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.
Reserve running back Lance Ball became the first Bronco to sign his right of first refusal only restricted tender on Monday.
Ball saw the field for just 151 snaps in 2012, but as a restricted free agent, he'll make nearly double the $715K minimum for a player of his experience this season. However, none of his $1.323M salary is guaranteed, so if he fails to make the final 53-man roster out of training camp, Ball won't count a penny toward the Broncos' 2013 salary cap.
Aside from Ball, Denver has running backs Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, Mario Fannin, and Jeremiah Johnson on the roster. Jacob Hester is listed as a fullback but functioned more as a running back, since the Broncos abandoned the idea of using two-back sets rather early on.
Updated 8:29am ET 4/9/13
Former Broncos safety and punt fair-catcher Jim Leonhard is headed to New Orleans, where he'll reunite with the Ryan family.
Leonhard had played under Rex Ryan with the Ravens and LOLJets, and he'll now play under Sexy Rexy's twin brother Rob, who is coordinating the Saints defense.
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.
Less than eighteen months after having traded a 2012 first-rounder and 2013 second-rounder to Cincinnati to acquire him, the Raiders have dealt QB Carson Palmer to Arizona in exchange for a 2013 sixth-rounder and conditional 2014 seventh-rounder.
Oakland will receive the 2014 pick if Palmer starts 13 games this season for the Cardinals, who have agreed with the former first-overall pick on a restructured two-year deal. Reports on how much Palmer will be paid are already conflicting, as Adam Schefter says he's due $16M over two years, while Ian Rapoport says Palmer will get $10M in guarantees and as much as $20M in total.
Per Adam Schefter:
Raiders reached agreement on a one-year deal with former Broncos CB Tracy Porter.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 2, 2013
We knew Porter was on his way out of town. Whether he was an attitude problem (as suggested by Mile High Sports) or not, we'll let you decide.
Of course he had to sign with Oakland--everyone ends up with Oakland during their this-guy-could-have-an-attitude-problem phase.
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.
For a few weeks, following Kansas City's acquisition of Alex Smith, the AFCW has been home to three number-one-overall pick quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer) and a fourth-overall choice QB (Philip Rivers) who was acquired in return for another one who had been taken first overall (Eli Manning).
That division-wide lofty pedigree is about to be downgraded a bit though, as the Raiders are reportedly nearing a deal to acquire one-time seventh-rounder Matt Flynn from Seattle to replace Palmer. Flynn had been the Seahawks' booby prize of last year's free agency, after the team's brass had flown to Colorado, only to be rebuffed by Peyton Manning.
Happy Tuesday, friends. Today, we get back into the 2013 Draft class with some more superlatives and rankings. This time, we’ll focus on the running back class. I suspect that it will be of more interest to Broncos fans than the QB group was on Thursday.
If you ask some people, (mostly those who take Jeff Legwold’s word for it), the Broncos need a “big, durable power back.” If you ask me, the Broncos have a guy like that, named Willis McGahee. Recency bias may make him seem like he’s not durable, since he got injured last season, but over his career, he hasn’t missed much time due to nagging injuries. A torn ACL (like the one Willis had in college) can happen to anybody, and so can a torn MCL; they’re most often a function of randomness, and not durability.
Beyond McGahee, the Broncos have a versatile pro and good team guy in Knowshon Moreno, a young speedster in Ronnie Hillman, and a backup/special-teams type in Lance Ball, whom the Broncos just tendered at $1.3 million, which suggests that they value him.
With Ryan Clady locked up on a franchise tag and Orlando Franklin having taken a giant step upward last season, why spend time, money, or a draft choice on an offensive tackle?
Denver has a backup blocking TE/OT in RFA Chris Clark, who’s a decent lineman on run plays but who is not capable of handling any prolonged starting snaps. Since Clady’s cost may have to again be dealt with next season, Denver is still short one viable OT - the guy who can cover if Franklin or Clady go down. There are options on the roster, but it’s not a stretch to say that with Clady potentially playing on a one-year franchise tender and Franklin still being talked about as a guard, bringing in a top OT might be wise.
How would that work? I think it’s pretty simple. If Denver does move Franklin, it’s likely to be at the position he usually played in college - left guard. They didn’t pay right guard Louis Vasquez, with his pass protection skills, to sit out. With Zane Beadles making the Pro Bowl as an alternate (and earning it), though, how would that work? Here’s an option: