to be selected over the next four rounds. I am feeling an OL, DT maybe LB and WR with the picks we have left. We also could be looking for another back, if so it may be the end for Knowshon. We could possibly trade him for an late round pick.

The remaining picks that we have are:

4 - 6 (101) - via TB (w/ #36 for #31 and #126)
4 - 13 (108) - via NYJ (Tim Tebow)
5 - 2 (137) - via STL (Brandon Lloyd)
6 - 18 (188) - via NYJ (Tebow)

Another interesting day of drafting ahead and hopefully we can continue to build this team.

April 27, 2012

2012 NFL Draft - Day 2 - Round 2-3

First recapping what happened yesterday. Below is the selections by all the teams in the first round.

Colts - Andrew Luck QB
Redskins - Robert Griffin III QB
Browns - Trent Richardson RB
Vikings - Matt Kalil OT
Jaguars - Justin Blackmon WR
Cowboys - Morris Claiborne CB
Buccaneers - Mark Barron SS
Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill QB
Panthers - Luke Kuechly ILB
Bills - Stephon Gilmore CB
Chiefs - Dontari Poe DT
Eagles - Fletcher Cox DT
Cardinals - Michael Floyd WR
Rams - Michael Brockers DT
Seahawks - Bruce Irvin DE
Jets - Quinton Coples DE
Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick CB
Chargers - Melvin Ingram DE
Bears - Shea McClellin DE
Titans - Kendall Wright WR
Patriots - Chandler Jones DE
Browns - Brandon Weeden QB
Lions - Riley Reiff OT
Steelers - David DeCastro G
Patriots - Dont'a Hightower ILB
Texans - Whitney Mercilus DE
Bengals - Kevin Zeitler G
Packers - Nick Perry DE
Vikings - Harrison Smith FS
49ers - A.J. Jenkins WR
Buccaneers - Doug Martin RB
Giants - David Wilson RB

This was a very interesting round with lots of excitement. There were a number of 'reaches' in the draft so far. Poe, Irvin and Weeden all went earlier than they probably should have but we will see. Just be glad Pete Carroll isn't running our team. Chandler Jones went to the Patriots, I think that is a great spot for him, I just hope they don't try and play him at OLB.

There were numerous trades throughout the draft, the Browns, Jags, Patriots and Cowboys traded up among others. The Broncos were one of the teams trading down doing so twice. First with the Patriots from 25# to 31# and picking up a fourth round pick in the process. The Patriots took Hightower at 25#. The way I see this is the Broncos had limited options here. They didn't want to reach for a guy but wanted to move back and the Patriots may have been one of the few trade partners (who else would want to trade to that spot?). Plus the pick itself Hightower would have been stupid for the Broncos. He has slow lateral movement and is a banger. There is no way he would have succeed in a 4-3. With the Pats he will play well.

The next trade happened when the Buccaneers moved from 36# to 31#. The Broncos changed fourth round picks with them and made up 25 spots in the fourth round. The value isn't great and we could possibly have got more or this could have been the best offer available. Either way we are still in a good position to pick good players. Also of note Elway said that the Bucs did not tell him they were taking Martin. Secretly I think he was pissed.

That leaves us with the following picks:

#36(4) From Tampa Bay
#57(25) Own Pick

#87(25) Own Pick

#101 (6) From Tampa Bay
#108 (13) From N.Y. Jets
#120 (25) Own Pick

#137 (2) From St. Louis

#188 (18) From N.Y. Jets

Elway said this among other things at his press conference: "Well, we didn’t get any better yet but we will tomorrow. When we looked at where we were, obviously we had some guys targeted that didn’t quite make it to us in 25, so we had some opportunities to move back with New England to pick up a fourth. We liked that, thought that was great. Then, when we had a chance to move back from 31 to 36 with Tampa again, our board looked the same. We thought we’d be able to get the same people at 36 that we could at 31—or have the same pool of players there at 36 as we did at 31. By doing that we moved up 25 spots to the top of the fourth, which we really believe this is a deep draft. It’s not real thick at the top, but it’s pretty deep through the middle rounds. We thought by adding another good pick it gives us more options going into tomorrow. Plus we’ll still be able to get the same people that we had targeted that made it to us at 25 at 36. We’re excited about the day. Obviously it’s a little bit of a downer when you don’t have a new player. But, we’re excited about where we sit and the next two days are going to be exciting."

Competition Update
I have graded the first part of the draft competition. I will probably award a few extra points later based on trades but at the moment out in front is Digger on 35 followed closely by Jazzy with 30 points and in a distant third myself on 15 points. I will say this, I changed my submission just before the draft started and could account for 15 missed points based on those changes. The Browns trade threw me, screw you Browns! Either way I think that was a fairly solid effort by us but there is still room for improvement (since the first section is scored out of 160). Tomorrow will Digger rein supreme or will Jazzy catch him and take the lead. Or the distant underdog rise from the ashes to take victory? Find out tomorrow as the draft moves into the second day and hopefully we get some new Broncos ~ Aussie.

April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft - Day 1 - Round 1

It has finally arrived the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft. If you are like me you have no idea what is going to happen, who is going where and what to expect. This draft I think will be one that will be remembered for a long time. Here is the perfect place to discuss the picks, trades and everything involved in the draft tomorrow. I should be on for the large part of the first round and be hopefully joined by our band of merry Bronco followers. Let's go get some new Broncos!

