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Old 04-18-2010, 11:08 AM   #1
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Default McClain, Pouncey, or bust (Krieger says it best!)

DAVE KRIEGER
Krieger: McClain, Pouncey or bust
By Dave Krieger
Denver Post Columnist
POSTED: 04/17/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Josh McDaniels said all the things coaches have to say at their NFL-mandated pre-draft news conferences love every player, would take one at any position, willing to trade up or down but he also said some things he didn't have to say.

Whether these things are to be believed is another question. All coaches throw out at least a little pre-draft misdirection, and we don't have a lot of experience separating McDaniels' direction from his misdirection.

That said, none of it dissuaded me from thinking the obvious course is also the right one: If he's there, the Broncos should draft Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain with the 11th pick of the first round. If he's not, they should trade down a few spots and take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.

As to whether McClain will be there, your guess is as good as mine. Jacksonville, picking just ahead of the Broncos at No. 10, could take him just as easily or possibly ask for something from the Broncos to flop picks and take somebody else.

But if McClain is gone when Roger Goodell puts the Broncos on the clock, it will be time to slide back a bit, which they've already gotten inquiries about doing. There, they could make Pouncey the 6-foot-5, 305-pound anchor of the bigger, stronger offensive line McDaniels covets.

There are other possibilities at No. 11, of course. There's Dez Bryant, the Oklahoma State wide receiver who could replace Brandon Marshall. There's Dan Williams, the Tennessee defensive tackle who might and I emphasize might star on the defensive line.

And there are other possibilities if they move back, including Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Not to mention Tim Tebow, whose fans may still be hanging out in the parking lot at Dove Valley, I'm not sure.

Still, centers worth first- round draft picks don't come along every year, and Pouncey has come along in a year when the Broncos happen to need one. If McClain is gone, Pouncey becomes their best consolation prize.

But McClain is the guy they need most. Not since Al Wilson have the Broncos had a fire-breathing leader in the middle of their defense. They've already opened the spot by releasing Andra Davis, who started beside D.J. Williams at inside linebacker last season. McDaniels has worked with Alabama coach Nick Saban and knows how much responsibility McClain was given to run a defense of pro-style complexity.

It is as if McClain were built to the specifications McDan- iels keeps talking about smart, tough, fast, strong. If the Broncos want to stop getting manhandled, a 6-4, 258- pound inside linebacker is an excellent place to start.

"I'm not sure I've met a young man as intelligent relative to the game of football (as) Rolando McClain," McDaniels said. "He's obviously been well-coached, but even if you're coached well, it takes another side to get to where he's at. He's obviously done a lot of listening, studying and understands the game at a level where most kids that come in as rookies will never be at."

McDaniels also said nice things about lots of other players, of course, including Bryant, whom the Broncos had in for a visit Wednesday, the same day as McClain. Still, plugging Bryant into the Broncos' draft slot because he's a logical replacement for Marshall assumes McDaniels is looking to recreate last season's status quo. He's not. He's looking to beef up the foundation of his team.

The other realistic possibility at No. 11, assuming McClain is gone, is Williams. The Broncos have signed three veteran defensive linemen in free agency, but McDaniels said that wouldn't stop him from drafting a difference-maker there.

He also pointed out that Williams had only one year of big-time production at Tennessee, after Monte Kiffin arrived to coach the defense last season. Linebacker Robert Ayers, whom McDaniels drafted at No. 18 last year, also played at Tennessee and also had only one year of first-round production. Ayers' rookie season was a disappointment. So I'm guessing McDaniels doesn't go to that particular well again this year.

Both the Broncos' needs and McDaniels' frustrations about them were pretty obvious during last year's second-half slide. They couldn't run the ball, and they couldn't stop the run. In football, it doesn't get more basic than that.

McClain helps with the latter, Pouncey with the former. They both fill not merely needs, but vacancies. The Broncos should come away from the draft's first night with one or the other.

Dave Krieger: 303-954-5297, dkrieger@denverpost.com or twitter.com/DaveKrieger
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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Well written...I agree with either McClain or Pouncey...I am really starting to sway towards pouncey, if we get a good trade down package. Lets just get em both...we draft McClain at 11 and give up next years 1st plus the Miami 2nd this year and slide into the 15-17th spot and get pouncey...could that happen and could we afford it...a guy can dream right!
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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yes to McClain!
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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I'll be happy with McClain as long as we go OL heavy for the next few rounds.


It seems too logical for us to pass up.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:20 AM   #5
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In last year's class of centers, Pouncey would have come in around fourth.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
In last year's class of centers, Pouncey would have come in around fourth.
youre sleepin on pouncey, dude is gonna be a pro bowler for years to come...but so is mcclain
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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Yeah I would definitely follow this article and grab McClain perhaps maybe trade a second and fourth to get into the end of the first round to grab Thomas and pick up a C with the other second round pick.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:30 AM   #8
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I want Dan Williams if he's there.

Buffalo or the Jags might take him, Kansas might even jump on him at #5.

Potentially an absolute stud NT, and I don't see how you pass that up when you have the chance to get him.

From McDaniels' presser it seems like he believes that Williams can even play a bit of DE, which would be very useful to us this season cos we're still a bit light on talent there and could use a talented young rookie for the rotation.

Jamal Williams can't have more than a couple of years left in him, at best. He's no long term solution, and neither is Ronald Fields. Dan Williams would be, and I really will be thrilled if he's a Bronco come Thursday night.

McClain just doesn't seem like a smart pick to me. #11 on a 2-down linebacker? Really? I think we can pick up a 2-down thumper like Brandon Spikes later in the draft and not lose out much in terms of the drop-off from McClain. TED linebacker just isn't that important a spot quite frankly.

