Yesterday's pre-draft press conference from Brian "The Mind" Xanders and John "The Collar" Elway was better than nothing.
Xanders still doesn't tailor his jackets nor his penchant for malaprops. My favorite Xanders quote (aside from his propensity to simply call John Fox by his last name) from yesterday was the following:
"...we're in unchartered waters..."
Despite this, Xanders has an odd appeal to me: he's the anti-Joe Ellis. Under the buzzcut and the confusion, there just might be a savant. We'll soon find out.
Elway, for his part, could have used some gold chains. If you are going to show that much chest hair, you've got to come strong or don't come at all.
The Duke? How about the Disco Inferno?
Outside of these two observations we learned the following:
- The Broncos may or may not move back.
- The Broncos may or may not draft a quarterback, linebacker, defensive back, or defensive lineman
- The Broncos would like to draft impact players.
After about 15 minutes of hearing buzzwords like disruptive, the reporters in the room resorted to asking Elway about the new schedule. In short, Xanders and Elway were enthusiastically boring, just as they should have been.
So what are the Broncos going to do with their picks? The conventional wisdom is the Broncos will draft defense and they will draft it often. That's certainly the rational way to approach the situation.
Most of the speculation (and mock drafts) rightly assume the Broncos are, as my friend Ted Bartlett would say, a rational actor. This means the Broncos will approach the draft in a thoughtful and clear-headed way; they'll do what's in the best interest of the organization.
But what if they don't? What if the Broncos exhibit a little of the ol' irrational exuberance? What sort of Rocky (Mountain) Horror Picture Show would we see?
Look no further. The Dude abides.
Pick # 2 - QB Cam Newton - Auburn
Assuming Newton falls past Carolina at #1, the Broncos foolishly take the next Daunte Culpepper. There were a plethora of much safer picks (Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller), but the Broncos bought into the there has never been a QB like this before hype. Elway, desperate to make his mark immediately on the franchise, and without Andrew Luck available, mistakes Newton for Warren Moon (Newton's mentor).
It turns out Cam Newton's father was right all along--this highest-bidder thing really works. It just took a few more years than he imagined.
The Holy Spirit, Tim Tebow, and the 1.5 percent of sorority girls who wear promise rings die a little inside.
The Rational Pick: DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama. If Dareus were a stock, he'd be a blue chip with a consistent dividend. His beta is lower relative to the rest of the draft.
What They'll Do: DT Nick Fairley - Auburn. I'm convinced from watching every Brian Xanders interview that he's given away the Broncos' intentions here. They want a penetrating 3-technique. Check.
Pick # 36 - RB Mikel Leshoure - Illinois
Elway got his groove on with the first pick. Now it's Fox's obsession with his two-back system that costs the Broncos dearly. "Screw defense," he says as he pounds the table in the war room. "We are going to pound the rock 60% of the time."
Leshoure is no DeAngelo Williams. Fox knows this, but he still can't resist stockpiling running backs.
Somewhere, while cagefighting death ninjas, Peyton Hillis chuckles--but only a little. Too much laughter would destabilize the earth's magnetic poles.
The Rational Pick: DT Marvin Austin - North Carolina. Would have been a top-10 pick if he'd only used his brain.
What They'll Do: QB Jake Locker - Washington. If Locker makes it past the Vikings and Redskins, I'm afraid Elway won't be able to resist. If Locker is not there, look for Elway to perhaps make a play for some quarterback from Nevada. Did I mention the part about girls with promise rings dying inside?
Pick # 46 - DE/DT Christian Ballard - Iowa
After watching Elway and Fox waste picks, Xanders downs a Red Bull and makes a desperate plea to draft defense. However, it's just too late. Marvin Austin is off the board. All of the defensive tackles who would have made a huge difference are also gone. Ballard is their only real chance to address the defensive line.
The pick is decent, but certainly won't result in the impact player the Broncos needed.
The Rational Pick: DE Allen Bailey - Miami. Want insurance against both Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers? Take Bailey. He's made for the aggresive defense the Broncos want to run.
What They'll Do: RB Mikel Leshoure - Illinois. Leshoure is likely still on the board at this point. Fox can't resist his urge to stockpile running backs.
Pick # 67 - LB Casey Matthews - Oregon
Xanders finally gets a Matthews, complete with long hair. This Matthews brother, however, is a wasted pick in the third round. Nothing like a bloodline narrative to boost one's draft stock.
On the positive side, Xanders finally stops bringing up Clay Matthews in interviews.
The Rational Pick: CB Marcus Gilchrist - Clemson. The guy has the ability to play both cornerback and safety, thus providing insurance at two different spots. It's a passing league. You can never have enough defensive backs.
What They'll Do: LB Casey Matthews - Oregon. Xanders is going to get a Matthews in this draft, one way or the other. Mark it zero.
Picks #186, #189, # 247 - Who Knows
Speculating on picks this late in the draft is like trying to predict Charlie Sheen's next pornstar nanny. It's just not possible. In our irrational world, the Broncos will try and pluck a starting offensive tackle (like the one they want to get rid of), a blocking tight end (like the one they just got rid of), and a safety to replace Brian Dawkins.
The Rational Pick: Find athletes. At this point in the draft, speed and quickness can make a roster.
What They'll Do: Finally, after two years, Brian Xanders will get to make three picks of his own choosing. He uses one of the picks to snag LB Akeem Dent from Georgia (who is still sitting there in the 6th round), It's the best pick of the day.
Xanders has arrived--two drafts and six rounds later.