Tim Tebow: How Trading Him Affects the Broncos' 2012 NFL Draft Strategy

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Tim Tebow: How Trading Him Affects the Broncos' 2012 NFL Draft Strategy
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Elway's doing well as the face of the franchise.

As exciting it was for Denver Broncos fans to witness the franchise's first playoff win since 2005, this was a team already in transition prior to the Peyton Manning acquisition. You don't often go from the No. 2 overall draft pick to a divisional playoff game.

Priorities change when you pick up a future Hall of Fame QB who wants to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans next February. Instead of looking for long-term prospects, the Broncos want players who can step in immediately. 

In the epic Tim Tebow trade, the Broncos picked up the Jets fourth- and sixth-round picks and lost their seventh-rounder. These are not premium picks and, with Tebow's departure, Denver has a need for a backup QB, among other positions. 

Let's look at the team position by position and see where they need to go hunting for draft prospects:

 

Quarterback

They have a decent starter. The only backup on the roster is Adam Weber, who was on the practice squad last year. Normally, if a QB has an ounce of potential, he gets snapped up to an active roster. The Broncos are likely to add a backup in free agency and draft a player.

With their second fourth-round pick, the Broncos will select B.J. Coleman, QB out of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He and Peyton can talk about playing in Neyland Stadium.

 

Running Back

Willis McGahee was a revelation for the Broncos in 2011. He led the run-heavy team in carries and had 4.8 yards per carry as a career high. He's 31 this year, and even though he's not been a full-time starter since 2008, his career is almost over. Knowshon Moreno went from disappointment to bust last year. A torn ACL last November and a DUI arrest in February mean that his time with the team could be limited. Other running backs on the roster are Lance Ball, Xavier Oman, Mario Fannin and Jeremiah Johnson.  

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Even without the shiny helmet, James will stand out in the NFL.

With their third-round pick, the Broncos will select LaMichael James of Oregon. We're looking for speed here.

With their second fifth-round pick, the Broncos will select Robert Turbin out of Utah State. He's the thunder to James' lightning.

Even if fullback is a need, the Colts rarely used one and the Broncos will not use a draft pick on the position.

 

Wide Receiver

Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are going to be excellent starters who will be targeted in many a fantasy league. Andre Caldwell recently signed as a free agent and will play the slot. There's another guy who might play the slot, but I'll mention him in a moment. Other wideouts include Matthew Willis, Jason Hill, Greg Orton and D'Andre Goodwin.

With their sixth-round pick, the Broncos will select Devon Wylie out of Fresno State. Bring on the speed.

 

Tight end

After Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme signed, the team is set. Tamme played a lot of slot (the Dallas Clark position) in Indy. Julius Thomas is the second-year athletic freak out of Portland State who's an intriguing option. Virgil Green is the other second-year guy who has a four-game suspension.

Eric Francis/Getty Images
Wylie is a fast slot receiver who's rising on draft boards.

The Broncos will not draft a tight end.

 

Offensive line

Last year's starters were, from right to left, Orlando Franklin, Chris Kuper, J.D. Walton, Zane Beadles and Ryan Clady. They could upgrade at a couple of positions.

With their first fourth-round pick, the Broncos will select Philip Blake, C out of Baylor.

With their first fifth-round pick, the Broncos will select Lucas Nix, G out of Pittsburgh.

 

Defensive line

Brodrick Bunkley went to the Saints. That leaves a major hole. There is a big-time need at defensive tackle. Defensive end has the Elvis Dumervil/Von Miller duo, who will do their best Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis impersonations.

With their first-round pick, the Broncos will select Devon Still, DT out of Penn State.

 

Linebackers

DJ Williams has a six-game suspension. The team re-signed Joe Mays to fill in. Wesley Woodyard also re-signed with the team. Also, second-year player Nate Irving's looking for an upgraded role.

The Broncos will not draft a linebacker.

Will the Broncos take a defensive tackle in the first round?

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Cornerback

Tracy Porter signed a one-year contract and will start. Champ Bailey's going to be on the other side. André Goodman most likely will not be back. In any case, the team could use some depth at the position.

With their second-round pick, the Broncos will select Chase Minnifield, CB out of Virginia.

 

Safety

The Broncos drafted Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore to be their safety tandem of the future. The signing of Mike Adams means that future's a little further out. Brian Dawkins has not announced whether he will return. 

The Broncos will not draft a safety.

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