Also if you haven't already you have until the Colts come on the clock tomorrow to submit/change your entries for the Broncos Blog Draft Competition. You can submit your entries here. I will place a 'closed' message on the post when the draft begins. Good luck and enjoy tomorrow ~ Aussie.

April 23, 2012

Brian Dawkins Retires

NFL.com: Brian Dawkins announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, and the legendary Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos safety is satisfied to step away from the game on his own terms.

"It's just the fact about having peace about stepping away from the game knowing that I can play the game another year -- that may sound crazy -- but knowing I could play this game at least another year gave me a lot of peace," Dawkins said during a conference call Monday. "A lot more peace to step away from the game a year too early, rather than a year too late."

After 16 seasons, Dawkins retires with 26 sacks and 37 interceptions, having played in one Super Bowl with the Eagles and nine Pro Bowls (including this past season, as an alternate). Dawkins also was a four-time first-team All-Pro selection.

Dawkins battled neck injuries toward the end of the 2011 season and missed two of the Broncos' final three regular-season games and the team's two playoff games. However, the safety refuted any suggestion that his retirement was related to injury.

"Injury factors weren't the main ingredient here. It really wasn't," Dawkins said.

Dawkins, ever characterized by his physical style of play, said another player could come into the league and play like him, but the stricter rules would make it hard for them to be successful.

"He can exist," Dawkins said. "It's going to be tough, it's going to be tough, but he can play."

While others already have started the Pro Football Hall of Fame talk, Dawkins said that was never something he said to himself when he came into the league.

"There is a small percentage of guys who get a chance to play in the National Football League," Dawkins said. "So, just being able to be on the field, you know, to be out there on the field, not on the sideline but on the field playing the game is something that will be missed."

Dawkins said he plans on coaching at the high school level in Denver, but he doesn't have any other immediate plans, other than to spend time with his family.

"My wife has done an excellent job of raising our kids," Dawkins told The Denver Post. "A lot of time I'm not here. I'm going to be around more."

ESPN.com: Here is Fox’s statement:

"Brian Dawkins is one of the best to ever play the game, a future Hall of Famer who changed the way his position is played. In many ways, he helped my job as a coach with his great leadership and preparation. He brought so much to the table, and was such an enormous asset to our football team.

"His contributions go far beyond the wins, interceptions, sacks and Pro Bowls he accumulated during his career. Brian is the definition of class, and is what you want in a leader. I know our players, coaches, fans and so many within the National Football League feel the same way.

"I competed against Brian for many years with the Giants and coached him once in the Pro Bowl, but to be around him every day for a season was truly special. I’m not sure there was a more respected guy in our building than Brian. He knows defense, he knows football, and he knows what it takes to win. I’ve got the utmost admiration for him as both a player and person.

"It’s been an honor and a privilege to coach Brian. Although I will miss the positive impact he had on our team, I congratulate Brian on a tremendous career, and wish him and his family all the best going forward."

According to LJ and Andrew Mason, Dawkins will officially retire on Saturday as a Philadelphia Eagle.

Originally signed to a five-year deal in February 2009, Dawkins took a significant pay cut last August and the final two years of his original deal were wiped out, meaning Dawk had become an unrestricted free agent in March. Therefore, his retirement will have no cap implications for the Broncos, who signed veteran safety Mike Adams to a two-year deal on March 15.

John Elway reacted to Dawk's announcement via Twitter:

Thank you, @BrianDawkins, for being a GREAT Bronco and showing such an incredible commitment to your team and community....Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career, Dawk!!!

Brian Dawkins Tribute Video.

When asked how he hopes to be remembered, Dawkins said simply as a player who worked hard every day, someone who teammates could count on no matter the situation.

And someday -- possibly as soon as the class of 2017 -- he could be remembered as a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

"If that's something that happens, that will be a blessing," Dawkins said. "I never entered the NFL saying, ‘You know, I'm going to be a Hall of Famer.’ I know some guys do that; I just wasn't one of them. That wasn't my mindset. I did not enter the league saying, ‘I want to play 16 years.’ None of these things were in my mind, so, at this point, now that I can really reflect on my career, if it happens, I will share it with my fans and all those that cheered me on. I would share it with my coaches and teammates.

"It would be an absolute blessing and honor."

Personally I am really disappointed that Dawk didn't come back for that last shot at a ring after our team is continuing to build in the right direction. But he goes out on his terms and at his time. Thank you B-Dawk for everything you did for the Broncos and the community.

Also remember the draft competition submission post below. ~ Aussie.

2012 Draft Competition Submission

Hi everyone. This will be the post to submit your entries for the draft competition to win the title of Broncos Blog Draft Guru (BBDG). This post is only for submissions, I will have another post up for general discussion tomorrow as we lead up to the draft. 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 chose. Now we are not going to worry about what position that pick is. For example 25th Denver Broncos Gilmore, we are not worried about the 25th position but the player that is picked. So if you think the Broncos will pick Gilmore put down Denver Broncos Gilmore. Therefore you need to pick the player that will go to each team in the first round of the draft. For each correct pick you will get 5 points. There are a maximum of 160 points that can be gained from this section.

