The IAOFM staff discuss the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and react to Denver's selections of Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter and Portland State tight end Julius Thomas, plus the implications of the Broncos' defensive picks on the 2011 roster
Doug - So who are we hoping for here?
Ted - Christian Ballard
TJ - It's like we have to hope that the Gods force Xanders to take a DT for these guys to draft one
Doug - Good thing this kid tested positive so he could slip to us? haha
TJ - Yeah, now that I've read all his grades - some had him late 1st
Ted - Ballard once had a chance to be in the first round
TJ - And after seeing the tape, he's got that thing you want 1st step
Ted - This could be a Ballard spot here
TJ - Let's hope he makes it to us. If you are X-Man, you have got to get him
Doug - How many times have we said that over the past 18 hours haha
Ted - Yeah for real
Minnesota selects Christian Ballard at #106 - two spots ahead of Denver
TJ - Well I'm at a loss for DT now. Oops - look at Denver's war room. You can tell they wanted Ballard
Ted - ESPN didn't think to show Denver's room
TJ - Seriously, the Broncos War Room is now a dead zone. All of them have their arms crossed - and body language experts will tell you crossing your arms like that, it doesn't mean you are happy
Doug - Ugh now what
TJ - I guess you should have just moved up, X-Man, it would have cost you little...
Ted - I am not a huge fan of any DTs left here. I might go RB with Hunter or Rodgers
TJ - Yeah, now you are screwed at DT - that was the last great DT in this draft. No wonder Elway, Xanders and Fox are looking haggard
Ted - A DT is going to have to come from UFA... Overpay Brandon Mebane. Broncos on the clock...I might like Cliff Matthews here as a DE
TJ - I have them going RB here haha
Ted - RB is good value here. Better here than the second
TJ - Definitely gonna have to overpay for a FA DT unless you are just accepting your position this year and sucking it down
Ted - I'd see if Houston wants out of Okoye too. He's average, but for a 5th next year, I'll take average
TJ - Looks like they are a little frazzled in there
Doug - Pick is in - Quinton Carter
TJ - Wow another Safety, the one they scouted. This was definitely BPA
Ted - He's a player with some starting potential
Doc - Quinton - lots of flexibility. Hits well, was rated as the #2 safety in this draft on some boards.
Doug - I guess the new guys really don't like McBath and Bruton? Or do you think there's a chance Dawk gets cut? He's making $6 million this year
Ted - Bruton is what he is, which is a core special teamer. McBath is Italian...Fra-Jee-Lay. Yeah, I could definitely see Dawk getting cut. Hill was a lot better than him last year
TJ - Well they scouted Carter and had him for a visit I believe.
Ted - Yeah, I like Carter as a strong safety type
TJ - Looks like a SS, run stopper.
Ted - And since Moore is definitely a Free, it makes a bit of sense
TJ - Exactly, Ted. This pick is a complement to Moore. Thus, FS, Moore; SS, Carter. As Mayock just said, his weakness is instincts. He doesn't read very well at all. Guy can strike the ball carrier, however.
Doc - He's got the run stopping combination that Moore will struggle with until he gets more bulk - and if he can bulk up. Carter is very smart, and that's a plus.
Ted - Yep... I'm actually seeing the logic here. The Broncos got killed downfield in the middle last season, so with Miller, Irving, Moore, and Carter, they're working to shore that up. I wanted interior pass rush, but maybe the lack thereof is mitigated by Miller's talents on third down
Doug - What's the most you keep on a roster? 5 safeties?
Ted - Yeah, maximum Doug - usually 4 S and 5 CB
TJ - Bruton and McBath were supposed to be the future. That plan is out the window.
Ted - So Dawkins, McBath, and Hill are competing for 1-2 spots, since Bruton will almost certainly be there
Doug - So we have Moore, Carter, Dawk, Hill, Bruton, McBath, McCarthy, Polk. Obviously McCarthy and Polk are out
TJ - After Christian Ballard did not fall to the Broncos, I can't complain too much about this pick. However, I will beat up X-Man for not just moving up to the top of this round to get Ballard. I have no doubt he was their target for this pick.
Ted - Yeah I thought he was too, TJ. He should have gotten up to get his man. A 6th-rounder, especially when you have 2
TJ - Yeah, exactly. You could have moved up a few spots and just got a DT with a late 1st, early 2nd round grade. Xanders got out-worked in this round in an otherwise good body of work.
Ted - Yep, I agree
Doug - Even crossing McCarthy and Polk off, we have 2 draftees and 4 vets competing for 4 or 5 picks. Dawkins = $6 million, Hill = $2.4 million
TJ - I like Ted's thinking. I think you have to go out and overpay for Mebane at this point.
Ted - Yeah, Doug. Bruton is automatic, and I consider McBath a "probably"
Doug - But you can't cut both Dawk and Hill right?
Ted - If you dump Dawk, that gets you a long way to Mebane's $10 million
Doug - You'd have to truly love your young players
Ted - I’d keep Hill
TJ - Me too. Absolutely.
