This weekend, the Broncos saw a need and filled it, using three of their four picks to bolster what many consider a porous defensive front.
Put it this way: Ranking 21st against the pass in 2006 wasn't what coach Mike Shanahan had in mind when he snagged nearly the entire Cleveland Browns defensive line.
Here's a pick-by-pick evaluation of the Broncos draft.
1. Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida (1st round - 17th overall)
Denver traded first-, third-, and fifth-round picks to get this guy, so they must see something in him—although I think they could have stayed put at 21 and still picked him up.
Most experts had Anthony Spencer rated higher, but Denver felt Moss fit their system better.
Moss is a quick kid with excellent speed off the end. His strength and weight are a concern, but his role as a pass rusher is guaranteed in Denver.
If Moss can put on some weight and still retain his quickness, he can be an every-down player. At 6'6' and 251 pounds, the comparison to Jevon Kearse seems appropriate. However, I'm predicting that he may not reach his full potential for another year.
2. Tim Crowder, DE, Texas (2nd round - 56th overall)
Crowder is another quick defensive end with the ability to beat opponents with his feet. His size is decent at 6'4' and 271 pounds.
Despite giving up some poundage to most offensive lineman, he holds his own at the point of attack. He should be able to make an immediate impact.
3. Ryan Harris, OT, Notre Dame (3rd round - 70th overall)
Harris fits the mold of a Denver offensive lineman to a T.
He's a fast, agile player who doesn't speak to the media. And his quickness and balance make him ideal for the Broncos' zone-blocking scheme.
4. Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida (4th round - 22nd overall)
Thomas was a consensus first-round pick—until he ran into trouble at Florida for numerous off-field incidents which ultimately led to his dismissal from the team.
A very athletic and talented player, Thomas will either be a huge steal or a major bust. Coach Shanahan doesn't have a lot of patience for players with character issues, so Broncos fans can rest assured that he exhausted all avenues when researching Thomas' background.
I expect Thomas to end up on the light side of the Force.
It is the opinion of this writer that the Broncos may have exaggerated their need for defensive lineman at the expense of some of their other needs—namely safety and wide receiver. That said, the D-line was indeed the weak point of an otherwise good team last year, and I think Denver did a lot to remedy that problem.
In a perfect world, I would have liked to see the Broncos get Moss at 21 and use their third- and fifth-rounders in the secondary and at wideout. Overall, I'd say they had a good but not great draft—worthy of a grade of "B" in my book.