In 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 25#. If you chose the right player(s) with a pick that is from a trade this can be the difference between winning and losing. Scoring is as follows:

If you correctly pick a player that is selected by the Broncos that is 5 points. If you correctly pick the ROUND that player is picked in that will give you an extra 5 points. The correct pick of a player but in the wrong round will only result in 5 points. In this section creative is rewarded by the chance of getting more points from trades but it is a riskier 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 2012 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 after I have marked them. 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 these decisions so try to be as clear as possible so I understand what you are doing. Again I will be as fair as possible.

If you are game enough you can predict a trade for a player or trade a player. For example the Broncos trade a 6th to a ‘Team’ for X player or Player to ‘Team’ for X. If you are game to do as such and you are right I will award this person 10 points for correctness of trade (the picks), 10 points for correct player and 10 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 10 points, but you have to be game and it could change your mock draft completely. Good Luck.

April 22, 2012

Aussie's 2012 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 sections 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 another usual one but I expect defensive players to be picked in abundance as teams try harder to prevent offenses putting up big points and the new love for tight ends. Luckily this draft is heavy with defensive backs and defensive lineman. There are no real stand outs at linebacker (other than Kuechly and Hightower (3-4)) but there are a number of serviceable players at the position in later rounds. Defensive end is surprisingly weak this year. Wide Receiver is packed full of big guys and Running Back has a big mix of different types of players. It definitely will be an interesting draft.

When making a mock there are a number of things I like to take into account when looking at who to pick. These are the types of things I would think General Managers and Head Coaches do. For example 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. What is available in the following years draft needs to be taken into account so you can know what players you can target. You have to be wary of 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 Chargers pick pass rushers, we may need more help on the OL). 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 breaking down the roster and looking at the needs for the team.

Cornerback 2PorterVaughn
MLBIrvingMaysCyril Obiozor
Defensive EndAyersHunter
Under TackleWarrenVickersonUnreinGarland
Nose TackleBannanThomas?
Defensive EndDoomBeal
Strong SafetyCarterBruton
Free SafetyMike AdamsRahim Moore
Cornerback 1Champ
Wide Receiver 1Thomas
Tight EndDreessenThomas
Right TackleFranklinHarris
Right GuardKuperRamirez
Left GuardBeadlesDavis
Left TackleCladyClark
Tight EndTammeGreen
Wide Receiver 2Decker

There are a number of holes in the roster. Last year on defense we needed to focus on all three levels as they needed impact players and an upgrade of talent. This year because of solid drafting and FA we can focus our needs more. The offense has been totally overhauled and will be much different this year. The roster is fairly solid but I worry about our depth beyond the starters. Below is an explanation of my roster breakdown.

Note: 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 last year even though he saw him failing first hand. It is the reason that after the a high draft pick (Jarvis Moss) gets cut he will be signed by someone else. NFL management looks past previous poor play and envisions what they could be. They back their ability to turn and mold that player into something better. That being said let’s review the current roster.

We will start with defense. This year we are in a much better spot than we have been in recent times but we need to continue to develop and build on this side of the ball. Starting with the defense line and defensive ends lets begin the breakdown. The current players on the roster that will play DE in the 4-3 are Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter, Jeremy Beal and maybe a little Kevin Vickerson. Doom is a lock at one DE spot and you would think Ayers would retain his position from last year. Doom is a very effective pass rusher and has improved his run defense greatly. Ayers is probably the best run defender on the team but he needs to start producing more sacks. If I am Fox I would continue to develop Ayers in this position and see if he can be the long term solution, he so far has showed continued improvement. I am a little worried about the depth of the defensive ends. Hunter and Beal are serviceable but if Doom goes down to injury we have no real replacement for that sort of sack production. I can see a need here to bring in a young DE that can rush the passer and be involved in a rotation as he is developed.

Looking at this as X-man I would see heavy money still invested into this position, though Ayers is much cheaper this year Doom’s contract is not. Spending mid round pick(s) may be the solution to get good player(s) on the cheap at this position.

Verdict: Have solid starters but worried about sack production if Miller or Doom goes down. A specialist pass rusher/development DE could be used.

Next up the Defensive Tackle position. The current players on the roster are Kevin Vickerson, Ty Warren, Justin Bannan, Ben Garland and Mitch Unrein. Vickerson and Warren are returning after suffering season ending injuries last year. Bannan rejoins the team after a disappointing year in St. Louis. All three I see as starters, at the moment I have Bannan pegged as NT and Warren as UT. Vickerson would be depth for Warren. Marcus Thomas is still testing the open market but he probably stays with us because no one wants to give him a long-ish deal. If so he provides depth for Bannan at NT. Mitch Unrein was serviceable last year and Ben Garland is the unknown of the group. I don't see any holes or 'needs' at this position. What I do see is a bunch of old players, some returning from injury that should not be expected to play all season long. This group could do with some youth and talent at both Defensive Tackle positions and their is more than enough to choose from in this draft.

Verdict: We can get by with what we have but injuries are a concern. There is not an need to draft early on this position but some young talent is required.

On the list next to look at is the second level players, the linebackers. Listed on the roster at the moment are Joe Mays, Nate Irving, Wesley Woodyard, DJ Williams, Von Miller, Mike Mohamed and Cyril Obiozor. At MLB we have the returning starter Mays and the young rookie Irving. Personally I hope Irving comes on strong and starts the year at MLB. Mays is OK but misses a lot of tackles. This position I believe is set. With the money they gave Mays and the believed high regard that Irving is held in, the Broncos will probably go with these two into the season as the MLB. I doubt they draft anyone to play this spot unless it is Kuechly who drops in the first. WLB is set with Woodyard and Williams. But SLB not so much. Miller is the unquestioned starter but there is no real depth behind him. Mohamed is an OK player but physically limited. A young talented LB may be brought in to compete with Mohamed. Obiozor is the unknown but I hope he stays because he has a sick name.

