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Bronco Rob
01-26-2012, 08:31 AM
Broncos should pick everything at NFL draft, except QB


Posted: 01/26/2012 01:00:00 AM MST



What are the key components the Broncos need to make this offense move in the right direction for Tim Tebow's style? I thought their defense was better than average in the regular season. Where do they need to upgrade through the draft on the offensive side of the ball? - Jamie Woolwine, Tampa, Fla




To begin, I didn't think the defense was better than average. It was 20th in the league overall. If you remove Green Bay, Detroit and New England, it was about average, at best. It got exposed by the Patriots. The Broncos definitely need another cornerback, and those safeties have to grow up, and Joe Mays wasn't anything special. They still must draft a defensive tackle (and sign the two starters who are free agents), and they need some more speed at linebacker and in the secondary.



The loss this week of Dennis Allen hurts. The players loved him as a person and a coach, and they trusted him. If someone comes in from the outside, they start over again. That's why I recommend that Richard Smith be promoted. He only served with the Dolphins for one year as coordinator, and was fired in Houston after a couple of years under Gary Kubiak, but he did an excellent job this year, I thought, with the linebackers, especially in helping to develop Von Miller. He has worked with Fox, knows Allen's system and, truthfully, won't be a head coach candidate probably because of his age (56 next season) and because he has bounced around over the years.


Jack Del Rio might be a better short-term solution, but he's going to get another head coaching job soon. Plus, his son is an all-state quarterback in Florida


-- Tebowesque? -- who actually is coached in high school by the guy who coached Tebow in Pop Warner. I talked to the coach, and he told me Del Rio's kid may be the best since Tebow -- and is more of a prototype QB. It's just my belief that Del Rio will want to watch his son as a senior, and might take a year off, since he's getting paid $5 million still by the Jags. And I'm not sure he'll want to move his son to another state. I could be wrong.


The guy I would've got get if I could was Chuck Pagano, the Raven's defensive coordinator. But of course he was hired as the Colts' new coach Wednesday. He would have been great in Denver. They would have had to name him assistant head coach and pay him a ton of money, but we all know how tough the Ravens' defense is. Here's the kicker: Chuck grew up in Colorado, played at Boulder Fairview and the University of Wyoming and is the son of long-time high school and college coach in this state, Sam Pagano. I can't believe nobody's ever hired him around here. He comes back for family summer football camps to honor his father. He was clearly going to land a head coaching job, sooner or later. I guess sooner is the answer.


Dean Pees, the Ravens' linebacker coach, was mentioned here when Josh McDaniels got the job. Pees was the Patriots' defensive coordinator for four years. I'd also take a look at the Steelers, who have a great defense, too. They've got linebacker coach Keith Butler, who has been with the Steelers for almost a decade.


On to your main question, Jamie, although I created my own answer...


The Broncos need a running back who can get outside. As anybody who reads me knows, I've written for three years that Knowshon Moreno was a major mistake. John Fox figured it out right away. (Josh McDaniels also knew almost immediately he had screwed up picking Moreno in the first round.) The Broncos have to draft a running back in the second round, at least. That would be the 50th pick. Trent Richardson from Alabama will be gone, but the Broncos can use that second pick on Chris Polk from Washington, Lamar Miller from Miami or LaMichael James from Oregon. Guess what? James played in a spread offense.


I'm going to keep telling you people: Don't sleep on Ronnie Hillman from San Diego State, who can be picked lower, fourth or fifth round. He's going to be a player. Let me throw one more name at you -- Chris Rainey, from Florida, for a middle-round pick. The kid played running back, wide receiver, punt returner, kick returner and kick blocker (yes, he's a great kick blocker). A five-tool guy, as they say in baseball.


The Broncos need someone to combine with Willis McGahee, and that'll make life so much easier for Tebow. Lance Ball is somewhat serviceable, but not the answer. Jeremiah Johnson deserves a long look as a third-down back if he'll hang onto the ball. People have kind of forgotten ex-Auburn running back Mario Fannin, who looked outstanding in Broncos camp early last year before getting hurt and spending the year on injured reserve. He's still under contract.


There are NFL free agents. Ray Rice? Reunite him with McGahee. Ain't going to happen. The Ravens have to resign him. Peyton Hillis. He had the Year To Forget. Madden Jinx? Truth is, he was too caught up in trying to get a new contract. I don't see him coming back, even though there's great love for him in the Denver community.


