Friday, April 29, 2011
Rahim Moore continues the Defensive theme in the Broncos draft, as he is a huge talent at this point in the draft and the consensus number 1 Safety. Moore is a smooth athlete and game changer who can not only make the big play but then take it for more yards. He is a mature leader and a great competitor.
Orlando Franklin is sort of a pivot point in the Broncos draft. Franklin is probably the end of Ryan Harris's tenure as Right Tackle in Denver. Many will be upset with the fact that we decided not to draft one of the blue chip Defensive Tackles that are still available. That said, Franklin is a good player. He is a thumper who plays with good leverage and a hard nose. He mauls the other teams' defense with elite strength.
More coming as our information about the pick becomes more clear...
The team holds three more selections for day two (#36 and #46 in the second round and #67 in the third), so they'll be busy today.
“Really, the reason we decided to go the way of Von Miller was his explosiveness, both in coverage and as a pass rusher," said Broncos Head Coach John Fox in a press conference shortly after the first round of the draft had concluded.
Some fans have been pondering why the team selected a prospect that played in a 3-4 defense during his collegian career, even though Denver runs a 4-3 defense. Fox says he is talented enough to make the switch, and will become a big part of the team's defense.
"He seems to have that uncommon ability to be great, as far as the want-to. He's a great young man, we feel like he'll represent our organization very well. We're just excited to have him and feel great about his abilities both on and off the field."
It is expected that Miller will play weakside outside linebacker on first and second down and move to defensive end on third downs. He is a very versatile player and will be moved around a lot on game days.
“(Miller) was a definite three-down player, and with special teams, he can be a four-down player," Fox continued. Miller is a pure pass rusher and should excel at either outside linebacker or defensive end, similarly to Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil.
If the season started today, Miller would play weakside linebacker, Joe Mays would be the 'Mike' or middle linebacker, and D.J. Williams would be the strongside outside linebacker. The Broncos have a lot of depth at linebacker and will probably use a lot of players rationally.
Former outside linebackers Robert Ayers, Jason Hunter and Mario Haggan could move to defensive end and holdover outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard should see time as a situational player, as well as on special teams.
Broncos General Manager Brian Xanders said the team did not receive any offers to trade down from their 2nd overall pick, but the team has already received several offers for their 2nd and 3rd round selections.
“I’m sure there’s going to be more movement now [in the later rounds],” Fox admitted. “The next day is like a whole other draft - I’m sure we’ll have a lot of options.”
If there is a player that the Broncos really like available when they are on the clock however, the team won't trade down.
“If the guys that we like are all there, then we won’t move back,” Fox said. “It’s hard to predict right now; it’s pretty fluid." The team is expected to address the defensive line and possibly the secondary in the second and third rounds.
There are several players still available that were expected to in the first round and several others that provide great value as second round selections. Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers has fallen out of the first round and if he continues to slide all the way to #36 the Broncos may draft him there. Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey is another player that could be available.
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephan Paea and North Carolina's Marvin Austin also are both still on the board, and are players Denver may be targeting. Safeties Rahim Moore (UCLA) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple) are two other options, as is Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure.
The lockout has ended (at least temporarily) so Denver players have been arriving at the team's training facility in Dove Valley to meet with coaches, pick up playbooks and get in some workouts. Currently, fifteen players have arrived and second year quarterback Tim Tebow is going to show up sometime today.
The workouts are not mandatory - all the players have gone voluntarily. However, the 8th circuit may rule a stay as early as later today, which would in effect, cause players to once again be locked out.
The Broncos will be on the clock in a few hours, stay tuned for continued coverage and another LIVE Draft Chat on the blog this evening.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Though Marcell Dareus had been the consensus pick by draft analysts in the weeks leading up to the draft, it seemed like Miller gathered some momentum in the last few days with Adam Schefter reporting on Tuesday that the Broncos would take Miller second overall, and Kara Henderson reporting from Dove Valley for NFL Network that the Broncos draft room was torn on the pick between Miller and Dareus.
Though Miller is regarded as a natural pass rusher in a 3-4 front, he showed he has the skills to become an outside linebacker in a 4-3 front with his performance at the Senior Bowl. Playing as a hybrid defensive end – outside linebacker at Texas A&M (a position they called the 'joker'), it is hard for scouts to judge his true potential in a 4-3 system, but with his speed and athleticism he will likely be able to make the transition. He gives head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen a versatile weapon to create dynamic plays to use his pass rush skills to full strengths.
