What’s up y’all? I decided to write a FanPost today, because I’m at the office, and I have no interest in working on this federal tax package that’s due to the corporate tax weenies tomorrow. I wanted to specifically talk some Denver Broncos today, and I decided to go away from my own site to do it, and check in where the spirit of the Broncos Nation lives.
I’ve mentioned this on SmarterFans.com here and there, but I’m an advocate of picking either Mike Iupati or Maurkice Pouncey tonight. I know a lot of people like the best player available approach, regardless of position, but I’m focused on need. I think you have to evaluate how great the need is, and weigh that against your vertical board. ESPN’s Seth Wickersham has some nice thoughts on this, and y’all know I’m not a guy to credit ESPN’s writers willy-nilly.
Anyway, the Broncos have a major functional need, which is picking up first downs on third-and-short, and scoring TDs in short-field situations. Part of the solution is Knowshon Moreno, who is going to be a lot better in his second season. The other part is improving the size and strength of the offensive line. If the Broncos had an outstanding LG, which Mike Iupati will definitely be, they could run at will over the left side. Do you remember how effective Shaun Alexander was behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson? It was unstoppable in short yardage, and that’s what Iupati means to me. An enormous weakness becomes an enormous strength, very quickly.
I like Pouncey too, and if you want the best balance possible in the line, he makes sense. The Broncos are saying that they’ll use one of a few players at Center as of right now (Hochstein, Olsen, etc) but Pouncey would definitely be better than any of them. In fact, I think he’ll be the second-best Center in the NFL from day one, and he’ll be challenging Nick Mangold for the top spot pretty quickly. You can’t go wrong with either lineman, and you can know that if either is the pick, I’ll be happy, like I was when Ryan Clady was picked 2 years ago.
There’s a lot of talk about the Broncos trading down, with either the Giants at 15, or the Eagles at 24. I’d be fine with going to 15, because you get a #3, and almost certainly can still take one of the interior lineman. If they go to 24, they’d wind up with #37, but probably no chance at Iupati or Pouncey. If they really love a guy like Jon Asamoah or John Jerry at #43 or #45, then it’d be defensible. I’m just pretty sure that Josh McDaniels isn’t interested in reliving the nightmare of consistently getting stuffed in 2010. To me, though, there’s a big drop-off from Iupati to those 2 Guards, and there’s an enormous drop-off from Pouncey to the second-best Center, Matt Tennant. Scarcity is a big issue at those interior positions this year.
I’d rather not see Rolando McClain picked. He’s tall, and he plays too high, and I don’t think he projects as an effective downhill player in the NFL. I think he’ll need to be kept clean in a 4-3 to be most effective. Dez Bryant may end up being a great player, but I’m not too thrilled with the idea of taking him 11th either. There’s no reason that the scheme can’t get guys open enough to be successful in the passing game. It’s proven to do so, over a couple decades, and a lot of teams have been successful running what amounts to an Erhardt-Perkins scheme without tremendously noteworthy WRs.
After addressing the inside beef need, I’m fine with a BPA approach. If a guy like Jahvid Best is available in the second round, he’d be nice. I like some of the receivers in the second round, and I think Brandon Spikes is going to be the best ILB in this draft, despite his slow 40 time. Terrence Cody would make me happy. The Broncos have some areas of improvement, and they’re well-armed to reinforce them.
Football is about doing certain operational things successfully, and limiting mistakes in doing those things. Think about the Patriots that won 3 Super Bowls. They ran, passed, and stopped the run and pass. They were strong in the kicking game, and didn't turn the ball over a lot. They weren't necessarily top of the NFL in any category, but they did all pretty at well. This is how you win in the NFL, and this is what Josh McDaniels is seeking.
Last year, the Broncos threw the ball and stopped the pass pretty successfully. They ran the ball and stopped the run fairly successfully in the earlier part of the season, but tailed off in both toward the end of the season. I like the free agent moves on the defensive line, vis-à-vis stopping the run, so I think the running game on offense is most crucial right now. What say you, friends?