Ted - But Hill gives you nothing in the kicking game
Doug - You'd have to think Dawk would get cut really early, but who knows - not that that's the smart way to go but out of respect, that kind of BS
TJ - Ha, it's quite possible the Broncos will have gone 3 drafts in a row without drafting a DT.
TJ - Here's one to grow on: when you ignore DT in the draft, you rank 32nd in the league against the run.
Ted - Amazing how that works, TJ
Doug - Is Carter versatile?
TJ - He's someone who you can bring into the box.
Ted - I think Carter is a box guy, and a core special teamer
Doug - McBath is, isn't he?
Ted - McBath is a free-side guy. He's built more like a CB
TJ - Carter is the type of guy you bring into the box to stack against the run.
Doug - I'm just wondering how they squeeze guys onto the roster
Ted - The last two years, the Broncos didn't play Free/Strong, they played Left/Right
Doug - Do you have 1 fewer pure corner?
Ted - If it's up to me, in an ideal situation, I staff 5 CB and 4 S
Doug - Could it come down to something like Nate Jones or McBath for a spot?
Ted - With a guy like McBath, you can consider him a swing player, and go with 4 and 4... that's what McD did. So yes, exactly Doug. Jones is another swing guy
TJ - Doug, Carter can deck you across the middle as well.
Doug - Because, you figure Cassius Vaughn is a keeper, right?
TJ - Yeah, Vaughn is.
Doug - We have Champ, Goodman, Cox, Thompson, Vaughn, Jones and Chevis Jackson at CB. Unless they don't know they can count on Cox being active
Ted - Life is tough in the NFL, and you better compete your ass off to make the team in that secondary. There's a lot of premium paychecks and draft picks in that mix
TJ - Yeah, that means B-Dawk as well. He's not safe, in my "humble" opinion.
Doug - Well, there's Champ and Dawk making big money; then Goodie and Hill at $2.9 mill and $2.4 mill respectively, and everyone else is minimum
TJ - Doug, we have to be honest, too. Dawkins is not even close to what he was even a year ago.
Doug - I've been thinking Dawk is a good candidate to be cut for months
Ted - Yeah, he struggled real badly this year. It was an enormous reason for the difference in defense year-over-year. I'd say more than Nolan vs Martindale
TJ - I'm gonna get hammered for saying that.
Ted - Let them hammer, Dude
TJ - A lot of folks have so much emotion tied up in him, but as Ted said, and Rod Smith attests, you are gone once you can't close the gap.
Doug - It's kind of silly, he's been here 2 years - I mean, I love him, but I don't LOVE him. He’s an Eagle. This is like Neil Smith. What, Neil Smith is a Bronco?
Ted - I love Dawk as a person, and as a historical player. But if we were having minicamps right now, the Fox regime could be evaluating Dawkins, and forecasting whether he looks 2009ish or 2010ish
Doug - But even if he's looking 2009ish, if you definitely want to keep Hill then you're talking about moving McBath or Bruton. I suppose you could trade McBath for a late late pick. 6 at best or a 7?
Ted - I have never been in love with McBath, but I like youth and versatility
Doug - So among the linebackers, who gets cut - DJ, or Haggan? DJ = $4.9 mill, Haggan = $1.9 mill
Ted - DJ is another guy not too far from the soup line
Doug - I assume you don't keep Haggan at $1.9 mill if he's a backup
Ted - DJ + Dawk = Mebane, with a million or so to spare
TJ - Interesting Ted. If you are serous about improving in the very next year, you have to get a FA DT - and this strategy would work
Ted - Doug, I like Haggan at $1.9 million even as a backup - he can play 3 posiitons, is a good team guy, and plays on special teams
TJ - Having DJ and BDawk playing in the next year does little for the Broncos’ record.
Doug - DJ = $4.9 mill this year, $5 mill the next and $6 mill in 2013
TJ - Wow - that will not stand, man
Doug - Dawk = 6 mill each of the next three years
TJ - This cap aggression will not stand
Ted - $11 million buys an excellent DT
Doug - You guys see Goodman sticking? $2.9 mill this year, $3.4 mill then $4 mill
TJ - Goodman played well I thought.
Ted - I think Goodman is here this year. When he and Champ were both healthy, teams were getting nothing done outside the numbers
TJ - Yeah, that's right, Ted. Goodman covers well, from what I saw.