Scouts rave about Miller's high motor and his tendency to never give up on plays. Miller, who won the 2010 Butkus Award for best linebacker in the country, is elite at shedding blockers with his hands and he is relentless in his pursuit. He led the country with 17 sacks during his junior season.
“Von, he’s a guy that when you turn on the film you don’t even have to know what number he is,” Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway said of Miller in the weeks before the draft. “That’s how dynamic he is, and he’s a guy that’s all over the field.”
Tim DeRuyter, who spent 3 years as the defensive coordinator at Air Force before becoming the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2010, found in Miller the key player to turn around the Aggies' struggling defense: “He is freakish as far as his athleticism, he’s the quickest player I’ve ever seen when he runs those first 10 yards. Violent with his hands, and he gets to the quarterback in a bad frame of mind.” He also mentioned Miller's personality as lifting a defense and great in the locker room.
Von Miller is a smart a dedicated young man, and he can hopefully become the front seven leader that the Broncos have been missing the last few seasons. With a weak linebacker class and a lot of defensive line prospects in the later rounds, Denver found themselves an impact player who can come in an contribute to lift the Broncos defense from its struggles these past years.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So, the team has narrowed in on four prospects to take at No. 2. Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (who seemingly is the most likely pick for Denver - if he is available), Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller are the select four the team has zeroed in on.
According to a source close to the situation, Miller has emerged as the favorite among the Broncos brass. One of the top prospects in the draft, some question whether Miller would be a good pick for the Broncos because he played in a 3-4 defense during his collegiate career and Denver will be running a 4-3 defense.
However, his college defensive scheme has been way over analysed. Miller is a freak athlete and is capable of making a successful switch to defensive end in the Broncos defense. Miller was named the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker in 2010 and was one of the top performers at the Annual NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year.
If the Broncos do select Miller, they will ask him to gain some strength and weight so he'll be able to better contribute on defense against the run. He has proved he can get to the quarterback (he totaled 28 combined sacks during his junior and senior seasons) he just needs to bulk up if he is going to play defensive end and contribute against the run.
We'll have full coverage of the Broncos Draft starting tomorrow when Carolina is on the clock. There will also be a Live Draft Chat on the blog, stay tuned - this is going to get interesting!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Be sure to head over to the site and check them out, and check back for continuous coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft.
In other somewhat Broncos-related news, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall was hospitalized on Friday after being stabbed in the stomach by his wife, but the wounds were not life-threatening and he is expected to be fully recovered in a few weeks.
Marshall was released from the hospital on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Marshall has gotten into this kind of a mess, as he's had a hard time staying out of trouble ever since his high school football playing days.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
In 2010, the Denver Broncos had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Heading into this year's draft, the defense -- and more specifically the defensive line -- is obviously where the Broncos need the most help.
Among the fans and most analysts, the consensus seems to be simple: Denver needs to focus on and address the defense in this year's draft. With the 2nd overall pick, the Broncos will most likely do just that. After that however, nobody can say for sure which way the the Broncos will go.
If what Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and Head Coach John Fox are saying is any indication of what the Broncos will do though, it looks as if the team may surprise and go offensive in the early rounds of the draft.
"We are gonna stick to our board and pick the best players, all the way through the draft," said Broncos General Manager Brian Xanders during a press conference on Wednesday. Elway added that having free agency after the draft (assuming that the lockout will eventually be lifted and that there will be a free agency period) will let the team focus on drafting the best players in the draft and then fill-in team needs through free agency.
"Rather than having free agency and then having to fill [team needs] through the draft, now we can go out and draft the best players for the Denver Broncos and then fill any needs through free agency," said Elway before adding, "It doesn't put pressure on us to draft need positions in the draft."
There are several ways you could interpret Elway's statements and we could be reading too far into it, but when Elway says things like "We are evaluating every single position and are keeping our options open," it sounds as if the Broncos could definitely be considering drafting a few of the best offensive prospects in the draft.
It wouldn't be too surprising to see Denver draft a running back and/or quarterback in the second or third rounds (especially considering the team has two second round selections); they may however, even trade back in the first round and select a defensive and offensive player in the first round.
The draft is one week away from tomorrow, stay tuned for updates all the way up to when Denver will be on the clock with the second overall pick all the way through the seventh round.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
- The Broncos will open on the season at home on September 12th on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. It will be the second game on ESPN's double header.
- The team will face the New York Jets on November 17th in Week fourteen at home on Thursday night football on NFL Network.
- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will face his former team for the first time in the regular on December 11th when the Bears take on the Broncos in week 14.
- Denver will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills on Christmas Eve in week 16.
- Denver's 2011 opponents had a combined record of 133-123-0 (.520) in 2010, giving them the third most difficult schedule in the NFL.