Verdict: This is a solid group and the depth issues were addressed last year. Other than Kuechly to play MLB I don't see the Broncos drafting any linebacker. They may get a later round guy to develop and battle Mohamed but that is of low priority.

Finally on defense the secondary, let’s start with the corners. On the roster we currently have Champ Bailey, Tracy Porter, Chris Harris, Syd’Quan Thompson, Cassius Vaughn and a host of other camp fodder. Champ is Champ but he is getting on in years and a replacement is needed when he retires/moves to safety. Porter is the new guy on the block and will be the starting number 2. Though not amazing he has been very good so far in his career and will be an improvement over Goodman. Harris has that Nickel position locked down, he should see a lot of the field this year. Squid is returning from a season ending injury and I hope he is the same player as he was before the injury. He was a ball hawk and I missed the Squid. He should have that Dime position locked down. Vaughn unlike the other two is the primary back up for Champ and Porter (in my mind). My reasoning is both Squid and Harris lack the size and speed to play on the outside. Where as Vaughn doesn't but he lacks technique. He too is returning from injury. If healthy this is a pretty solid group of players, much better than the group we had at this point last year. There is only one area of need that I can see here. That is for another guy on the outside. With Champ's age and Porter's contract I think this is the perfect time to bring in a young corner that can be developed to play on the outside and take over from either Champ or Porter in a year or two.

Verdict: Very solid group, young and talented plus Champ Bailey. Drafting a corner early makes a lot of sense for the future continuity of the position.

Time for the safeties. The current roster of safeties looks like this Mike Adams, David Bruton, Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore. This position is set. Throw in the possible return of Dawkins and we have more than enough safeties. This position improved greatly over last year.

Verdict: All set. Hopefully B-Dawk returns for that ring.

In conclusion we need depth at DE (pass rusher). Young talent at DT. A young corner to play on the outside and be developed for a year. And maybe a LB that can beat out Mohamed and play the SLB spot.

With the defense done it is time to take a look at the offensive side of the ball. Last year we were in dire need of defensive players. This year it is pretty even across the board and we need to continue to fill the roster with talented players. It should be noted that Manning has always struggled to win the big one without a good defense. I would prefer we spend most of our picks on defense.

First the offensive line. I am not worried about the starters. Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, JD Walton, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin are young developing players and should be kept as a group. What I worry about is depth. Outside of Ryan Harris the second string OL is made up of a bunch of no names. Clark, Davis and Ramirez have been serviceable in the past but no where near ready being the starters if one of these guys gets hurt. A tackle and guard that can sit and be developed may be a good option and at a pinch start if one of these guys gets hurt.

Verdict: Personally I don't see a need to draft an offensive linemen early. We already have a very young line and there is no point making it younger. We should develop these guys and with more experience they will get better. Remember this will be Beadles and Walton's third season as starters. Most players take three years to adapt. It would also be Franklin's second. I expect big things from these guys this year. I say a guard and tackle or a tweener in the later rounds is required.

Next up is the running backs. The list of running backs are Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Jeremiah Johnson, Mario Fannin and Lance Ball. McGahee is the starter and will carry the load for most of the season. Moreno is coming back from another injury and could be cut. He is serviceable on third down and can catch out of the back field, a trait that appeals to Manning, so he may stay in a limited roll. JJ I want to see more of and I am hoping so this year. He is a smaller, change of pace back and has looked electric in the limited capacity we have seen. Lance Ball has been serviceable and is the second string RB but I think he can be replaced/upgraded. Fannin is the dark horse. He has all the talent and potential but is coming back from an season ending injury. He will need to show something in camp or be cut.

Verdict: Fannin is the unknown, if he comes on there is no point drafting a guy, but than again maybe he doesn't. Ball I think will be replaced as the Broncos want a guy to share the load with McGahee. Whether this is a smaller back or a bigger one I do not know. But I am completely against drafting a running back in the early rounds to share the load. We have a quality group now that could go into the season as is. One guy in the middle of the rounds I say we go after.

Tight end is up next and I believe it is set. Tamme, Dreessen, Thomas and Green fill out a nice corps. I am excited to see what Manning does with this group.

Verdict: Set.

The receiving core looks like it has filled out nicely. With Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Andre Caldwell, Ninja Willis and Brandon Stokley there really isn't room for anyone else. Mark Dell is on the roster but he probably ends up on the Practice Squad again. There is one area of weakness that I do see. I have Caldwell, Willis and Stokley pegged as slot receivers inside. Then I have Thomas and Decker as the bigger guys outside. Decker as we know will be moved around a lot but he is the no 2 receiver. What I think we are lacking is another big guy. Someone that can fill in for Decker or Thomas if needed (both have been injured before) and also be a threat in the red zone (Julius Thomas could be this guy).

Verdict: Almost a complete group. I think a late round pick on a big guy to sit behind Thomas and Decker is needed.

