NFL Draft: Players Denver Should Target

PunkusAnalyst IApril 9, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Rudy Burgess #3 and wide receiver for the Arizona State Sun Devils gets tackled by Tyson Jackson #93 and defensive end for the Louisiana State University Tigers in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium on September 10, 2005 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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

Defensive End

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.  

Wide Receiver

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...

Inside/Middle Linebacker

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

Outside Linebacker

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. 


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