Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fox wisely reiterates that Orton is the starter

On Thursday in Indianapolis, the Denver Broncos Head Coach met with the media prior to the 2011 NFL Combine. Discussing a wide range of topics, some of what Fox highlighted was;
  • Denver's base defense is going to be a 4-3, and former linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will be moved to defensive end.
  • The team's goal is to win the Super Bowl this year and they believed signing cornerback Champ Bailey was a step in the right direction to make that happen.

  • He also noted that the quarterbacks are going to compete for the starting job and any one of them could win it -- even Brady Quinn.
Reiterating what Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said earlier this month, Fox noted that if the season started today, Kyle Orton would be the starter.

Fox reiterates that Orton is the starter now, but as for the season, "I can't predict (who starts) Week 1. That's why I say, 'today.'"

Make no mistake, Elway and Fox know what they are doing. If Orton is playing well and the team is winning, why not start him? If he starts to struggle they have Tebow right there ready to go.

Both quarterbacks will also benefit from Orton being the starter. There's not a Bronco fan in the country that doesn't know how competitive Tebow is, and he'll do everything in his power to win the starting job back. The same goes for Orton as well. With Tebow nipping at his ankles, Kyle will be forced to play at a high level to keep his job.

It should also be noted that this will keep Orton's trade value at a high level, just in case Denver does have any intentions of possibly trading him. You can't get as much in a trade for a backup quarterback as you could for your starter, and that's a fact.

In conclusion, be not dismayed, Broncos Country. For now, Kyle Orton is the Broncos starter -- and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Diagnosing Denver's Team Needs and How They Could Fill Them

The Denver Broncos are about to go through their first offseason under new Head Coach John Fox. There will be plenty of roster transactions from now up until the start of next season, as Denver tries to put together a winning team.

The team is going to make the switch back to a 4-3 base defense, moving some players around and parting ways with others. Entering his fifth season, Elvis Dumervil is expected to be moved back to defensive end, where he recorded 21 sacks the first two years of his career. Another former 3-4 outside linebacker, Robert Ayers, will also be moved to defensive end, where the Broncos hope he will be as disruptive as he was in college.

With the defensive end position seemingly set, that leaves the defensive tackle position as the only area needing to be addressed on the front four. The Broncos current nose tackle, Jamal Williams, will be turning 35 in April and is better fit as a 3-4 tackle than a 4-3. Without much depth behind Williams, the Broncos must pursue the position.The linebackers are in a pretty good position. Outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard will be a free agent, but most of the others are expected to return, unless the Broncos have other plans for them. Entering his third season with the Broncos, Mario Haggan is coming off a career season and should be retained. As versatile as they come, linebacker D.J. Williams has started for Denver at both outside and middle linebacker and led the team in sacks and tackles last season. When healthy in 2010, Joe Mays was an excellent middle linebacker for the Broncos and dominant against the run. The above mentioned three linebackers could very well end up being Denver's three starters next season.

In the secondary things are a little shaky. Cornerback Champ Bailey just signed a four-year deal and is still one of the premier corners in the game, even at age 32. Behind him however, things start to fall apart. Fellow cornerback Andre Goodman is turning 33 and struggled with hamstring and quadriceps injuries all of last season, while second year cornerback Perrish Cox's status for next season is in question after some off-field allegations. Don't rule out Syd'Quan Thompson just yet though. A former 7th round draft pick, Thompson could compete for playing time in 2011 after a stellar rookie season.

At safety, the team has two aging players and two others that are injury prone. Set to turn 38 years-old in October, Brian Dawkins is still better than most free safeties in the game, but he's not the same Dawkins he used to be. Across from Dawkins is 32 year-old Renaldo Hill, who is still playing at a high level, but won't be able to forever. The two young bucks, David Bruton and Darcel McBath, have shown some potential but not enough to be full-time starters. The safety position is one Denver will have to address.

On offense, things aren't half as messy.

The team has three quarterbacks that they think could start today in Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. While all of them may not be around next season, one of them will be the starter.

At running back, the Broncos have Knowshon Moreno (who has yet to fully live up to fans expectations), Correll Buckhalter who is unlikely to return, and 25 year-old Lance Ball, who fought his way from the practice squad to relief back last season. The Broncos have retained running backs coach Eric Studesville, who is working with Moreno and is a fan of Ball, so expect those two players to stay. Veteran back LenDale White will also be back and is hoping to see some playing time. Denver will probably go after another back as well, either through free agency or the draft, aiming to find a good back to pair up with Moreno. Fullback Spencer Larsen had a solid season last year and will most likely return as well.

