Offseason Plan 2.0
This is the second edition of my Offseason Plan, and in this version I am going to do something different.
Now that we have started into the real NFL offseason and have made some additions in Free Agency, thought Elway says the team is still evaluating their options, I get the sense that for the most part we are done in free agency, thought there are some quality players still to be had out there, whom would probably come relatively cheap, and upgrade positions of need….. Karlos Dansby (MLB), Quintin Mikell (SS) and Kerry Rhodes (FS)…
This leads me to the main topic of my thoughts here about the draft, or lack there of. I am not going to be including a mock draft in this thread. Rather I am going to share my ideas on how we can improve the hot topic position of need, Right Defensive End.
I am of the belief, that if you look at this team, there are not many gapping holes, which is a good thing.. but it also means that we are more fortunate this year to be in a position where we can draft BPA or something close to it, as I think teams take the BPA but at a position of need… Now, if you look at this team, I think there are very few positions where a rookie would come in and start, given our scheme and current group of players. Those positions I have narrowed down are on Offense RB. Yes the lone spot, where I think we all can agree we need an upgrade and will probably be doing so via the draft. The other two spots where a rookie could potentially start are Tight End and Center. I think Tight End would be a much more luxury pick and that our Brass strongly believe in what we have and in the Young Guns Green and Thomas, and are hoping for a big step forward from them this season. Now the curious case of Center.. Walton showed improvement last season prior to his injury, could it be he is coming into his own? Or could it be the placebo effect of playing in a Peyton Manning led offense? Regardless of what it may be, time will tell and I think much like Tight End, our Brass believes in Walton and potentially last years draftee Phillip Blake.. so my conclusion in regards to the offense is that an upgrade is need at RB, and that is the only real spot where I see a rookie starter.
Now to the Defense, different story here.. I see three positions where a Rookie could potentially come in drafted and have the opportunity to earn the starting job. Those three positions include Safety, Middle Linebacker, and the Elephant in the room RIGHT DEFENSIVE END. With safety everything would seem as if the Brass will bring in competition at the position, but will give Moore the first crack at FS and Adams the first crack at starting at SS. In my opinion both positions could be upgraded, and a rookie might even be able to win out at either spot. Middle Line Backer is very similar to Safety in that, it seems as if the Brass will give Irving every opportunity to be the starting MLB on our team, but he could surely be upgraded.
Now to our new favorite topic of the offseason, how to replace the production from Doom at RDE. Elway has recently stated we are headed into the season with Ayers as our starter at RDE, surely he means on base downs, where on third down we will either draft a RDE, who will play as a situational pass rusher………………………………….or are you ready for it………………….
I think our Brass should even consider exploring something different, moving Miller to RDE and drafting a SOLB, whom possess a very similar skill set to Von Miller, but what this player may lack in terms of pass rush, after all Von is a very special player, he will make up for in coverage and being a well rounded SOLB. This suggestion may really sound radical, but hear me out. There may be players on the roster who can contribute and help fill the void, but none that will be able to fully replicate his pass rushing production, but stranger things do happen… The player on our roster who WOULD replace his production from RDE and would actually upgrade the position is Von Miller. The only possible concern would be, how would he hold up against the run, especially going against Left Tackles.. one wild card factor here is that Miller has been playing the strong side, where the offense will typically line up a Tight End next to a big nasty Right Tackle. Von has faced these players for the past two seasons and in my opinion has improved his run defense. Even though he is typically facing the Tight End in the blocking scheme, Left Tackles have been converted Tight Ends and where the game has evolved, are just bigger Tight Ends with nice athleticism. These aren’t old fashion Maulers anymore where Von may be in trouble, these players now a days have to have the balance, footwork, angles, smarts, and quicks, to match the Pass Rushers of the NFL. This is why I am fairly confident Von could play RDE and not worry about his run defense or abuse that you think he may take, especially with the mammoth defensive tackles on our roster who will help alleviate some pressure off of him. If you still think this could be a concern, which it still may be, I think a healthy rotation on downs with Ayers, especially in obvious run downs could help alleviate some of that abuse and pressure, while Von plays the strong side in those situations.
So IF Von played RDE or at least rotated there on passing downs, what to do with SOLB? I am not going to mock any particular player to Denver, rather I am going to list the prospects that I think could take over at SOLB and be used in a very similar way to Von Miller in pass rush, while offering the ability to drop into coverage and defend the run. The prospects in black represent those who can pass rush but also drop into coverage and have average or better ball skills. The prospects in red represent those who are better at pass rushing but have adequate coverage ability.
Round One- Jarvis Jones/ Barkevious Mingo
Round Two- Khaseem Greene/ Jamie Collins
Round Three- Chase Thomas/ Trevado Williams/ Sio Moore
Round Four- Kevin Reddick/ Cornelius Washigton
Round Five- Ty Powell/ Travis Long
My preference if making such a perceived radical transition defensively, are the prospects in the second and third round. I would prefer to trade out of the first round picking up another second rounder. Using that extra second rounder to grab a Strong Safety or Running Back and then selecting either Kasheem Greene or Jamie Collins. Should the front office to decide to just draft a situational pass rusher for RDE, then obviously the board would look different, but in my opinion there are again prospects in every round through the fifth who could potentially fill that void at RDE they just offer a different skill set and would be utilized differently than the players I mentioned above.