Next the Quarterbacks. At the moment we have Peyton Manning, Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber. Manning is the unquestioned starter. Hanie is a guy I like but he needs to be developed and I am not a big fan of him being the primary back up at this point in time. Weber may be third string or on the practice squad again but I like what little we have seen of him so far.

Verdict: Set. For me this group is enough for this year. They may bring in another veteran to back up Manning but I don't see us drafting a QB. Quarterbacks again will be over drafted this year as people reach for them and the Broncos don't want to spend a high pick on a future player when Plan A is right now. Plus since the Broncos are looking at every QB again I think we are doing our 'due diligence' and won't select any of these guys. Maybe next year but not now, unless Osweiler or Foles fall into the later rounds, 5-6.

Finally I come to FB and this has became a need. We unfortunately let Larsen go to the Pats and are only left with Austin Sylvester. I am unsure of how highly we feel about Sylvester but we could be looking at fullbacks either late in the draft or Undrafted FA.

Verdict: Draft or Undrafted FA.

In conclusion we need Offensive Line depth. Another RB to share the load. A big endzone threat WR and maybe a Fullback. Couple that with the DE, DT, CB and possibly LB that is 6 possibly 8 players that we need. With 7 picks let's at least fill as many as possible!

Division Rivals

We have three and we all know them, the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers. Against all three this year we did better against the run than we have in the past. We also did better against Cassel, Palmer and Rivers but we still need to improve. Offensively we struggled to pass against these guys. We also continue to struggle against the blitz and pass rushers, this is on the OL guys to get better.

The Raiders don’t have any picks early and I expect them to spend most of their picks on offensive given their new coach and defensive perspective.

The Chiefs I think are in need of offensive line talent and will continue to develop their defense.

The Chargers are in an odd situation, they usually have a strong roster but have lost a lot of talent in FA this year. I think they are looking for pass rushers and defensive players. It is possible they may be looking for running backs too.

We will then need to be strong on the defensive line, stop the run and protect the passer.


We have talked a bit in the past 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 Manning and the receivers we have on the roster to see a number of 3 and 4 wide sets and audibles called at the line. Main thing to take away from this is that Fox is not a big user of TEs other than as blockers. But with Manning on the team and the personnel we now have at TE these guys will be more involved this year in the passing game. This will be a very different offense to what it was last year.

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. He uses 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, but if a guy like Von Miller comes along who is bigger and has the speed of the smaller guys he can use them too. His secondaries have never been amazing, just very solid. Last year we saw some creativity from DC Allen with his blitz packages but not to the extent that you see with the Saints. It will be interesting to see what Del Rio's perspective will be on the defensive. He like Fox likes big DTs and runs the type of defense Fox likes. It probably won't be as creative as Allen's defense but should be just as effective. Hopefully we see further improvement from this group and they creep into the top 10.

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 25, 57, 87, 108, 120, 137, 188 picks as it stands now.

From doing the multiple posts on the different prospects I have come up with a number of players I would and maybe the Broncos would target in each round. Those players are as follows:

1st round: Alshon Jeffery, Devon Still, Michael Brockers, Stephon Gilmore, Nick Perry
2nd round: Brandon Thompson, Doug Martin, Josh Robinson, Andre Branch
3rd round: Mike Martin, Isaiah Pead, Josh Norman, Chandler Jones
4th round: Jaye Howard, Jared Crick, Bernard Pierce, Robert Turbin, Cyrus Gray, Tank Carder
5th round: Brian Quick, Travian Robertson, Demario Davis, Coryell Judie, Malik Jackson
6th round: Danny Trevathan, Lavasier Tuinei, Joe Looney, Rishaw Johnson
7th round: Cody Johnson, Josh Oglesby

1st Round, Pick number 25#
Michael Brockers will be the first choice at this position but I believe he will be gone before he makes it to 25. This pick I think is a little early for Jeffery or Perry. The most likely outcome and pick in my mind will be Devon Still. Put for this I say Gilmore drops and is available at 25#

Pick: Stephon Gilmore CB

Here is a little I had to say on Gilmore. He has had a number of takeaways in this career but not enough to say he is a ballhawk. Athletically and his body make up is everything you want for a number 1 corner. He could add a few pounds of bulk to get a little closer to 200. He has decent ball skills. He needs a little work on his footwork and turn but I thought it was pretty good. He is a physical tackler, leads with the shoulder a little too much just needs to extend the arms and wrap up. He has good recovery speed. He needs to be more violent with the hands to beat the receivers blocks.

Gilmore is the only corner I would be happy with us taking at 25#. For me he has more potential and could possibly become a number 1 guy for a team. If not definitely a very good No 2. He is not without faults and needs work on his technique and coverage ability. But the potential is there. Gilmore for 25#.

Gilmore has impressive footwork for his size which he uses well in a shuffle-shuffle-bail technique at the line of scrimmage. Although this isn't considered the most efficient technique, Gilmore makes it work, which allows him to use his huge frame to mirror and cut off receivers early in their route. He is a natural cover man who can jam at the line and stay with a receiver in his hip and use his strength and length to make plays on the ball and finish plays.

Gilmore loses a lot of his fluidity when working in zone or off-man, and his eyes slow his feet in that he doesn't diagnose routes as quickly and will get his feet stuck in the ground prior to breaking. Gilmore was able to rely on size, strength and athleticism to cover in college and will get exposed by the veteran technically sound receivers in the league. He will struggle when forced to work within specific schemes that don't allow him to play freely.