On the offensive line the Broncos may not make many adjustments. That may sound absurd to some fans after the lines' dismal performance at the beginning of last year, but remember, the line had three first year starters and they showed great improvement towards season's end. The team may add a tackle and center, putting some depth behind second year center J.D. Walton, and tackles Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris. Harris will be a free agent and may not be re-signed. At tight end, the Broncos have Daniel Graham, who may not return, Daniel Coats and third year player Richard Quinn, who is looking to prove himself in 2011. Expect the Broncos to add another receiving tight end to the squad and release another.

At wide receiver, things are a little complicated. Fourth year receiver Matthew Willis will be competing for playing time after missing most of 2010 while on injured reserve, Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Lloyd will be returning, fourth year player Eddie Royal is recovering from an offseason hip surgery but is also expected to back as early as May, and second year receiver Eric Decker, who impressed coaches at seasons end last season, will also be returning. The team will also have the option of retaining Jabar Gaffney, who has been solid, and Demaryius Thomas may be ready to go by the start of the season. The team may deal Gaffney and ink another receiver, or just draft another and let the squad compete for roster spots in Training Camp.

Please note that unless a new CBA is agreed on, there will be no player signings or trades this offseason. Teams will have to be prepared for either outcome though (a new CBA or a lockout and a Draft). If a new CBA is agreed on, here are some players Denver could target to fill their team needs:
Team needs:

Offense: Tight End, Running Back (depth), Offensive Line (depth)

Defense: Defensive Tackle, Cornerback, Safety, Linebacker (depth)

Sleeper positions (where the team doesn't necessarily need depth at but they still may address): Wide Receiver, Defensive End

Possible additions to fill the offensive needs:

TE Jeremy Shockey, formerly of the Saints, Shockey was released on Tuesday. Although he is going on 31 years--old and is somewhat injury prone, Shockey would provide a nice addition to the Broncos as both a receiving and blocking Tight End. Signing one in free agency would also allow the Broncos to go after more defensive players in the draft.

RB DeAngelo Williams, drafted by John Fox in Carolina back in 2006, Williams is set to become an unrestricted free agent. If Denver does go after and sign Williams, he would provide an excellent running-mate to Moreno. Having two capable backs would enable Denver to have a fresh running back in the backfield on every drive.

OL Broncos Tackle Ryan Harris is going to be a free agent after the new CBA is worked out. If the team resigned him he would provide vital experience and continuity to the offensive line. If the team lets Harris walk, they'll have a chance at other offensive lineman in later rounds of the Draft and they'll also have four starting offensive line returning.

Possible additions to fill the defensive needs:

CB Patrick Peterson of LSU is entering the NFL Draft scouted by many as being one of the best defensive backs to come around in years. The Broncos will most likely select the best defensive player on the board, because with so many defensive needs, they cannot afford a bust. If the team thinks Peterson is the best player on the board, they'll probably draft him 2nd overall. Peterson would join Bailey in the Broncos secondary instantly forming one of the greatest cornerback tandems in the League.

S Bob Sanders, who was just released by the Colts, is 30 years old and coming off multiple injuries; however, he is a risk worth taking for the Broncos, at the right price. Another option is moving Peterson to safety, a position some scouts say Peterson is better suited. If Perrish Cox is not suspended for the season, the Broncos need at cornerback will greatly decrease, so the team could afford to move Peterson to safety, that is, if they do draft him.

LB Jon Beason is a young (26) middle linebacker who also played under Fox in Carolina, and has been the anchor of the Panthers defense. He is entering the final season of his contract, however, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Fox try to deal for him. The Broncos linebacker corps currently consists of Joe Mays at middle linebacker, with veterans Mario Haggan and D.J. Williams on the outside. Denver also has some nice depth behind the assumed starting three linebackers in Jason Hunter and Wesley Woodyard. However, the Broncos run defense has struggled of late and speed is not one of the defenses strong points. So the Broncos may do some swapping of linebackers in trades and/or draft one or more in April.

DT Jarvis Jenkins, a defensive tackle out of Clemson, is expected to be available in the 2nd-3rd round(s) and is a possible option for the Broncos. Another of many options at defensive tackle for the Broncos is free agent Brandon Mebane of the Seahawks. Mebane is one of the better 4-3 young (26) defensive tackles in the game and would be a nice addition to Denver's defense. If the Broncos opt to not take Patrick Peterson second overall, Auburn's defensive tackle Nick Fairley would also be a solid addition to the defense. Denver also has the option of trading down, accumulating more picks, and ultimately, more defensive players.

