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Team needs: Denver Broncos

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The Denver Broncos’ “leadership” under Josh McDaniels was so poor that owner Pat Bowlen had to fire the alleged offensive mastermind on December 6 of last season. (Bowlen did it on Twitter.)

Left behind was a depleted roster, and hired to replace McDaniels is ex-Panthers coach John Fox. Along with new V.P. of Player Personnel John Elway, Fox will attempt to reestablish a once-proud organization that devolved into a laughingstock under “McD.”

DT: Here’s how Denver’s defensive tackle depth chart reads: Free agent (possibly restricted) Ryan McBean, Kevin Vickerson, Louis Leonard, Mitch Unrein. How many of those guys have you heard of? They’ve combined for 4.5 career sacks, 3.5 of them from six-year veteran Vickerson. It’s easily the worst interior line in football, making Alabama’s Marcell Dareus the Broncos’ obvious choice at No. 2 overall. Value meets need there, to perfection.

LB: The Broncos need help throughout the front seven. D.J. Williams is their only surefire starting linebacker, probably on the weak side. Schematic shift from McDaniels’ old 3-4 to Fox’s 4-3 leaves an abundance of question marks. Is Wesley Woodyard (6-foot, 220) big enough to be an every-down strong-side linebacker? Can Mario Haggan man the middle after playing mostly outside linebacker in a 3-4 the past two seasons? The switch to a new defensive alignment, at least at first glance, has created even more problems.

DB: Denver’s cornerbacks are solid with newly re-signed Champ Bailey at left corner, and Andre’ Goodman battling promising if arrest-prone second-year player Perrish Cox on the right. But Brian Dawkins was one of the poorest coverage safeties in football last season, is entering his age-38 campaign, and has a $6 million salary. We’d have more faith in former second-round pick Darcel McBath as Dawkins’ replacement if McBath could stay off the shelf. To this point, he hasn’t.

OT: The Broncos have one of the league’s better young left tackles in Ryan Clady, and promising interior pieces in Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, and Chris Kuper. They’re expected to part with free agent right tackle Ryan Harris, however, and replace him with a better run blocker on the strong side.

Overview: Fox and Elway have a hole-filled roster. They could also use upgrades at tight end, running back behind Knowshon Moreno, and arguably defensive end. A traditional, lead-blocking fullback is needed for Fox’s run-heavy philosophy.

And that’s exactly why the Broncos are smokescreening interest in quarterbacks. Elway and Fox realize that the only way teams trade up to No. 2 is if they need signal callers. Denver drafts directly ahead of a franchise quarterback-needy Bills team, and has nothing to lose by feigning fascination with the most important position in all of pro sports. The Broncos have a long, long way to go, and could use lots more picks.

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31 Responses to “Team needs: Denver Broncos”
  1. capslockkey says: Apr 14, 2011 2:33 PM

    What DON’T the Broncos need?….. is the simpler question. About the only spots I’d say they are “solid” at is wide receiver.

  2. hobartbaker says: Apr 14, 2011 2:38 PM

    McDaniels was fired when he was because Elway and Bowlen decided to try tank the season and to get Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck. The roster is not “depleted”. Josh cleaned out subsequently proven “problem children” Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall for a handful of promising young prospects, including Robert Ayers, Darcel McBath, DeMaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow, and Eric Decker. While strengthening the team at the postions for the present with Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd. McDaniels rebuilding was textbook, but Elway and Bowlen want to go back to the 1980s. Good “Luck” with that.

  3. souldogdave says: Apr 14, 2011 2:43 PM

    Nice analysis. Do you think the ploy will work? How much could they bleed out of a QB starved team?

  4. bfridley says: Apr 14, 2011 2:59 PM

    I dare you to make another “Team Needs” article… and it not be the Ravens.

