Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, it's time to turn full attention to this April's upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. There are all manners of mock drafts, positional rankings and big boards of player value being posted, but this one is a little different.
This mock will examine the Trade Up/Trade Down scenarios the Denver Broncos will be faced with in every round, and assuming they must move, suggestions will be made whether that move should be up or down.
Historically, when the Broncos have moved draft positions, it has most often been backwards. However, anything is possible. Who can forget just two years ago, when they moved up the board in unprecedented fashion to make one of the more controversial picks of recent memory?
Although the inmates are no longer running the asylum, and John Elway has thankfully returned more stability and level-headed clarity to Broncos personnel decisions, for the purposes of this mock, movement in every round will be assessed and assumed.
This one's a no-brainer. Trade up for Andrew Luck. Easy!
Won't happen, you say? The Colts are taking him?
Maybe. Maybe not. At 2-14, the Colts were missing more than just their all-pro quarterback this season, they were missing the rest of their team. Even if they do take Luck, it's going to be tough sledding in 2012 with a rookie quarterback and no team around him.
Enter the Denver Broncos and a key trading partner, the Jacksonville Jaguars, to make this one of the biggest blockbuster trades in history.
Essentially, it would break down like this:
Indianapolis gets: 2012 first round pick #7 (via JAX); 2012 first round pick #25 (via DEN); 2012 second round pick #38 (via JAX); 2012 fourth round pick #101 (via JAX); 2012 fifth round pick #129 (via DEN, via STL); 2013 first round pick (via DEN)
Jacksonville gets: Tim Tebow (via DEN); 2012 second round pick #57 (via DEN); 2012 third round pick #88 (via DEN)
Denver gets: Andrew Luck (via IND); 2012 sixth round pick #165 (via JAX)
Besides, it isn't like this scenario would leave the Colts without a quarterback. It would virtually guarantee them winning the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, and that's something that would make everyone in Indianapolis happy.
Not enough, you say? Maybe not, but don't be surprised to see Elway and the Broncos take their best shot at him. After all, the last Stanford quarterback to set the all-time Cardinal record for passing yards, finish second in the Heisman trophy voting, lose his final collegiate game in dramatic fashion in the game's waning seconds, and enter the NFL as the undisputed #1 overall pick to be selected by the Indianapolis Colts only to never play a down for them was... wait.. well... that may be just too much to pass up.
If there is a round where the Broncos have historically been aggressive, it's round two. They moved up to take Rahim Moore early in this round last year, and also moved up in the second to take Alphonso Smith in 2009.
Assuming they stand pat in the first round at #25, waiting to draft until #57 may take too long, especially if one of the top corners slips through the first round. While most analysts have Janoris Jenkins being selected mid to late first round, some have him barely cracking the second round. If he does make it through, the Broncos may want to jump on the opportunity to move up and take him.
Even if all of the top corners are gone, there could still be some quality linemen hanging around who will possibly be gone before pick #57. Moving up in round two makes a lot of sense.
Round three will be a spot where the Broncos could look to move down. Pick #88 is one that still has some good value, and teams around the league may be interested in obtaining it. If the Broncos have some suitors, and if they are eyeing a player they feel may still be available in the late third to early fourth round, they should consider trading down.
Many analysts have suggested the Broncos might look to draft senior QB Brandon Weeden to add some competition for Tim Tebow. If that is the case, Weeden will probably be available here, and the Broncos could potentially move further back in round three, or even early round four, and still get him.
If they can pick up an additional player in the process, even better!
One of the Broncos biggest needs in this draft will be to shore up their defensive line. Trading up in the fourth round will be one good place to do it. This is where Arkansas DE Jake Bequette is projected to go, and he will likely not last until pick #120, where the Broncos currently sit in the fourth round.
Trading up to get the 2011 All-SEC lineman from Little Rock would be an excellent move, and he is probably not there long in the fourth round.
The Broncos are probably very happy with how they shape up in round five, holding both picks #129 and #153. If they were looking to move down the board, this would be one round where they have some flexibility to do so.
Especially if the Broncos were looking to exchange #129 to make a move in another round, the Broncos will still be able to pick up a quality player late in the fifth. It is likely that a quality receiver like Joe Adams, who had an outstanding showing in the Senior Bowl, will be available late in this round.
The Broncos could look to move one of their fifth round picks, or package them both for a later fifth, and still come away with a potential impact player.
If the Broncos are looking to make any noise in the sixth round, they will have to trade in to do so, as they are currently without a sixth round pick in this draft. And given the players who may be gone by the time the draft roll back to them at pick #217 in the seventh, this might not be a bad idea.
Many people hope the Broncos will keep an eye on local product Ryan Miller, from Colorado, and hopeful they can select him with that seventh round pick. However, Miller is a top five rated guard on most boards, and some analysts have him being selected in the early to mid sixth round.
The Broncos may want to try to get into the sixth round, and swoop Miller up before other teams have the chance to do so.
The seventh round: this is a round the Broncos need out of. Already picking deep into it at #217, the Broncos may attempt to move back even further, really pushing the envelope for Mr. Irrelevant.
Or they may attempt to get out of it completely. And that may not be such a bad way to go, especially if they can secure an additional pick for next year.
Whether or not Tim Tebow succeeds or fails this season, there's a player who will be available in 2013 that the Broncos will want to take a nice long look at, and they will likely need to collect several future picks to gain enough leverage to make sure the get him.
Regardless, the 2012 NFL Draft is shaping up to be very exciting, and it will be a huge marker for the Broncos success going forward. As goes the mantra: "In John We Trust!"