NFL Draft 2011: How Does Champ Bailey's New Broncos Contract Affect Draft?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IFebruary 23, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Cornerback Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos stands on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 43-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL Draft can be affected by so many things, but Champ Bailey signing a four-year deal with the Broncos could completely reshape the way the top-10 falls.

The Broncos, who pick second in this year's draft, have been projected to take Patrick Peterson, the cornerback out of LSU. The Broncos were looking very thin at corner with the potential of Bailey leaving and Perrish Cox staring down some serious felony charges.

The Bailey issue now has been resolved, but the Cox situation still is very much up in the air. Cox has been charged with two counts of felony sexual assault for an incident in December. He goes back to court in March to determine if that case will move forward or not.

So now the question is what the Broncos will do with the second pick in the draft and how it will affect the rest of the top 10 picks.

Going down most mock drafts, Peterson is one of the most frequent picks for the Broncos. With Peterson off the board, the other teams who might want him, Cleveland, San Francisco and Dallas, turn their attention elsewhere.

With Bailey signed, and depending on the outcome of Cox's court appearance, the Broncos may focus on other positions on the defense with the second pick. Da'Quan Bowers is the other heavy favorite for the Broncos at the second pick. With Bailey signed, Bowers may become the only pick for Denver.

John Fox is switching back to a 4-3 defense, so Bowers would work in this style of defense as would Robert Quinn. So would Nick Fairley or Marcell Dareus, though, should Fox and the front office decide to focus on the defensive line.

With cornerback out of the picture as a first-round option, the Broncos can focus on the line. That's the beauty of it. Should Carolina decide to go with A.J. Green or swerve and take Bowers themselves, the no-brainer pick at that point is Nick Fairley.

Going down the draft list, if the Broncos pass on Peterson, and the Browns as well, do the 49ers pick up Peterson? Does he last all the way to Dallas? There is no way Peterson makes it past Dallas the way I see things right now.

But back to the Broncos, Bailey's signing shows just how important it is to teams to have a CBA in place before the draft so free agency and trades can take place. If more teams can fill holes through the signing of veterans, it helps clarify their draft strategy.

The Broncos now can focus on the line in the first round and worry about cornerbacks later. This is a pretty deep draft for cornerbacks, and the Broncos still can get a very good one in the second round.

With that in mind, if Nick Fairley is the first guy off the board, do the Broncos try and trade down? If they don't have their heart set on Bowers, they can move down a few slots and still get a really good player that fits a need.

Like Donovan McNabb last year, one player making a deal completely upsets how a mock draft is put together and it changes the perspective on how the real draft will play out in April.