Denver Broncos and Josh McDaniels: When Your Reach Exceeds Your Grasp

Michael Keller@@MichaelK_NFLAnalyst IIIFebruary 14, 2011

McDaniels wasn't the only one scratching their head with his talent decisions..
McDaniels wasn't the only one scratching their head with his talent decisions..Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doing a Postmortem on the Josh McDaniels 1.75 year reign of terror here in Bronco-Land is a bit like watching a nature film of a monkey reaching for a green banana when the really ripe ones are right in his line of vision.

Looking at each of his selections - and he was given virtually Carte Blanche - we will see what was and wasn't there for the taking.

The initial firing of Mike Shanahan and subsequent hiring of Wunder-kind Josh McDaniels, fresh from the womb of Bill "Spy Gate I" Belichick left a lot of long-term Bronco fans scratching their collective heads in perplexed confusion.

McDaniels didn't even waste time waiting for the 2009 draft. He decided that he wanted "his Guy", Matt Cassel, the One-Hit-Wonder and therefore set in motion the moving of Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears and setting the stage for all the current trauma surrounding the QB position in Bronco-Land.

And he also provided Mr. Cassel with a $60 Million paycheck from the Kansas City Chiefs.

SO, let's take a look at the two drafts that McDaniels completed and where the Broncos stand after those two talent hunts, shall we?


2009 draft

With the 12th selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos take  ...... Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.

What? How can Moreno play D? That was our biggest need. We were waiting for the names of Arakpo, Cushing, Jenkins, etc, to be called. Why would we take an undersized RB with our first pick when there were all those great D players available?

Moreno was a highly rated, but not the highest rated RB coming out of the 2009 draft. And he has had a decent pro career, but he is an injury waiting to happen and spends more time in the training room than on the field so we got stung on that decision.

A slight Reach for talent and a huge Reach for need.


With the 18th pick of the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Denver selects Robert Ayers, DE/LB from Tennessee.

This was a pick we received from the Chicago Bears in the Cutler fiasco and we at least chose a defensive player. But there were still names like Evander Hood, Peria Jerry and, yes, Clay Matthews on the board.

This was a Reach in that there were better defensive players at that selection and so far, Ayers has been adequate, which is not what you want from a first round draft choice.


With the fifth selection in the second round, Denver takes Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest.

Smith was a INT machine in college, finishing with 20 INTs. But he was slightly height challenged in an era of taller WRs and was not the fastest CB in the draft. But the biggest issues were that we traded away a first round draft choice to move up seven slots to take him and then traded him away for a 7th round TE in Dan Grankowski, who may or may turn out to be a decent player.

But then Smith turns in a five INT season with the Lions, better than any Denver DB.

A weird draft and even weirder trade. A total Reach when judged by the outcome.


With the  16th pick in the second round, Denver selects Darcel McBath, S, Texas Tech.

Not a bad selection, he was taken about where he was projected.

McBath has played in Nickel and Dime situations and on Special teams.

Neither a Reach nor a Bust


Now comes the fun part. With the 32nd pick of the second round, Denver selects Richard Quinn, TE, North Carolina.

This had every Bronco fan scrambling to look at the Internet draft boards. And they found that a lot of the draft boards didn't even have Quin listed in the top 10 TEs taken. Maybe that was because he had 12 catches in his entire college career.

Again, McDaniels, in his infinite wisdom, traded up to get this guy.

And Denver had a grand total of 27 catches for 222 Yards and 0 TDs from its TE corps all last year. And of course, we ran off the best receiving TE on the team, Tony Scheffler, and Josh decided to not replace him in the draft or in trades.

Quinn was a Say What? pick and with his stupid penalty issues and his boxing match with his girl friend he was a Reach times 10.


2010 draft

With his fist year behind him and seeing how much work the D still had in front of us, we fans and all the "experts" went into the 2010 draft with the expectation that McDaniels would really address the Achilles heel of this team.Boy, were we all wrong!

With the 22nd selection in the first round of the NFL Draft, Denver takes Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech.

HUH? What is this pick? We traded off a great WR in Brandon Marshall and then waste a first round pick on another WR? And one that can't even pass a physical at draft time?

And still no defensive help. Like maybe Dan Williams or Jared Odrick or Jerry Hughes to beef up the D.

Thomas was an almost non-entity during the season due to his injury coming into the season and now has an Achilles tear that will hold him out until at least the start of next season.

A Reach due to his injury before the draft and because we had a great WR in BMarsh as well as we needed DEFENSE!


With the 25th selection in the first round of the 2010 draft, Denver selects Tim Tebow, QB, Florida.

OK, let me get this straight. McDaniels traded away our only power RB in Peyton Hillis AND a draft choice to bring in Brady Quinn to compete with Kyle Orton, who had a great  season and then drafts Tebow with a first round pick? A player who has mechanical problems, poor footwork, no pro system experience and a propensity to run first, pass second?

We could have had defensive players Dan Williams, Devin McCourty, Jared Odrick, Kyle Wilson, Chris Cook, Carlos Dunlap, Mike Neal, Terrance Cody, to name a few.

And still no D help with the first two picks?

A Reach for a second or third round player who is a project and no help on the D side and in a position that was not considered to be a weakness for the team.


With the 13th pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Denver selects Zane Beadles, OL, Utah.

Not a bad pick at this position, but it is now 3 straight offensive picks with no defensive help in sight.

We could have had Lamar Houston and Sergio Kindle with this pick.

Beadles played as a rookie and was adequate but made a lot of rookie mistakes.

A Reach considering the other talent available.


With the 16th selection in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Denver takes J.D. Walton, C, Baylor.

A decent pick and a player who stepped in and started but who was ANOTHER offensive player. Plus we let the starting center, Casey Wigmann, go back to KC and he had a great year, making the Playoffs.

So now we have four straight offensive players taken in the 2010 draft. But wait, it gets better!


With the 23rd selection in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Denver takes Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota.

Another injured player who couldn't pass a physical but who did show some promise as a second coming of Ed McCaffrey with great hands, decent speed and size.

But a fifth O player? WTF? Reach!


We now get to the 6th pick in the fifth round, Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State.

He dropped this far because Cox decided he wanted to have fun more than playing in the Cotton Bowl in his Senior year. And now he is facing a minimum of a 6 game suspension under the Roethlisberger Rule and a possible two to five year jail sentence that would remove him from the roster altogether.

A Reach due to character issues, without a doubt.


So, taking all the above into account, the swath of destruction that Josh McDaniels left this team with may be the worst damage inflicted on a franchise in the entire history of the NFL.

And the Bronco fans deserve better.

Just one Bronco fan(atic)'s opinion.


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