The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

The Daily Lard 5-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night put a wrap on the 2011 Draft, and Denver came away with nine picks - three linebackers, two safeties, two tight ends, a tackle and a defensive end. Of course, that list is perhaps most notable for what it didn't have - a defensive tackle (or two), although the position was certainly on the minds of the Broncos' front office - John Fox on Friday night said, "I probably would have felt better if we could have gotten a defensive tackle," and last night told Vic Lombardi there's a chance Denver will bring back Justin Bannan and/or Jamal Williams once free agency begins. Not sure how much weight should be lent to the latter though, because if Lombardi framed it along the lines of "Will you consider bringing back Bannan and Williams?" then why would Fox ever say, "No, we're moving on."? It's unlikely, at best...

Somehow I skimmed over this yesterday morning, but Mike Klis wrote that the Broncos did indeed consider trading back up into the first round to select the falling Nick Fairley, but decided to pass on surrendering both of their second-rounders and their third-rounder for the chance to get the DT who went to Detroit at #13.* If there was in fact a deal to be made, that begs the question: Would you rather have Nick Fairley, a potential game-changing disruptor, or would you prefer the trio of hopeful starters Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin and Nate Irving?quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Qunton Carter and Julius Thomas?** Then again, Klis' more recent entry makes it sound that Fairley would have to have slipped further for Denver to be able to acquire him.

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Bizarro World Lard 4-30-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night held a few surprises, as Denver came away without a new defensive tackle but moved down from #36 in a deal with San Francisco which added fourth- and fifth-rounders to bring the Broncos' total cache of 2011 picks to nine (for now). It's easy to be frustrated at the Broncos' brass for not having taken a DT (as you saw in our Chewing the Fat series), but don't forget that we're reacting to a draft that's completely different than most (if not all) of us are used to. Usually by now, the bulk of free agency has  already come and gone, meaning any holes that were not filled with veteran imports could reasonably be expected to be addressed this very weekend. If our team were really pushing the envelope, they might leave a big hole or two in anticipation of some significant June 1st salary dumps coming to save the day.

But our football world has been flipped upside down this year, and obviously some of us haven't quite adjusted yet. Yes, defensive tackle is a great need for Denver. Yes, the defense was atrocious in three of the past four seasons. But you know what? Before last night our projected starting lineup may have included Joe Mays or Wesley Woodyard, and while Wes is a favorite of ours here at IAOFM, he has never shown the durability to be a 16-game starter. Now we're looking at a starting trio across the middle of Von Miller, Nate Irving and D.J. Williams. D.J. has taken a lot of heat here, but it's not because he's a poor player - he just isn't the superstar (or star) we'd all like for him to be. But surrounded with more talent in 2011, he won't have to be a star, and he will no longer be the only linebacker offenses have to concern themselves with (post-Robert Ayers moving down to the line).

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Draft day two midday Lard 4-29-11

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Several Denver players showed up at Dove Valley this morning to work out and pick up playbooks. Here's LJ's list of the players in order of arrival. Riveting stuff, truly.

On the labor front, Mike Silver is reporting that the Eighth Circuit may issue a temporary "administrative" stay of Judge Nelson's lockout injunction, in which case the lockout would not be lifted before at least Monday. Confused? Yeah, me too...

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The Daily Lard 4-29-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Denver's night didn't last long, as they selected LB Von Miller out of Texas A&M at #2 and sat by the phones the rest of the first round (although some phone calls were made). So, the Broncos have vastly upgraded their LB corps, and they'll enter tonight with three choices - numbers 36, 46 and 67 overall. Plenty of ammo to add a defensive tackle or two, plus perhaps a new right tackle and/or a tight end or running back. While Denver didn't make any trades last night, their reported desire to come away with more choices than the seven they started the draft with could come to fruition tonight.

Mike Klis wrote that Denver could trade back from the #36 spot with teams hot and heavy for QBs Colin Kaepernick of Nevada and Andy Dalton of TCU, and they figure to have interest in using their picks tonight on any of DTs Stephen Paea, Marvin Austin and Jurrell Casey, OT Ben Ijalana, RBs Mikel Leshoure, Daniel Thomas and Ryan Williams, TEs Kyle Rudolph and Lance Kendricks and CB Aaron Williams. Plus, he noted that from Miller's Dove Valley meeting with the Broncos' brass, the player expects to be the Sam 'backer on first and second downs and to focus solely upon rushing the passer on third downs.

We hope you enjoyed our coverage here at IAOFM of the first round last night, and you can expect more of the same tonight - Ted will be evaluating each pick instantly while the four of us will again be Chewing the Fat for each of Denver's selections, and there will of course be an open thread for y'all to discuss the goings on. But before that, we have Doc's excellent Broncography of Von Miller coming in just over an hour from now, and Ted will provide some analysis later on of the labor situation and Denver's Day 2 options.