Those are some players to keep an eye on, for now though, just keep and eye on the development of the collective bargaining agreement.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Champ Bailey Agrees To a New, 4-Year Contract

Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway is walking the talk.

On Thursday, Elway tweeted that the team wanted cornerback Champ Bailey to finish his career as a Denver Broncos. On Monday, Elway announced that the Broncos had agreed to terms on a new four-year contract with Bailey.

Terms of the deal have not been announced by the team, but reportedly the four-year deal is worth around
$43 million with $15 million of that in guaranteed money. Bailey will now be under contract with the Broncos through the 2015 NFL season.
"Champ is truly one of the NFL's elite players, a 10-time Pro Bowler who is playing at the absolute highest level," said Elway. "The commitment and loyalty that Champ has shown to the Broncos, the city of Denver and this region is exemplary. We're fortunate to have Champ with the Broncos for a long time. This is a GREAT day for our entire organization and our fans."
It is a great day to be a Broncos fan! Former NFL sack-king Elvis Dumervil will be returning next season, Champ Bailey will be returning and the team holds the second overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. Bright days are ahead for Denver.

Tebow to host Celebrity Golf Match

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.– THE PLAYERS Foundation has joined forces with Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to stage the first annual Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic, tournament officials announced today. The two-day event will take place at TPC Sawgrass, May 6-7 to raise much-needed funds for at-risk children throughout the world. For more, visit

Tebow also recently told The Florida Times that he's been working very hard this offseason and is looking forward to the opportunity to lead Denver and try to win games. He went on to add on his progression as an NFL quarterback, that he doesn't "feel like it’s even close from last year to where I am now. In fact, it’s not even close to where I am now from the end of last season. I’m much more prepared."

On different note, Broncos Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Lloyd tweeted today that "things are looking good" regarding cornerback Champ Bailey's contract negotiations with Denver.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Broncos are still behind Tim Tebow

On Monday, NFL Network Insider Michael Lombardi wrote an article stating that the quarterback position was one Denver should target in the Draft, seeing as quarterback Tim Tebow may not be the long term solution.

"Tebow is a man without much support in Denver," wrote Lombardi. "Making quarterback a huge need."

According to Lombardi, all support in the Broncos organization for Tim Tebow left with former Head Coach Josh McDaniels. That could be true, if you don't count Denver's current Head Coach John Fox, Vice President John Elway and Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Lloyd into the equation.

“The thing that’s impressive about Tebow is that he’s not afraid to be great, he has as good intangibles as any athlete I’ve ever been around," said Fox in January. According to reports, if Tebow would have been available in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft last April, Fox and the Panthers probably would have selected him.

"I think he's a very good football player, and if anyone can turn themselves into a great QB, Tim can. Myself and our entire organization think very highly of him," tweeted Broncos Vice President of football operations John Elway. "We were very pleased with his first year as a Bronco and any speculation that the Denver Broncos are considering moving Tim is completely false."

Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Brandon Lloyd is also a Tebow supporter, saying Tebow brings a new dynamic to the offense with his ability to extend plays. Denver's offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has also shown support of Tebow, as well as most of the team's fans.

Both Elway and Fox have said quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow will compete for the team's starting quarterback position. Tebow has the fans, players and coaches behind him, so
don't expect him be going anywhere soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bronco fans plan a "Champ Bailey Rally" for Feb. 20th

When the fans of the Denver Broncos speak, owner Pat Bowlen listens. A huge campaign was launched last November seeking to get the Broncos to switch back to the classic Orange jerseys. Earlier this month, the Broncos starting talking with the NFL regarding making their alternate orange color their full-time home jersey beginning with the 2012 season.

Fans are hoping to make themselves heard again. This time they are planning a rally for February 2oth at Invesco Field @ Mile High starting at 2pm. Their goal: Convince Champ Bailey to stay in Denver and show the Broncos how much fans want them to retain him.

The creator of the event, Cris Flores, is asking fans to join him at the south side of the stadium on Sunday, just like they would on gameday. Wearing Champ Bailey and Bronco jerseys and carrying signs, their message will be clear: Champ Bailey should finish his career as a Bronco.

Will you be there? You can RSVP to the rally on facebook as well as 'like' their page.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tim Tebow has Two Valentine's dates

That's right, two. His little nieces, Abby and Riley.
That's really cute, no doubt he's a great uncle!

