Like many, I see the option of grabbing a center as a prime goal for the Broncos. Matt Paradis might have come to the point where he’s ready. On the other hand, John Elway has spoken repeatedly on their happiness with OT Michael Schofield. He’s been far less effusive about Paradis, although says that they still have faith in him.
That situation has left me combing through the various centers available this year. Will Montgomery went to the Bears, so an additional change is needed. Who?
Yesterday, we discussed Denver's worst first-round picks during the 25-year period between 1990 and 2014. The people of Broncos Country have spoken - or, 266 of them have, as of this writing - and Marcus Nash is the clear "winner" with 98 votes (36.8%). Jarvis Moss (73 votes, 28.2%) and Tommy Maddox (50 votes, 18.8%) are the runners up.
I'd love to know how the vote broke down by age, because I have to think that anyone old enough to remember the ridiculousness of the Maddox pick voted that way. Taking a 20-year old sophomore quarterback just months after John Elway had led Denver to its fourth AFC title game in six seasons was purely horrifying.
Colorado State's Ty Sambrailo would like to be Denver’s answer at right tackle. He might fit as a left tackle instead, although not necessarily for the Broncos. The reason? He may have Chris Clark Syndrome.
Ty is a very athletic lineman, just as Clark is. Chris will draw a $1.4M salary this year if he makes the 53-man roster, and he'll become a free agent after the season. He was athletic enough to take over for Ryan Clady in 2013 and do a good job at left tackle. But when Clady returned in 2014, Clark moved to right tackle, and the house fell in.
It was one of the biggest mistakes of the offseason.
Each draft, it seems like there’s a certain guy who can play any position along the offensive line. Last year it was Zach Martin, who went to Dallas and made the leap to the NFL look easy. He quickly locked down his position, playing right guard. It could have been other slots - he’s that versatile. He reminds me a lot of Cameron Erving.
Given the lack of cohesion along the Broncos line, a man who can move from tackle to center is a very good investment. Erving can, and he's expected to go between rounds two and four, according to walterfootball.com. Guesstimating in which round a player will go this far before the draft is often a fool’s errand. Even so, from watching film I’d say that this fool thinks he’ll be gone by the end of round two. Erving could be worth a higher or lower draft pick, but it’s a numbers game. There just aren’t that many talented offensive linemen.
Denver quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp will dine with Northwestern's Trevor Siemian the night before his April 9 pro day, according to Ian Rapoport. Siemian's senior campaign was cut short by a torn ACL in November. The 6-3, 210-pounder completed 58.9 percent of his passes for the Wildcats, with 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions, and a modest 5.8 adjusted yards per attempt during his time in Evanston.
Behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, Denver has 2013 seventh-rounder Zac Dysert, who was a gameday inactive every week as a rookie and spent 2014 on the practice squad.
Duke guard Laken Tomlinson was clear about what he wanted to prove to the NFL during Senior Bowl week. "One of the things I want to market to the other teams is that I'm one hell of a player."
The scouts agree. If you want proof, just turn on some later 2014 film of him.
Tomlinson came to America from Jamaica when he was 10 and started football at 11. This is a player smart enough to carry a double major at Duke. That’s in addition to football. He plans to become a physician after his playing career.
Every team needs to have the depth to spell its starters on the defensive line. Having different skillsets provides variety in sub packages. That’s essential in today’s game.
In free agency, you look for players that seem to fit your scheme. Once they’re in camp, you find out the details of their strengths and weaknesses. You do the same in the draft. You get to test, drill, and interview them with extreme thoroughness. Drafts often turn on how well you match player and scheme. That’s why a failing fourth-rounder with one team can play like a first-rounder with the right team’s approach.
The Broncos' sixth-round compensatory pick has been downgraded to a seventh-rounder after the NFL discovered a math error (the system is so complicated that the league can't even get it right). The sixth-rounder would have been pick #208; the new pick is #250.
Denver already had two seventh-round comp picks, numbers 250 and 251. It's just a matter of semantics, but this new pick pushes the other two down a spot. As for how this mistake occurred, let's turn it over to our friend Nick Korte:
When you play an even front defense, as Denver did until recently, you often look for a squatty, snarling defensive tackle who bathes infrequently and dines on raw meat. That’s your basic nose guard. You want him as large as possible, while still maintaining his footwork.
When you play a Phillips defense, as the Broncos will do again starting in 2015, you tend to focus on footwork, hand-fighting, and quickness. Malcom Brown of Texas can be a monster in any system. It will make him highly sought after in next month's draft.