Denver Broncos 2014 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
They started by finding defensive back Bradley Roby at the bottom of the first round. Roby was one of nine defensive backs selected in the first round, but Denver came away with an aggressive player who will fill a big need.
In the second round, it decided to give Peyton Manning another weapon, choosing Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer. A physical player, Latimer may have also been the best blocking wide receiver in the entire draft.
With their next four picks, the Broncos found two linebackers while also shoring up the depth along their offensive line.
Lamin Barrow should come in and challenge Nate Irving for the middle linebacker spot, while Corey Nelson of Oklahoma gives the team another athletic outside linebacker.
In the third round, Denver chose Michigan offensive lineman Michael Schofield. He'll have an outside chance at winning the right tackle position before the seasons starts.
Then in the sixth round, the team found another center in Michael Paradis out of Boise State.
The Broncos found value to go along with need in this draft, and all of these players should be great additions to the roster.
But how do some other sports websites and analysts feel the team did? Here's a look.
CBS Sports' Rob Rang describes the Broncos' draft as being one that wasn't "breath-taking," but he adds that "few clubs did more with less (six) picks."
Rang commended the Broncos on their choice of Roby in the first round, who he says has "undeniable" talent.
In describing wide receiver Cody Latimer, he feels the Broncos got a player who will add "speed and toughness" to a wide receiver corps that was overmatched by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Rang didn't seem to have anything negative to say about the Broncos, even calling the two offensive lineman they chose, Schofield and Paradis, "no-nonsense blockers."
His grade of a "B" seems about right, as long as the players the team chose end up meshing well with the rest of the roster.
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated gave Denver a high grade because it "checked off several needs." They also note that since Roby and Latimer "dipped a slight bit" on the board, Denver got great value for them.
They also feel that Schofield may be the best fit at guard.
Though they feel Denver's draft brought "nothing too remarkable," they note that players such as Roby and Latimer could develop into future stars.
That's a good take on the Broncos' draft. None of the players drafted, outside of perhaps Roby, should be expected to be major contributors in 2014. However, it would be a huge bonus if any of them make a quick impact.
Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner feels the Broncos did "pretty well for what they had" and also described the fact that the team chose not to draft a true inside linebacker as "not a big deal."
Latimer was described as the Broncos' best pick by Shutdown Corner, who thinks he is a solid replacement for Eric Decker. It also notes his ability as a blocker.
It chose Schofield as Denver's "worst pick," even though it described him as "not terrible in any way." It seems to think he only fits as a guard, not a tackle.
This grade seems a tad low, and the analysis of Schofield is inaccurate. Sure, Denver could probably use him at guard since it chose not to select one in the draft, but he definitely has the ability to play tackle.
WalterFootball.com is one of the most reputable websites out there for the scouting of college prospects. It felt Denver came away with a great draft, deserving of "one of the highest grades."
It applauds Denver for the selections of Roby and Latimer, but it also points out Lamin Barrow as being one of the team's "solid choices."
WalterFootball.com also questions the selection of Schofield and seemed surprised that he went "as early as he did."
As the website points out, the Broncos already have a championship-caliber football team, and that is why most of their picks this year made a lot of sense.
The Sporting News
Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News was a lot less impressed with Denver's draft, handing it a low "C-" grade.
Iyer feels that the selections the Broncos made "didn't really fit their offseason theme of going all in to win Peyton Manning a Super Bowl."
He also surmises that they should have used an earlier pick on an offensive lineman, rather than waiting until Round 3 to select Schofield.
With all due respect to Iyer, this draft wasn't one where Denver needed to find a missing piece to bring it a Lombardi Trophy. Instead, it needed to build toward the future with its six draft picks.
Denver made it to the Super Bowl last season and added three prized defensive players in free agency in the form of DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib. The Broncos would have been Super Bowl contenders this coming season even if they had not drafted a single player.
We have to know what Mel Kiper thinks (subscription required) about Denver's draft, right?
Kiper has been with ESPN as their NFL draft analyst since 1984 and is considered one of the top draft gurus out there.
He gave the Broncos a solid "C" grade, saying, "given where they were drafting, the Broncos did pretty well."
He gave an interesting opinion on the selection of Roby, saying, "Broncos fans who believe the addition of Aqib Talib solidified the depth chart at cornerback were being a little too optimistic."
He called Schofield a "sound player at Michigan" and went on to say that "if he ends up starting at right tackle pretty quickly it wouldn't surprise me."
He seems to feel the same way about Barrow, calling him a player who is "going into a situation where the depth chart at interior linebacker isn't great."
So whether they needed them or not, the Broncos may have found some players who can start quickly for their team.
Kiper's assessment is the most accurate of any listed. He accurately describes the players Denver chose and correctly points out what each will do for the squad.
Taking each of these grades and averaging them out, the Broncos come out with a low "B" grade, which is just about right.
Most analysts and websites agreed that Bradley Roby and Cody Latimer were high-value picks for where the Broncos were able to obtain them, and they are both players who could contribute as rookies.
The player whom the websites and analysts couldn't seem to agree on was Michael Schofield.
Schofield played on a line that included first-round pick Taylor Lewan. If not for Lewan's great play, many more people would be aware of who Schofield is and what he can do. The Broncos are happy to have him.
Taking all of this into account, Denver did well for itself despite drafting near the bottom of each round. John Elway was also able to snag an extra fifth-round pick in 2015 by trading the team's fourth-round choice this year to the Chicago Bears.
That will be nice, but Denver isn't thinking about 2015 just yet. It's ready to win the Super Bowl now.
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