I really have grown to like Gilmore. For me he has more to offer than either Jenkins or Kirkpatrick and he could very well go much higher than this spot. For more check out the Cornerback Prospects page.

2nd Round, Pick number 57#
After getting our cornerback it is time to move on and pick another position. For that reason this rules Josh Robinson out at this spot. Doug Martin and Andre Branch are both guys I really like but both should go early in the second if not late first. That leaves me with the guy I wanted to pick Brandon Thompson.

Pick: Brandon Thompson DT

Here is what I had to say about Thompson. His body looks like it has already filled out. He looks like an NFL linemen already and that doesn't leave much growth. His body is solid throughout and is very powerfully. Thompson is a space eater and would play NT for us. He needs to have better technique for the double team. Played more as a 2-down lineman as his pass rushing skills are not the greatest. He has great pad control and explodes off the snap. He has a good bull rush and usually beats guards with power alone. Needs to hit with more power at the point of attack to be disruptive at the next level. Has OK vision for the ball carrier but goes with his instincts sometimes which aren't always correct. He is solid against the run. When double teamed he tries to fight through it. He could be more violent with his hands. He collapses the pocket regularly. He could show more effort when chasing down the play. He does have some moves and he should use them more, has a good rip move.

When your looking at NT for our 4-3 the two that stand out are Brockers and Thompson. Brockers has more potential and upside but Thompson could come in and start day one. He has also been more consistent compared to Brockers. He looks like the perfect replacement for Bunk and if he falls to us in the 2nd round I think he could be the pick.

Thompson is an incredible run defender inside. He is consistent in his play and uses his feet to make plays happen against the run. He comes off the ball quickly and is able to fill gaps well at his size. He also make plays on the ball carrier. He is a very strong player who knows how to use his hands and disrupt plays in the backfield.

Thompson tends to be negated by double teams inside. His substandard technique can limit him at times and contributes to his inability to get past those doubles. Though he is stellar against the run, he is limited against the pass, only occasionally making things happen as a rusher.

Thompson like I said is the perfect NT for our 4-3. For more check out the Defensive Tackle Prospects page.

3rd round, Pick number 87#
After taking Thompson in the last round there is no need to take Martin in this round. Also having taken Gilmore in the first I don't see a need for another corner yet, so there is no need for Norman. That leaves us with two choices Isaiah Pead and Chandler Jones. Pead is my favorite running back in this years draft but if Jones drops this far in the draft he has to be the pick. He has all the tools you need to develop as a DE and has been mentioned as going as high as the first round. Plus I like getting backs in the latter rounds. Therefore the pick should be Chandler Jones.

Pick: Chandler Jones DE

Here is a little more on i had to say on Jones. He has great size for the position and monster arms. He has plenty of room to grow into his frame. He had decent college production. He has thin legs much like his brother. He has a very long and lanky frame. He looks like he could add a lot of bulk to it. He doesn't have the greatest footwork, this is probably due to his long stride. He is definitely a DE at the next level. He is a good tackler. He could be a little faster coming around the outside. He is Ok off the snap. He posses a great motor. He is pretty strong at the point of attack, strong enough for OTs. He needs more use of the hands. He is a disruptive player.

I am not going to lie to you I really want Jones. After following his brother for quite some time and watching him develop into one of the best MMA fighters in the world I hope Chandler can do the same. He is a development player and will need to be coached up. But he has the tools, with technique and another 20 pounds of muscle he could be a monster coming from DE. He might even be better served getting much bigger (290-300) and playing in the Under tackle (3-Tech) in the 4-3. There is just so many possibilities with Jones and he would be a tremendous development pick in the second round. I hope we snag him.

Jones is undersized but finds numerous ways to overcome that shortcoming to be an effective end. He has the tools to stay on the line at the next level and work mostly out of a 5-technique position, as he excels at working in short areas and being a scrappy, active player in the box. He has a good wingspan and is a long strider, which gives him great range to run down outside runs. He uses his arms well to keep linemen at bay, and he displays good technique to defeat blocks through hand fighting. He is an effective tackler with a lot of range. Although Chandler tends to get upright immediately at the point of attack, he is a good pass rusher who plays to his strengths.

Jones is undersized and could have issues against stronger offensive tackles. He is a long strider who takes too many steps to get to full speed and looks lost at times when diagnosing run plays. He is an effective player when moving decisively, but he can be out of place at times on the defensive line. Once in the backfield, he has trouble readjusting his body to get a clear path and burst toward the quarterback.

Hopefully he develops and becomes as dominate as his brother. For more check out the Defensive End Prospects page.

4th round, Pick number 108#
After three picks on the defensive side of the ball it is time to look at the offensive side of the ball. I am of course thinking running back at this position and I am targeting three guys in this round. Bernard Pierce, Robert Turbin and Cyrus Gray. Turbin for me is a carbon copy of Michael Pittman. I do like him but I have other favorites that I would pick first. Pierce I don't know about but I always think that there may be something special about him. He could very well be the pick but for me my second favorite back will be the guy, Cyrus Gray.

Pick: Cyrus Gray RB

More on Gray. His measurables all check out. He has a compact and strong body type. He needs a little work on his footwork. He is a decent catcher of the football. He posses decent vision and can find the hole. He has some moves and can make people miss. He can get physical at times and is not afraid of contact. Is a decent runner inside, he can work between the tackles. He can run through arm tackles and gain tough yards. He is patient and will wait for his blocks to setup.

