Full Denver Broncos Scouting Guide for the 2013 East-West Shrine Game
Now you have a choice: You can continue wallowing in self pity, or you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and begin looking toward next season.
The annual East-West Shrine Game is Saturday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. EST, so check your local listings and let's begin the healing process.
For those who do not know, the Shrine game is an annual postseason college all-star game that serves as a showcase for college players. There have been a number of players from the Shrine game that have gone on to star in the NFL. Just last year, Alfred Morris, a little-known running back from Florida Atlantic, was spotted by Mike Shanahan and drafted by the Washington Redskins.
Broncos tight ends Virgil Green and Julius Thomas both played in the game in 2011.
I think it is apparent that the 2013 Denver Broncos do need some improvement at some very key positions. They currently have a pick in all seven rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.
So, let's take a look at some of the players and positions that the Broncos need to keep an eye on.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein
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East: Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech; Collin Klein, Kansas State; Nathan Stanley, Southeastern La.
West: Alex Carder, Western Michigan; Seth Doege, Texas Tech; Matt Scott, Arizona
The Broncos should not be shopping for a quarterback. Peyton Manning exceeded expectations this season, throwing for over 4,600 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Backing up Manning is Brock Osweiler, who will be entering his second season and is the quarterback the Broncos feel is the heir apparent.
While Collin Klein is the most recognizable name from either roster, if Denver does look at a quarterback, it will most likely be Colby Cameron from Louisiana Tech. Cameron doesn't have the big arm or the size that NFL scouts look for but he is highly accurate. He could be someone that could run a Manning-type offense.
Texas A&M running back Christine Michael
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East: Ray Graham, Pittsburgh; Montel Harris, Temple; Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
West: Zach Line, SMU; Christine Michael, Texas A&M; Kerwynn Williams, Utah State
With the health of both Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno in question, the Broncos must find a running back in the upcoming draft.
Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy is a physical runner who likes to run between the tackles. Stacy ran for 5.4 yards per game as a senior and is up to the challenge of 20-plus carries per game.
Johnny Manziel got most of the press from Texas A&M, but Christine Michael scored 12 touchdowns as a senior. At 215 pounds he could be another runner who would fit into the Broncos' plans. He may be a sleeper as a late-round pick.
Rutgers OL R.J. Dill
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East: Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Jordan Devey, Memphis;
R.J. Dill, Rutgers; Garth Heikkinen, Minnesota-Duluth; Mark Jackson, Glenville State; T.J. Johnson, South Carolina; Eric Kush, California (Pa.); Matt Sewell, McMaster (Ontario, Canada); Nick Speller, Massachusetts; Matt Stankiewitch, Penn State; Early Watford, James Madison
West: Jeff Baca, UCLA; Sam Brenner, Utah; Braden Brown, Brigham Young; Kirby Fabien, Calgary; James Ferentz, Iowa; Manase Foketi, West Texas A&M; Blaize Foltz, TCU; Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas; Dann O'Neill, Western Michigan; Andrew Robiskie, Western Illinois; Ryan Turnley, Pittsburgh
The Broncos offensive line was a tough group to figure. It only allowed 21 sacks all season despite Peyton Manning attempting nearly 600 passes.
Denver also ran the ball effectively at times racking up over 1,800 yards on the ground.
The offensive line struggled in short-yardage situations, and injuries and a lack of depth does make this a position that Denver needs to upgrade.
R.J. Dill is a durable tackle who could give the Broncos some depth. He started 42 consecutive games in his college career playing for both Maryland and Rutgers.
Tanner Hawkinson is a 6'5", 304-pounder who could play either tackle position in the NFL. He finished his career at Kansas by starting 48 straight games for the Jayhawks.
UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria
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East: D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers; Chris Pantale, Boston College; Lucas Reed, New Mexico
West: Joseph Fauria, UCLA; Josh Hill, Idaho State; Zach Sudfeld, Nevada
The Broncos currently have four tight ends on their roster, so this is a position that will probably not be a focus.
Joseph Fauria might be the best in this bunch. Fauria caught 46 passes and 11 touchdowns this past season. If he can improve his blocking skills he could be a surprise.
Virginia Tech wide receiver Marcus Davis
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East: Emory Blake, Auburn; Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech; Erik Highsmith, North Carolina; Rodney Smith, Florida State; Trent Steelman, Army; Brandon Turner, Navy
West: Anthony Amos, Middle Tennessee State; Dan Buckner, Arizona; Chad Bumphis, Mississippi State; Jasper Collins, Mount Union; Keenan Davis, Iowa; Tyrone Goard, Eastern Kentucky
The Denver Broncos wide receiving unit was highly productive in 2012. Eric Decker caught 85 passes for 13 touchdowns. Brandon Stokley had 45 passes with five touchdowns and Demaryius Thomas 94 receptions and 10 touchdowns.
Stokley is 36 years old and Matthew Willis is going to be a free agent. So the Broncos may need to pick up a receiver in the draft.
Marcus Davis is a 6'4", 230-pound receiver that has 4.45 speed. He was the best offensive player on the Virginia Tech offense, and while he does need to improve his blocking, he could be a player who could raise the level of the Broncos wideouts.