On a different note, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is going to have surgery today due to his a torn Achilles tendon, and running back Knowshon Moreno is going to hold a press conference with some Colorado High School Students in a Fuel Up to Play 60 student reporter event.

You can help get more former Denver Broncos into the Pro Football Hall of Fame! Check out to find out how.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Around the web: Will there be Pro Football in 2011?

Now that the Green Bay Packers have defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, the offseason has officially started -- and it could be a long offseason.

With the League's current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) running out in March, there could be a lockout in 2011 if the players and owners cannot come to an agreement.

There would still be a draft however, and the Broncos are busy preparing for it. Click here for our first Mock Draft, Little Big Board and a few scouting reports.

Putting aside the CBA for a moment, Denver Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal is excited for 2011; "I know we had a tough season but plenty of teams have had major turn arounds in one year and ended up [then] winning the Super Bowl... and that is our ONLY goal for next season."

Eddie raises a good point, as did Micah Pexa on our Facebook page yesterday; "The last time the Packers won a Super Bowl, the Broncos won it the very next year!"

The only problem is, there may not be football in 2011. However, there will be in 2012, and the Denver Broncos want to be in Orange by then. We have been hammering for the Broncos to officially announce the switch, but as of now, they haven't made anything official.

That's not all we've been hammering for either. There are many former Denver Bronco players that have gotten little consideration for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, even though there are many that are very deserving. To help raise awareness about those players and learn what you can do to help get them into Canton, we've started a website, Get Them in The Hall. It is still under construction but be sure to check it out!

On a final note, congrats to Shannon Sharpe for finally being elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Picture This: Elway and Tebow in the Super Bowl

Ok, ok, they're not actually in the Super Bowl, but both John Elway and Tim Tebow are in Dallas this week for Super Bowl XLV and have been making the rounds.
Former Broncos quarterback and current Vice President of Football Operations, John Elway has been in high demand. You can watch a video of him talking with some of the guys at NFL Network by clicking here, and another with Sirius XM host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Click the above image to watch the latter.

Current Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been promoting Nike, along with Marshall Faulk, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Johnson. Hopefully next time Elway and Tebow go to the Super Bowl, they'll be there for a different reason.

Video: Former Bronco Nate Jackson talks with Vic Lombardi

Former Denver Broncos Tight End Nate Jackson stopped by CBS4 to talk with Vic Lombardi on Monday. They discussed Jay Cutler, Tim Tebow and a few NFL myths. The video can be seen below:
On a different note, Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said yesterday that as of now, Kyle Orton is the teams starting quarterback.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Understanding the NFL Draft: Part 1, Post Senior Bowl

Only 85 days are left between now and the first day of the NFL Draft. In that time span, I plan on creating a multiple part series centered around understanding the NFL draft, before it actually begins. Each will try to break down the NFL Draft as deeply as possible, looking at every possible aspect: I will try to break down patterns, reveal drafting styles, scout players and try to change how we look at the draft in its’ very essence. On top of that, each part will have a Mock Draft specific to the Broncos, and every four will have a mock draft for the entire NFL.

Before I go into this, I do want to clear up one thing: My mock drafts are not there for the purpose of being accurate. If they are, that’s all well and good, but it is not their intention. People skewer mock drafts because many set out with the only goal of being accurate, and very rarely are they. Instead, I just want to simply analyze the draft and use mock drafts as a vehicle to do so. On one final note, I am completely biased towards the Denver Broncos in these examinations.

Now we know that the Broncos will be picking #2 overall when the draft comes this April. That is why in part 1 of this series, I will delve into the top 5 picks of the NFL Draft, focusing on past success rates, (specifically positional).

To measure past success rates, I have labeled every top 5 pick since the 2000 Draft (55 total) with one of three terms: Success, Failure, Wild Card. A success is a player that has lived up to the teams’ expectations, or exceeded them. This player needs to be worthy of the pick used, and should have a great deal of success for the team that drafted him. For example, I defined Michael Vick as a failure despite his success in Philadelphia, because of his dramatic fallout and overall lack of success in Atlanta. A failure is defined as player that feel short of the teams expectations, but that does not mean they are necessarily a “bust”. For instance, Reggie Bush is listed as a failure, but is not a bust. As for wild cards, they are a player that cannot be described as either a success or a failure. This is not necessarily a “to be decided” tag. It means that they have fallen somewhere in between, and calling them either a success or a failure would skew results. Examples of wild cards include: Trent Williams, Matthew Stafford and Darren McFadden.

