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

PunkusAnalyst IApril 6, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, MA - 2008:  Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Getty Images)

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
RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
112Ryan CladyTBoise State
242Eddie RoyalWRVirginia Tech
4108Kory LichtensteigerCBowling Green State
4119Jack WilliamsCBKent State
5139Ryan TorainRBArizona State
5148Carlton PowellDTVirginia Tech
6183Spencer LarsenFBArizona
7220Josh BarrettDBArizona State
7227Peyton HillisRBArkansas


2007 - Denver Broncos

RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
117Jarvis MossDEFlorida
256Tim CrowderDETexas
370Ryan HarrisOTNotre Dame
4121Marcus ThomasDTFlorida


2006 - Denver Broncos

RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
111Jay CutlerQBVanderbilt
261Tony SchefflerTEWestern Michigan
4119Brandon MarshallWRCentral Florida
4126Elvis DumervilDELouisville
4130Domenik HixonWRAkron
5161Chris KuperGNorth Dakota
6198Greg EslingerCMinnesota

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?