Fat Camp: Expanding on the matchup safety idea

Happy Wednesday, friends.  I’m about to enter a period of personal radio silence, as I hit crunch time in studying for the most extensive and difficult section of the CPA exam, Financial Accounting and Reporting.

Since I’ll mostly be offline for the next week, I wanted to leave y’all a little sump’m sump’m to hold you over.  Once I’m past this part of the test, I’ll be back with some stuff about defensive backs in the draft class, and then kickers and punters.  Then, a few days before the 2013 Draft, I’ll be coming with my fourth annual Rational Actor Mock Draft.

Today, I want to expand upon the article I wrote on Monday, particularly after Greg Cosell’s well-timed piece that was linked in yesterday’s Lard.  I really liked Cosell’s comparison of the emerging need for what I call a matchup safety to how the need emerged (and was gradually filled) for quality slot cornerbacks a decade ago.

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Broncos attending special workout for Oregon safety John Boyett

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos will be represented at a special workout for Oregon safety John Boyett on Wednesday. According to the Sac Bee, scouts from a dozen or so teams will be in attendance, including the Raiders and 49ers.

Boyett was lost for most of his senior season after undergoing surgery to repair partially torn patellar tendons in both knees last fall.

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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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Denver Broncos 2013 pre-draft meeting, visit tracker

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

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Klis: Broncos hosting QB Zac Dysert

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.

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Banging the table for the Broncos to draft a matchup safety at #28

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.

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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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Draft Notes: LB superlatives and rankings

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.

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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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Draft Notes: TE superlatives and rankings

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.

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