First, let’s look at the overall success rate of a top 5 pick: There is a 47% success rate for players that go in the top 5, with anywhere between +/- 11% including wild card players. On the other hand there is a 42% failure rate, again +/- 11%. It is important to remember that while these may not vary much from top 10 or top 15 pick success rates, the expectations for lower picks are well… lower. Therefore, a top 5 pick could be considered a failure, but may have a better career than a “successful” first round pick. Going back to Reggie Bush, had he been the tenth to fifteenth overall pick, I probably would have classified him as a success, but because of the high draft pick used, he is a failure.

But I digress…
Those statistics should not be surprising, as we see a slight lean to success, but also a very possible chance of failure over the past 11 years. What is far more telling than this is the information I have acquired about success rates in relation to the position being drafted. So first let’s start by revealing the truth on common misconceptions, with the use of these past success rates.

Very often, we assume that the safest position to draft in the top 5 is the offensive line. And with players like Jake Long and Joe Thomas coming out of the top 5, this perpetuates this stereotype of Tackles and Guards being “safe picks” in the top 5. Here is how this idea has really panned out over the past 11 years: 4 failures in Leonard Davis, Mike Williams, Robert Gallery and Levi Brown; 3 Successes in Chris Samuels, Joe Thomas, Jake Long; 2 Wild Cards in Jason Smith, Trent Williams. This pans out to a 42% +/- 13% Success Rate. In other words, this could be potentially as low as 29% success rate, and only as high as a 55% success rate at best.

The Tackle and Guard position has been labeled an easy transition to the NFL the past few years, due to the immediate success of Jake Long and Joe Thomas. These are anomalies, and should be looked over when taking a Tackle or Guard in the top 5. It is not a safe pick! If you think that you have found your Offensive Linemen of the future after a long scouting process, that’s wonderful. Good for you. But do not latch on to them because they are the “safe pick”. They are anything but that.

In fact, you might be better off waiting until later in the draft to take an Offensive Linemen. There is far less risk, but the same amount of reward that you can find in the top 5 picks (see Ryan Clady, Nick Mangold, Bryant McKinnie, etc). I would recommend trying to trade down to a team that is looking to draft an offensive linemen with their top 5 pick.

Now let’s talk about Defensive Backs. This could be a position that the Broncos could very possibly draft in the top 5 with Prince Amukamara and Patrick Peterson available, who are some of the best Cornerbacks to come out in recent years. I’m a big fan of drafting defensive backs very early in the draft, and here is why:

Of the four defensive backs that were drafted in the span of the last decade, all four of them are classified as successes: In other words, as of late, there has been a 100% success rate. No other position comes even close to Defensive Backs in terms of recent success. That said, they aren’t exactly booming successes, (Quentin Jammer, Terence Newman, Sean Taylor and Eric Berry).

Both Jammer and Newman it could be argued have not lived up to top five pick status, as Jammer has never been a Pro Bowler and Newman has only been to two in his career, but I disagree. Both Jammer and Newman have been consistent players for their teams over the span of 7-8 years and only for the teams that drafted them. As for Sean Taylor, he tragically passed away in 2007, but in his three years with the Redskins, he went All-Pro once and went to Pro Bowls in 2006 and 2007.
If the Broncos decide to draft either Peterson or Amukamara, I would not expect them to play like the next Champ Bailey, but I think both would be solid, sound picks and contribute well to the team. We all know though, you have to take big risks to get big rewards.

Speaking of risks and rewards, how about the Defensive Line?
Drafting defensive linemen in the top 5 amounted only to a 42% success rate, the lowest base rate of any position drafted. So it would be reasonable to not want to go out and draft a defensive linemen with a top 5 pick if you are looking for a sure-fire pick to improve your thing. But drafting a defensive linemen is like drafting a Quarterback on defense: The risk is high, but if you hit the jackpot, things will be looking better on the defensive side of the ball for years to come. On top of that, no one has ever won a Super Bowl without taking risks, and that is why the Broncos should not shy away from taking either Da’Quan Bowers or Nick Fairley with their top pick.

The good thing you have going for you, is almost all of the successful defensive linemen drafted in the top 5 are booming successes. (Justin Smith, Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, etc.) And we all know that John Fox will not shy away from taking that risk as he drafted Julius Peppers when he came to Carolina in 2002. If either Nick Fairley or Da’Quan Bowers is half the player Julius Peppers is, our defensive line should be set for the next few years.

