As the 2013 Draft approaches, word is slipping out regarding the Broncos' prospect visits and workouts. We'll be updating this post regularly to reflect reported interest, trying as always to filter out unsubstantiated rumor. We've also added Shrine Game and Senior Bowl meetings via Walter Football, and draft profiles for each player from NFL.com and CBS Sports where applicable.
Of course, much of this activity could be pure smokescreen on the team's part, but more information can never hurt, right? If you happen to see any names go across that we don't have listed here, please send us an email with the corroborating link.
Updated 4/20/13 5:10pm ET
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos are meeting today with Miami of Ohio QB Zac Dysert in preparation for the upcoming draft.
Dysert (pronounced DAHY-surt) was a four-year starter for the Redhawks, completing 63.8% of his throws for 6.7 adjusted yards per attempt and a 132.4 QB rating.
Happy Monday, friends. Yesterday, Jeff Legwold wrote a very Legwoldian article. That is, it made a really obvious point, which is that the Broncos struggled to defend tight ends in the passing game during the 2012 season.
It also made references to what “people in the NFL” think, in sweeping generalities, and really didn’t go very far in suggesting real solutions for how the Broncos could solve the problem in 2013.
That way, if the Broncos draft anybody in the defensive back seven, Jeff will be able to say, see, I told you – they want to defend the TE better. What would make me laugh (again) would be if the Broncos took somebody that Legwold had never even heard of (again) with their top draft pick.
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 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.
Happy Friday, friends. With Doc continuing to work through the offensive and defensive line prospects for the 2013 Draft, today I’m skipping forward to the linebacker group. I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to do this, and what I decided is that I’m only looking at players who fill a traditional linebacker’s role.
That is, I’m leaving the edge rush guys who may play in 3-4 schemes to Doc. I’m interested in all inside linebackers, and also outside linebackers who are more coverage players than pass rushers. The way that some 4-3 defenses now play a lot like 3-4s, and a few 3-4s play like 4-3s, I’ve come to believe that it’s better to call a linebacker a linebacker, and an edge rusher an edge rusher. The distinction between whether an edge rusher is a DE or an OLB is increasingly narrow and irrelevant.
As a side note, on my way into work today, I was thinking about how schemes in the NFL seem to be getting more simplified and homogenized. There are really only about four different offensive schemes, and probably three different defensive schemes being used, if you think about them at a high level. The level I’m referring to breaks on differences in staffing requirements.
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:
Happy Wednesday, friends. Today, we pick up where we left off in our Draft Superlatives series with the tight end position. In the modern NFL, most of the best innovations in the passing game are coming from teams finding creative ways to employ tight ends. Do you remember how Peyton Manning said last year that much of the Broncos' game plan revolved around how teams play Jacob Tamme?
What he meant was that when a team has a TE who can flex out and run routes the way Tamme can, a defense is given an impossible choice; if they play base defense, and try to cover the TE with a LB, they’ll struggle with that coverage. If they play nickel defense, and try to cover the TE with a safety, they may have better success in coverage, but it will tend to come at the expense of their success in stopping the run.
Defenses tend not to have many players who can both cover a TE and hold up in the run game. That’s why a team like San Francisco, which has two such players in Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, can look so dominant on defense.
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:
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.
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.
Happy Friday, friends. This morning, we received a couple of good questions on Twitter from two longtime readers. Jared Still asked for our thoughts on simply relying on Robert Ayers to be the starting open-side DE, and drafting Margus Hunt from SMU. Kriss Bergethon asked what we thought about signing Richard Seymour and drafting Cornellius "Tank" Carradine from Florida State. This is obviously all about filling the hole left by the departure of Elvis Dumervil.
You've got questions, we've got opinions. The first thing I would say is that we should probably step back for a minute, and think about exactly what that hole is. Dumervil was a starter at open-side DE, which meant that he played on the side away from the tight end, and often lined up wide, with edge responsibilities in the run game, and edge rushing responsibilities in the passing game. Like Jared, I'm very confident that Ayers can handle base downs at that position. In fact, the Broncos will undoubtedly be better against the run with him out there, because he plays with a level of power that Dumervil doesn't have.