That's one. Two is a big-time wide receiver. Let's be straight. Eddie Royal (who will be a free agent, but really wants to return to Denver, and probably will), Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Matt Willis (also a free agent) have to improve considerably (and get over the dropsies), but the Broncos still don't have a stretch-the-defense burner. Vincent Jackson, out of Northern Colorado, has been a head case over contract and alcohol issues with the Chargers, but aren't all these receivers divas? He would be worth consideration if his head's on right. And there are several free agent wide receivers available, except Brandon Lloyd's not coming back.


Third is a tight end. They sure could use Rob Gronkowski or Tebow's old college teammate, Aaron Hernandez. They had Gronkowki's brother (Dan), but he wasn't Rob. Everybody seems to dance around the subject, but Julius Thomas and Virgil Green were first-year busts. Thomas played football like a basketball player. Sure, he got hurt (ankle), and recovered slowly, but he was lost in the system, particularly after the Broncos went to Tebow, and he can't block. Green was green. I think both Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario are free agents. Both had very good moments, but I don't know about long term. I think they'll probably bring in another veteran who can block (they had to use lineman Chris Clark, as I'm sure you know, all the time as a tight end -- I got tired of hearing his number called by the referee as an eligible receiver) . And I hope that Thomas and Green get a clue, that Fells comes back and they can find someone in the shuffle.


Fourth is offensive linemen. Honestly, there are questions about center. More than one evaluator told me J. D. Walton could be the worst starting center in the NFL. Even if he's not, Walton certainly is no Pro Bowl candidate in the future. They've got to sign a veteran who can play and slip Walton into a backup spot. Ryan Clady somewhat returned to form, although the Broncos aren't totally in love with him. Orlando Franklin got thrown into the fire right away and then was the main tackle for having a left-handed quarterback's back. He made mistakes and got beat occasionally, but he can play. And Chris Kuper had a Pro Bowl year. His injury injured the Broncos, especially against New England. You don't get much drafting an offensive lineman way down in the draft, so I expect the Broncos will try to get one earlier if they can.


I look for John Elway and Brian Xanders to maybe get rid of their first-round draft choice for a couple of others lower -- maybe a second round pick and a middle of the pack pick. I suspect they'll end up with nine picks.


And fifth, but foremost, Tebow has to improve. But Mike McCoy has to figure out how to be even more creative with a hybrid offense, and quarterback coach Adam Gase has to do a better job, or he should be replaced.



for the rest.http://www.denverpost.com/woodysmailbag/ci_19822168?source=rss

Beantown Bronco
01-26-2012, 08:48 AM
I'd also take a look at the Steelers, who have a great defense, too. They've got linebacker coach Keith Butler, who has been with the Steelers for almost a decade.

This quote definitely jumped out at me in terms of our discussions the last few days about our DC situation. How is it that the Broncos can consistently field middle of the road or outright crappy defenses for years, yet constantly lose our DCs and assistants to other teams; while a team like the Steelers who constantly have a top 5 ranked defense can hold onto the core of their defensive coaching staff for 10+ years?

Drunk Monkey
01-26-2012, 08:50 AM
Long Snapper?

BroncoBen
01-26-2012, 09:05 AM
This quote definitely jumped out at me in terms of our discussions the last few days about our DC situation. How is it that the Broncos can consistently field middle of the road or outright crappy defenses for years, yet constantly lose our DCs and assistants to other teams; while a team like the Steelers who constantly have a top 5 ranked defense can hold onto the core of their defensive coaching staff for 10+ years?

This should be the Question of the day.. I agree.

bronco militia
01-26-2012, 09:09 AM
This quote definitely jumped out at me in terms of our discussions the last few days about our DC situation. How is it that the Broncos can consistently field middle of the road or outright crappy defenses for years, yet constantly lose our DCs and assistants to other teams; while a team like the Steelers who constantly have a top 5 ranked defense can hold onto the core of their defensive coaching staff for 10+ years?

what? only one of the seven were lost to another team. the rest were fired.

SonOfLe-loLang
01-26-2012, 09:13 AM
I've noticed this pattern with Woody over the years...he always wants to hire away other team's d-coordinators, as if that ever happens or they'd even want to. If Chuck Pagano didnt get the gig in indy, why the F would he wanna come here?

Beantown Bronco
01-26-2012, 09:40 AM
what? only one of the seven were lost to another team. the rest were fired.

Yup, and aside from I think Wink, were all hired almost immediately afterward by other teams. I'm speaking more to consistency than the terms of dismissal. (Obviously, firing Nolan was a mistake.)

