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).
At the back end, our starting duo of Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill will be a combined 71 years old by midseason, and the jury is most definitely still out on the starting prospects of youngsters Darcel McBath and David Bruton. Whether Rahim Moore starts Week 1 or not (or in 2011 at all), we can feel a lot better about the future of the Broncos at safety. Remember, as we've been pounding the tables about for months now, this is a passing league - and John Fox and Dennis Allen are both former secondary coaches. As much as some of us (read: TJ and I) have been concerned that Fox was bringing an "it's all about running the rock and stopping the run" attitude to Denver, he was a secondary coach for 14 seasons (D-1 and NFL) before he became a defensive coordinator and then head coach. His time in Carolina was spent facing pass-oriented coaches like Sean Payton and Jon Gruden twice annually; he understands the value of the passing game, much as we may equate his white hair with being an out-of-touch geezer for whom the modern NFL game has whizzed by.
Today, we have no idea who the Broncos will go after in free agency, although of course the picture will begin to come into focus shortly. But at least the Broncos didn't use any of their picks last night on offensive skill positions, right? As puzzled as many of us might have been initially, I think we might all feel a bit worse right now if instead of a safety or linebacker Denver had taken a running back or a tight end. Remember - we're in an alternate universe where the football calendar is reversed, and we're only halfway through the very first segment of the offseason. Let's all give the Broncos' brass some time to execute their plans...
Meanwhile, the Eighth Circuit did indeed issue a temporary stay of Judge Nelson's injunction, therefore reinstating the lockout - at least for a few days. However, as Andrew Brandt points out, the lone dissenting judge (of the three) voiced an emphatic protest of the decision, as temporary stays are generally reserved for emergencies. If the fact that the other two judges ruled in favor of the temporary stay is any indication, there may be plenty more twists and turns along the NFL's labor route...
Gray Caldwell on the Moore and Franklin choices.
Chris Hall and Broncos TV's Day One report.
Andrew Mason says the Broncos did fill some gaping holes last night, just not the ones we'd expected them to.
Legwold wraps up the Broncos' picks from last night.
Klis on the Broncos' veteran options at DT, including free-agent possibilities.
Krieger can't believe Denver came away without a DT last night; granted, he didn't get to sleep on it like we did...
Among LJ's draft notes, she reminds us that Rahim Moore only turned 21 last month.
LJ on what the Broncos' players were able to accomplish in their one lockout-free day.
HOFer Shannon Sharpe introduces Moore.
NFL Films profile of Moore.
Andrew Mason on the Moore choice.
Wes Bunting says Moore should be starting for the Broncos "from day one".
Doug Farrar discussed Moore among his list of the best players left on the board entering the second round.
Big Play Shay and the other Broncos fan from Brooklyn (just kidding, Willie and JV) announce the Franklin selection.
Andrew Mason on Denver's choice of Franklin.
Wes Bunting thinks Franklin is overrated and won't be a great run blocker.
As Klis points out (like Ted did last night), Bill Parcells ranked Irving highly during his TV special.
NFL Films profile on Miller.
Transcript of Von's presser (PDF).
Kent Babb sums up each of KC's picks from last night.
Acee on the Chargers' defense-intensive draft.
Tim Sullivan on new Charger DE Corey Liuget.
Monte Poole likes what the Crypt Keeper's done so far.
Jerry McDonald wraps Hue Jackson's presser from last night.
Gary Myers writes that the lockout may again be lifted as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
Peyton Manning claims he was just kidding when he spoke of gaming the mandatory sideline concussion tests.
The results of the study on brain of the late Dave Duerson are due out on Monday.
Don Banks' day two judgments.
Matt Bowen breaks down the QBs taken last night.
John Clayton is of course ready to pass judgment on what the Patriots did last night. I wonder if he knows they won 14 games with a young team that's far from its peak...