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Old 01-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #1
Drek
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Default How To Build The 2013 Denver Broncos (I.E. **** Negativity, Lets Talk Football)

Typed this up the morning after the playoff game, held off on posting it until my angst regarding the loss cleared, and then re-read it. Still think it's pretty worthwhile so now i'm posting it (hence why I refer to "last night's game" frequently).

So here's the road map to fixing this team's problems, as I see them.

Offense

Fact #1 Knowshon Moreno was the straw that stirred the drink on offense.

This is not because Moreno is a great player, he's pretty good but has his issues. No, this is because Moreno's skill set fits a Peyton Manning offense. He's become a solid north/south runner who gets into his cuts quickly and gets you consistent positive yardage. Hillman and Hester are all or nothing backs where Hillman either gives you a nice 5-10 yard run or a gain of zero and Hester either falls forward for 3 or falls on his face for zero. Moreno consistently moves the ball forward and converts 3rd and shorts. This is important, but it's also something McGahee could do.

Moreno also steps up big in pass pro, where we saw our other RBs all fail us at some point last night. Hillman is simply too small, Hester is not a running threat so simply putting him back there on anything but short yardage telegraphs pass and effectively chums the waters, and Ball outright misses assignments. McGahee also did this well.

Where Moreno and McGahee deviate is when asked to catch the ball. Consider Moreno's touchdown catch. Would anyone ever expect McGahee to pull that ball in? Hell, would anyone ever expect McGahee to put that stutter step on a defender that Moreno used to separate? I sure has hell wouldn't. Moreno as a check down and extra receiving threat was huge for this offense and is something we need to recognize and build on in any way possible.

Fact #2 This OL is too shallow and too weak to handle the best DLs in the league. Clady get bent back on top of Manning repeatedly, and Beadles, Koppen, etc. get zero push against Ngata and Kemoatu in the run game. Orlando Franklin was probably our best OL last night and Kruger was whipping him around the edge with regularity.

A 100% Kuper would be a slight help, but I doubt enough to turn the tide. While Koppen was replacing JD Walton I also think we all agree that Koppen played better than we'd ever expect Walton to.

This OL lacks depth and power. We couldn't run the ball with AD taking hand offs with the kind of blocking this OL sets up.

Defense

Fact #1 1. We STILL can't stop even average TEs. This is a failure by both our safeties and our linebackers. None of our safeties or LBs are good in man coverage at all, and Moore is probably the best in zone despite his **** up in last night's game. This is unacceptable. Q. Carter was hands down our best man cover guy between both groups last year, but now had arthroscopic knee surgery on a leg with an already bum hamstring. He might not be the same player when he comes back.

Fact #2 Our pass rush comes entirely from the edges, not a single person on this team can generate pressure up the middle. Opposing QBs far too often have a pocket to step into and make clean throws regardless of what our edge rushers do. This is the end result of us targeting a big time DT year after year in FA but failing to sign them. In the spring of 2011 we chased Brandon Mebane but let him return to Seattle for a very reasonable offer, and in spring of 2012 we did the same with Paul Soliai. This doesn't even go into the fact that we weren't even in on Barry Cofield, who left the Giants and signed with the Skins in 2011. We need a mauler in the middle who pushes the pocket. He doesn't need to get sacks, just deform the pocket and be stout against the run. Doom and Miller will do the rest.

Fact #3 Champ is no longer an elite corner. He simply couldn't run with Smith. No excuses. He went against one of the game's fastest wide outs and he got ran off the field. He's still a good corner and will still give us great production against most teams in the regular season, but against playoff level competition he's a liability. Want proof? After seeing what Flacco and Smith did to him last night picture what it'd be like for us to play the Falcons with Champ on Julio Jones and Matt Ryan throwing the ball. Or worse, the Packers and any of their WRs against him with Rodgers. If Flacco was a more accurate QB the Ravens could have blown us out in regulation because of this.

So that's defense. Special teams weren't a problem at all last night, other than Prater ****ing up his one field goal opportunity. But Prater is better than what we could replace him with so that is a case of rolling with it and hoping he matures. The leash on Prater has definitely gotten shorter, but it's still plenty long enough to not spend finite resources on a replacement.