Also-John Fox has only picked in the top 5 once, and has a 100% success rate doing so. Maybe, just maybe he’ll keep up that success rate here in Denver, and we won’t be picking in the top 5 for a very long time.


I have the first three rounds finished, and in a future part of the series will have the entirety of the draft. For now though, it is not very clear what kind of players will be drafted late in the process.

2nd overall pick: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. Don’t you wish Andrew Luck came out? I didn’t want him, but imagine the Broncos having a choice between Nick Fairley, Da’Quan Bowers and Patrick Peterson? Now, unless A.J Green from Georgia is chosen by Carolina, the Broncos are going to have to choose between either Da’Quan Bowers and Patrick Peterson or Nick Fairley and Patrick Peterson. For now though, I have the Panthers picking Nick Fairley and leaving the Broncos with either Peterson or Bowers.

Depending on whom you ask, Da’Quan Bowers may be the best player in the entire 2011 NFL Draft. His elite versatility, fantastic upper body strength and penchant for bursting off the line has made him one of the most desired prospects in the entire draft.

Bowers this year led all of college football in sacks and tackles for losses, so there is no doubt that he is productive, and it should be able to transfer to the NFL well. He is extremely athletic, had a great rip/swim move and has the size to put it all together. But there is some technique that he needs to fix. He often doesn’t get good enough leverage but this is a common problem with college prospects and a good coach could easily teach Bowers this.

The reason I expect this choice over Patrick Peterson is that John Fox likes drafting athletic defensive ends. In 2002, Fox drafted Julius Peppers with this same pick, and a few years later traded away a future first round pick to draft Everette Brown in the second round.

As I said earlier, if Da’Quan Bowers becomes half of the player that Julius Peppers became, the Broncos are set for the next few years. Imagine having Bowers and Elvis Dumervil play opposite each other, rushing the Quarterback. We could very well be unstoppable. The Broncos need to address the Defensive Line with this first overall pick and should be happy with either Bowers or Nick Fairley.

36th overall pick: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA. This is a pretty popular pick right now among draftniks and Broncos fans alike. The Broncos are picking towards the beginning of the second round and will probably continue to fix the defensive side of the ball. With them needing help at all three levels, don’t be surprised if they take the best player available route and try to salvage what is left of their defense. Therefore, it is logical that if the best Safety in the entire draft is available when they pick they will not hesitate to pull the trigger on him.

I could probably win my case for him with saying only one thing: He models his game after Ed Reed, and is good at it too. He’s a student of the game and works hard on gameday and in practices beforehand. Moore is your classic ball-hawk Safety. He fights for the ball in the air, has reliable hands and elite hand-eye coordination. I can’t wait to see how high he can jump in the combine, but from what I’ve seen on the field, it could be one of the highest in the class.

Moore’s mechanics are solid for the most part, as he displays a good backpedal and knows how to use his range in zone. He’s your perfect centerfielder. That said, his man coverage needs work, and will probably need some time to work on that when he reaches the NFL. He will also need to work on his tackling mechanics, because he has been unreliable in that department at times.

Brian Dawkins is getting old and it’s not a stretch to say he might not be in Denver next season, but if he is, it should only be on a rotational basis. In fact, I would love to have Dawkins stay simply to tutor Moore.

Our Defensive Backs clearly need help and Dawkins opposite Hill is just not going to cut it at the Safety position. I firmly believe that Safety can be one of the most important positions on the field and if you are not sound there, than everything else falls apart. They are your teams last line of defense and hopefully John Fox recognizes he must address them with this pick.

48th overall pick: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame. This years’ Tight End class isn’t exactly star-studded and at this point I don’t see any of them being taken in the first round. That said though, there are some good picks to be had in this class, if these players are not overvalued.

My favorite, and the consensus best Tight End in the draft is Kyle Rudolph, a Tight End out of Notre Dame. Rudolph displays exceptional ball skills, with confident albeit aggressive pass catching. He needs to show a better release off of the line of scrimmage but has the athletic capabilities to learn how to do so at the next level. What most impresses me most though is his toughness. He constantly fights for the extra yard and his known among his peers for being a fantastic competitor.

While Tight End definitely isn’t the Broncos biggest need, we don’t have a pass-catching one at all, and John Fox utilizes the pass-catching Tight End far more than Josh McDaniels did. Daniel Graham is aging and if he is on the roster next season, I would be surprised if he was the year after that. Thus, you see the reasoning for drafting Rudolph.