Chris
01-26-2012, 09:42 AM
Very good write up. Depressing, but accurate.

gyldenlove
01-26-2012, 09:45 AM
This quote definitely jumped out at me in terms of our discussions the last few days about our DC situation. How is it that the Broncos can consistently field middle of the road or outright crappy defenses for years, yet constantly lose our DCs and assistants to other teams; while a team like the Steelers who constantly have a top 5 ranked defense can hold onto the core of their defensive coaching staff for 10+ years?

We haven't really lost a lot of DCs to other teams - Coyer, Martindale, Bates, Slowik got run out of town, they weren't poached by other teams.

Nolan left on his own accord, he wasn't headhunted by Miami.

Allen is the only one who has actively been recruited away from us.

The only reason the Steelers have held on to their defensive coaches is that the defensive success is largely credited to Dick Lebeau and he doesn't want to leave - it is not easy to find a good coordinator who doesn't sooner or later want to have a shot at a head coaching position.

Beantown Bronco
01-26-2012, 09:50 AM
Nolan left on his own accord, he wasn't headhunted by Miami.

C'mon now. You don't really believe that, do you? He somehow visited, interviewed with, and signed a contract with Miami less than 18 hrs after he "parted ways" with Denver?

I suppose you believe that there is no tampering of FAs in the NFL either. The biggest names somehow all miraculously manage to visit every team they're interested in, negotiate and sign new contracts with them, within minutes of the midnight opening of free agency?

Pick Six
01-26-2012, 10:22 AM
What evidence does he have (aside from experience) that tells him Jack Del Rio will get another shot at coaching? Chicago did very well (until the Cutler injury) with former head coaches as assistants...

Play2win
01-26-2012, 10:23 AM
still hoping Denver gets Barkley in 2013.

JDB7821
01-26-2012, 10:28 AM
Yup, and aside from I think Wink, were all hired almost immediately afterward by other teams. I'm speaking more to consistency than the terms of dismissal. (Obviously, firing Nolan was a mistake.)

One that I appreciate. I think the Broncos need more speed on offense. DT is going to develop nicely if he stays healthy, but the rest of the team isn't going to scare anyone over the top. A couple of lineman and one or two more home run threats and it's all up to Tebow at that point.

Kaylore
01-26-2012, 10:31 AM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S

SonOfLe-loLang
01-26-2012, 10:36 AM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S

Wouldnt it be nice to have an MLB that can diagnose a play?

BroncoInferno
01-26-2012, 10:39 AM
What evidence does he have (aside from experience) that tells him Jack Del Rio will get another shot at coaching?

I was wondering the same thing. Del Rio had just two playoff appearances and one playoff win in 9 seasons. Over the past four seasons, he was 23-36 and didn't produce a winning record. I think he'll be a DC for awhile before he gets another gig.

vancejohnson82
01-26-2012, 10:49 AM
Very good write up. Depressing, but accurate.

I dont think it was THAT depressing. We have some holes, but in those holes we have serviceable players outside of TE....and I still wouldnt put too much effort into finding a high pick at this position We aren't losing any superstars this year to free agency, which will be a nice change for once.

the safeties need another year to grow up, so I would ignore that as well in the early rounds. Focus on MLB, a RB with speed, an OL who can provide depth, defensive line (I'm so sick of talking about that every year) and a free agent WR or two.

in my opinion, the core of the team should stay intact

vancejohnson82
01-26-2012, 10:53 AM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S

probably should have read your post before posting mine...

TheReverend
01-26-2012, 11:28 AM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S

In case you prioritized those columns, CB is WAY worse off than MLB :)

Also, I'd put DE as a bigger need than DT at this point (even though I'm Devon Still bandwagon whether he slides that far or not).

Lastly, I think you have your R/L confused as far as DE. Our RDE is a legit pro-bowler and our DMVP last year by a wide margin.

gyldenlove
01-26-2012, 11:31 AM
In case you prioritized those columns, CB is WAY worse off than MLB :)

Also, I'd put DE as a bigger need than DT at this point (even though I'm Devon Still bandwagon whether he slides that far or not).

Lastly, I think you have your R/L confused as far as DE. Our RDE is a legit pro-bowler and our DMVP last year by a wide margin.

In terms of RDE and LDE people should just always use the traditional W and S notation, it is less confusing and prone to mistakes.