Ok, so we've identified the major problems from a thematic standpoint, so how can we upgrade? Well first, what are our resources?

$18M in cap room, about $5M of that earmarked for rookie signings. We can clear another $17.75M with the following cuts:

DJ Williams has a cap number of $7.7M next year with only about $1.7M guaranteed.
Joe Mays has a cap number of $4.16M with only $160K of that guaranteed.
Mike Adams has a cap number of $1.75M, no guaranteed money.
Caleb Hanie has $1.25M in salary, none guaranteed.
Manny Ramirez has $715K, none guaranteed.
Andre Caldwell has a $1M cap number, only $100K guaranteed.
Jacob Hester has a $715K cap number, none guaranteed.
Julius Thomas has a $651 cap number with only $96K guarnateed and $96K of outstanding signing bonus money for 2014.
Willis McGahee has a $3M cap number with $500K guaranteed and $500K of outstanding signing bonus money for 2014.

So that's $30.75M after these cuts but minus the rookie money.

First, retaining our own guys:
Clady is the big one here. He's already turned down 5/$50M. The tag is $9.6M for OLs this year though, so worst case he gets tagged if he won't take a more reasonable extension than the rumored "more than Joe Thomas" demands. Lets just put him down at the $10M, knowing the team has all the leverage here. So that brings us down to $20.75M.

Carter and Colquitt are undrafted RFAs, so in order to protect them at all we're looking at $2M each. Reasonable and necessary, if a little pricey. Another $4M off the books, now at $16.75M.

At DT all three of Vickerson, Bannan, and Unrein are free agents. Unrein is an exclusive rights RFA, so we can give him $550K and call it good. Bannan signed here for $1M last year, I don't see him having much leverage to get a raise, so another $1M for him. Vickerson played well, but I don't think he'll find a massive market, he's a roll player. I'd say $2M and if he wanted more let him try to find it. So all total we're talking about $3.5M at DT. Brings us down to $13.25M.

Koppen is a free agent and only made $825K last year. He should definitely be brought back as he was a stabilizing influence on an OL that needs stability. I'd expect him to resign for something in the $1-$2M range, so we'll go with $1.5M as an average. That brings us down to $11.75M.

Bruton is likely to be retained for something in the area of $1M, same with Stokley. So that brings us down to ~$9.75M, and in my opinion basically wraps up the FAs we should really care about keeping.

Not very much money, but some renegotiation by Doom, Champ, Manning, etc. could buy us a decent bit more cap space. We'll see how that goes.

With that $9.75M to work with and our full allotment of draft picks this is the road map I'd outline for us:

1. Running Back.
I see a RB taylor made for this offense in the draft, his name is Stepfan Taylor from Stanford, currently projected as a late 2nd/early 3rd by most draft prognosticators. He's a well rounded three down back who can contribute in all phases of the Manning offense, much like Knowshon Moreno. He should offer a bit more explosiveness than Moreno and will be an ideal #2 behind him for a season or two before replacing him. Couple this with Hillman developing physically and we could have a good two back tandem of Taylor and Hillman for a long time going forward.

2. Offensive Line.
I'd love to draft one of the premier guards in this class, and Barrett Jones before his lisfranc was my top target with our first round pick. Unfortunately I just don't see the numbers adding up there, as the premier OGs likely go before our first round pick, Jones' health makes him a question mark we can't really afford to roll the dice on before round 3, and honestly, we need a guy we know can contribute right away. To me that means free agency. Obviously a late round OL should be included in the mix, but a quality 6th man needs to be acquired on the OL. To that end my personal preference would be signing Louis Vasquez away from the Chargers. He was a spread OL in college and is a better pass protector than run blocker, but has improved in that aspect of his game in the pros. Most importantly he's big and powerful. With the Chargers dropping both Smith and Turner there will likely be some front office transition and Vasquez isn't the kind of guy you put a tag on. For an AAV around $4-$5M we likely could lock up a 26 year old starting guard for a reasonable price. This would bump Beadles to the swing guard/tackle role, making him that 6th man I was talking about. If Vasquez can't be had then Donald Thomas from New England would be a solid alternative, competing with Beadles for the LG job while also providing another player with some experience at OC in a pinch.

