The upcoming April draft is rapidly approaching, and whether or not these soon-to-be millionaires will be in attendance, teams will call their names. Some teams, some more than others, will have more on the line come draft time. One of these teams is my beloved Denver Broncos.
The Broncos have six picks in said event, and they will need everyone of them to be solid in order to change their fortunes.
The focus of the draft for our beloved Broncos is admittedly defense. The front seven, to be more specific, is the area the Broncos have been less than stellar in the past six or so seasons. Since the 2005 season when the Broncos made it all the way to the AFC championship game, they have suffered from a defensive dysfunction to say the least. Not that we were stellar that season, but we were good enough to get us there.
Its no secret that we have been "rebuilding" since that fateful year, or at least trying to. The problems have remained a constant, the front seven, and so has the equation. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, all the while expecting different results.
We have been addressing that front seven in the same manner since 2005, through either aging veterans, or by reaching in the draft. It is time to make a change in the way we evaluate this FA and rookies.
What the Broncos need to do is, draft the best available player, at any time during the draft, if trading down is not an option.
I say that because what the Broncos really need to make the rebuilding process smoother and shorter, is more picks.
We have the number 2, 36, 46, 67, 181 and 184 picks in the draft. The reports on the new CBA or talks have been very clear that a rookie pay scale is not only possible but inevitable. This makes the second pick in the draft easier to trade, but all the more valuable. With a rookie pay scale in effect, or incoming, the first five picks in the draft not only jump in value, due to the fact that the ridiculous contracts are now a thing of the past, but become easier to trade.
In acquiring Mark Sanchez in 2009, the Jets gave the Browns their first-round pick, second-round pick and three players. Now imagine if those ridiculous rookie contracts that teams dread so much were out of the way, what would you have to give up for the fifth pick in the draft.
Better yet, the second?
Of course there is no guarantee that a rookie pay scale is incoming, or that even if it is, that the Broncos will trade down or even be able to trade down. But all signs seem to be pointing that way.
The Carolina Panthers are first however, and they could spoil or help the Broncos' plans to trade down depending on who they take. I happen to believe that they have to take a QB with the first pick; while they do have many other needs, the need at QB takes precedent over any other, especially if you don't even have an interesting prospect at the position.
If my instincts are correct, and I hope they are, the player who the Broncos are truly interested in is Marcel Dareus, DT out of Alabama. Not only can you argue that he is the best player on the board, but he also fills a great need. With that in mind, it is easy to see how the Broncos can trade down to, say number six or seven, acquire two or three extra second- and third-round picks and still get their man.
Also they would get some interesting players, if we go by the last couple of years where teams trading up usually have to give up players in order to move up into those first seven picks.
This is all predicated on Carolina taking a QB with the first pick, whether it would be Gabbert or Newton. Quarterback hungry teams like the Bills, 49rs, Cardinals and the Titans would become desperate to grab them.
This would create the perfect opportunity for the Broncos to do some dealing and not only amass some valuable extra picks, but maybe, just maybe, also get some extra young talent as well.
Just picture it: The Panthers nab Gabbert number one overall, the Broncos trade down with the Cardinals so they can grab their man Newton, and in return get not only the Cards' second-round pick along with the fifth overall, but also might get some players as well.
It may be Daryl Washington and some other guy to add depth along the defense, but they also get the number 38 pick in the second round. Giving the Broncos three second-round picks, numbers 36, 38 and 46, gives enough ammo to do some more dealing.
If this scenario plays out, the Broncos could end up with Dareus with the fifth pick, Jurrell Casey or Jimmy Smith with the 36th pick. That would free up the 38th and 46th picks to maybe move back into the end of the first to grab a guy like Cameron Heyward, DE out of Ohio State.
I think that the new management is very aware of their needs. Trading down is the only real choice for the Broncos, if they hope for a quick and relatively painless rebuilding process.