Prime Cuts

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Pauline: Broncos extracted plenty of value from draft, but Webster was “major reach”

Grading the Draft: Denver Broncos

Grade: B. Denver filled needs with value picks in the first two rounds, added depth at pass rusher and receiver in the fifth frame, selected a developmental prospect in round six then finished the draft with future trade bait.  The reason we don’t give this draft a higher grade was the selection of Webster in round three.  Regardless, the Denver Broncos leave the draft a better team, on paper anyway.

The reaction in our draft chat to the selection of Kayvon Webster was a collective Who's that?, so it's understandable that Pauline would use it to downgrade Denver's draft. In the end, it's just a (meaningless) draft grade, and the player notes are more useful. As usual, good insight from Pauline.

FWIW, a year ago Pauline called Ronnie Hillman a reach. That Denver doubled up in 2013 by using a second-round pick on a running back may confirm that assessment.

Updated 3:55pm ET

It at least sounds like Brock Osweiler won’t be lining up behind a guard anytime soon

Osweiler Taking Command in Year Two

“I can see him taking another step as far as his command of the offense—him being able to communicate with guys as far as, ‘Hey, this is what I need from you here,’” Gase said. “You can see him kind of working that way already on the field. When you’re a young guy, there are a lot of things going on, and he’s eliminated, ‘Well, is this guy supposed to be lined up here? Is this guy motioning?’ He’s not doing that anymore. It’s quicker for him. If somebody screwed up this year, he can fix it, and I think he’s taken a big step this year so far in Phase Two (of the club’s offseason conditioning program).”

Not that there's anything wrong with guys who do that...

Raiders add Cribbs, emphasizing the importance of David Bruton

Oakland Raiders sign receiver/returner Josh Cribbs

Cribbs, who turns 30 on June 9, spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, where he developed into one of the game’s most productive kick and punt returners.
His eight kick returns for touchdowns are tied for the most in NFL history. He also amassed 1,914 yards and nine touchdowns rushing and receiving for the Browns.

Reggie McKenzie continues to make wise decisions; anyone else missing Al Davis right about now?

Oh yeah, and this signing is a perfect reminder of why special teams ace David Bruton is so vital to the Broncos' sustained success.

Bowe: Chiefs are going to own individual stats in 2013

Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe: ‘I’m going to lead the league in receptions’

“(Jamaal Charles) is going to lead the league in rushing this year,” he said, “and I’m going to lead the league in receptions and touchdowns.

“When we get in full gear and pads and close to the season, it’s going to be a show to watch.”

That's fine, Dwayne - the two of you may very well rack up some nice stats this season. Meanwhile, your team will win maybe seven or eight games, and the Broncos will win twelve or thirteen.

Which would you rather have?

Woodson healthy and at Dove Valley; Panthers also interested

Charles Woodson meeting with Broncos; defensive back has other suitors

Although the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers also are interested in signing the versatile defensive back, the Broncos likely are the leading candidate for Woodson because they have the best chance to win a Super Bowl this season.

An opportunity to win a second Super Bowl ring, not money, is the primary objective for Woodson, who turns 37 in October.
He has struggled with shoulder injuries since breaking his collarbone in Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory in 2011, but he is healthy now.

If the ring's the thing, then this apparent choice for Chuck Wood is a no-brainer, isn't it?

Rolando McClain is done with football

Rolando McClain informs Ravens that he will retire

McClain, who was taken eighth overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2010 draft, is just 23 years old but off-the-field issues have marred his NFL career. Released by the Raiders earlier this offseason, McClain was arrested April 21 in Decatur, Ala., just 10 days after he signed with the Ravens, a team willing to give him another shot.

His third arrest in a little over 16 months, McClain was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He allegedly yelled an expletive at police officers after they responded to a disturbance at Pines Park.

You'll recall that in the months leading up to the 2010 Draft, the talk the Broncos would draft McClain--even move up to get him--was busier than an Oakland police blotter.  Incidentally, that's where McClain went.  At the time, the debate centered around McClain's alleged Crohn's disease and his off-the-field behavior.  It's hard to say if either figured in McClain's decision, but 23 is about as young as it gets for NFL retirement.  Columnist Monte Poole believes McClain's heart was never really in football.

The Broncos, for their part, ended up taking Demaryius Thomas with pick #22, then traded back into the first round to draft their most controversial pick in team history, Tim Tebow at #25.

Manning #8 on SI’s list of highest-paid athletes

The 50 highest-earning American athletes - 2013 Fortunate 50

Manning’s salary suddenly pales in comparison with Brees’s (and with the new ones signed by Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers), but he remains football’s biggest endorser and one of the most marketable athletes in American sports: Reebok, Wheaties, DirecTV, Gatorade, Papa John’s and Buick all see the 37-year-old QB as a sure-thing investment.

Thanks to his $37M signing bonus, Drew Brees is the only NFLer above Manning on SI's list. FWIW, their contracts are very similar, with Manning's $19.2M AAV just a shade under Brees's $20M figure.

But in terms of endorsements, PMFM's $13M haul from 2012 dwarfs the $7.8M number drawn by Brees.

Adam Gase wants Broncos offense to move faster; what does that mean?

Tempo in the NFL

McCoy’s old team, the Denver Broncos, ranked just 10th in tempo, which is what happens when you mix John Fox with Peyton Manning; it will be interesting to see whether the addition of Wes Welker will increase the Broncos’ offensive tempo in 2013.

For most of Peyton Manning's career, the Colts and their "slow no-huddle" moved at a more leisurely pace than the 2012 Broncos did, but were faster during his last three years in Indy (2009-2011).

Will the Broncos actually be faster in 2013? As you know, we're not big on believing what coaches say, especially in May - so let's wait until at least September or October to draw conclusions.

If you're surprised to learn the 2011 Broncos were actually 13th in tempo, keep in mind that there were zero audibles at the line from Week 5 on, and there was a freakishly high rate of incomplete passes. And no, the point isn't to make fun of You Know Who here - it's just an obvious explanation for a ranking that's odd at first blush.

Al Davis foot soldier Trask resigns from Raiders organization

Longtime Raiders executive Amy Trask resigns

Amy Trask, who was very close with deceased Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis and a trailblazer in terms of women in NFL front offices, told owner Mark Davis on Saturday that she is leaving the organization. Trask was very influential and in essence an extension of ownership but did not share the same type of relationship with Mark Davis as she did with his father…

...The move is not a surprise in league circles. It was widely know she and Davis were not in lockstep, and she had been focused primarily on stadium issues recently. Davis flirted with several options of restructuring his franchise this offseason, with the Raiders’ revenue and financial situation not ideal, and the team has continued to seek new minority investors, according to league sources.

No shock to see Trask leaving.   After serving Darth Vader for so long, anything that followed was probably a bore.

And if you think nobody in their right mind would want a non-controlling interest in a football team, you've not been paying attention.

Ball wanted Davis, but settled for Anderson

Stories Behind the Numbers

But Ball has been a Broncos fan since the late 1990’s, when he decorated his bedroom in a Denver motif. So he knows as well as anyone that Davis was the first link in a chain of 1,000-yard runners that spanned most of the Mike Shanahan era.
When Ball arrived, he was presented with multiple numbers from which to choose. Knowing Broncos history, one lept at him, so he grabbed it.

“I wanted 38: Mike Anderson,” Ball said, citing the 1,000-yard rusher of 2000 and 2005 who was also the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2000.

Hard not to like a guy who knows the Broncos' history as well as the rest of us nerds.

Here's hoping next time he goes Nirvana-era and mentions Gaston Green or Rod Bernstine just to show off.