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
It took the Broncos a few picks to get started, but they finally drafted an impact player.
And he was coached by Snoop Dogg as a Pee Wee League player.
It ain't nuthin' but a Ronnie Hillman thang, baby. Broncos on third down goin' crazy.
That's right, the Broncos just got better on 3rd down, my gansta-rap friends. Ronnie Hillman may not be an every-down back, but he going to make things happen. Think of Darren Sproles and you'll begin to wrap your mind around the player that is Ronnie Hillman. Expect some big plays from this kid.
Before we get to the tape, let's make one thing clear: Lamar Miller might have been a better pick. Miller played against better competition and is a little quicker, but at this point, after taking Brock Osweiler, I'm guessing beggars can't be choosers. Only Brian Xanders can do that. And Hillman isn't chopped liver.
You wonder why the Broncos rid themselves of Tim Tebow? Apparently, he wasn't tall enough.
The Broncos said they were looking for impact players at the top of the draft. If that´s the case, John Elway just lied to us.
Brock Osweiler is not making an impact in 2012. He´s not making an impact in 2013. And barring an injury, he´s probably not making an impact in 2014. It turns out, the Broncos really do have a plan B. It just won't kick in for a few years.
Although I mocked Osweiler to the Broncos in Round 3, I believe this pick is brutal in a lot of ways. Allow me to count a few for you:
Perhaps I'm just being too negative, and I suppose someday, this could be the Broncos' version of Aaron Rodgers, but I hate that the Broncos didn't take a Lamar Miller or Brandon Thompson. In fact, give me a moment while I puke into a trash can...okay, I still don't feel any better.
Ted Bartlett evaluates draft-eligible prospects in his spare time, among a number of activities he pursues, including golf, MBA classes, and smirking about how much he's outkicked his coverage on the girlfriend front. When his kindergarten teacher told him that he was advanced, what she was saying was that, with minimal effort, he'd be able to do better than "really passionate" people who try their hardest. He also focuses on the NFL's business and legal environment, offensive and defensive schemes, going off on unrelated tangents, and all 32 teams in the NFL. Follow along as he offers his instant analysis of tonight's NFL Draft.
After trading down from #25 and #31, Denver takes Cincinnati defensive tackle Derek Wolfe
Doug: Hey guys, so how many trades down tonight? TJ said that on the radio DMac was saying the Broncos screwed up last night, and they had intended to draft Doug Martin
Ted: I could see another one into the low 40s here if DT is the intended position. I highly doubt they would have traded the pick that was used to take Martin if they wanted to take Martin. Tampa Bay had no obligation to share the target, but I'm sure the trade-out team asks. D-Mac is a radio guy, and radio is a knowledge-optional medium
Doc: I think that's right. If they wanted Martin, they were in a very good position to take him.
Doug: So, who are you guys hoping for if they stay at 36?