You Got Served: Draft groupthink

Did you hear the one about the NFL team which “reached” for a player to fill a need?  That’s a no-no, picking for need.  You should be drafting the best player available (hereafter BPA), regardless of need, goes the story.  I reject that thought as being over-generalized, because if you have a bad team, you should be picking to fill roles that will allow you to be competitive.

If you’re the Giants, then fine - take the BPA - if there’s no massive need to fill.  Some would say that Jerry Reese did that over the weekend (including Reese), but I would tell you that RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle filled needs, and specifically replaced Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham.  The Draftnik groupthink didn’t have the Giants universally taking any position, so that allows Reese to say he went BPA, regardless of the reality.

Then there’s the Ravens taking Courtney Upshaw.  They got the BPA and he’s a pass rusher!  Huzzah for Ozzie Newsome!  Except that Upshaw isn’t a dynamic pass rusher, and that he does fill a clear need, with the departure of Jarret Johnson, as an edge-setter in the running game on the strongside.  If Ozzie had a slightly worse track record, you’d be reading about how as an Alabama alum, he shows too much love to Crimson Tide guys like Upshaw.  (Johnson also played at Alabama, actually.)

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Here is Peyton Manning wearing a Broncos jersey

via DirecTV

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Fare thee well, football-playing Michael Bolton with dreadlocks Lard 5-1-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver waived 27-year-old wide receiver Tim Toone yesterday. Toone had been added to the practice squad in January following the injury to Eric Decker and promotion of D'Andre Goodwin to the active roster, and Denver signed him to a future contract a week after that.

Toone was made 2010's Mr. Irrelevant after the Lions drafted him 255th overall out of Weber State, although his prize package for that achievement wasn't quite what Chandler Harnish has been promised. Harnish, it turns out, had been all set to join the Chargers as an undrafted free agent before Indy selected him, and the Raiders and Chiefs had also expressed interest in the Northern Illinois QB.

But back to Toone - Tim (5-10, 185) was made expendable by Denver's addition of undrafted wideouts Eric Page (like Toone, a diminutive returner at 5-10, 190) and Gerell Robinson. So in terms of WR and KR depth, the departure of Toone won't likely be more than a blip on the transaction log. But, then there's THAT HAIR.

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Kirk Cousins surprised he’s not Brock Osweiler

Kirk Cousins thought he’d back up a veteran like Peyton or Vick
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“I would have said probably Denver or Philadelphia, in terms of teams that had shown interest and were looking for a quarterback.”

“I still have an opportunity to learn from a nine-year veteran like Rex Grossman,” Cousins said. “I’ll be the first one to say it was a surprising pick to me as well, but coach Shanahan was there in San Francisco with Joe Montana and Steve Young, so he’s not new to this. . . . I know my opportunity is going to come sooner or later.”

Exit Light (Peyton Manning).

Enter night (Rex Grossman).

Take Kirk's hand. We're off to Rex Grossman land.

Guitar Solo

Discerning Denver’s offseason forest from the draft trees

I walked out of the draft nonplussed. If I'd been plussed, I'd have been much happier, but some days you just can't get plussed to save your life. The draft was so different from the energy of the free agent period (which was moderately ecstatic), that several moves during the draft took me completely off guard. Rather than go to the draft board, though, I took a somewhat different approach. I went back to the team - the one the Broncos had in February, and then I looked at the one they have today and how they put those pieces in place. I'm still getting my head around all the CFAs and I'm going to be buried in film for a while, but a pattern soon occurred to me that I couldn't ignore.

I was recently asked by a reader who's also a friend to consider looking at this year's FA/draft/CFA period in terms of what the Eagles were doing last year - they were supposed to be the winners of the Offseason Olympics in 2011, and Denver was in 2012. What were the basic approaches of each team? What I found - and I'll probably publish this at some point with supportive evidence - was that they really did a little preemptive striking; getting new and upgraded players into the positions that they could handle financially when the current players were near the end of their contracts and/or underplaying, aging, or asking for too much for their performance. It wasn't what the media made it out to be -  and, no shock there.