3. Defensive Tackle.
We won't be in range to grab a standout DT in the draft and also will not have the money to go after a Henry Melton. That's ok because I see a perfect fit that will likely sign cheap on a "make good" deal. Terence Knighton of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Some off-field issues and freak injury problems have greatly depleted Knighton's value, including him losing his starting job in Jacksonville. They have a new GM and are likely once again changing coaches. This sounds like an excellent opportunity for Del Rio to recruit one of his former standouts, getting Knighton here on reasonable money to provide the 4-3 nose tackle this defense needs to take the next step. His salary would likely be quite reasonable since he needs to re-establish his value. If he does that and makes our roster he'd bump one of the other DTs off, making this more or less cap neutral as far as the final 53 man roster is concerned (what the cap number is based on).

4. Middle Linebacker.
To me this is where we go with our first round pick. Manti Te'o, Kevin Minter, and Alec Ogeltree are all first round worthy MLBs and one is almost definitely going to be available for us in the first. If Te'o's lackluster championship game makes him slide to us then great, we're sitting pretty, otherwise I'd be more than happy with Alec Ogeltree, the former safety with elite athleticism and NFL ready coverage skills. He'd instantly improve our ability to handle opposing TEs.

5. Safety.
This is a two part solution. Step one, move Champ to safety, taking his declining speed from only above average back to elite status, step two is sign another corner to battle Carter for the #2 job opposite Harris. This leaves a safety depth chart of Champ, Rahim Moore (he's a solid player, he's coming back, quit hating on him for one play), Q. Carter, and Bruton. I like the looks of that. So that leads straight to...

6. Corner.
Ideal world Del Rio can get us a sweet deal on Derek Cox from Jacksonville. While oft-injured he's a standout when on the field. I don't see that happening though, he's likely looking at >$7M AAV and we'd have a hard time fitting that on the books. The alternative also comes from Jacksonville though, in the form of Rashean Mathis. A former standout at corner he wasn't quite up to par this season after his ACL tear in 2011. He's healthy now though and got stronger as the year went on. He's an older experienced veteran who would provide us a very solid base to only work up from at #2 corner if Carter takes the next step forward. This way worst case scenario Mathis is #2, Carter is #3, and Omar Boldin is #4. Solid group. Add another mid to late round corner and we should be doing ok here.

So that's a road map I'd like to see the team shoot for. Use the available cash to splash the pot in stealing a division rival's best young OL, fixing one of our weaknesses while creating one for them, add even moderate draft luck and we can hit needs while still going BPA in rounds 1 and 2, then fill out the other immediate needs with low cost veteran signings that Del Rio should have some strong appeal to.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
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nice post, I like a lot of this. I don't see Champ going to safety as much as I agree with it I just don't see it Del Rio said that it wont happen in 2013. I don't think you will see a position change unless its Champ going to the coaches and asking for it himself.

If for some reason Champ has a change of heart and asks to play safety I think Omar will be at the very least a nickle, Fox & Del Rio are all high on this kid as well Elway.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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Jesus christ! Another move Champ to Safety person. Name me 10 better corners than Champ. Yes against guys with 4.3 or better speed he isn't the lockdown guy he typically is. But he is still a very good corner. Add in he has no interest in a position switch. Also the idea that a guy can just switch positions and dominate is laughable. Look at DJ used to be a good WLB but can't play MLB or SLB worth a ****. Who says Champ is an elite Safety playing Corner?

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Old 01-15-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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I think a lot of people underrate Walton's performance pre-injury. Koppen played fantastic stepping in, but I don't think he's a slam dunk upgrade by any means.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:52 PM   #5
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Real leaders on both side of the ball. Rah rah go get some m'fers
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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I'd be pretty OK with this. Though I'd still like to see what Julius Thomas can do next TC. He's still a great athlete
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoMan4ever View Post
Jesus christ! Another move Champ to Safety person. Name me 10 better corners than Champ. Yes against guys with 4.3 or better speed he isn't the lockdown guy he typically is. But he is still a very good corner. Add in he has no interest in a position switch. Also the idea that a guy can just switch positions and dominate is laughable. Look at DJ used to be a good WLB but can't play MLB or SLB worth a ****. Who says Champ is an elite Safety playing Corner?
Seemed to work well for McCourty.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
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My number one is a nastier oline
The oline is way too passive
I could go a rb like a Doug martin in the first as well
Short yardage has to improve
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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Seemed to work well for McCourty.
McCourty had no other option. It was position switch or unemployment or no playing time, and he wasn't even a starter. Like it or not you don't make a guy who is better than 90% of the players at his position learn a new position
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:05 PM   #10
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Champ played at an elite level all season. One game hardly means we need to move him to safety. What a massive overreaction.