  5. mfclock says: Apr 14, 2011 3:06 PM

    @hobartbaker r u josh mcdaniels?

    ayers = bust (or was he just out of position)
    mcbath = bust
    thomas = glass
    tebow = bust
    decker barely got any playing time becuz he couldnt beat royal, gaffney (GAFFNEY of all people) and lloyd – all of whom are still on the team
    u guys thinking orton is good..please stop, he’s a bum

  6. schemefactory says: Apr 14, 2011 3:07 PM

    21 more tebows

  7. eeerockski says: Apr 14, 2011 3:14 PM

    Did you really say that McDaniels rebuilding was textbook? I like how you also mentioned all of the POSSIBLE players who may turn out to be decent, but how about the dominant boneheaded moves he made? Like getting rid of Tony Scheffler, cause who needs a speedy TE with reliable hands in a passing offense(sarcasm)? And let’s trade away a few picks including a 1st rounder to draft Alphonso Smith early in the second round. How’d that one turn out? And then there’s the brilliant Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn trade which was then followed by the drafting of Tim Tebow in the first round. I am a Denver fan myself, but I won’t let someone try to sugar coat what McDaniels did. He stripped my team of alot of talent doing it his lame way, and now we’re stuck at the bottom of a division that only a few years ago we were competitive in. I just hope this semi-knew regime can build a solid foundation and in a few years we’ll be good again. Here’s to us getting DT Dareus, TE Rudolph, and 100% defense from there on out.

  8. vietnambob2473 says: Apr 14, 2011 3:37 PM

    what happened to the team that started 6-0 two seasons ago when we looked like one of the best teams in the league at that point? Somewhere somehow the wheels fell off and here we are.

  9. djrando7 says: Apr 14, 2011 3:53 PM

    eeerockski says:
    Apr 14, 2011 3:14 PM
    Did you really say that McDaniels rebuilding was textbook? I like how you also mentioned all of the POSSIBLE players who may turn out to be decent, but how about the dominant boneheaded moves he made? Like getting rid of Tony Scheffler, cause who needs a speedy TE with reliable hands in a passing offense(sarcasm)? And let’s trade away a few picks including a 1st rounder to draft Alphonso Smith early in the second round. How’d that one turn out? And then there’s the brilliant Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn trade which was then followed by the drafting of Tim Tebow in the first round. I am a Denver fan myself, but I won’t let someone try to sugar coat what McDaniels did. He stripped my team of alot of talent doing it his lame way, and now we’re stuck at the bottom of a division that only a few years ago we were competitive in. I just hope this semi-knew regime can build a solid foundation and in a few years we’ll be good again. Here’s to us getting DT Dareus, TE Rudolph, and 100% defense from there on out.
    ====================================

    Well said. I agree with everything. I am a die hard Broncos fan. I have two Broncos tattoos, and John signed the one on my left arm, and I got it tattooed in right after. I live and bleed Orange and Blue.

    People don’t realize what a disaster the fool that ran around Mile High pumping his fist when we went 5-0 in his first season, did to our once proud franchise. It was like he was on a mission here from the Patriots to destroy us because we have always had the Patriots number.

    I love your thoughts on the draft, except, i would love to see a trade back to Arizona to pick up an extra pick in the second. Pick up Von Miller or Dareus, or Peterson at #5. Then use two of the second round picks on D, and try and snag either Mikael Leshore, or Kyle Rudulph (spelling).

  10. xxspartanx109xx says: Apr 14, 2011 3:54 PM

    @mfclock how do you know Tebow is a bust? He hasn’t even played enough for anybody to know. He played great in his last 3 starts.

    And I hope the that Fox can bring back the Orange Crush defense! If Anyone can it’s him!

    I’m saying it right now. Broncos make the playoffs in 2 years! :)

  11. 52sackmachine says: Apr 14, 2011 3:57 PM

    Next year if the broncos fail again this season, they will have a choice at selecting Andrew Luck with there first round pick. You gotta believe Elway would take the Standford kid in a heartbeat. Broncos use to be really good, even when Elway retired. Now there actually just a bunch of underachievers. I wish they would turn it around and actually go back to there old jerseys they wore when Elway was running the show in the 80′s.

