Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold says the Broncos have struggled to find defensive line talent in the draft, and his proof is that they've only gotten two future Pro Bowlers in the past 30 years. Pretty compelling stuff, huh?
Well, Legwold holds up the Ravens as a model for success that Denver should strive for.
Anyone care to guess how many Pro Bowl defensive linemen they've drafted in their 16 years of existence? One.
Maybe we should check in on the Steelers. How many Pro Bowl defensive linemen do you think they've drafted in 30 years? Three.
How about the Giants? After all, they are routinely loaded on the line. They must have drafted a ton of Pro Bowl linemen, right? How about four in 30 years?
Today's lesson? Finding talent in the draft is really hard. This does not only apply to the Broncos. The lesson that Pro Bowl selections are a horrible measure for this sort of stuff? That's for another day...
The Broncos announced today that they have released cornerback Andre' Goodman after three seasons with the team.
Goodie had been one of the first free-agent acquisitions made by Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders in 2009, when he signed a five-year deal with $9.8M in guarantees. The 11th-year player was due to make $3.42M in 2012 and $3.96M in 2013, the final year of his contract; his original $6M signing bonus should mean he will count for $2.4M against the team's 2012 cap, which would translate to a cap savings of about $2.2M this season and $5.16M in 2013.
We had suggested two days ago that Goodman was a prime candidate for a contract restructuring, and the timing of his release (deep into free agency) tells us he likely turned down a request from the team to rework his contract. That's our
pure speculation educated guess, at least.
As the draft continues to draw nearer, I've been pondering the Broncos' depth and potential need at cornerback. There’s obviously still the issue of Champ Bailey, who will probably leave or move to safety in a couple or three seasons, but if the right CB is available - and it’s a fairly deep class - is it worth using a high pick? You could say the same about safety, after all - Mike Adams is 31 and not all DBs have Champ’s longevity. Denver just picked up Tracy Porter, though. How do they view this guy? Does he reduce the need to draft a CB this year?
My goal was to get an overview of the relative value of the Tracy Porter pickup, as well as to do a short examination of last year’s starters and see if anything else stood out. Obviously, Syd’Quan Thompson was on IR last year, so he was out. Cassius Vaughn made the report but he also spent a lot of time injured, so his sample is small, and Andre’ Goodman apparently decided that he’d heard enough about his tackling, because he started hitting like a mountain ram in springtime. His coverage stayed good, too, and he had his best overall season as a Bronco, but he, like Champ, will turn 34 this summer. It’s just normal business to look at how the team needs to grow.
Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! According to Jeff Legwold, Bama corner Dre Kirkpatrick is on Denver's short list for what to do with the 25th-overall pick. But for some reason, Legwold thinks it's a big deal that Kirkpatrick didn't have any interceptions last year, as if that should ever be the measure of a cornerback.
As a refresher course, Champ Bailey has had 11 interceptions over the past five seasons after having nabbed 10 in 2006; Darrelle Revis had zero in 2010, and Nnamdi Asomugha had but three picks between 2007 and 2010. Is that what defines these cover corner stalwarts?
We cite this here fairly frequently, but it bears repeating: craptastic ex-Denver corners Tory James (eight in 2004) and Deltha O'Neal (nine in 2001, 10 in 2005) made three Pro Bowls combined, on the basis of interceptions rather than quality overall play. Remember how New England's Devin McCourty made the Pro Bowl (over Champ, originally) after the 2010 season because he picked seven balls? Anyone want to suggest this group compares favorably to the former trio?
Starting NFL cornerbacks are on the field for about 1,000 snaps per year, and we're going to evaluate them based upon five or six plays they do or don't make, or less? Legwold, please.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Justin Bannan is very happy to be back with the team, and he never moved out of town despite playing in St. Louis last season. Says Bannan,
I feel like I belong in Denver. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business here. I never felt right about leaving. There's a business side of it, and unfortunately that side happened. But it's just nice not having to move again.
