The Denver Broncos have changed dramatically over the past season that it is almost as if they are a whole new identity.
Let’s review, before this season the Denver Broncos were a passing team that had a franchise quarterback with a great arm named Jay Cutler. They had no real good running backs, but extremely talented receivers in Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall. Jay Cutler was 17-20 as a starter though despite having a Pro Bowl to his name.
They fired Mike Shanahan, the head coach who had won two Super Bowls with them in the '90s, and hire the Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, who had won Super Bowls with the Patriots. He’s a very good coach whose playcalling lead to the most productive offense in the history of the game, which was the '07 Patriots.
Immediately Josh McDaniels starts making his stamp on the team, much to the dismay of quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler liked the offense ran by Mike Shanahan. He was throwing the ball well, he was the BMOC on a bad team, and he was the hot item in Denver, a city that revolves around the quarterback because of the effect that legendary quarterback John Elway had.
The thing that started the major soap opera fallout was there was a rumor, now I’m not sure if it is true or not, but the word was that McDaniels wanted to trade for the Patriots backup quarterback Matt Cassel.
Now Cassel was a seventh round pick from USC, but after Tom Brady suffered a week one ACL tear, he was thrust into the spotlight as the Patriots starting quarterback.
He led the Patriots to an 11-5 record that barely missed the playoffs, and he, himself, had a great statistical year.
Since McDaniels was used to Cassel and Cassel was used to McDaniels’s style of offense, so it is only natural that McDaniels would want him.
However, Jay Cutler was furious. He let his contempt be known, and it caused such a problem that Cutler just had to go.
Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears for two first round picks, a third round pick, and quarterback Kyle Orton. It was a deal that has yet to be determined who won because not enough time has passed to fully judge it correctly.
The Broncos went 2-8 after a strong 6-0 start. When they were good, they were a team that helped out Kyle Orton a lot. They could run the ball with rookie running back Knowshon Moreno, they played great defense with the plays of shutdown cornerback Champ Bailey, hard-hitting safety Brian Dawkins, the pass-rushing Elvis Dumervil, and help from supporting cast members like D.J. Williams, Andre Goodman, and Andra Davis.
They had the number one defense for a good period of time. This was a team whose weakness had been the defense, and now they are dominating with it? Talk about a change of schematics and results.
Kyle Orton was very effective. He may not have the greatest arm, but he’s a guy who just has things happen for him, and when you have a player that is that lucky, you need to keep him in the game.
So, when you look at the needs for Denver, there really isn’t much to talk about except the fact that Elvis Dumervil had 17 sacks, and the rest of the team had 22, so I think that they could use another pass rusher to help out.
My advice is to take Jason Pierre-Paul. He’s this young kid out of South Florida that had this breakout season there, recording 26 solo tackles, 16 assists, six sacks, and an interception.
When I watch him on film, I see the potential of not just being a great player, but up there with DeMarcus Ware or James Harrison. He really showed that kind of talent.
His official clocking at the combine for his forty yard dash was 4.64. He only had 19 bench repetitions of 225 pounds, but his speed is something amazing. He also had a 9’07 broad jump, so his legs are very powerful to say the least.
He doesn’t give up on plays. A lot of times, he may be too far away to make a play, but he will continue the chase nevertheless. I love that in a player.
A player like that doesn’t know when to give up, and that is one of the best qualities to have because when your team is down 21 at the half, that’s where the human will to never give up has to kick in.
He’s very explosive. He can get around some tackles right as the ball is snapped. He can bull-rush, but he’s better at running around.
He can still deliver a pop on someone, and good at grabbing the legs of a player to take him down. The guy just looks like a natural and is very tall at 6’6 and weighing in at 260-265lbs.
This is a great athlete without question. The question is he a great football player?
My answer is no. I think he’s got potential as high as the stars at night, but if you want to draft a very developed football player that isn’t going to need to be coached on the simple stuff as well as the details, then this is not your guy.
One thing I’ve noticed is his impulsiveness at rushing the quarterback. He’ll chase the guy thinking he can just get there faster than the guy can react, and that’s always the case. A lot of quarterbacks can run away from pressure as well as just side-step a rusher.
A defensive end has to adjust his feet while keeping his speed in order to trap the quarterback into a sack. If you watch the film of Pierre-Paul, the quarterbacks just break the play and turn it into a keeper and run for the first down.
A great defensive end won’t let that happen. Pierre-Paul will need a lot of coaching to be a dominant player in this league. He’ll also need coaching to convert him to a 3-4 outside linebacker instead of a 4-3 defensive end.
Can he do it? Anthony Spencer of the Cowboys came out of Purdue a DE and he was very effective this year as an OLB, so Pierre-Paul is certainly capable of converting his stances and movements.
Once he gets to the right point and can rush the passer with Elvis Dumervil effectively, the Broncos could have the best pass-rushing duo in the league for years to come.
However, you can go even further and just make him into a 3-4 defensive end. He may not get a lot of sacks, but if he bulks himself up about 30lbs in muscle, he could be an incredible end.
I think all the hype around Pierre-Paul will get him drafted this high because he has so much upside to him.
Whatever Denver does, I think they should either grab this guy or Sergio Kindle, another OLB from Texas who can be effective as well.