I would definitely rank 3-tech DT as our biggest defensive line need, although CB is our absolutely biggest need.

TheReverend
01-26-2012, 11:48 AM
In terms of RDE and LDE people should just always use the traditional W and S notation, it is less confusing and prone to mistakes.

I would definitely rank 3-tech DT as our biggest defensive line need, although CB is our absolutely biggest need.

I would agree, but rarely do they flip based on formation strength in today's NFL

broncosteven
01-26-2012, 11:48 AM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S

I would throw at least one Safety in the major needs catagory.

broncosteven
01-26-2012, 11:52 AM
In case you prioritized those columns, CB is WAY worse off than MLB :)

Also, I'd put DE as a bigger need than DT at this point (even though I'm Devon Still bandwagon whether he slides that far or not).

Lastly, I think you have your R/L confused as far as DE. Our RDE is a legit pro-bowler and our DMVP last year by a wide margin.

I am starting to see why you prize CB's over DT but I still think we would be better served with a MLB who could cover a TE as well as stuff the run.

Mays is one dimentional, Having guys who can cover the seam would be just as important as a shutdown CB. Urlicker has covered up some piss poor CB play in Chicago for a long time.

gyldenlove
01-26-2012, 12:03 PM
I am starting to see why you prize CB's over DT but I still think we would be better served with a MLB who could cover a TE as well as stuff the run.

Mays is one dimentional, Having guys who can cover the seam would be just as important as a shutdown CB. Urlicker has covered up some piss poor CB play in Chicago for a long time.

Mays is a non-factor against the pass and he didn't seem to handle misdirection runs well this year, in a goal line situation I would still want him in there, but in the base formation I would really like a guy like Kuechly or Hightower.

broncosteven
01-26-2012, 12:07 PM
Mays is a non-factor against the pass and he didn't seem to handle misdirection runs well this year, in a goal line situation I would still want him in there, but in the base formation I would really like a guy like Kuechly or Hightower.

It would be nice if they were grooming Irving but I don't think he will pan out, they do need to upgrade MLB soon.

Tombstone RJ
01-26-2012, 12:08 PM
the new front office will have an entire season of game tape on JD Walton. I wonder if the Broncos will be dafting another Center...

Dedhed
01-26-2012, 12:12 PM
Wouldnt it be nice to have an MLB that can diagnose a play?

It's hard to remember what that would even be like. We haven't seen anything like that since Al broke down.

enjolras
01-26-2012, 12:33 PM
I can't see a need bigger than MLB. In the 4-3 it's a lot like a quarterback, you'll get nowhere quick without someone anchoring that position.

As for the article, I still think they should grab Kellen Moore if he's around in the later rounds (5th-on). I think that guy has the chance to be pretty damn good.

broncocalijohn
01-26-2012, 12:40 PM
I would throw at least one Safety in the major needs catagory.

I dont know. Rahim Moore promised us he was working his ass off this coming off season (add sarcasm icon here TJ). I dont mind drafting a QB but I think we work on our glaring needs first which is MLB, DT,CB and safety. Maybe throw in a interior Offensive Lineman in between 2nd and 3rd or 3rd and 4th choice. This season we are going with Tebow and somewhere Weber will be on the depth chart. Besides a possible Manning departure, is there any FA QBs that excite anyone to back up or take over if Tebow can't do the jo (or get hurt)?

Al Wilson
01-26-2012, 01:02 PM
Major Needs: MLB, CB, Interior OL, DT,
Less major needs: WR, TE, OT, RDE, S
I'd say Safety should be a major need. When Dawkins didn't play you could see how much our safeties suck. Our secondary was getting burned, and couldn't stop the run. Sure would love an Ed Reed or a Polamolu prospect (if there is a one with that type of potential) to drop to our pick

Ray Finkle
01-26-2012, 01:09 PM
I'd say Safety should be a major need. When Dawkins didn't play you could see how much our safeties suck. Our secondary was getting burned, and couldn't stop the run. Sure would love an Ed Reed or a Polamolu prospect (if there is a one with that type of potential) to drop to our pick

I'd rather gamble on Carter, Burton, or Moore stepping up and grabbing Landry or another FA DS.

Archer81
01-26-2012, 01:53 PM
I'd say Safety should be a major need.


I'd say your namesake played a position that is a major need.

:Broncos:

Play2win
01-26-2012, 02:07 PM
Wouldnt it be nice to have an MLB that can diagnose a play?

We haven't had one that could since Big Al.