Really, he sounds relieved to be back:
I have a lot of pride here. I feel like I belong here. It's hard to explain — I kind of felt like that when I played at CU (University of Colorado). I feel like I belong in Colorado. It's nice to be able to have an opportunity to come back and have a chance to be part of something great.
Andrew Mason figures the ex-Buff will be more effective teaming with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil (who was injured during Bannan's one season in Denver) in the pass rush, although for what it's worth, PFF has assigned the 11th-year player a slightly subpar pass rush grade in all four years of their existence.
Happy Wednesday, friends. Today we get back in the saddle with the technical series about the offense that I expect to see the Broncos run this season. Today, it’s Part 5, where we’ll discuss the five-step passing game. If you’ve missed any of the first four installments of the series, please check them out at the following links:
The five-step passing game is the key element of any offense, because with a five-step drop, and its concomitant protection schemes, the QB can create the correct timing to threaten all levels of the defense. When a WR is asked to run a Dig route at 18 yards, that’s an activity that takes around three seconds to execute.
Financial terms have not been released yet, but our wildly irresponsible guess is that his salary is fully guaranteed. And as we alluded to this morning, the addition of a solid player like Bannan to the middle of the defense reduces the urgency of overdrafting one in two weeks' time, allowing the team's front office to potentially select for talent over need.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold thinks Denver has to consider BSU's Doug Martin at #25 and says it's unlikely the running back would last until their second pick at #57. Of course, Andy Benoit suggested the other day that the Broncos could even go WR with that first pick.
All this has Mark Kiszla in a tiszy, because as he sees it, Denver would be crazy not to draft a defensive tackle there. Kiz says the Broncos must go "defense, defense, defense" in two weeks. Defensive tackle is absolutely a need, yet again. It would be an utter shock, yet again, if the team doesn't draft one or two of them, and relatively highly, at that. But that doesn't mean the team has to take one at 25. If Denver goes offense there and ends up with five defenders among their next six picks, are we really going to be apoplectic?
What if they sign Justin Bannan? What if Marcus Thomas comes back?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis says Denver would like to draft a back who will at some point this year become the primary runner, to be spelled by Willis McGahee, with Knowshon Moreno as the third-down guy.
Klis also points out that Caleb Hanie received no guarantees as part of his two-year deal, and he expects the Broncos to draft a QB somewhere between the second and fifth rounds, and to perhaps sign another veteran too.
Adding to what Jeff Legwold had written yesterday, Klis says Denver's offer to Jeff Saturday was around $2.5M per year, a pittance compared to the $4M that Green Bay will pay the veteran center this year.
Meanwhile, Klis is making a push to sell his Tebow books to the New Jersey fans - he says that although Mark Sanchez is a swell guy whom he's more fond of than are most people, Timmy is just a better quarterback. Really. And as Klis sees it, Tebow is completely innocent as far as the circus that follows him around.
It's Lying Season for the NFL (moreso than usual), but it's no great secret the Broncos have a significant need at defensive tackle, again. Last month I profiled Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, who is expected to be long gone when Denver makes its first pick at #25, provided they remain there. If that scenario indeed plays out, what will be the Broncos' options?
Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy has been talked about quite a bit. Certainly, cornerback is a point of need: perhaps of greatest need other than under tackle. Other folks will have other perspectives, but I think that in general, while interior OL, MLB (unless they like Nate Irving), RB, and possibly safety are all areas of need in degree, press-man coverage CBs and one-gap penetrating DTs might be the hardest to find as the draft moves on.
There are always the players who work out later in the draft, but my feeling is that the lines and the CBs are essential to Denver’s success this year. So is the Mike, but since we don’t know what Denver’s plans for Irving are, and we do on these two positions, I’m going to take the step of looking at the most desirable of the available DTs in Denver’s theoretical scope of scheme - the penetrating under tackle. Sadly, letting Brodrick Bunkley get away has also played hob with the nose tackle position, and some of these players make sense at either slot.