Dan Buckner caught 59 passes and five touchdowns in 2012 for the Arizona Wildcats. He did this with a new quarterback who struggled at times to get him the ball. Buckner could be a solid late-round pick for the Broncos.
Southern Cal defensive lineman Wes Horton
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East: David Bass, Missouri Western State; Mike Catapano, Princeton; Izaan Cross, Georgia Tech; A.J. Francis, Maryland; Anthony McCloud, Florida State; Devin Taylor, South Carolina; Scott Vallone, Rutgers; Joe Vellano, Maryland
West: Josh Boyd, Mississippi State; William Campbell, Michigan; Wes Horton, USC; Travis Johnson, San Jose State; Rob Lohr, Vanderbilt; Will Pericak, Colorado; Caleb Schreibeis, Montana State; Brandon Thurmond, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The Broncos defensive line appeared to be the focal point of last year's offseason. Yet, for all of the talk about the interior line, the only moves made were to the edge. Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson were drafted as tackles, but both saw time at the defensive end. Mitch Unrein and Kevin Vickerson both played well at times but both are free agents this offseason. Defensive tackle is a must for this draft.
Despite playing through some injuries, Maryland's Joe Vellano still managed to record 61 tackles including 14 for loss. He will need to add some weight to make it in the NFL.
Wes Horton missed time due to injuries at USC this season, but he has shown the tools to be a very solid NFL player. He is 6'5" and 261 pounds with a long frame that could stand more weight. Horton has yet to reach his potential and that could be a benefit for Denver.
Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein
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East: Sam Barrington, South Florida; Matt Evans, New Hampshire; Gerald Hodges, Penn State; Robert McCabe, Georgetown; Nick Moody, Florida State; Sio Moore, Connecticut
West: Steve Greer, Virginia; DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina; A.J. Klein, Iowa State; Keith Pough, Howard; Albert Rosette, Nevada; Nathan Williams, Ohio State
An area of major improvement this past season was the Denver linebacking corps. Wesley Woodyard took over for D.J. Williams and never looked back, leading the team in tackles with 117 tackles. Nate Irving, Steven Johnson and Danny Trevathan both showed flashes of being very good. And of course, you have Von Miller. But with Keith Brooking's age, Denver may take a look at another middle linebacker late in the draft.
A.J. Klein is a middle linebacker who has a nose for the football. He logged 98 tackles for the Iowa State Cyclones this season, as well as intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown. Klein may be the type of heady linebacker who could help the Broncos in the future.
NC State cornerback David Amerson
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East: Xavier Brewer, Clemson; Josh Johnson, Purdue; Brandon McGee, Miami (Fla.); Branden Smith, Georgia; Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech; Kayvon Webster, South Florida; Melvin White, Louisiana-Lafayette; Trey Wilson, Vanderbilt
West: Terry Hawthorne, llinois; Aaron Hester, UCLA; Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma; Micah Hyde, Iowa; Nigel Malone, Kansas State; Sheldon Price, UCLA; Khalid Wooten, Nevada
Tracy Porter was injured for the bulk of 2012 and he will be a free agent this offseason. Champ Bailey is still a top corner but he is nearing 35 years old. Expect the Broncos to look at cornerbacks in this game.
David Amerson may be a first-round pick despite being just a junior. Amerson is a big corner who is very aggressive going after the football. As a sophomore, he set an ACC record by intercepting 13 passes.
Oklahoma cornerback Demontre Hurst is another player who may be on Denver's checklist. Hurst finished his final season at OU with 56 tackles and broke up nine passes. He has to improve while the ball is in the air, but he could be a middle-round pick.
Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta
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East: Brendan Bishop, North Carolina State; Josh Evans, Florida; Rashard Hall, Clemson; Kejuan Riley, Alabama State; Cooper Taylor, Richmond; Earl Wolff, North Carolina State
West: Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan; Cody Davis, Texas Tech; Keelan Johnson, Arizona State; Bradley McDougald, Kansas; Zeke Motta, Notre Dame; Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse; Duke Williams, S, Nevada
I believe that the Broncos safety position is a key spot that must be improved. Charlie Adams is average or possibly below average. Rahim Moore had shown improvement throughout the 2012 season but his gaffe in the divisional playoff game makes one wonder how he will respond.
Denver must look at improving its safeties.
Josh Evans had a very solid senior season at the University of Florida. Evans is decent in coverage and is better in run support. He does not mind coming up to mix it up.
The Notre Dame defense gave up just 10 points per game this season and safety Zeke Motta was a big part of that. Motta is a physical player who is a good tackler. He could help right away on special teams and with improvement could see time on the defensive side of the ball.
Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis
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East: Caleb Sturgis, Florida; Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
West: Zach Brown, Portland State; Josh Hubner, Arizona State
The Broncos are pretty set at kicker and punter. Kicker Matt Prater was 26-of-32 on field goals and he didn't miss an extra point all season.
Punter Britton Colquitt had a strong showing in 2012, averaging over 46 yards per punt. He also managed to pin opposing teams inside their own 20-yard line 27 times.
Still, Colquitt is a free agent this spring. So it may not hurt to take a look at both Dylan Breeding and Josh Hubner. Hubner is probably the better of the two, averaging 47.1 yards per punt as a senior at Arizona State.