Scouting the Broncos: Cornerbacks

Although no team in recent memory has complained of having too many talented cornerbacks, Denver is in a good situation at this time. There are factors that could change that - such as the possibility that Perrish Cox is convicted in his sexual assault case and does jail time - but as things stand today, Denver has a fairly nice group at the CB position. Here’s the breakdown:

# Name Ht Wt Age Exp School 2011 Salary Signed Through
24 Champ Bailey 6-0 192 32 12 Georgia $11,000,000 2014
32 Perrish Cox 6-0 198 24 R Oklahoma State $405,000 2013
21 Andre' Goodman 5-10 184 32 9 South Carolina $2,880,000 2013
29 Chevis Jackson 5-11 193 25 3 LSU $555,000 2011
33 Nate Jones 5-10 185 28 7 Rutgers $800,000 2013
22 Syd'Quan Thompson 5-9 191 24 R California $405,000 2013
41 Cassius Vaughn 5-11 195 23 R Mississippi $405,000 2012

Continue reading "Scouting the Broncos: Cornerbacks"

The Daily Lard 4-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In today's MMQB, PK writes that the Panthers appear to be leaning towards drafting Cam Newton first overall, because Carolina wants to see game tape from Newton's juco days. The only (minor flaw) with that logic, of course, is that Newton only played one year at Auburn and thus his juco days were only two years ago. Shouldn't every team be looking at those tapes? After all, one would hope/think that before making such impactful decisions that teams examine more than one season's worth of notes and game tape, no? But okay, sure. They're going with Newton. Let's hope so, and we can move on and Denver will have either their pick of the defensive litter or a chance to move back in a trade as part of the Blaine Gabbert sweepstakes?

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-11-11"

The Daily Lard 4-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei considers the possible growing importance of interior linemen in today's game, as more pressure and sacks have apparently been coming from up the middle in recent years. Pompei writes that shorter pass drops may be to blame, and of course this only magnifies the Broncos' already desperate need at defensive tackle. Plus, Pompei is hearing that Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert was actually quite impressive in his combine interviews and team visits (in contrast to the reports that he's the next Jay Cutler) and that Von Miller should be a playmaker immediately.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-10-11"

The Daily Lard 4-9-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Bill Williamson spoke with several scouts and draft experts to compare Tim Tebow with the 2011 crop of QB prospects. While Gary Horton thinks Tebow is the answer in Denver, Mel Kiper and Steve Muench both think Tebow would be a fourth-rounder if he were a part of the 2011 Draft. Matt Williamson thinks Denver never should have drafted Tebow in the first place, and that they'd be better off with a QB they could potentially draft in the second round later this month. Finally, Tony Softli thinks the Broncos should stick with Tebow, whose football intelligence and intangibles impressed him last year. Here's what it comes down to, though - obviously, all of these evaluators have every right to think some of this year's QB prospects are better than Tebow; but even if they're right, it doesn't make any sense in the world for Denver to draft one. As Bucky Brooks points out, every guy has question marks, just like Tebow does - and unless there were a standout guy (Andrew Luck?) then why bother?

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-9-11"

Mindfreak: Brian Xanders has a plan (psychologically speaking)

If Brian Xanders has his way, the Denver Broncos are going to draft Nick Fairley.

How do I know this?  I'm speculating of course, but after watching all of his interviews five times over this week in an effort to build our wildly popular Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator, new information has come to light, man.

First, let me point out the obvious--the Broncos would like to trade out of the #2 spot.  If someone tries to claim that as an original thought or breaking news, flog them.  This fact has been widely known for weeks.  Xanders himself has said on numerous occasions that his general strategy (which is sound) is to trade down and accumulate picks.  So you won't find me claiming that mantle.

What I will claim is that Xanders is not your typical General Manager.  As I suggested  yesterday, the guy simply has a hard time with public speaking.  Moreover, he tends to get slightly animated and nervous, which causes him to search for what he likely perceives are high-quality football buzzwords.  Take this quote for example, which is included in the Random Quote Generator:

"We researched their personal character and their football character…we never want the character grade to bleed into the football grade."

Xanders' interviews are ripe with this sort of material.  What Xanders wanted to say here in simple terms is that the Broncos initially treat a draft prospect's play on the football field seperately from their potential off-field character issues.  In his search for fooball speak, the words fall short.

