After a disappointing 8-8 Season in which, the Broncos couldn't win one out of three games to get into the playoffs, it was (as President Obama would put it) "time for a change" and change they have.
The Denver Broncos now have a new Head Coach, new coaching staff, new offense installed, new defensive scheme, some key veteran free agent pick ups, a different quarterback and another first round draft choice.
Their 2009 season will look completely different than their last. The change is not over, the Broncos still have a lot of holes to fill this off-season.
Much speculation has been made about who Denver should pick in the upcoming NFL draft, e.g. Quarterback of the Future, Marquee Runningback. Though neither of these positions are currently filled with players other teams covet, I believe the positions and the players Denver should really be targeting are as follows.
(Some of these players would be good first round options, while others are later round players who would be good a fit for where Denver is going.)
The holes in Denver's roster are mostly on defense, starting in the middle on the defensive line. You gotta hold the middle to stop the run, and that starts with the nose tackle in the 3-4.
Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle
B.J. Raji - Boston College 6-1 1/2 337
Ron Brace - Boston College 6-3 334
Sammie Lee Hill - Stillman 6-3 7/8 329
Tyson Jackson - L.S.U. 6-4 1/8 296
Jarron Gilbert - San Jose St. 6-5 1/4 288
Evander Hood - Missouri 6-2 7/8 300
Mitch King - Iowa 6-1 1/2 280
Alex Magee - Purdue 6-2 5/8 298
Chris Baker - Hampton 6-2 326
In the 3-4 Defense you need three big down lineman who can can control the line of scrimmage and cover two gaps. The Nose gets both A gaps and the Ends need to be able to cover both the B and C gaps. Also the more offensive lineman your front three can tie up the better, that is why defensive ends in the 3-4 system are usually more like defensive tackles when it comes to size and weight.
Malcolm Jenkins - Ohio St. 6-0 1/8 204
Victor Harris - Virginia Tech 5-11 1/4 198
Kevin Barnes - Maryland 6-0 1/4 187
Sherrod Martin - Troy 6-1 198
Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman are good starters, but both are 30 years old. Backed up by Josh Bell, Jack Williams and Rashod Moulton who were all rookies last year, the Broncos need to develop more depth at corner.
Louis Delmas - Western Michigan 5-11 3/8 202
Rashad Johnson - Alabama 5-11 1/4 203
David Bruton - Notre Dame 6-2 219
The safety position for all intents and purposes was unmanned last year. They were essentially empty jerseys wandering the field aimlessly, that's how bad it was. Josh Barret showed some potential, but played like the rookie he was.
Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill make Denver 2000% better at the safety position than than Denver was a year ago, but at 35 and 30 respectively they need to develop young talent behind them.
Louis Murphy - Florida 6-2 3/8 203
Ramses Barden - Cal Poly 6-6 229
Kenny McKinley - South Carolina 6-0 3/8 189
Head Coach Josh McDaniels brings a new offensive scheme to Denver. This system spreads the offense out with 3 or 4 receivers on the field at a time.
Brandon Marshall may be suspended for a few games, so it would be wise to add some depth at this position in the later rounds.
Rhett Bomar - Sam Houston St. 6-2 1/4 225
Graham Harrell - Texas Tech 6-2 1/8 223
Curtis Painter - Purdue 6-2 7/8 225
John Parker Wilson - Alabama 6-1 1/2 219
Brian Hoyer - Michigan St. 6-2 215
Hopefully Kyle Orton or Chris Simms will show enough potential to be able to run McDaniels offensive system, so that Denver won't feel the need to trade up in the draft for Matt Sanchez. Whether my wish comes true or not, Denver needs a third QB on their roster.
I may be drinking the fan Koolaid here, and I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I like our linebackers. I know I am looking at the potential and hoping that they will be better than they most likely are, but I want to give them a chance to prove me wrong. Here is what Denver's depth at linebacker might look like right now:
WOLB - E. Dumervil, D.Reid
ILB - D.J. Williams, W. Woodyard
ILB - A.Davis, S.Larsen
SOLB - B. Bailey, J. Moss
D.J. and Davis are solid. The rest have potential to grow into and possibly thrive on the outside in the 3-4. (I hope. Sorry, Koolaid again)
That being said, Denver at least needs depth, if not starters, so...
Rey Maualuga - USC 6-1 3/4 260
James Laurinaitis - Ohio St. 6-1 7/8 244
Dannell Ellerbe - Georgia 6-1 236
Jason Phillips - T.C.U. 6-0 3/4 239
Brian Cushing - USC 6-2 7/8 243
Clay Matthews - USC 6-3 1/8 240
Nic Harris - Oklahoma 6-3 230
Denver has a lot of holes, and a lot of picks. There is a lot of misdirection, and a lot of unpredictability when it comes to the draft. One thing is for sure though, It's gonna be interesting.
Let me know who you like in the draft, and what you think.