Ted - Then they figured out that DJ and Dawk couldn't cover Marcedes Lewis in man
TJ - The middle of the field was the soft part of this D. DJ couldn't drop either into the deep middle zone, for some reason
Ted - Absolutely, TJ. I'm over DJ
TJ - It was odd to see his reads last year - he didn't drop on the play action, or he was just too late - or committed too quickly and got stuck
Ted - I think he's always had bad instincts. When Wilson and Gold were there, DJ's breakdowns were minor. But when he moved to Mike in 2008, and was atrocious, it was there for all to see
TJ - The whole “He’s been moved every year” narrative is like his crutch
Ted - I think DJ sucks, 360 degrees, and I've been on record for years with that
TJ - For me, I ripped him in the game reactions constantly - because the tape was atrocious. He was always in traffic while the RB was flying past - and in coverage, he was always out of position
Ted - He gets "tackles" but a tackle 6 yards downfield isn't a very positive thing
TJ - Everyone blamed the DL, however and that "out of position" for the 3rd year in a row narrative
Doug - So if you cut DJ, who's the third starter with Miller and Irving - Haggan? Woodyard? Mays? Mays is out as a starter, with Irving at Mike, right?
Ted - I keep Miller, Irving, Mays, Haggan, Woodyard, and 1 more guy on the team, and just start the best 3
TJ - Mays is a ST guy and backup likely
Ted - Open competition... Ready... BEGIN
TJ - Yeah, Woodyard really needs a fair shake - all the guy does is knife through the line and hit people
Doug - Is Hunter a LB or a DE now for us?
TJ - DE, no? He's huge for a LB in this system
Ted - Hunter is a DE
TJ - Denver just traded - they are on the clock - they moved up. Oh, now you do it, X-Man
Doug - Wow, so what are we thinking here?
Ted - Burton maybe? Rodgers?
TJ - Can't be a DT - no way
Ted - Broncos moved up 12 spots, and dropped 18. Julius Thomas... TE makes some sense here
TJ - The basketball dude - yep
Doug - I'm glad we got him down here rather than one of the other guys in the 2nd round
TJ - I am in love with this pick. Best pick outside of the Miller pick.
Ted - I'm cool with a basketball guy here, and I think the trade was very reasonable
TJ - I think this guy will be a nightmare for defenses in the future.
Ted - I've never seen this guy play, so I can only speak generally, but if his athletic skills translate to football ability, this can be a steal. I've seen his athleticism compared to Gates
Doug - Okay so we just gave up 141 and 186, and we got back 129 and 204 atop the 7th. 186 was the Alphonso Smith/Gronkowski pick
TJ - I love the pick. There are no DTs remaining. I like Quinn, but this is the type of gamble that pay huge dividends. It cost us little. And we might still grab Powe in the 6th. Could be great.
Doc - I haven't seen him either. I'm seeing that he's got a brief football background, and with the basketball and the fact that he's a true receiving TE, I can see the Gates comparisons. I'll look forward to seeing him. His route running needs work, but he's got a lot of upside
TJ - I think the guy hit 4.7 or 4.6 in the 40.
Ted - 4.66 according to Nawrocki - good time for a guy that size
TJ - Dude, that rocks - and he knows how to use his body in space. They say he needs to learn to block, though.
Ted - Yeah, he only did 16 reps at 225. Could get stronger, obviously
TJ - I know the Gates comparisons are there - they are apt
Doc - He's also compared to Finley with GB
Ted - Yeah, and Finley is a beast
TJ - Well there isn't much to go on, other than the potential of this guy - and some basketball film, haha. But I dig this pick.
Doc - Thomas did get some buzz at the Shrine Game week
Ted - I like that the dude can evidently move, track the ball, and catch it. If you can do those things, you can make an impact inside as a receiver
TJ - I'm torn on Xanders. He is doing a great job, but I still can't jive the DT stuff
Ted - Well, one way to rationalize the DT stuff is acknowledging that the whole team wasn't going to be rebuilt to spec this weekend
TJ - Yeah, or that I'm missing their FA plans. Maybe they have a track on Mebane
Ted - I think if that's the thought, you're free to go BPA, and take Carter, rather than reaching for a lesser DT
TJ - Yeah - I now would be very happy with Powe at 189, if he lasts. He can eat up space
Ted - I think that with good LB play, it's reasonable to think that the run defense can be solid with Vickerson, Thomas, and others in the inside rotation
TJ - And let our new LBs blitz like hell
Ted - Especially if you land 1-2 good free agents
TJ - Powe was one of those guys who after his previous season was supposed to be a 2nd-rounder
Doc - I'm stunned that in the 3 drafts that Xanders has been GM, we can't find a single DT, including in one of the biggest fields in several years. 2009 I understood. Then they ignored NTs last year (that worked well) and now this. Open that checkbook, guys. It's FA time!
Ted - Powe isn't particularly dynamic, but he can muscle up inside
TJ - Yeah, Doc, I was saying the same earlier. It is a bit shocking. It's clear they wanted Jenkins, Em. And to me, Ballard today.
Doc - Ted's right - Powe is a good space-eater if he's there. I wouldn't mind, and he's been up and down the board. I agree, TJ - they obviously wanted Ballard, and Jenkins went early
Ted - Yep... I would venture to assume that not every DT was their cup of tea, and they just missed out on a few who were
TJ - At some point, if they keep ranking 30-32nd against the run, Xanders has to be held to task for this DT stuff. I'm losing patience, but willing to wait one more draft
Ted - Let's see what happens in free agency...