Also, consider yet again positional value: We would be drafting the best Tight End in the entire class with only a mid-second round pick. When ever does a team get to draft the best players at three different positions? It would be incredible. While for the most part I would encourage John Fox to stick with mainly defensive players, if you can get a value like Rudolph this far down the stretch, it would be hard, if not impossible to pass him up.

If not Rudolph, because he may very well not be available, the Broncos will definitely continue to draft on the defensive side of the ball. Greg Jones, an inside linebacker out of Michigan State is also a very legitimate possibility with this pick.

66th overall pick: Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon. Sadly the Broncos do not have a very good chance of acquiring Clay Matthews this off-season, and instead have Robert Ayers. Not that I’m bitter or anything… Even though I wrote that Cushing, Maualuga and Matthews all would be better than Ayers, was right. I’m over that, and it’s partially due to how good Clay Matthews’ brother Casey Matthews is.

Casey and Clay are too different types of players. Clay is a scary pass rushing outside linebacker built for a 3-4 defense. Casey on the other hand is your classic, sound Inside Linebacker built for a 4-3. With the switch to a 4-3 inevitable, I will be excited to see exactly what John Fox does with the Linebacker position. For his first year though, I would encourage keeping players like Mays, Woodyard and of course Williams and rotating them in and out with young mid-round picks.

Casey Matthews should be one of those picks. The first thing that jumps out at you about Casey Matthews is his speed. I mean, it really is ridiculous and is a mismatch for most Tight Ends and even some slower Wide Receivers. While his mechanics in coverage are raw, with the proper coaching, he could be one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL.

On top of that, he is really instinctual. Maybe it is because he comes from a long line of football players that goes far beyond just his brother Clay and goes back to his father, and his fathers father, and his fathers brothers, etc. He recognizes gaps and then closes them up with his speed and power.

The Broncos need a little bit of raw talent if they really want to improve and should take a chance on Casey Matthews. He’s not your conventional pick, and will partially be overvalued because of the talent of his brother. But you can’t deny there is something intangible about him that I think will make him a good player in the NFL. With the Broncos needing a 4-3 inside Linebacker, he’s a good fit.


1. A.J Green, WR, Georgia
2. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
3. Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
4. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
5. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
6. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
7. Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
8. Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
9. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
10. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St.
11. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
12. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
13. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
14. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
15. Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
16. J.J Watt, DE, Wisconsin
17. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
18. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
19. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
20. Nate Soldier, OT, Colorado


Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

Strengths: Stout at the point of attack … Very athletic … Displays great balance … Is very agile, able to slide laterally … Gets a good push in the run game … Is very aggressive, plays nasty … Has a high football I.Q … Versatile, can play Guard or Center … Can sustain blocks.

Weaknesses: Very unpolished, will need work on technique … Gets poor leverage, inconsistent pad level … Durability concerns … Doesn’t snap well from the shotgun … Doesn’t dominate opponent.

Overview: Mike Pouncey, the brother of Steelers Center Maurkice Pouncey, has all the physical traits and the intangibles you look for in an elite center, but has yet to put it all together. For a team with a good Offensive Line coach and a stable Offensive Line looking for someone to be an eventual replacement, Pouncey is the perfect fit. But if you need a Guard/Center now, I would look elsewhere.

My Grade: 87/100, 2nd to 3rd round pick.

Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado

Strengths: Prototypical size, weight … Has big hands … Has very fluid hips … Quick feet … A hard worker, and a fiery competitor … Jams receivers at the line of scrimmage … Good run supporter … A leader on and off the field.

Weaknesses: Not heralded for his instincts … While a solid tackler, isn’t much of a big hitter … Doesn’t have excellent ball skills … Not too fast, nor explosive … Durability concerns to watch for.

Overview: Jalil Brown has been overshadowed by his teammate Jimmy Smith and that has led to him being an underrated player. That said, if I am a coach this is the exact kind of player I want to have on my team. At the very least he will be a good backup and contribute on special teams, but for a team that plays with lots of press coverage, he could compete for a starting role.

My Grade: 52/100 Mid-Round pick.

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse

Strengths: Elite lower body strength … Built very compact … Tough runner … Knows how to follow his blockers … Good field vision … Has pretty good foot moves … One of the best bursts to the hole in the class … A productive player.

Weaknesses: Very small for a power runner, may not measure 5’10 … Doesn’t pick up the blitz well … Hasn’t shown breakaway speed … Doesn’t often break tackles … Poor hands … Character concerns.

