Ted's Analysis

Draft Notes: RB superlatives and rankings

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.

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Draft Notes: QB superlatives and rankings

Happy Thursday, friends.  Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to be sharing some quick thoughts on position groups in the upcoming NFL draft. Isn't it hard to believe the first round is only five weeks from tonight?

The other Broncos-centric sites aren’t running 75-part mock drafts anymore, as far as I know, so maybe our readers haven’t been as focused on stumping for this guy or that other one yet.

Today, I'm going to begin with QBs, and will employ what I hope is an easily digestable format, and use it for every group as I go.  While the Broncos aren't likely to be drafting QBs, we want to keep you knowledgeable of the whole draft class.  Also, I can see them being a team who could sell off the 28th pick to a team looking to get back into the first round for one of these guys.  Check it out, on the other side of the jump.

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What now for Elvis Dumervil and the Broncos?

Happy Monday, friends.  I was out of pocket all weekend, watching the Mets get beat in two spring training games down in Port St. Lucie.  During my baseball-focused couple days, I gave the Dumervil situation some serious thought. 

The first question I’ve been pondering is whether the Broncos really specifically need Elvis Dumervil to play open-side DE.  The answer I’ve been mostly coming to is no.  Remember, if Dumervil hadn't accepted the pay cut, he was going to be released anyway - drama aside, the Broncos had a plan to move forward without him.  They may need somebody to be a threatening pass rusher on sub package downs, but Robert Ayers is perfectly capable of playing there in base situations, and doing a good job.

I think that’s what the Broncos have been thinking, to be honest, and even if Elvis is back in 2013 (which strikes me as less and less likely all the time) I don’t think his stay would be any longer than the one season.  It’s probably in his best interest to go find a team that would view him as their primary pass rusher, and invest in him as such.

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Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Happy Thursday, friends.  I was already in bed when news broke of the Broncos’ signing of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, so I wasn’t quite as on-the-spot as we’ve been the last couple days.  Hopefully, the novelty having worn off overnight doesn’t make this stale.

Rodgers-Cromartie is a tall (6-2), long, and fast (4.33 at the 2008 Combine) CB who is at his best (by far) in press man-to-man coverage.  He’s very good at using the sideline as an extra defender, and he’s difficult to beat over the top.  There really aren’t very many CBs in the NFL who have a better package of physical attributes and inherent talents.

The issues for DRC start when you ask him to play very much zone.  He tends to get a little bit lost, and his awareness of route combinations isn’t the greatest.  He’s also not the greatest (or most enthusiastic) tackler in the world. 

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Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Terrance Knighton

The Broncos keep on working free agency, and they haven’t even had to cut Elvis Dumervil yet, as far as we know.  The signing of Terrance Knighton is another good one, assuming the money is reasonable.  As with Kevin Vickerson, Knighton portends to play a key role in keeping the running game clogged up with only seven men.

Knighton is another guy who Tom Nalen would call a fatty, tipping the scales at 330 pounds.  I call him a dude who can mash an offensive guard, and who can defend two gaps up front.  He’s also an excellent athlete for his size, and he played TE in high school in Windsor, CT.  (Shout out to my fellow nutmegger!)

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Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Wes Welker

Well, I’m shocked, and I’ve come around to joining Doug in being pretty happy that Wes Welker will be joining the Denver Broncos.  The main reason for my shift in opinion is that they got him quite a bit cheaper, and on a shorter-term deal than I thought was possible.  Remember, the Broncos are a team that has to pay Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas over the next couple of years, so keeping a deal short is key.

On the field, this move is going to make the Broncos nigh on unstoppable offensively.  I expect them to play four guys from the quintet of Thomas, Eric Decker, Welker, Jacob Tamme, and Joel Dreessen, and just grind teams up with the passing game at all levels of the field.

It doesn’t matter who the running back is, because the acquisition of Welker guarantees that the Broncos won’t be seeing base defense much at all.  Whoever the RB is will be running against really light box counts, and Welker is an excellent blocker for his size.  In the running game, Welker is a sneaky positive, because he mashes the nickelback in front of him way more often than not.

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Gut Reaction: The Broncos re-sign Kevin Vickerson

I'll just start by saying that I'm very happy that the Broncos re-signed Kevin Vickerson.  He did a terrific job for them in 2012 and played a big part in them doing such a good job against the run for most of the season.  Along with Justin Bannan and Derek Wolfe, the Broncos' front-three did a nice job occupying the opposing five offensive linemen in the run game, and allowing the other front-seven players to flow to the ball.

Fundamentally, all things being equal, I always think it's better to re-sign a player than it is to sign a free agent from another team.  With an outsider, you face scheme risk, in the sense that you don't know if a guy translates to what you're going to ask him to do.  The Broncos know that Big Vick can play in multiple alignments, two-gap on base downs, and one-gap some in passing downs.  What they're doing schematically isn't really common, so knowing a guy can do the job is key.

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Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Louis Vasquez

I’m never a really big proponent of signing free agents in the first hour of the proceedings, because you end up having to pay top of the market prices for them.  I’m a much bigger fan of waiting a day or two, and letting the suckers get their money out there, and see who’s left.

That said, if you really want to upgrade at offensive guard, you could do worse than signing Louis Vasquez.  I think he came into his own as a player in 2012, and was definitely the best offensive lineman on the Chargers.  Of course, their line was pitiful, and their number-one priority has to be fixing it.  By signing Vasquez, the Broncos just helped themselves, and hurt the second-place team in the division in about the worst way they could be hurt.

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Rosterbation: Legal tampering edition

Happy Monday, friends.  As some of the rumors start to come out about free agency, I have some thoughts on a few of the Broncos-related ones.  Let’s rosterbate, shall we?

1.  Doug linked to an Omar Kelly report that the Broncos are the leader for Reggie Bush, and he questioned the likely veracity of the rumor, because Bush isn’t bigger or more durable than any of the current Broncos RBs. 

I don’t really agree that the Broncos need a big back, because Willis McGahee does fine in that role, and it’s a reasonably safe assumption that he’ll be back to full health in 2013.  I wouldn’t call him injury-prone either, over the majority of his career.  I do think that McGahee is best in a committee situation, and whether the Broncos acquire another back or not, that that's where he'll find himself in 2013.

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NFL team valuations: Still bubblin’

Happy Friday, friends.  I was pretty interested to see the Deadspin article that ran yesterday and included a full copy of the audited financial statements of the Carolina Panthers.  They presented the last two fiscal years, which ended on March 31 of 2012 and 2011, respectively, and they offer a good look at the financial position of a team that sits right in the middle of the NFL in Forbes’s valuation rankings.

I know that I always have some first-time readers, so I hope that my long-time readers will bear with me as I lay out my bona fides for addressing this topic.  I have bachelors degrees in both finance and accounting, and also an MBA.  I’m presently working on finishing the CPA exam, and I hope/expect to be done with it by the end of May.  Additionally, I’ve been working in corporate accounting and finance for eight years, since I graduated with my first BBA.

I’m not exactly an accounting expert, but anybody would tell you that I’m a pretty solid pro, and among football writers, I’m pretty confident in where I stand as a financial analyst.

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