2012 NFL Draft: Grading out the Denver Broncos' Picks
The dust has settled from the 2012 NFL draft, and now we can start assessing the picks our teams made.
The Denver Broncos knew it was an important draft following the recent signing of Peyton Manning, and they had some clear holes to fill.
They traded out of the first round, which many grumbled about initially, but they were still able to get some key players and fill needs at the same time. But did they get the best players they could have when they made those picks?
Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati
After trading out of the first round twice, the Broncos selected Wolfe at No. 36 overall.
I was surprised by this pick, as I would've preferred Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State.
Wolfe is both strong and athletic, doing 33 repetitions on the bench press at the combine as well as running a 5.01 40-yard dash. He stands 6'5" and says he is now up to 300 pounds, but question marks remain.
He is not much of a run stuffing defensive tackle, which was more of a team need. He also struggles against double teams and is not an every down player. Hopefully, these are things he can improve upon as he joins the professional ranks. Still, he was a three-year starter for the Bearcats, and the upside is certainly there.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
It was no secret John Elway is a big fan of this guy, so it was no surprise that the Broncos drafted him. I predicted in my Broncos mock draft that they would.
He is definitely a project and a couple of years away from being an NFL starter. But that's why he was a perfect pick because, behind Peyton Manning, there's no way he'll be playing anyway. So, he'll get to be a sponge soaking up everything he can behind one of the game's all-time greatest passers.
There is no doubt he has the physical tools. He has a very strong arm and is also a pretty mobile guy for someone his size.
The Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers and he sat behind Brett Favre for a few years before getting his chance, and that turned out pretty good. I see this as a very similar situation.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State
I've heard some people say the Broncos over-drafted here. That may be true, but it's still not a bad pick. Hillman is a very durable runner who has plenty of big play ability. With Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno as the top running backs on the roster, this was clearly a position of need.
McGahee will still get the bulk of the carries, but with Moreno's durability issues, Hillman will get a chance to contribute early. As a good pass-catcher out of the backfield, he should have a good shot at being the team's third-down back.
He needs to work on his pass protection. That is going to be his biggest issue.
Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
If he can stay healthy, I think this is a great pick.
Another guy I said the Broncos should take in my mock draft, he is a very quick player who can stay with most receivers. He also has good recovery speed.
Bolden is able to get off blocks to get to the ball carrier and is a sure tackler.
After missing the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL, durability is the biggest question mark.
Philip Blake, C, Baylor
Center was a position Denver needed to address in this draft, and they did by grabbing Blake out of Baylor.
The fact that he is versatile enough makes this guy one of the better picks the Broncos made. He can get to the second level and push defenders around when he does, so he could be very valuable in the screen game.
Good pick here by the Broncos.
Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee
This guy appears to be a project-type player who will have to adapt to make the roster.
He played defensive tackle at the collegiate level but may work better as a defensive end.
He seems to be a little small to play defensive tackle and would definitely be weak against the run, but he has some good athletic ability.
If the Broncos can tap into his potential, he could become a good situational player.
Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
Trevathan led the SEC in tackles two consecutive years and has plenty of upside. He may be a little small for the linebacker position, but he is still a very sure tackler with great technique.
The Broncos are looking at playing without D.J. Williams for 6 games next season due to a suspension for performance enhancers, and if that holds up, Trevathan could be given a shot to fill that role. If not, he would likely make a tremendous special teams player.
This guy could end up being one of the better value picks the Broncos made during this draft.
What Is the Grade?
So how does this year's draft shake out for the Broncos?
They added several players with the ability to eventually become big assets to the team. How long that will take is the question.
This is a team that has made it clear that it's Super Bowl or bust, so they'll need these players to adapt to the professional level as soon as possible.
I feel Osweiler and Blake were the two best picks that the Broncos made, but I would have liked to see them select a wide receiver at some point. Peyton will need all the targets he can get in Denver, so I think that would have been a better pick than Malik Jackson.
Blake should be able to contribute as a rookie, but beyond that, there are no sure things out of this class. Many probably feel Osweiler was a risky pick, but because of the fact that he won't be expected to start for several years, it's not a bad pick.
Hillman shows flashes of being very good, but he will have to develop more of a complete game to see the field. Bolden comes with plenty of injury issues.
Because of these factors, I'd say the Broncos had a decent draft but not a great one. They definitely scored better on the free agent market.
Draft Grade: B-