Continue reading "Mindfreak: Brian Xanders has a plan (psychologically speaking)"

The Daily Lard 4-8-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Lombardi is revving up his draft coverage, and he leads off with a bombshell of sorts - he says he would pass on Nick Fairley. While he does think the Auburn DT has loads of talent, Lombardi would prefer lesser-skilled players like UNC's Marvin Austin and Corey Liuget of Illinois due to their work habits and passion for the game. Lombardi goes on to astutely point out how silly it is to say a guy is overvalued at one spot in the draft but is worthy a few picks later. Statements like that would only be valid if scouting the draft were a surefire, accurate process, and we all know it's not. In a second post, Lombardi shares a few more of his draft thoughts, including that Julio Jones' combine speed doesn't show up in games. Oh, and he writes that everything a team says about players over the next few weeks is a lie - so don't bother paying attention to all those ridiculous "A source says/tells me" posts and tweets around the interwebz.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 4-8-11"

Mindfreak: The Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator

Brian Xanders doesn't exactly fit the mold of what we expect from a general manager: He's got a double chin.  His clothes don't fit.  He has a tendency to rush his sentences, omit words, state facts as if they were original thoughts, and mix verb tenses.  Hell, the guy used to clean pools.

In short, he's everything Joe Ellis isn't.  It's for this reason, and the way he handled the recent re-signing of Champ Bailey, that the X-Man is starting to grow on me.

So I went back and spent an exceedingly long time reading and listening to interviews Xanders has given since he was named General Manger of the Denver Broncos for real.   At first, I mistook his responses for gobbledygook.  My mind went numb; my senses failed.  Soon, I was unable to determine the questions from the answers.  I fell into a Xanders-induced stupor.

When I came to, however, I realized that inside all of this undeciphered madness, Xanders had a plan.  After so many interviews, he's let a few things slip.  

Later this week, I'll tell you what I think that plan is.  Today, however, I wanted to have a little more fun at the expense of Xanders before I begin singing his praises.

So I gathered together a few dozen of the best quotes Xanders has given.  I plugged them into a random quote generator.  I think you'll enjoy....

Continue reading "Mindfreak: The Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator"

New draft narrative Lard 4-7-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With precisely three weeks to go til the opening of the 2011 Draft, it's time for the DP to return to their hacktastic glory focus more on the annual selection party. Unfortunately, Klis starts out with a real doozy; remember how he had seemingly put to rest the Legwoldian thread of Denver has ONLY six picks (before they were awarded a compensatory pick for sucking)? Well, he's now creating a narrative of a different flavor (and omitting facts to make the story fit, of course): the Broncos should have a lot more later-round picks because Josh McDaniels got ripped off monthly! Of course, there is some validity to it - dealing away a fourth-rounder for Laurence Maroney wasn't so hot, although no DP writer has ever? mentioned that Denver got back a sixth-rounder in that deal. Perhaps giving up multiple draft picks along with Peyton Hillis doesn't seem all that great for Brady Quinn, although the fact that Quinn didn't play in 2010 shouldn't factor in.

But should we really be riled up about giving up a 2011 fifth-rounder to get a year's worth of Syd'Quan Thompson? And if you're going to decry the loss of a seventh-rounder in the Alphonso Smith/Dan Gronkowski deal, aren't you supposed to point out that Denver received a sixth-rounder in that very same deal (which is, you know, better than a seventh-rounder)? As if it's not enough to leave out these facts, Klis goes on to write that there's a big difference between having a pick near the top of the sixth round rather than at #21 and #24 like Denver does. It's gonna be a long three weeks, friends...

Continue reading "New draft narrative Lard 4-7-11"

SI retells story of Darrent Williams’ murder

In the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated due to hit newsstands this week, Atlanta magazine senior associate editor and SI freelancer Thomas Lake revisits the murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. The lengthy and engrossing article explores the backgrounds of Williams, his convicted killer "Little" Willie Clark, and Williams' friend and teammate Javon Walker, in whose arms Williams perished. While expectedly saddening, Lake's retelling of the events from that fateful New Year's Eve of 2006 casts more light on the roles ex-Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and his cousin played in the night-long conflict, including the perceived likelihood that they were the intended targets of Clark's gunfire.

Continue reading "SI retells story of Darrent Williams’ murder"

Fat Camp: Intricacies of cornerback play

It’s become common in recent times to say that the quarterback, left tackle and rush linebacker are the three most important parts when constructing a team, but that hasn’t always been the case. When John Madden used to talk about team building, he was very firm that the two most important things were your offensive line (especially the left tackle, but you need the whole group to be anywhere from solid to exceptional) and the cornerback slot. There’s good reason to still see things that way.  How important is the defensive secondary? Just consider these numbers:

  • 1977 - NFL teams ran 14,650 times (57.7%) and passed/were sacked 10,741 times (42.3%)
  • 1978 - NFL teams ran 16,075 times and passed/were sacked 12,850 times (55.6% vs. 44.4%)
  • 2010 - NFL teams ran 13,920 times and passed/were sacked 18,399 times (43.1% vs. 56.9%)

You easily get the idea: it’s not news that the NFL’s passing game has been bolstered since the (in)famous 1978 rule change that permitted offensive linemen to hold, as long as it was within certain parameters. That rule change began a long series of decisions that put the power in the hands of the offenses in order to make games more exciting to the fans.

Continue reading "Fat Camp: Intricacies of cornerback play"