The disturbing part was JDR's inability to recognize what was happening. What New England this weekend. They'll play nothing but cover-2 out of their base or nickel package pretty much the whole damn game. You stop those big over the top throws and you stop Baltimore. It's that simple.

tldr; Champ should have had safety help and it was a stunning coaching oversight that he didn't.


That said I definitely agree about our needs on the interior DL. Wolfe was ok, but far from disruptive. He disappeared for big stretches of games.

We need big help up the middle. It starts at middle linebacker and then safety and defensive tackle. Find talented players at any of those spots. If we can shore up the middle this will be a really really good defense.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
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MLB, DT, G, RB in that order. We get those things and depth and were golden.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BroncoMan4ever View Post
Jesus christ! Another move Champ to Safety person. Name me 10 better corners than Champ. Yes against guys with 4.3 or better speed he isn't the lockdown guy he typically is. But he is still a very good corner. Add in he has no interest in a position switch. Also the idea that a guy can just switch positions and dominate is laughable. Look at DJ used to be a good WLB but can't play MLB or SLB worth a ****. Who says Champ is an elite Safety playing Corner?
If I could easily name 10 better corners that would put him in the middle of the pack for starters league-wide. He's obviously better than that, but he's not an elite shut down corner anymore. Guys with 4.3 speed are pretty par for the course against elite passing offenses, if Champ can't keep up with them he's going to be exploited as a liability.

Also, as you said he likely isn't going to instantly be perfect at safety. I'm sure he'll get to that point but he'll need a bit of time to transition. The speed is starting to go, moving him now buys him an easier transition while his athleticism helps prop him up and lets him play safety at an elite level while he learns on the job.

This isn't just about fixing Champ's declining speed either. The secondary clearly lacks a field general from the safety position. Champ could do quite well in that capacity. He also is easily our best coverage option against elite TEs, helping combat this team's biggest defensive liability which also happens to be a very en vogue weapon league-wide.

It's a best of all scenarios option. I don't expect them to actually do it, unfortunately, but it's the best solution to a multitude of problems.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
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I expect them to move champ to S 2014-2015.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:17 PM   #14
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The good thing about the Broncos is that Elway upgraded every possible position. We now have good players in every position on this team, and quality depth with potential. There isn't MAJOR holes on this team. Either way, Elway is going to be evaluating every position and will be looking to improve and upgrade. I don't see glaring weaknesses on this team to be honest. Maybe a great tight end who can be a playmaker, and a starting running back with potential.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
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If for some reason Champ has a change of heart and asks to play safety I think Omar will be at the very least a nickle, Fox & Del Rio are all high on this kid as well Elway.
This is why I like the idea of bringing in Mathis. He's short term and likely cheap, letting our own younger guys (Carter and Boldin) push for more PT without a big financial disincentive from a long term FA contract.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enjolras View Post
Champ played at an elite level all season. One game hardly means we need to move him to safety. What a massive overreaction.

The disturbing part was JDR's inability to recognize what was happening. What New England this weekend. They'll play nothing but cover-2 out of their base or nickel package pretty much the whole damn game. You stop those big over the top throws and you stop Baltimore. It's that simple.

tldr; Champ should have had safety help and it was a stunning coaching oversight that he didn't.
We willingly walked ourselves into the wrong matchups against their WRs, honestly. Champ should have been on Bolden and Harris should have been on Smith. Harris has the speed to stay with him while Champ is more capable of matching Bolden's physical style of play.

That is reason #1 why if they don't move Champ I think we'll still do fine at corner, scheme could have hid a lot of that weakness. We'll just be deficient in coverage at safety, unless Moore takes another step forward as big as his year 1 to year 2 growth and Q. Carter comes back 100% athletically and takes a mental step forward as well.