  12. hobartbaker says: Apr 14, 2011 4:00 PM

    Cutler and Marshall were jerks. In Denver and where they are now. That isn’t even arguable. Scheffler was a third stringer in freaking Detroit by the end of the season. Gronkowksi, who they got from the Lions was outplaying him before he got hurt. Hillis rushed for fewer yards than Tebow once Tim got to start. About half as many I think, over the last three games. Quinn had better numbers than Kolb when they acquired him, and Kolb is apparently worth more than a first round pick. Brady was rated way ahead of Kolb coming out of the same draft, and there is nothing to indicate he still isn’t the better player.

  13. EJ says: Apr 14, 2011 4:28 PM

    Buffalo isn’t fooled by Denver’s “smokescreen”.

    Everybody knows Denver needs Defensive help bigtime…..

    And with the Second pick overall Denver takes Marcell Dareus.

  14. hobartbaker says: Apr 14, 2011 5:09 PM

    For those wailing about the Quinn/Hillis trade, take note that there could be five or six QBs drafted in the first round this year and not a single RB. There is a huge disparity in the positional values. Not to mention the fact that Quinn and Hillis are at the age where QBs generally take off in their career and RBs are on the way down.

  15. forevercorr says: Apr 14, 2011 6:45 PM

    My hope is as follows:
    Draft: DT, LB, CB, S, RT, RB, FB
    FA: DT, LB, RB, QB
    Hopefully we can get value for Orton and turn the keys over to Tebow. I don’t know if he’s a bust or not, but if he doesn’t play, it doesn’t matter. In truth, between Tebow and Quinn, there isn’t a need for anything more than a veteran, and Orton may have more opportunity elsewhere.
    Denver’s best chance to compete will come first from helping defensive talent like Bailey, Williams, and Dumervil succeed, and as teams like the Bears and the Steelers have proven over the years, a strong defense can keep you competitive for the long term.

  16. thefiesty1 says: Apr 14, 2011 6:47 PM

    A QB to back up Orton and replace Tebow. Locker or Ponder should be there in late second or third round.

    Fox is going with defense, though, kind of all he knows.

  17. forevercorr says: Apr 14, 2011 6:53 PM

    Side note – in the listing of DT’s above, Marcus Thomas isn’t listed. Is he off the team and I missed it? I’m not saying he’s a great talent, only that he’s the one guy I could see benefiting most from the switch back to the 4-3…

  18. Deb says: Apr 14, 2011 8:00 PM

    @hobartbaker …

    That “subsequently proven” problem child Jay Cutler won his division and was in the NFC title game. Do you honestly believe the Broncos have better QB talent on their roster now than Cutler? C’mon.

  19. mfclock says: Apr 14, 2011 8:14 PM

    Bears keep orton we keep cutler and we aren’t having this discussion, tebow and thomas picks become defense picks cause b marsh is happy, scheff is happy offense is rolling

  20. forevercorr says: Apr 14, 2011 8:44 PM

    @Deb
    How much credit do you really want to give Cutler in that appearance? Cutler has ability, but he has issues. Can’t have one without the other…

  21. Deb says: Apr 14, 2011 10:19 PM

    @forevercorr …

    The Bears’ 2010 successes were team successes. But Cutler is still more talented than any QB now on the Broncos roster. And as mfclock pointed out, if McDaniels hadn’t cost the Broncos a Pro Bowl QB, he could have used his first-round pick last year on defensive talent.

    I’m not a fan of Cutler’s personality, but his “issues” have probably been exaggerated. When everyone else was ripping him, his teammates backed him. That says a lot.

  22. denverdave3 says: Apr 14, 2011 10:43 PM

    @ EJ says:

    The Broncs do not have to “fool” Buffalo. Buffalo is a Denver tool. It is the very fact that Buffalo needs a QB that makes a Denver trade possible. Other teams like Cin, Ariz, SF and Ten all want QB’s. To get one of the top two, they will have to leap frog Buffalo. Hence a possible trade with Denver.