A late round pick for Gray is a steal, add him with Pead to backs that I like from this group.

Gray is a big and athletic back who hits the hole hard and is elusive for a man of his size. He is one of those natural runners who understands when to weave and when to run with power. He has been highly productive and his style of running with power in his legs makes him a reliable short-yardage option early in his career.

Gray is not a burner and can have slow feet at times. He usually picks his spots, but he can be hesitant in the backfield. Despite his size, he struggles as a pass protector at times. It takes Gray a few steps to reach full speed, and he won't be a threat to take it the distance at the next level.

I really like Gray. Him and Pead were very similar backs but I think Gray is a little bigger and can possibly add a little more bulk. Gray will be a good back for the Broncos. For more check out the Running Back Prospects page.

4th round, Pick number 120#
After getting our running back there is three other prospects that I am targeting in this round, Jaye Howard, Jared Crick and Tank Carder. Since I have already have picked a DT and DE I can look ease where. That leaves me with one prospect and that is Tank Carder. Now personally I believe Tank will go in the third round but since it is a weak draft on linebackers and inside linebackers usually drop Tank very well may be available in the fourth. He would be the perfect linebacker for our team.

Pick: Tank Carder LB

Here are my thoughts on Tank. Carder has had to come back from injuries which he sustained in a car accident years ago but these should no longer be a problem. When he was timed at the combine he showed a lack of straight line speed. He has a solid body throughout. He could get a little bigger in the torso and shoulders, overall he needs to be more muscular in the upper body and arms. He is pretty good in space and is able to drop the hips and turn. Is a little slow with his footwork but decent with his lateral movement. He has nice soft hands for intercepts. Has a great motor. Struggles with blocks from the offensive line, getting stronger up top may fix this. Has good vision for the ball carrier. Is a very aggressive LB. As such he needs to wrap up when tackling. He was ask to blitz often but probably doesn't have the speed for the next level to do that consistently, he will get a few sacks over time. Is a pretty hard hitter. He looks much faster on tape than he was timed (that is confidence). He was pretty good in coverage and can get from sideline to sideline.

I was worried going in looking at Carder but I came away really liking what I saw. He is the first linebacker I have looked at that I would say is 'aggressive' and will knock people out. But he needs work on his wrap up. For the Broncos I don't really see the fit. He is more suited to the SLB position (Von Miller) to start right away but could play ILB in a year or two when he has worked on his technique and tackling. In the 3rd he is pretty good value and should be able to contribute on special teams and work himself into the rotation early. If we don't bring back Haggan he could be a nice replacement to sit behind Miller for a while.

The Mountain West defensive player of the year has been a seriously consistent performer. He is active in the run game and relies heavily on his instincts to diagnose plays and hit his gaps. His back-to-back POY awards speak for themselves as far as the experience he brings to the next level. He has the size and strength for the next level and is a very productive tackler. Once he sees a play he is quick to get there, and it's obvious that he understands how to read offensive lines to help him diagnose. A strong player who will fight his way into a role at the next level.

Carder is a bit undersized and doesn't have the speed to start right away in the NFL. He diagnoses plays quickly, but his athletic ability can be exposed when he has to dip his plant step to drop back into coverage and scan the field for crossing routes. He needs to work toward the ball to be productive, but when he does, he has set records in the Mountain West for taking the ball to the house after interceptions. All of his production comes off his instincts and many will question his athletic ability as he moves to the next level; he needs to have strong workout-based performances as he shows his ability to scouts before the draft.

Notice I said I can't see the fit for us but I was wrong and right. Since we haven't brought back Haggan there is room on the team for a SLB and a young linebacker. Tank fits that bill perfectly. For more check out the Linebacker Prospects page.

5th round, Pick number 137#
At this point I would be looking for the most promising talent to develop. Robertson and Jackson are both potential targets but already having taken two defensive line guys I am going to look else where. Having taken Tank last round there is no need for another LB in Davis. That leaves me with Brian Quick and Coryell Judie. Quick is a big wide receiver and could very well be the pick but Judie has me intrigued. He has all the things you look for in a corner but has been injured recently. The thing that sold me on Judie over Quick is he has extra value as a returner.

Pick: Coryell Judie CB

Here is a little of my thoughts on Judie. He has the make up of a corner and enough speed to possibly be a top guy for a team. His short area quickness wasn't very good but he is recovering from injuries. His injuries may mean he slips through the cracks and he could be a steal late in the draft. He has extra value as a returner. He has great ball skills. He is physical enough for a corner. His recovery speed is solid.

Judie is the corner I would love to see us draft late in the 5th round. He is a steal here. Judie will need time to develop but he has big time potential written all over him. The Broncos need to be thinking about this guy later in the draft.

Judie excels playing man coverage. He can stay with his man throughout the play but will need coaching on making plays once the ball is thrown. He can make interceptions but is not aggressive to squeeze the route when running close. He has been a good zone player as well throughout his time at Texas A&M. He has value at the next level as a returner, where he has been productive in college.

Judie struggles at the end of plays to finish on the ball. Injuries have led him to regress throughout his senior year and turned from a serious return threat and a guy who could press to start in the NFL early into a guy who would now just be serviceable at the position. He needs to rekindle the aggressiveness he displayed throughout his junior year.

