The Art of the Draft: Do Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders Have What It Takes?

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The Art of the Draft: Do Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders Have What It Takes?
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The Broncos are poised to add some valuable talent to their team in this years draft.  Denver owns five picks in first 84 draft selections in the 2009 NFL Draft, and six more picks on day two. But will the brain trust of McDaniels and Xanders be able to translate draft picks into difference makers?

Coach McDaniels comes to Denver from the New England Patriots, where GM Scott Pioli and Coach Brian Belichick have been dubbed wizards on draft day, with a history of solid picks both in early and in later rounds. 

Prime examples of this are, last year's first round pick Jerod Mayo, and the classic sixth round pick of Tom Brady in 2000. Over the years Pioli and Belichick turned a struggling franchise into a three time Super Bowl championship team.  

I wonder though, what role Coach McDaniels played in New England's draft process over the past few years?

As a position coach he would have had a narrow group he could focus on when evaluating talent, as a O-coordinator he would have had more on his plate and was probably in the room, but now he is a Head Coach, he is not just making recommendations he is part of the decision making process.  

GM Brian Xanders has worked in various areas for personnel evaluation throughout his career, but reportedly his skills are more in the area of the salary cap management and contract negotiations.  Xander too, is no longer just making recommendations.

The Broncos have had drafts both good and bad in years past. Busts as well as Pro-bowlers.  

2008 - Denver Broncos
Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 12 Ryan Clady T Boise State
2 42 Eddie Royal WR Virginia Tech
4 108 Kory Lichtensteiger C Bowling Green State
4 119 Jack Williams CB Kent State
5 139 Ryan Torain RB Arizona State
5 148 Carlton Powell DT Virginia Tech
6 183 Spencer Larsen FB Arizona
7 220 Josh Barrett DB Arizona State
7 227 Peyton Hillis RB Arkansas

2007 - Denver Broncos

Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 17 Jarvis Moss DE Florida
2 56 Tim Crowder DE Texas
3 70 Ryan Harris OT Notre Dame
4 121 Marcus Thomas DT Florida

2006 - Denver Broncos

Rd Sel # Player Position School
1 11 Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt
2 61 Tony Scheffler TE Western Michigan
4 119 Brandon Marshall WR Central Florida
4 126 Elvis Dumervil DE Louisville
4 130 Domenik Hixon WR Akron
5 161 Chris Kuper G North Dakota
6 198 Greg Eslinger C Minnesota

Coming off a draft where the Broncos acquired an all-pro left tackle in Ryan Clady, a starting rookie wide receiver  in Eddie Royal, and a promising Fullback in Peyton Hillis, the pressure is on.

Since last year the Broncos have lost Head Coach Mike Shanahan, GM Jim Goodman, Assistant GM Jeff Goodman, Southeast region scout Tyler Goodman, and West region scout Bobby Beers. Folks who were responsible for the good and the bad in these drafts.

Without these experienced decision makers in the War room come draft time, especially the regional scouts, the rookie Head Coach McDaniels and rookie GM Xanders may already be at a disadvantage.

The Broncos have five picks in the first 84, and they need to make the team better with these five players. Denver cannot afford to get dud players, who are all potential and no production (Jarvis Moss thus far). We need guys who are going to fill holes and start now.  

I am not trying to be a nay-sayer, I don't believe the sky is falling, and I am willing to give our new Coach an GM the benefit of the doubt. 

But in my cautious optimism I wonder, with all the turnover and inexperience (especially given the recent events), if McDaniels and Xanders are ready for the task that lies ahead.  

What do you think?

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