Doc's Musings

Why the Broncos have to consider taking a tackle next week

Now that we've completed our rundown of this year's top offensive tackle prospects, let's take a moment to revisit whether it makes sense for the Broncos to take one of them in next week's draft.

David Fleming recently did a nice job of laying out some of the realities of the current pay levels for the differing positions along the offensive line. The advent of NFL free agency in 1993 started a run on increasing the salaries for offensive linemen and especially tackles, benefiting the left tackles in particular. Teams were consistently putting their best rusher on the offensive left, so the blind side protector soon got more money.

Tackles are harder to find, and that may keep their pay somewhat higher - but not stratospherically so.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: SJSU tackle David Quessenberry

Here are our previous columns on tackle prospects:

We'll conclude our examination of tackle prospects with a look at David Quessenberry, a 6-5, 302-pounder out of San Jose State (NFL, NFLDS).

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 6

Here are our previous columns on tackle prospects:

I’ve noticed that with the increasing tendencies of offenses and defenses to ‘flip-flop’ their lines, TEs and edge rushers are often on either side of the OL.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 5

Here are our previous columns on tackle prospects:

We'll limited today’s batch to two players because each has an unusual aspect to his story. Dallas Thomas of Tennessee is talented and position-versatile, but he’s been off the radar with a torn labrum which prevented him from participating in combine drills and tests.

FSU prospect Menelik Watson’s journey is a remarkable story, and he’s showing the potential to be just as remarkable a player.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 4

Here are our previous columns on tackle prospects:

Today we'll discuss another trio of prospects: Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, Xavier Nixon out of Florida, and Justin Pugh from Syracuse.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Georgia Nose Tackles

Today, let's look at redshirt junior Kwame Geathers and senior John Jenkins, two linemen who helped the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs rank 18th in the country in points allowed. They’re similar in build, but they’re very different players.

Kwame Geathers

Kwame comes from an NFL family - his father, Robert Sr. was drafted by the Bills, and uncle James ‘Jumpy’ Geathers concluded his 13-year NFL career with a one-season stint in Denver in 1996. He has two brothers, Robert Jr., currently playing for the Bengals, and Clifton, who plays for the Colts.

Who you play next to can make a difference in your stats and in the final ranking that a player achieves, and Geathers greatly benefited from playing next to the more far polished Jenkins. Kwame is 6-5 and 342 lb, while Jenkins is 6-4 and now reportedly weighs a manageable 325-330 lb., after having tipped the scales at 346 lbs. at combine.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 3

Let's continue our discussion of tackle prospects in the 2013 Draft. Here's our introduction to the topic as it relates to Denver, plus Part 1 and Part 2, if you need to catch up.

As noted on NFL.com on March 29, Mike Mayock sees six tackle prospects as standing out from the rest. I didn’t disagree on any of them:

  1. Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M)
  2. Eric Fisher (Central Michigan)
  3. Lane Johnson (Oklahoma)
  4. D.J. Fluker (Alabama)
  5. (tie) Menelik Watson (Florida State) & Justin Pugh (Syracuse)

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 2

Picking up where we last left off, today’s fare includes a talented converted tight end, a small school player who didn’t get a Combine invite (but probably should have), and one of the elite tackles in this year’s draft. Let’s dig right in:

Reid Fragel - Ohio State - 6-8, 308 lb

Fragel has slipped under the radar so far in pre-draft coverage. Ohio State lost both of its tackles after the 2011 season, and Fragel was converted from tight end to offensive tackle to help pick up the slack. He took to the change nicely, although he is still raw in his footwork and technique, as you would expect. That’s okay - he played right tackle during the 2012 season and showed a lot of promise as an OT.

For a guy with only a single year at the position, he looked very good. His height is a mixed blessing - he’ll have to work to keep his pad level low, but he’s got a wide wingspan. He’ll still have to put on more muscle weight for the NFL. 

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Nose Tackles, Part 1

When you talk about nose tackles and nose guards, it’s easy to get confused. Traditionally, the guy in the middle in an odd-front defensive line was called the nose guard. The nose in an even-front line is generally called the nose tackle. You’ll still run into those terms when you read materials from coaching seminars and such.

Denver’s scheme is very much a hybrid, so it won’t matter much what you call this player. Either way, the Broncos currently lack someone there who looks like a long term starter in the role of a run-stopping, blocker-absorbing, three-down player who has the ability to collapse the pocket and even pressure the QB, optimally.

Justin Bannan confounded a lot of people in 2012 by outplaying Brodrick Bunkley’s production of the previous season, and at considerably less cost. Both of them are basic two-down linemen - guys who can absorb double teams, stop the run, and leave the field on most passing downs. That’s great - but with the league-wide move to more no-huddle offenses, I believe that Denver will need a three-down NT at some point.

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Scouting the 2013 Draft: Offensive Tackles, Part 1

Continuing with our discussion of offensive tackles, today we have one player who didn’t even make it onto the field for the 2012 season, and two of the top tackles in this year’s draft. Let’s get right into it:

Chris Faulk - LSU - 6-5, 331 lb

Many NFL fans aren't familiar with Chris Faulk, but there’s good reason: going into his junior year, he suffered a knee injury last August, but he decided to declare for the draft after last season regardless of his age, level of experience, and the handicap of not having played during the 2012 season.

You can see why he might make that decision. Not only is Faulk huge, but he shows some nice footwork and seems to have some athleticism that you don’t always see in a man of his size. He showed a noticeable lack of technique when playing the left tackle slot as a sophomore, though. He is as raw as you would expect from a player with only two seasons of college ball under his belt, no matter how big that belt might be. Both his footwork and his hand technique are in need of work. He hasn't shown that he really understands how to get into a defender and keep them away from the quarterback, or drive him downfield in the run game.

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