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Osweiler prepared to sit a decade if needed

Brock Osweiler on Teaming Up with John Elway and Peyton Manning in Denver: “It’s a Quarterback’s Dream”
sportsradiointerviews.com

On if the Broncos staff has notified him of any changes they’d like to see from him:

“Not really. In fact, it seemed that the coaching staff was very happy with how far I had progressed since the end of the season. I gotta give a ton of credit to Noel Mazzone for working with me the past three months and improving my delivery, improving my footwork . . . And I feel like the coaching staff in Denver was very happy with the progress that I had made.”

On having to wait behind Peyton Manning, maybe for several years:

“You know, my job as a quarterback right now for the Broncos is to do what’s absolutely best for the football team. And if that’s to sit for two years behind Peyton Manning, or 10 years, or whatever the case may be, I’m just there to do what’s ever best for the football team and I just absolutely cannot wait to get started.”

We're quite sure Osweiler doesn't really mean 10 years, but the saying that he would wait a decade is the important thing here.

Looks like Noel Mazzone and mechanical flaws aren't the only commonalities between Osweiler and Tim Tebow.  It seems Osweiler is well versed in saying the right thing, too.

GB², we love you, Brock.

The Daily Lard 4-30-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans!  Matt Waldman thankfullly eschews giving out draft grades, instead just trying to figure out what teams tried to do. Starting with skill positions for the top of the alphabet, Waldman echoes what TJ wrote yesterday in writing that adding two undrafted wideouts while drafting none shows Denver is confident in its incumbent players. Plus, he could see Ronnie Hillman and Mario Fannin as the main backs in Denver's offense in a couple years, and he says we should keep an eye on Xavier Omon.

Just to expound upon what both TJ and Waldman wrote, trading up 20 spots in the second round to get a third-down back would be quite aggressive, to say the least. Just because Hillman is 5-9 and 200 lbs and has been described as a scatback and change-of-pace guy by the punditry doesn't mean that's the role Denver intends for him.

Naturally, we'll have to wait several months before we even begin to see what Hillman will be for Denver, but until then, we can again say - judging by their actions, the Broncos must love this guy.

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Five things we learned from the Broncos’ 2012 draft

Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler once said, "Trust only movement.  Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."

Later (1987 to be exact), the philosophical musings of glam-metal poets Def Leppard went like this: "Action, not words."

Put most directly: "You can shut up now, cuz I saw what you did."

Last night, John Elway told us the 2012 draft was awesome, saying, "When we look at it, it's probably as good as it could have gone."

This statement may or may not be true (even those that drafted Ryan Leaf said, "For the next 15 years, he's our man."), but one thing is not in doubt--the Broncos' actions in the draft said more than any contrived and trite soundbite ever could.  Like an after school special, the lessons are there for us to see, standing in plain view - as long as we stay off drugs, close our ears, open our eyes, and stick around until the end.

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Chewing the Fat: Broncos select Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan

The IAOFM staff discuss the Broncos' selections of Tennessee DE Malik Jackson and Kentucky LB Danny Trevathan in the 2012 NFL Draft, plus more talk about ASU CB Omar Bolden

Doug: 11 more picks til us. Anyone like Zebrie Sanders?

Ted: I do.  As a 5th-rounder, he'd be great value. He's a LT

Doug: Kick Franklin inside to replace Beadles, and Blake takes over for Walton? Winn still available too

TJ: yeah, I would be shocked if he can' beat out JD and rather soon

Ted: I like Winn

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The Daily Lard 4-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! On Friday evening, after the Broncos selected Derek Wolfe with their first pick, TJ noted the defensive tackle's remarkable enthusiasm while being interviewed on Denver radio. It was amusing, almost vexing, the level of zeal Wolfe expressed about becoming a Bronco.

But after reading the young man's story, it's beyond easy to understand why Friday meant so much to Denver's new DT. It turns out Wolfe is essentially another Michael Oher - homeless as a child and never having known his father's name, Wolfe grew up in the homes of friends, molded by the goodwill of folks to whom he had no blood relations.

Even a year ago, he was nearly broke and strongly considered entering the 2011 Draft, a choice he says would have been "the worst decision of my life." Now a second-round draft pick and potential NFL starter, it appears he ended up making the proper call - certainly for himself, and hopefully for Denver's sake as well.

Can there be any doubt now as to why Wolfe possesses this relentless motor he's described as having and which is so apparent on tape?

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