Week One: Monday, September 12th, against the Oakland Raiders (home) starts 8:15 p.m. MDT on ESPN (NTL).
Week Two: Sunday, September 18th, against the Cincinnati Bengals (home) starts at 2:15 MDT on CBS.
Week Three: Sunday, September 25th against the Tennessee Titans (away) starting at 12 p.m. CDT on CBS.
Week Four: Sunday, October 2nd against the Green Bay Packers (away) starting at 3:15 p.m. CDT on CBS.
Week Five: Sunday, October 9th against the San Diego Chargers (home) starting at 2:15 p.m. MDT on CBS.
Week Six: Bye Week.
Week Seven: Sunday, October 23rd against the Miami Dolphins (away) starting at 1 p., EDT on CBS.
Week Eight: Sunday, October 30th against the Detroit Lions (home) starting at 2:05 MDT on Fox.
Week Nine: Sunday, November 6th against the Oakland Raiders (away) starting at 1:05 PST on CBS.
Week Ten: Sunday, November 13th against the Kansas City Chiefs (away) starting at 12 p.m. CST on CBS.
Week Eleven: Thursday, November 17th against the New York Jets (home) starting at 6:20 p.m. MST on NFLN (NTL).
Week Twelve: Sunday, November 27th against the San Diego Chargers (away) starting at 1:15 p.m. PST on CBS*.
Week Thirteen: Sunday, December 4th against the Minnesota Vikings (away) starting at 3:05 p.m. CST on CBS*.
Week Fourteen: Sunday, December 11th against the Chicago Bears (home) starting at 2:05 p.m. MST on FOX*.
Week Fifteen: Sunday, December 18th against the New England Patriots (home) starting at 2:15 p.m. MST on CBS*.
Week Sixteen: Saturday, December 24th against the Buffalo Bills starting at 1 p.m. EST on CBS*.
Week Seventeen: Sunday, January 1st against the Kansas City Chiefs (home) starting at 2:15 p.m. MST on CBS*.
* - All NFL games scheduled for Sundays from Weeks 11-17 are eligible to be moved to the Sunday night game, which is televised nationally by NBC.
NTL - Denotes nationally televised game
As Andrew Mason of MaxDenver.com has pointed out, because the Broncos will face Dallas on August 11th, they may start Training Camp as early as July 27th, 2011. Of course, there may not even be a training camp, preseason or even regular season if the league owners and players cannot reach a new collective bargaining agreement soon.
The 2011 NFL Draft is nine days away and unless they trade down, the Denver Broncos will be selecting second overall on Thursday, April 28th, 2011. We've thoroughly touched on the draft through mock drafts, pre-draft predictions and player profiles, all of which can be viewed here.
Today, we have the names of seventeen players that every Bronco fan should be aware of on draft day. Many of the players Denver showed interest in at the scouting combine and conducted private workouts and visits with them at the team's facility in Dove Valley. Others are players that sources say the Broncos may target.
We've provided here their names, weight and height, and a short bio. We recommend you do a little more research on each of the players yourself, as several of them will be wearing Orange and Blue next season (or whenever the next season is).
Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, 6'3, 319 pounds. Dareus is considered by most scouts as the top defensive lineman prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, and if he is not selected first overall (by Carolina), Denver will probably take him at number two.
LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, 6'0, 219 pounds. Peterson is one of the best defensive players available in this year's draft and could even be the first overall selection. A four-down player (he is also an excellent kick and punt returner), Peterson will be an enormous commodity on defense to the team that selects him.
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, 6'2, 24o pounds. More fit as a 3-4 pass rushing linebacker, Miller is athletic enough to thrive as a 4-3 pass rusher or 3-4 outside linebacker. Sometimes compared to Denver's Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos have been taking a long look at Miller.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, 6-3, 297 pounds. Fairley has been compared to former defensive super star Warren Sapp on numerous occasions because of his knack for wreaking havoc to offenses in the run game and as a pass rusher. However, he may fall on draft day because of his questionable work ethic and character concerns. Fairley is a high risk player, he could become a terror on defense for years to come or be one of the biggest busts in recent history.
North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, 6'4, 265 pounds. After an incredible sophomore year, Quinn was suspended for the entire 2010 season. In 2009, Quinn recorded 11.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Athletic enough to play as a 4-3 defensive end or a 4-3 outside linebacker, Quinn is another risk pick because he didn't play any football last year.
California defensive end Cameron Jordan, 6-4, 287 pounds. Jordan is a well-rounded player that comes from an NFL bloodline. A disruptive pass rusher, Jordan would make an excellent 4-3 defensive end.
UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, 6-3, 254 pounds. A very interesting prospect, Ayers is a very versatile player that could play as an 4-3 inside linebacker or defensive end.
Miami defensive end Allen Bailey, 6-3, 285 pounds. The Broncos could have two Bailey's on the roster after day two of the NFL draft. Bailey is a very versatile player who played a lot of defensive end in college but could probably play either end or defensive tackle in Denver's 4-3 defensive scheme, if they choose to select him.
Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, 6'3, 280 pounds. Projected as a 4-3 defensive end, Bowers is a bit of a one-year-wonder case. As a junior, Bowers recorded 16.o sacks four times his total over the previous two seasons. With a knee coming off surgery, Bowers could easily fall out of the top 10. It will only take one time to fall in love with him however, to keep him from falling too far.
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, 6'1, 303 pounds. As strong as an ox, Paea is a force on the defensive line that will have an immediate impact for the team that drafts him. With a great work ethic and unparalleled toughness, Paea's one weak spot is his pass rushing skills, but he is expected to improve that part of his game with more playing time.
Alabama Running back Mark Ingram, 5-10, 215 pounds. A powerful runner, Ingram would be just the player Broncos Head Coach John Fox is looking for as a compliment to running back Knowshon Moreno. It wouldn't be surprising to see Denver pursue Ingram - especially if he falls out of the first round.
Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure, 6-0, 227 pounds. A more practical prospect to end up in Denver than Ingram, Leshoure had a breakout Junior season in which he scored 20 touchdowns. Predicted to be available in the second round -where Denver holds two selections - Leshoure is one of the most 'complete' backs in this years draft.
Baylor offensive lineman Danny Watkins, 6-3, 310. A versatile player, Watkins could be targeted by Denver, who had him in for a private workout last month. During his collegiate career, Watkins played tackle but at the Senior Bowl he was asked to play guard and center, which he did – extremely well despite having little to no experience playing at those positions. As a result, his draft stock has skyrocketed.
The downside to Watkins is that he’ll be turning 27 mid-season this year, which means the team that drafts him would not get as many productive years out of him as they would a younger player. He is projected to go in the early to mid rounds. Other options for Denver on the line in the draft include TCU’s Marcus Cannon and Florida State offensive lineman Rodney Hudson.
Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, 6-0, 213 pounds. A talented back, Murray has missed some time due to injury and could fall into the third round of the draft. A good receiving back, Murray also has the speed to break away once he hits the hole.
Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews, 6-1, 231 pounds. The younger brother of Casey Matthews, Casey is a sure tackler and a highly-productive player that could also contribute on special teams. Matthews is projected to go in the mid-rounds of the draft.
Temple safety Jaiqawn Jarrett, 6-0, 198 pounds. A fierce hitter and fantastic form tackler, his coverage and run support skills are as good as they get. With good toughness and work ethic, Jarrett is a player that could be the future replacement for Brian Dawkins in Denver's secondary. Due to his lack of size, Jarrett is expected to fall to the mid-rounds in the draft.
Other names to remember: Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter, Nevada outside linebacker-defensive ends Dontay Moch and Ryan Coulton, Hampton defensive lineman Kenric Ellis, Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith, Connecticut linebacker Lawrence Wilson, Miami cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke and North Carolina running back Johnny White.
The 2011 NFL Draft is quickly approaching! For complete coverage of the annual event, be sure to check out Broncos Zone the blog and our facebook page daily for updates all the way up to the 2nd overall pick!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Broncos second year receiver Eric Decker has been working out with Arizona Cardinals wide out Larry Fitzgerald in Minneapolis, while many of the other players have been either working out alone or with a few teammates. "This thing could end at anytime and when it does I want to be ready, so I am training on my own just like I would always prepare," Broncos offensive guard Zane Beadles told us in March.
Treating this as a regular offseason by working out day in and day out, the players have also found some extra free time to catch up with friends and family, not to mention Broncos fans. There is perhaps no better example than fourth year wide receiver Eddie Royal.
A fan favorite ever since his rookie season, Royal has been holding several contests on his official facebook page and twitter account, @EddieRoyal19. He's also been keeping fans updated on his recovery from an offseason hip surgery; he seems to be coming along nicely.
Long-time Philadelphia Eagle fan favorite and current Broncos safety Brian Dawkins has also joined twitter (@BrianDawkins) and has been continuously interacting with his followers. He was even persuaded (by yours truly) to allow fellow Bronco Wesley Woodyard (@WoodDro59) to upload his hilarious spoof video of Dawkin's pre-game rituals.
