We thought you'd appreciate this recent footage from the NFL combine with new Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman, in which he discusses how he bulked up to 200 lbs. without sacrificing any speed. The secret? No candy for dinner.
Can Hillman be an every-down back in the NFL? At 5-10, 200 lbs., and running a 4.45 40-yard dash, it's looking more likely.
Late in the draft, it's all about depth and special teams.
This tells you all you need to know about the Broncos' pick of Danny Trevathan at #188.
Trevathan will immediately impact special teams--if he makes the team. He's undersized (6-0, 237) and speedy, which means he's perfect for kickoffs and punts.
The immediate image that will come to your mind is Wesley Woodyard, another undersized Kentucky WILL linebacker. Woodyard probably has more straight-line speed than Trevathan, but the production is there. Trevathan, as they say in the biz, is a tackling machine, and did play against the best competition in the country last year. That's not to be taken lightly.
Many other players were available at this pick, and I'm surprised the Broncos didn't take a player like Boise State DT Billy Winn, who fell faster than a Tim Tebow out pass. But, as we've seen in the last few days, the Broncos completely ignored the best-player-available philosophy. That's easy to do when you're picking Von Miller; it's many times more difficult to do when you're rounding out your draft.
The IAOFM staff discuss the Broncos' selections of Arizona State cornerback Omar Bolden and Baylor offensive lineman Philip Blake in the 2012 NFL Draft
Doug: Hey Guys, get any sleep?
Ted: Happy Day 3. I slept pretty well. I just wish I didn't think this started at 10 AM today
TJ: Roger Good Vibes
Doc: I slept about 4 hours - I'm on strong Earl Grey to start the day
TJ: Sweet, Em. I stayed up all night trying to solve the Zodiac Killer crimes. Common as a street penny: pundits grading a team's draft as an "A" because they picked in the top 5 and got the blue-chip players. What the hell is this? Fans now announcing? Or is that some hick scout?
With pick #137, the Broncos drafted an undersized, but athletic and versatile DT/DE tweener in Malik Jackson from Tennessee.
The pick should make Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller happy. Jackson is the sort of guy who can rotate in on passing downs and add to the Broncos' ability to get to the quarterback.
This is a good value pick and continues the Broncos' foray into drafting another guy (like Omar Bolden) who will specialize on third down. His body type and raw athleticism remind me a little (don't go crazy, I said it's just a little) of former Bronco Trevor Pryce. Like Pryce, he'll need to add some bulk to his frame (6-4, 265, but he's reportedly above 280 now) if he wants to play on every down. He also needs to get tougher at the point of attack. The NFL will not accommodate the light-handed.
J.D. Walton is officially on the clock.
The Broncos' pick at #108, Center Philip Blake of Baylor, tells us more about what the Broncos think about J.D. Walton than it does about what they think of Philip Blake. Walton has been slow to develop, and despite the Broncos' stellar running game last year, most Broncos fans recognize it had more to do with the unpredictability of the zone-read option than it did with Walton moving mountains up front.
It's not enough anymore that Walton played well against Ndamukong Suh in college.
It's not enough anymore to say that playing center in the NFL takes patience (Maurkice Pouncey, anyone?).
It's not enough to hope that Peyton Manning turns Walton into Jeff Saturday.
It's just not enough.
The Broncos continued to draft to their board at positions of need (if you believe the Big Dipper, John Fox). The latest is Omar Bolden, cornerback, from Arizona State.
There were many players more highly rated on the board (Alfonzo Dennard comes to mind, but doesn't pass Xanders's huge character weighting as part of his draft grade). Also, they probably could have snagged Bolden with pick #108 or pick #137 given his ACL injury, which caused him to miss 2011. Don't count me as a fan of this pick, but it was bold to draft Bolden with that injury history.
Yet, as we've been saying, the evaluation side of all of this is subjective. You can't argue with the philosophy of the pick. The Broncos needed at least one cornerback out of this draft. Now they have him. He's nearly 5-11 and 200 lbs. That's the sort of cornerback who can cover tight ends on third down. The NFL is becoming a league of specialists. Having a large nickel corner who can cover guys like Antonio Gates is becoming critical.
Finally, Bolden is probably your starting return man heading into 2012, although I don't put his return skills at the same level as the guy they just lost: Eddie Royal.
Discuss the fourth to seventh rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft with fellow IAOFM readers
Within minutes of the Denver Broncos' choice of second-round under tackle Derek Wolfe, It became clear that this was not your average NFL prospect. He was already on the radio and said that he had just come in from working on his farm. He was elated to be a Denver Bronco and was whooping and hollering. He wanted to get to Denver and he wanted to get to Denver right away.
And I laughed. No, I don’t mind the pick. I was mildly surprised at first, but there’s a sensibility to it that a lot of media types are going to miss. Denver didn’t.
I had Wolfe as being available a little later, and he probably would have been unless another team was seeing the same need that Denver has. When I wrote up penetrating under tackles, he was among my top few. As we were waiting for the pick to come, I asked Ted about Wolfe. Ted's responded, “I like Wolfe better than Worthy, but I think he's a situational inside pass rusher early. I like inside pass rushers, and think they're hard to find.”
Good Morning, Broncos fans!
Denver must love these guys, and they must think they were not alone.
How else to explain away what looks to be a trio of reaches atop Denver's 2012 draft?
That's not to suggest Derek Wolfe, Brock Osweiler, and Ronnie Hillman aren't going to be any good in the NFL. They may very well be, even though neither Mike Mayock nor Gil Brandt put Hillman on their top 100 prospect lists, with Wolfe barely cracking Brandt's top 125. In case you were wondering, the Impassioned One had only the QB in his Top 100.
In the end, what matters is that you come away from a draft with players you wanted, and whom you spent time scouting. Who cares that every Joe Mock Draft had Wolfe going in the third round, and Hillman in the fourth? If these prospects make significant contributions as Broncos, we're all going to forget where they were drafted, how much lower Denver could have theoretically acquired them, and who else was on the board at those junctures.
The IAOFM staff discuss the Broncos' selections of Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler and San Diego State RB Ronnie Hillman in the 2012 NFL Draft
Doc: Wolfe and Miller - that's a very productive 2nd round. If you'd offered it to me three days ago I would have been very comfortable. I might have expected the order to change, but seriously - what does that matter? Both guys are excellent 2nd-round talents. If they settled for that option, I'd be pretty happy with it.
TJ: Great point, Em. So Miller still there? Reyes? Thompson?
Doc: I liked Vickerson as an athletic 325-lb nose. I didn't like a thing I saw as a 295-lb undertackle.
Ted: Reyes just went to SD in a weird scheme fit. Mayock ditched the jacket