  23. rushbacker says: Apr 14, 2011 10:49 PM

    Hobart. . . Just stop, man. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  24. MichaelEdits says: Apr 14, 2011 10:59 PM

    They just need Elway to start flinging the pigskin again

  25. broncobeta says: Apr 15, 2011 8:05 AM

    Denver fans can be really stupid. I hope they’ll be singing the same tune when Elway, Xanders, and Fox get rid of Tebow.

  26. forevercorr says: Apr 15, 2011 10:11 AM

    @deb, @mfclock – I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense. Denver had alot of those picks because of the trades of Marshall and Cutler. First round picks since Cutler and Marshall went away went to Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers, technically Alphonso Smith (traded a future first round pick to get to the second round), Demarius Thomas, and Tim Tebow. In fact, I’m pretty sure half our acquired picks from those two have gone to defense. We still don’t know how Ayers is going to do, and Smith was stupidity in the extreme.

    Jay and Brandon were great talents, but what’s done is done, and if McDaniels did his job right we would have got more than a fair value for the two of them. I also think you can’t peg the Bears success on Jay alone any more than you can pin the Dolphins poor passing attack on Marshall.

    It is possible that McDaniels did make some good calls with some people, but we just don’t know yet. He’s gone, there is still hope for the future. No point in wondering what could have been.

  27. forevercorr says: Apr 15, 2011 10:15 AM

    Oh, and concerning Jay’s issues, I was suggesting more than the possibility of him not being a team leader or pulling himself out of championship games (because I’m not sure even I buy all that completely), but his gameplaying with management and his high turnover ratio is a big problem…

  28. Deb says: Apr 15, 2011 11:31 AM

    @forevercorr …

    Okay, you’ve got me there. Didn’t realize so much talent was involved in that trade.

    I think Cutler was really unable to go in the championship–it’s his attitude that kills him. Though I’m a diehard Steeler fan, Elway is the best QB I’ve ever seen. When Cutler said he had a better arm … :roll: Dude, just shut up and prove yourself on the field. He comes across as so unlikeable. And the turnovers are an issue. But he’s still a better QB than Orton. And much as I like Tebow (now that he’s no longer at UF facing off against my Crimson Tide ;) ), don’t believe he’s got the arm to be an NFL star.

    Defense is my first love, but we all know you’ve got to have the talent under center to succeed. Maybe in the long run you’ll be better off without Cutler, but not with the QB talent you have now.

  29. forevercorr says: Apr 15, 2011 2:08 PM

    @Deb
    I never said the talent we got was on par with what we gave up. Smith was a costly mistake, Ayers and Tebow have a lot to prove and Thomas and Moreno are really talented but can’t seem to stay on the field. I wish the picks had been different, but they weren’t.
    I like Tebow’s ability to make things happen, and if you recall (I barely do), even Elways release and strength were questionable before his shoulder surgery after his second season. I think (maybe I hope) that Tebow can grow as a player (even if surgery is required lol).
    I agree that Cutler’s attitude is his biggest pitfall. Blaming his turnovers on Oline and WR’s is getting tired, and even if you’re injured past playing, you stand behind your team, you don’t pout. BUT… that’s him.
    My overall point is that what’s done is done. There were costs associated with trading away young talent like Marshall, Scheff, Cutler, and Hillis, and it’s why McDaniels is gone (I never trusted that guy). Broncos fans just have to look toward what’s worth changing now, and building around what few strengths we have.

  30. mfclock says: Apr 15, 2011 3:47 PM

    either way, go broncos!!

  31. Deb says: Apr 15, 2011 4:05 PM

    @forevercorr …

    Don’t recall anything about Elway except him being the most exciting guy to watch. Seemed like he could score three TDs in 90 seconds LOL And I remember once he really hurt his ankle and couldn’t move out of the pocket, but he stayed in the game and just took a beating. Plus the helicopter thing. Tough tough player.

    As an SEC fan, I know Tebow is a tough QB. My Tide crushed him in the 09 SEC championship but he kept fighting. Great leadership qualities, great work ethic. Don’t care for that spread-offense, take-one-read-and-run mentality. Think he could overcome that … but not his awkward windup. If there were surgery for that, you’d be set :)

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