A Look Back at Denver Broncos' 2009 Draft: What Could Have Been

Jake WhiteContributor IJanuary 18, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 27:  Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Peyton Manning and many of the Colts starters were pulled from the game in the second half and the Colts went on to lose their first game of the season 29-15.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I'm not trying to pile on to the heap of criticism that the Broncos front office has received over the past year regarding the 2009 draft. But I do want to look back at what they got vs. what was available in the needs.

Need: Running back

Pick: Knowshon Moreno with the 12th overall pick

Alternative: Shonn Greene

The obvious: Was Knowshon Moreno that much better than Shonn Greene (taken 65th overall)? Watching yesterday's divisional playoff game between the Jets and the Chargers gave me the answer. NO!

Does any running back, aside from Adrian Peterson, warrant that high of a pick? This pick was almost as bad as the previous year's pick of Darren McFadden by the Raiders as the No. 3 overall. Look at both of their careers at this point. Not earth shattering.

Need: Outside Linebacker

Pick: Robert Ayers with the 18th overall pick

Alternatives: Brian Cushing (true OLB), Clay Matthews (true OLB), Rey Maualuga (true OLB), Brian Orapko (DE), Paul Kruger (DE)

The obvious: Why not just take a guy who's played OLB before and reduce the risk of a first-round bust (see Ayers as an example). And if you're going to try to convert a DE to an OLB, please take a player who had production in college (see Orapko) or try this maneuver in the second round with a Paul Kruger instead of taking the risk in the first round with Ayers.

Wouldn't it have been nice to have a Cushing, Maualuga, or Orapko instead of Ayers?

Need: Nose tackle

Pick: None taken

Alternative: BJ Raji (9th overall)

The obvious: Would management (and everyone else) have sacrificed either Moreno or Ayers, or both, for a shot at Raji? I think so.

The much debated obvious about the rest of the picks:

Alphonso Smith: Expensive, ineffective

Richard Quinn: Expensive, more penalties against him than plays made

Seth Olsen: Too early to tell

Kenny McKinley: Too early to tell

Tom Brandstater: Too early to tell

Blake Schleuter: Too early to tell

On the positive side, Darcel McBath looks like he will be a quality player and David Bruton has been good on special teams.

Ouch. That's a lot of picks for just two effective players. And this was supposed to be the draft that Denver reloaded.

If Marshall is traded, Denver will most likely have two first-round picks again. Will the front office have learned their lessons from last year's draft?


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