Tyson Jackson stunned a lot of people by being the third player taken in the NFL draft. Many said that this was, in part, because of the laws of scarcity – there were few true 5-technique defensive ends in this year’s draft, making the ones that were there more valuable. The 5-technique DE lines up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles, giving them a chance to stack the line, stuff the outside run or rush the passer with equal verve. It’s a staple of the modern 3-4 defense, which the Denver Broncos will be switching to from their traditional 4-3 as quickly as circumstances permit.
A lie can run around the world twice while the truth is still getting its shoes on. - Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Like all college players whose names weren't called on Draft Day, Chris Baker knows that he has something to prove. He's heard all the opinions - "Boom or Bust," "Must be in the right system," "Left school too early," "Character concerns abound," "Troublemaker," "Takes plays off."
In the wake of this year's draft, as plays out every year, we have those folks who knew, thought they knew, wished they knew and know they didn't. But on the SunnySide, I've got the advantage of knowing that my guys are probably going to be drafted, and it adds a little spice to the days as I watch them going to different teams and wishing them well. It's kind of a small rite of passage.
The weekend of the draft is past, the main part of free agency as well as undrafted free agency is behind us and now we have to long opportunity to consider, in some detail just what it is that the Broncos brain trust has done in terms of making over this team. The Broncos are a team whose record was 8-8. This was a team who made history by being three games up with three to go and dropping them all, including the tiebreaker. It was historically bad on defense and special teams, but not as much better on offense as some have held. Passing yards are a poor measure of a team - red-zone percentage, points scored and similar measures mean far more. Weaknesses abounded, as statistics and analysis made clear. It was a team whose record was mediocre, but whose framework was as flimsy as cheap wicker.
And with the 12th pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos blow people away and take Knowshon Moreno!
A surprise to many fans but a common choice on the mock drafts, the Denver Broncos have taken Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers with the 18th pick in the NFL Draft. Head Coach Josh McDaniel is looking to make a statement about his defense - his players are going to be very athletic, hungry for coaching and very, very versatile.
Today's offerings are inspired by the questions of the hour - who will the Broncos draft? I see need #1 as being the defensive line, with versatility being essential, since the Broncos are probably going to a 3-4 hybrid of some sort. McDaniels have said that they will run the 3-4 at times and the 4-3 at other times, so finding a player who can function in either will be a priority.
According to the daily edition of The Sporting News, the QB battle at the Broncos mini-camp is in full swing. Mike McCoy and head coach Josh McDaniels were watching the QBs like a couple of hawks, and giving them a constant stream of information.
Orton, currently considered the front-runner in the race, said, "We run an up-tempo mini camp, a lot of teaching going on. Coach McDaniels and Coach McCoy are very good teachers. They've had a lot of success coaching quarterbacks in this league. I know Chris and I are trying to be like a sponge, and absorb everything they're giving us."
Unlike a lot of Tales, this time I ran into several good stories and couldn't choose between them. I thought that I'd start the day with our rivals down the street from me - San Diego.
A lot of press has been given to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who covers the Chargers for that paper. Acee has predicted that SD will take a running back at the 16th slot in this year's draft. His belief is that SD will go for the larger Beanie Wells over the lighter and more mobile Knowshon Moreno, although predictions have gone back and forth. There is reason to wonder about this, however. Tell me if this makes sense to you.
This series is the outcome of a month-long collaboration between (Doug) and (Emmett). In general, (Doug) covered the stats and Doc handled most of the writing and analysis. We hope that it sheds light on some of the questions that have arisen as to just what, exactly, Josh McDaniels has been doing with the New England offense over the past four years. It also looks at Jay Cutler's time as the primary starter in Denver over the past two years to establish where the two Patriots and Broncos do and do not match up. We thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and hope that you will take just as much pleasure in reading it. Hopefully it will answer some of your questions about what to expect of the 2009 Broncos, and we look forward to your comments and critiques. Many thanks to our esteemed colleagues styg50 and hoosierteacher for their input, and to Zappa for his invaluable aid in managing the code and the templates.