The NFL's biggest offseason event, the Draft, is now only one day away. By Monday, all the guessing, all the mock drafts, and all the speculation will be finished.
Each team will have seven aspiring young men hoping to make a name for themselves at the highest level.
But before that can happen, the GM's, Scouts, and Coaches must do their jobs. Correctly picking the right players for a specific team is a skill practiced by professionals, amateurs, and fans alike.
When the 12th, and later the 18th picks come into the spotlight, Josh McDaniels, Brian Xanders, and the rest of the scouting staff for the Denver Broncos will have 15 minutes to get it right.
The Denver Broncos will be drafting defense in the first round, we can be sure of that. They have two picks, and therefore they can also afford to use one of them on offense, if Coach McDaniels chooses to do so.
If an offensive player is drafted by Denver on Saturday (the first and second rounds), it should be Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno.
With their first pick, the 12th pick, the Broncos will most likely draft a defensive lineman or linebacker. Tyson Jackson and B.J. Raji (if he's available) are the most practical and obvious targets.
With the 18th pick, it is almost certain that Moreno, arguably the top running back in this year's draft, will be on the board.
Most mock drafts have Moreno going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 21st overall pick. Others have him going as late as the 29th pick, and still others have him going in the top 10.
If the Broncos are forced to decide between Moreno and a defensive player such as "Ziggy" Hood, Clay Matthews, or Peria Jerry, it would be wise for them to go with Moreno, who is a better value overall.
Running back is a definite need for the Broncos. If last year's new-starter-every-week trend is going to be prevented in 2009, the team will need as many quality backs as they can get.
Currently, the Broncos have five running backs on their roster. They include LaMont Jordan, J.J. Arrington, Correll Buckhalter, Ryan Torain, and Selvin Young. Peyton Hillis is listed as a fullback.
The current group includes two career-backups (Arrington and Buckhalter) and two younger guys still trying to prove themselves (Torain and Young).
The one thing this group does not have is a true star back. A guy who will be the starter every week and who will definitively lead the team in overall rushing.
Jordan and Hillis are big, strong backs who may be used on the goal line. Arrington made a name for himself as a third-down runner. Buckhalter has always been a solid backup. None have experience being the true No. 1 guy.
Moreno could be "that guy" for the Broncos. He has tremendous upside and very few negatives. Analysts have put him on their "can't miss" lists.
His only weaknesses; the lack of "top-gear" kind of speed and smaller frame have caused some teams to shy away from him. The Broncos do not need a big back. They already have Jordan and Hillis.
If a scenario happens where the team must choose between Moreno and a slightly-lower potential defensive player, it would be a smart move to draft the running back and leave the defense for the second round and beyond.
Considering the man making the decisions for the Broncos, Josh McDaniels, is an offensive guy by instinct, it is not unreasonable to think that he might draft an offensive player with good talent over a defensive player. Especially if they have a Tyson Jackson-type player already drafted.
It is also important to consider that the Denver offense will have to be more balanced in 2009.
2008's offense was dominated by the passing game to the point where the team would use empty-backfield shotgun formations for drives on end.
Without Jay Cutler the offense will be more dependant on the running game, and as the old adage goes "the run will set up the pass."
A good running game with a star back at the front of a deep group would undoubtedly take pressure off of Kyle Orton, Chris Simms, or whoever the starting quarterback may be.
The Broncos should think carefully about drafting Knowshon Moreno with the 18th pick, as it will be a move they are unlikely to regret.
Be sure to follow the draft this weekend (April 25th and 26th) on the NFL Network, NFL.com, ESPN, and other sports broadcasting services. It will be an interesting day.
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