Judie here is a steal, if he can stay healthy Gilmore and Judie will be other starting corners into the future. For more check out the Cornerback Prospects page.

6th round, Pick number 188#
After taking a lot of defensive talent I would now go after some offensive players. That of course means ruling out picking Danny Trevathan even though he is my favorite linebacker. That leaves me with three other players to pick from. Looney I really like but he could go higher than this. Johnson is a freak with that body but I am looking in another direction. I want to get a big dude to be a red zone threat and for me the perfect guy is Lavasier Tuinei.

Pick: Lavasier Tuinei WR

A little of my thoughts. Lavasier is a guy I have been following with interest. He has a long lean frame because of his height. He had a great year for the Ducks and I was surprised he didn’t get an invite to the combine. He was the MVP for the Rose bowl this year. He is a great catcher of the football, drops the occasion ball. Is physical when he has the ball and really aggressive when blocking. He looks lean but he could get bigger and add more muscle to his frame. He has great body control and tracks the ball well. Has a little bit of foot work to his game and can make people miss occasionally. I was disappointed with his 5 reps on the bench but he does have long arms which make it harder to throw that bar up. For me he could be a steal towards the end of the draft, say maybe a 6th round pick that we have. Keep an eye on this dude.

For more check out the Wide Receivers Prospects page.

First I may have gone overboard with defensive players but I think we need to continue to develop that side of the ball. 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. In all likelihood this will 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 - 25#, Stephon Gilmore CB
2nd - 57#, Brandon Thompson DT
3rd - 87#, Chandler Jones DE
4th - 108#, Cyrus Gray RB
4th - 120#, Tank Carder LB
5th - 137#, Coryell Judie CB
6th - 188#, Lavasier Tuinei WR

Let’s check the list of position needs:
Another RB to share the load, check
Defensive End, check
Defensive Tackle, check
Cornerback and returner, check
Strong Side Linebacker, check
A big endzone threat WR, check
I think this mock fills a lot of needs and adds depth and talent to the roster. I didn't get a fullback or offensive line depth but they were secondary needs for me.

I selected in total 7 players, 5 on defense (3 in the front seven and 2 in the secondary) and 2 on offense. I think it adds a lot of talent to the roster with a number of possible starters.

With this mock I can see us possibly going all the way. We have filled key holes and added depth to the team. One of the main reasons we could struggle would be if Manning gets injured. Lets just hope it doesn't come to that. Even so we should be picking late in the first round next year and have a chance at guys that may drop.

That is it for my mock. 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 draft competition submission post tomorrow ~ Aussie.

April 20, 2012

2012 Draft Competition

That’s right everyone the draft competition is back for yet another 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 Digger and myself came away with the crown after everyone did a pretty terrible job. Will there be a new champion to take the 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. BUT, and this is a big but, there is a new scoring system for this year! Hopefully our totals will be much bigger and better. 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 chose. Now we are not going to worry about what position that pick is. For example 25th Denver Broncos Gilmore, we are not worried about the 25th position but the player that is picked. So if you think the Broncos will pick Gilmore put down Denver Broncos Gilmore. Therefore you need to pick the player that will go to each team in the first round of the draft. For each correct pick you will get 5 points. There are a maximum of 160 points that can be gained from this section.

In 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 25#. If you chose the right player(s) with a pick that is from a trade this can be the difference between winning and losing. Scoring is as follows:

If you correctly pick a player that is selected by the Broncos that is 5 points. If you correctly pick the ROUND that player is picked in that will give you an extra 5 points. The correct pick of a player but in the wrong round will only result in 5 points. In this section creative is rewarded by the chance of getting more points from trades but it is a riskier 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 2012 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 after I have marked them. 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 these decisions so try to be as clear as possible so I understand what you are doing. Again I will be as fair as possible.

If you are game enough you can predict a trade for a player or trade a player. For example the Broncos trade a 6th to a ‘Team’ for X player or Player to ‘Team’ for X. If you are game to do as such and you are right I will award this person 10 points for correctness of trade (the picks), 10 points for correct player and 10 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 10 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
Colts - Andrew Luck
Redskins - Robert Griffin 3
Vikings - Matt Kalil
Browns - Trent Richardson
Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne
Rams - Justin Blackmon
Jaguars - Melvin Ingram
Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill
Panthers - Dontari Poe
Bills - Riley Reiff
Chiefs - Luke Kuechly
Seahawks - Quinton Coples
Cardinals - Johnathan Martin
Cowboys - Mark Barron
Eagles - Fletcher Cox
Jets - Courtney Upshaw
Bengals - David Decastro
Chargers - Whitney Mercilus
Bears - Michael Floyd
Titans - Stephon Gilmore
Bengals - Dre Kirkpatrick
Browns - Kendall Wright
Lions - Mike Adams
Steelers - Cordy Glenn
Broncos - Devon Still
Texans - Stephen Hill
Patriots - Michael Brockers
Packers - Shea McClellin
Ravens - Peter Konz
49ers - Janoris Jenkins
Patriots - Harrison Smith
Giants - Dont'a Hightower

Part 2
1st. Stephen Gilmore
2nd. Brandon Thompson
3rd. Chandler Jones
4th. Tank Carder
4th. Cyrus Gray
5th. Coryell Judie
6th. Lavasier Tuinei

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

1st. Trent Richardson (Trade up with Browns for their 1st give up our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)

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