Also DJ has a massive contract, having huge money tied up in your starting ILB's isn't much of a recipe for success.

Pouncey if we trade down with then yeah, sure. But we better trade down a nice bit and get something good in return, I don't really want us taking Pouncey until the 20's at the earliest.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:35 AM   #9
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I'd take McClain and be happy. No way I would go with Pouncey. There are questions as to whether he would be a first rounder most years. I'd go with a Center later in the draft and grab a Dez Bryant before I drafted Pouncey. There are a bunch of 2nd round Centers and there are a couple intriguing prospects later as well. I'd prefer a smart player like Tennant or Walton. Coming from BC and Baylor, you would expect they are both sharp cats. Imagine trading down a bit and getting another 2nd rounder. I think the Broncos would love to have those options. Back down to around 22 and draft a Pouncey there and that would make sense. He'll, you could get back to 18, pick up a later 2nd for the trade down, and then have a guy like Earl Thomas who is coveted by the Eagles, trade down a few more spots and have the fire power to move back into the top 35 again without giving up picks next year. I trust McD will have a plan!!!
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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I love the "fire breather" comment when comparing McClain to Wilson. Awesome.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncswin View Post
Well written...I agree with either McClain or Pouncey...I am really starting to sway towards pouncey, if we get a good trade down package. Lets just get em both...we draft McClain at 11 and give up next years 1st plus the Miami 2nd this year and slide into the 15-17th spot and get pouncey...could that happen and could we afford it...a guy can dream right!
Thats too much to give up. We should be able to package our 2nd rd picks and grab him late in the 1st round if he's still there
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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Truth is no one knows what McDaniel's has got up his sleeve...... I think it would be fun to watch Shanahan and McDaniel's play poker, my money would be on the kid......
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Truth is no one knows what McDaniel's has got up his sleeve...... I think it would be fun to watch Shanahan and McDaniel's play poker, my money would be on the kid......
wow, what a compliment!
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Truth is no one knows what McDaniel's has got up his sleeve...... I think it would be fun to watch Shanahan and McDaniel's play poker, my money would be on the kid......
What has he done that tells you he would be a good poker player. Out of all the crap that he's let out to the media. I forgot this guy is "Genius" in all his moves
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:00 PM   #15
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We have a huge hole in the middle of our defense currently and the same hole at Center. Our defense can survive with the talent we currently have at NT, I'm not sure we could really field a team without getting a solid ILB and a Center in this draft...they are must haves. Hoping to hear McClains name when we are on the clock.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
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What has he done that tells you he would be a good poker player. Out of all the crap that he's let out to the media. I forgot this guy is "Genius" in all his moves
I didn't say he would be a good poker player, I said he would beat Shanahan....
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:20 PM   #17
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We'll probably take another scat back.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:24 PM   #18
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McClain is the proto type patriots LBer, big and smart. Krieger is right, if he's there, the Broncos will probably take him.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I'd take McClain and be happy. No way I would go with Pouncey. There are questions as to whether he would be a first rounder most years. I'd go with a Center later in the draft and grab a Dez Bryant before I drafted Pouncey. There are a bunch of 2nd round Centers and there are a couple intriguing prospects later as well. I'd prefer a smart player like Tennant or Walton. Coming from BC and Baylor, you would expect they are both sharp cats. Imagine trading down a bit and getting another 2nd rounder. I think the Broncos would love to have those options. Back down to around 22 and draft a Pouncey there and that would make sense. He'll, you could get back to 18, pick up a later 2nd for the trade down, and then have a guy like Earl Thomas who is coveted by the Eagles, trade down a few more spots and have the fire power to move back into the top 35 again without giving up picks next year. I trust McD will have a plan!!!
I don't know where you get this crap about Pouncey. Gil Brandt has him as the best center prospect to come out in the past 10yrs. He's going to be a pro-bowl player for many years. But, if we don't grab him in the first...I'd be happy with us going McClain in the 1st and picking up either Walton or Tennant in the 2nd or 3rd. I like the receivers in this draft for our needs and hope we grab one of Thomas, Benn, Lefell, Tate, or Williams.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I don't know where you get this crap about Pouncey. Gil Brandt has him as the best center prospect to come out in the past 10yrs. He's going to be a pro-bowl player for many years. But, if we don't grab him in the first...I'd be happy with us going McClain in the 1st and picking up either Walton or Tennant in the 2nd or 3rd. I like the receivers in this draft for our needs and hope we grab one of Thomas, Benn, Lefell, Tate, or Williams.
Pouncey didn't make the line calls for UF last year, that alone should be enough to question anyone saying that he's the best C prospect in years. He may have to most raw talent for a C in years, but he certainly shouldn't be considered the top overall prospect.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:22 PM   #21
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Pouncey is rumored to be not so smart. He made no line calls and played in the spread offense. Also he's from Florida which produces notoriously stupid players. Id be ok with the pick if we took him only because I know much importance the broncos put on smart players. It would mean we did our homework and determined he could play. Even if he is good enough to play, he would be a project due to lack of pro system experience. Id guess we are looking for more pro-ready linemen.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:25 PM   #22
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What about some of the centers in the 2nd round? Surely there are comparable players with higher football IQs. Someone mentioned Tennant recently.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:12 PM   #23
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I think i'd still prefer Weatherspoon to McClain
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:47 PM   #24
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Just my humble opinion, but is McClain the Matt Leinart of this draft? A product of all the talent around him? I'm no scout and I barely watch any college football, so I'm just throwing out my opinion based on others' opinions.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:53 PM   #25
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I think i'd still prefer Weatherspoon to McClain
I seriously think that's who we're targeting.
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