Overview: Delone Carter did favors for his stock last weekend at the East/West Shrine Game when he powered through defenders and scored a touchdown. Nonetheless, I’m not sold on him just yet. He is a power runner but doesn’t do what power runners traditionally do: power through defenders. Carter has the potential to have a very good career in the NFL, but for coaches looking for a prototypical power back, this isn’t your guy.

My Grade: 60/100

Draft Tidbits:

Pat Devlin, a Quarterback out of Delaware had a good chance to shine at the East/West Shrine Game last weekend, but he really failed to do so. He floated far too many passes, looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and displayed poor accuracy. Devlin is an intelligent guy and I wouldn’t bet against him, but I see no signs of him becoming the next Joe Flacco. Expect him to drop to day 3.

When these tidbits were written before the Senior Bowl, I predicted that Nate Soldier would raise his draft status to the number one overall Offensive Lineman. He still hasn’t done that, but he has made big steps in doing so after an awesome Senior Bowl. He was very consistent, and while he proved that he isn’t the most mobile offensive lineman, he was very good.

Jake Locker, a Quarterback out of Washington, was thought of at one time to be a potential first overall pick in the draft. Last weekend at the Senior Bowl, he had a chance to reshape his image and hopefully become the first Quarterback taken again. I didn’t expect him to blow the game out of the water as some suspected, and I was right. Locker was up-and-down like his entire career and had high points as well as low. He may still be drafted in the first round but I wouldn’t draft him until the second if I was in the NFL.

Tim Tebow is the Fourth Most Popular NFL QB

In anticipation of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Bing, the decision engine from Microsoft, has released data from search results and a recent user survey, giving insight into the top searched NFL teams, favorite players, best tailgating cities, top food choices and best looking NFL players.

According to Bing users, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is the fourth most popular quarterback in the NFL. Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, New England's Tom Brady and Philadelphia's Michael Vick rank 1, 2, and 3 respectively with Peyton Manning coming in at number five.

Denver is the 3rd best tailgating city, with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets placing just before the Broncos in regards to the best place to tailgate.

The Broncos Bus will compete Bing National Tailgating Competition on Thursday, February 3rd to see who are America’s best tailgaters during the Bing National Tailgating Championship. For more information on that, visit

Chad Davis contributed to this article.

The Broncos Have a History of Equality

There are many fans of the Denver Broncos that are not aware of the diversity and equality the club has displayed over its history, so, in light of Black History Month -- celebrated in February in the United States of America and Canada -- we've put together a short overview of the subject.

A former Denver Bronco, Marlin Briscoe was the first African American quarterback to start in a modern football game. The year was 1968, Briscoe was a 23-year rookie and the Broncos starting quarterback, Steve Tensi, had suffered a broken collarbone a week earlier against the Boston Patriots. Having played well in the final minutes of the last weeks game, Briscoe got the call to start against the Cincinnati Bengals.

He finished the year as the Broncos starter and set a team rookie record with 14 touchdown passes, which still stands to this day. Briscoe went on to become an All Pro wide receiver and won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins.

A year before Briscoe was drafted by the Broncos, the team selected running back Floyd Little with the 6th overall pick. In a time where black running backs were a minority, the Broncos chose to go against the flow and judge Little by his playing ability, not his skin tone.

The move proved to be the right one, as Little went on to become one of the greatest running backs in the history of the Broncos. From 1968 to 1973, he was the leading rusher in professional football. Retiring as the games 7th all time leading rusher (with 6,323 yards and 54 touchdowns), Little was named to the team's Ring of Fame in 1984 and inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2010.

Since the eras of Briscoe and Little, Denver has remained a franchise that believes players and coaches of all races should be treated equally. Their track record backs it up.

In 1975, two years after Floyd Little retired, the Broncos brought in a former Dallas Cowboy cornerback, Cornell Green, to be a college scout with the team. Green, who is responsible for scouting the Southwest area, has been with the team ever since.

On Monday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance (an organization that promotes diversity and equality of job opportunities in coaching, front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams), named Green the AFC Scout Of The Year.

Last December, the Broncos named running backs coach Eric Studesville the Interim Head Coach for the remaining four games of the season. Although it was only on an interim basis, Studesville was the first African American Head Coach of the Broncos and is still with the team, retaining his running backs coach position.

The Denver Broncos are playing a big role in the National Football Leagues' movement to become more diverse and inclusive in all regards.