Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're only one week away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, and that can mean only one thing: it's time to celebrate The Passion of the Legwold.
Legwold kicks off Passion Week by breaking the news that Denver desires an impact player at #25, as opposed to the middling prospects they would normally be after in the first round. He also reiterates that the team has interest in BSU runner Doug Martin and could see them taking Martin at #25 if the top defensive tackles are all gone at that point. In fact, that's exactly what he has them doing in his first-round mock.
As for offensive linemen, The Impassioned One says the team is "giving long looks" to center and guard prospects because Peyton Manning is coming off an injury, not because J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles were pretty terrible last season. And, if Peyton were 100% healthy, they wouldn't want to give him great protection?
Presumably it's Legwold (or, could be Klis) who reviews Denver's 1st-to-3rd-round picks of the past 11 years, incredibly calling Jay Cutler just an "OK" pick, while generously calling Beadles and Walton "Good" picks. Look, Cutler may be a jerk, and we give the guy a ton of grief here, but let's be serious - he is a legitimate starting NFL QB and should remain one for a long time, and he is BY FAR the best QB from that 2006 Draft. To equate the expenditure of resources to select Cutler with those spent for Tebow, and to call Beadles and Walton better values than Jay is pure hackery. Really, it's a complete and utter joke.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold continues his The Position I'm Writing About Today is a Notably Risky One to Draft series with wide receivers up next. Now, in fairness to Legwold, we did cite this piece yesterday in which Matt Waldman said teams find it especially hard to evaluate QBs, WRs and DBs. But name a position that Legwold hasn't written up as being a super duper gamble and we'll give you a gold star sticker.
Legwold also claims Denver needs more depth now that they have a QB who loves to throw the ball a ton, although this of course ignores the fact that running a no-huddle offense means not changing personnel all that much from play to play. As Ted has noted, the same players tend to stay on the field with Manning.
In reality, Peyton Manning does distribute the ball to a lot of players, but those players are basically all starters. A look back at his time in Indy finds that each year, the bulk of his passes would go to two or three wideouts, two or three tight ends, and two or three running backs. At almost no point in his career has a fourth WR caught very many passes, and early on it was essentially Marvin Harrison and nobody else.
Manning says he's still basically living at Dove Valley, although that's probably something of an exaggeration. Judging by his secretive nature, he probably already bought a house in the area. Of course, the practice nut seems very excited to have started the official, albeit voluntary, portion of the offseason.
Meanwhile, Miller says his injured thumb is still only at 85%, while Decker's knee is free of pain. The third-year wideout says he is already familiar with the "new-age" techniques utilized by strength coach Luke Richesson from having worked out at API the past couple years.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's offseason program kicks of with "voluntary" workouts today, and according to Mike Klis, the Broncos will be spending two hours each morning working with new strength coach Luke Richesson, followed by two hours meeting with their position coaches and coordinators.
As per Mike Florio, here's the offseason schedule as set out by the new CBA:
Teams will face steep penalties for going outside this framework.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold revisits the team's frequent draft-day trades while Josh McDaniels was around, and he says the team too often reached for prospects they liked.
But it should again be noted that the problem with McDaniels's drafts is who the team selected, not that they traded up to get them. The reality is that both years, the team came out of the draft with a greater number of players and at higher spots than when the selection processes started. They moved up and down the board masterfully.
Players like Richard Quinn and Alphonso Smith did not work out, but why does it matter that they were second-rounders? They simply didn't work out, and it wouldn't have made a difference had Denver taken them later. They're still the same flawed players. If Quinn and Smith were third-rounders, we'd still be having the same conversation today about how much they suck, right?
Just remember what TJ wrote last year - it's all about improving the team's odds at finding starters. Brian Xanders (with and without Josh McDaniels) has been doing a great job of adding picks to Denver's arsenal. This year he's starting with seven, so perhaps he doesn't need to do so, but my guess is he will again be making some moves.
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...
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.
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.