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NFl Draft 2011, the Denver Broncos: How Von Miller Sidetracked the Broncos Draft

Pete WilliamsCorrespondent IMay 1, 2011

NFl Draft 2011, the Denver Broncos: How Von Miller Sidetracked the Broncos Draft

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 29:  Von Miller of the Denver Broncos speaks to the media at Dove Valley on April 29, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Miller, a projected outside linebacker in head coach John Fox's new 4-3 scheme, was selected second overall from Texas
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The Denver Broncos' 2011 draft left me puzzled as John Elway and company didn't address the team's biggest position of need—defensive tackle.

    The comments from the war room seemed almost scripted as Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders kept stating that they stuck with their board, selecting the best player available.

    That is of course the right strategy—in theory—for a team rebuilding their defense.

    But with a team that found it impossible to stop the run in 2010, and being in a division with some excellent run-first offenses, the Broncos' draft was somewhat of a mystery to me.

Falling in Love

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - APRIL 29:  Von Miller of the Denver Broncos is presented to the media for the first time with vice president of football operations John Elway at Dove Valley on April 29, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Miller, a projected outside linebacker
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    I will argue that that strategy was flawed, because they fell in love with Von Miller. A luxury pick on a team, that had so many other defensive needs.

    With the Von Miller pick sticking stringently to their board, the Broncos came out of the draft with:

    • an elite pass rush,
    • a practically non-existing interior D-line
    • a younger secondary with one elite, but aging player in Champ Bailey.

    I can't help the feeling that Elway fell in love with the big playmaker that Von Miller undoubtedly is (a QB's worst nightmare). And then the consensus they all hailed so much afterwards kept them from aggressively targeting the players that would give them the biggest impact. Look no further than the Patriots to see how that is done.

The Alternatives

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Marcell Dareus, #3 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills, as Dareus holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Phot
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Both Marcel Dareus and Patrick Peterson have unanimously been graded just as high as Von Miller, and the Broncos did take long hard looks at both players. Elway, however, stated that they just felt Von Miler was a better fit for what they wanted to do.

    Had the Broncos drafted either Marcel Dareus or Patrick Peterson, they would have plugged one of two huge holes with an elite player. And then I think the strategy of picking the best player on the board would have worked great.

    With Marcel Dareus, they could practically have stuck with the same picks, and in my mind slept a little better entering free agency.

    With Patrick Peterson they could have made the same picks, but skipped the selection of Rahim Moore in the second round, and instead picked Marvin Austin or Stephen Paea.

    And I just have to wonder if those two directions would have made more sense.

In Free Agency We Trust

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Maybe Elway and Fox have some great plan in place for when free agency opens up and will bring in some great DTs to plug the free way up the middle they have now—but going over the list of free agent DTs I'm not overly optimistic.

    And it's not like I don't like the players they picked, I just think the Von Miller pick started them off on the wrong foot.

    I can't wait to see how Elway and Fox will address the DT situation, and I sure hope that once the season kicks off, the draft for the Denver Broncos will make so much more sense.

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