Offensive lineman Zane Beadles, who is a good friend of the site, has also joined the twitterverse, @ZaneBeadles. Beadles joined the social networking site to keep in touch with fans during the lockout (some pressuing from his fellow offensive lineman to join the site also played a small role). Zane tweets on occasion and replies to many questions from fans, be sure to give him a follow.
For a complete list of the current Denver Broncos players that are on twitter, go here. To follow Broncos Zone, go here. Feel free to ask us any Bronco-related questions, or just keep in touch with us on our twitter and facebook pages or by sending us an email.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fans planning on attending the draft, which is free but seating is limited, should be directed to NFL.com for complete information concerning the draft and how to arrange seats. The Broncos are also planning a Draft-day party for fans. For details, see the the team's official website, DenverBroncos.com.
However, Dareus may not be available (the Carolina Panthers hold the first overall selection and may draft the 6-4, 306 pound Junior). If that is the case, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson appears to be the next player on Denver's draft board.
Other options include Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and several quarterback prospects.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
With so many holes on defense, Denver needs more high round picks (to be able to draft more top-tier talent), so trading down would be ideal. However, unless a new rookie wage scale is agreed on before the draft, trading down would become highly unlikely.
“If it stays like it’s been there’s no way anybody’s trading,” said Head Coach John Fox last month.If the NFL's proposed rookie compensation system goes through, and the Carolina Panthers select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton first overall, Denver would be in perfect position to choose between LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.
Or, as previously noted above, the Broncos could trade down and accumulate more picks and possibly find Dareus still on the board a few selections later, which would be ideal for Denver. That's the 'if's' and 'or's', here's the history:
In 1936, the Boston Redskins selected Riley Smith, a running back out of Alabama, second overall in the first ever NFL Draft. Over the last ten drafts, seven offensive players and three defensive players have been drafted second overall.
Since 2000, Denver has drafted ninety players out of fifty-seven different colleges in thirty states. In that same time span, the team has drafted seventeen defensive backs, five linebackers*, seven defensive tackles and eight defensive ends. *Linebacker Spencer Larsen would go on to play fullback.
On offense, the Broncos have drafted fifteen wide receivers, seventeen offensive linemen, ten running backs, three tight ends, six quarterbacks and two special teamers (one punter and one kicker), since the 2000 NFL Draft.
"We are looking forward to competing against four quality opponents and getting the season started," said Head Coach John Fox.
Although the team will be ready for a preseason, there may not even be one. Unless the owners and players can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, the lockout could on go well into September.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
So much so in fact, that today on Serious NFL Radio, it was predicted that Denver would trade quarterback Tim Tebow to the New England Patriots after the lockout has ended. The general belief is that Head Coach John Fox and Vice President of Football Operations John Elway are looking to hand pick their man, which is why so many have speculated that they'll do just that.
Yahoo! Sports writer Doug Farrar has the team selecting Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert second overall in the draft. There are also several other mocks coming out that have Denver selecting a quarterback in the first three rounds.
What do the fans think of all this?
"If they don't want him, they should trade him, give him a chance elsewhere. He won't succeed sitting on the bench," said George Murphy over twitter.
@JayDee711 acceded; "Send Tebow packing if it will give Denver more options. Send anybody you have to. I will still bleed Orange and Blue no matter what."
The logic of @BroncosForums was solid; "A lot of Broncos fans, not just Gator fans, have really caught Tebow fever. However, winning trumps a fever any day."
And then there are the Andrew Luck fans... "I dont believe they will get rid of Tebow. But I do believe that in next years draft they will do what they can to get Luck," said @BroncosFan619.
Of course, there is plenty of support for quarterback Tim Tebow among the fans, @deann16 providing a perfect example. "All I think is could we please give Tebow an actual chance at quarterback before throwing him out?"
In response to our tweet that Fox and Elway will do what they believe is best for the team and if drafting a quarterback will help them win more games so be it, @Bejar15 tweeted: "On the flip side if Tebow succeeds elsewhere and we don't, what then?"
In the end, the majority of Bronco fans are supportive of Tim Tebow and opposed to the idea of drafting a quarterback. In a recent poll, over 70% of voters said they were overwhelming opposed to Denver drafting a quarterback while less than 30% answered "If this is what Fox and Elway think is best for the team, I'm behind it."
The Broncos will do what they think is best for the team however, and they won't make decisions based off fan polling. The 2011 NFL Draft is just 23 days away and all fans can do now is wait and see what unfolds. This will get interesting, stick with us for continuous coverage of the draft and free agency (although the free agency period may be limited due to the lockout).