Quote:
That said I definitely agree about our needs on the interior DL. Wolfe was ok, but far from disruptive. He disappeared for big stretches of games.

We need big help up the middle. It starts at middle linebacker and then safety and defensive tackle. Find talented players at any of those spots. If we can shore up the middle this will be a really really good defense.
The solution for both Wolfe and the DT position is one and the same if you ask me. Have Wolfe put on another 10-15 pounds this off-season and become a nearly full time DT. That frees up the strong side end job for Ayers and Malik Jackson (as well as Hunter who I bet they bring back on the cheap to give him another shot) while letting Wolfe be our pass rush up the middle.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maher_tyler View Post
MLB, DT, G, RB in that order. We get those things and depth and were golden.
I'd put RB ahead of G simply because the line has been good this year. There aren't that many teams with a Ngata type on the DL that can cause that much disruption. But regardless of line play our backs for the several seasons are incapable of picking up short yardage.

I'd also add speed at the WR spot as a need. Speed is truly what killed us. Baltimore having it on offense and us not having that homerun threat
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #17
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The solution for both Wolfe and the DT position is one and the same if you ask me. Have Wolfe put on another 10-15 pounds this off-season and become a nearly full time DT. That frees up the strong side end job for Ayers and Malik Jackson (as well as Hunter who I bet they bring back on the cheap to give him another shot) while letting Wolfe be our pass rush up the middle.
I worry that adding weight to a guy like Wolfe can slow him down and be detrimental to his play
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #18
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we need a absolute mauler on the inside of the OL, someone who can push guys out of the way and make bigger holes for the RB's.

we need a play making MLB who can be the QB of the defense.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:36 PM   #19
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We have already done these in the draft forum..

Funny how you came at me in that very thread about cap room and here you are talking about getting players. And one in particular Terrance Knighton who myself and DB4L have been beating that drum. It wasn't cool when I wanted him and talked about how we would add tier two free agents, but it's great when you do it!
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #20
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I would like to see the new offensive coordinator incorporate some of the concepts from Josh McDaniels' offense where they flood zones and run picks. They are impossible to cover. My kind of plays.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:48 PM   #21
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Champs not moving to safety. A pay cut is within reason as he should be our #2 corner. But he shouldn't be replaced with an old vet. Rather we take advantage of the press man CBs from the draft.
-Rhodes (1), Amerson (2), Hester (4-5)

At DT Knighton has been someone I have asked for quiet some time. We could also steal Pat Sims away from Cincy, he has added pass rush to his game working with Atkins. Unrein can be had back cheap so bring him back. Not sure why you don't want to draft a DT a loaded position in the draft..?

Drafting a MLB is not necessarily following BPA.. Te'o, Minter, and Ogaltree may all three be gone then what?

I find it interesting you don't address WR.. There needs to be an explosive and dynamic WR added who can move inside and out..
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:49 PM   #22
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Champs not moving to safety. A pay cut is within reason as he should be our #2 corner. But he shouldn't be replaced with an old vet. Rather we take advantage of the press man CBs from the draft.
-Rhodes (1), Amerson (2), Hester (4-5)

At DT Knighton has been someone I have asked for quiet some time. We could also steal Pat Sims away from Cincy, he has added pass rush to his game working with Atkins. Unrein can be had back cheap so bring him back. Not sure why you don't want to draft a DT a loaded position in the draft..?

Drafting a MLB is not necessarily following BPA.. Te'o, Minter, and Ogaltree may all three be gone then what?

I find it interesting you don't address WR.. There needs to be an explosive and dynamic WR added who can move inside and out..
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:00 PM   #23
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Don't think Amerson has the ability to play press-man successfully in the pros. That isn't what got him his bread and butter in college football, it is the off-man trails with safety help behind him and zone coverages where he succeeds the most. I look at Rhodes and Amerson and the big difference between the two of them is ability to play press. Which is why Rhodes is a superior prospect. Amerson probably could switch to FSU in the NFL and be very successful too.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:03 PM   #24
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Here's my opening dance card for the draft:

28. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
58. Travis Frederick, OG/C, Wisconsin
90. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

Then, go get Urlacher.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:06 PM   #25
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Love me some Drek...
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