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Draft day midday Lard 4-28-11

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Lots of happenings, or at least rumored happenings - so it's time for another double dose of the Lard! First things first - as we here at IAOFM have been telling you since December (Ted for much longer, look it up), John Elway came out today in full support of Tim Tebow as the future QB of the Broncos. While he didn't necessarily state that Tebow will be the starter in 2011, he said to ESPN's Ed Werder about as much as he could without providing Kyle Orton with a slap in the face:

Let's put it this way, I'm his biggest fan. He's one of those guys who -- if he comes out and is the player we hope he can be -- then we're in pretty darn good shape...I don't know if it's going to be this fall or this time next year. But I think he's got the desire that eventually he's going to be very effective...I think where we are as an organization, we're going to go with Tim.

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The Daily Lard 4-28-11

Happy Draft Day, Broncos fans! So, the NFL Draft begins tonight but it may not even be the most important football doings of the day - as Judge Nelson denied the NFL's request for a stay of her injunction last night, we're at something of a showdown. The league is still trying to put off starting the new league year at the risk of putting itself in contempt of court and losing even more than what they've already have - and we could be talking about financial penalties in this case. So, the owners have requested a stay of the injunction from the Eighth Circuit, and there's always the possibility that court will indeed issue a stay sometime today (or soon).

But if not, then the NFL will only be wading into deeper and deeper doo-doo with Judge Nelson, and things will only get uglier for those billionaires everyone was feeling bad for six weeks ago. So, while it's unlikely the clock on the new league year will start in the next day or two (because at this point the owners may be desperate to hold onto something) and therefore not permit trades of vets or free-agent signings, it's possible that it does...

Of course, we will have an open thread and live analysis tonight and all throughout the draft. BTW, TJ and Doc are jumping on the Twitter wagon, so be sure to follow them: @T_J_Johnson and @alloverfatman - you know, if laughter and intelligent analysis appeal to you at all...

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Draft eve Lard 4-27-11

Good Evening, Broncos fans! We're less than 24 hours before the 1st round begins, so I thought it worthwhile to pass along some of the latest happenings. Kara Henderson is still camped out at Dove Valley, and today she spoke with the X-Man, who said "the trade would have to be worth it" to move down from #2. We can only hope, right? Xanders told both Henderson and Gray Caldwell in a Q&A for the team's site that he expects calls will come in about trading the pick no earlier than 30 or 60 minutes before the draft is to begin.

Henderson also reported that she's hearing Denver is zeroing in on Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller; considering that she likely got that info straight from the Broncos, we can figure they are trying to stir up further interest in the pick from teams rumored to be after Miller - such as Buffalo (#3), Arizona (#5) or Houston (#11).

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The Daily Lard 4-27-11

UPDATED 9:36AM ET - Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are interested in moving up to draft Von Miller or Patrick Peterson, although they likely do not have enough ammo to move all the way up to #2 in a deal with Denver. Meanwhile, NFLN's Jason La Canfora writes that Shanny and the Skins are desperate to move up for a QB and are considering a jump as high as #2 in a trade with Denver to draft Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert. La Canfora writes that the Broncos may indeed be willing to drop as low as Washington's slot at #10 and covet Auburn DT Nick Fairley. However, the Redskins have only two picks in the first four rounds and would need to send future picks to Denver in such a deal. How great would a John Elway-directed bidding war for the #2 pick between Shanny and Kubes be?

No direct mention of Denver here, but PK tweeted last night that Atlanta is looking to make a move into the top 10 to nab one of two WRs - A.J. Green or Julio Jones. You know, it's funny - while the local yokels are still busy stressing the notion that nobody had called the Broncos about the #2 pick as of a week ago, the national guys are talking of plenty of trade interest. How does this happen?

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Common sense everywhere?! Lard 4-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! NFLN's Kara Henderson spoke with John Fox yesterday and came away thinking that Denver expects Tim Tebow will earn the starting QB job. She also noted that the Denver brass is divided between taking Alabama DT Marcell Dareus and Texas A&M LB Von Miller if they are to stay at #2. Here's her conversation with Fox. If nothing else, it's finally nice to hear some QB-related sense coming out of Dove Valley - remember all of those "Elway names Orton Starter" articles? What a waste of time...

As for the lockout injunction, the owners have already filed their appeal with the Eighth Circuit and their request for a stay with Judge Nelson. Many players across the league are expected to show up at their respective teams' headquarters today to work out, and if so they will be allowed in. Of course, be sure to read Ted's Gut Reaction to the injunction, and the first group of articles from across the web.

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The Daily Lard 4-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his MMQB, PK writes that he thinks he thinks that Carolina will indeed go with Auburn QB Cam Newton at #1 overall and that New England may already have a deal in place to deal off the #28 pick. Plus, he thinks Arizona will go with Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert, LSU CB Patrick Peterson or Georgia WR A.J. Green at #5.

PK also thinks that Judge Susan Nelson's pending decision will indeed result in an injunction of the lockout, but the real question is whether she will force the league to start its new year and thus open free agency. Remember, Gary Myers reported the other day that Judge Nelson's decision is expected to come sometime today...

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