2011 NFL Draft: The Denver Broncos Should Have These Guys on the Big Board

Rob GregoryCorrespondent IIApril 8, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Defensive back Patrick Peterson #37 of LSU looks on while standing with a group of other players during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The following comments reflect one man’s humble opinions on who the Denver Broncos should target in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Thanks to a very forgettable 2010 football season, the Denver Broncos have the No. 2 overall pick. Thanks to some very bad and questionable trades under the McDaniels regime—remember that deal that sent Peyton Hillis and a 6th round pick to Cleveland for Brady Quinn?—the Broncos are top-heavy, but lack real ammunition to get those late round sleepers that they have done so well with in the past. 

Rod Smith, for instance.

What this means is pretty obvious: The Denver Broncos have to get this draft right. It is absolutely critical that the team chooses the right players at the right spots if they have hope of turning things around.

The selections below do not represent a mock draft for the Broncos, but rather, a compilation of guys that I believe the Broncos should be considering the most. In other words, if the Broncos were to draft half of the players listed below, I would consider it a winning draft.

Yeah, that’s right, winning!

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

When it comes to winning, Peterson does a lot of it, especially on an individual level when matched up against top-tier wide receivers.

I really don’t understand how you can pass up on someone who is being touted as possibly the best overall athlete in the draft, a guy who looks like a linebacker playing cornerback who can easily make it in the NFL as a safety. Not to mention his outstanding skills as a kick and punt returner.

Peterson would be a winning pick for the Broncos, yet there is talk now that he may drop past them, and possibly even drop out of the top five. That’s outstanding news for the team fortunate enough to have Peterson fall to them.

Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Just before the NFL Combine, Nick Fairley was being considered a likely No. 1 overall pick. The Broncos would be lucky to have him fall to them at No. 2. Marcell Dareus was an after thought.

Then came the combine, and Fairley performed extremely well. There were some concerns that he was a tad undersized, but all the other indicators indicated that he could be a dominant player at the next level. The problem is that Dareus did “weller,” er, rather, he stood out even more than Fairley.

Dareus emerged from the combine as the safer, more versatile choice for any team who needs a disruptive force to anchor a defensive front. And he has done nothing to relinquish that spot.

Truly, he would look good in orange and blue.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

The Denver Broncos have a lot of glaring needs. They need defense, defense, defense. Yet, let’s not overlook the importance of finding a new tight end, especially if Tim Tebow is the starting quarterback.

Kyle Rudolph missed some time last year due to injuries, but he is healthy now, and he would be a terrific value with one of the Broncos second round picks. Rudolph is a very nice weapon in the passing game--a safety valve for someone like Tebow--but, oh, by the way, he is a solid blocker.

Is there a more complete player at his position in this year’s draft?

Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

Safety is another need area for the Denver Broncos, and Rahim Moore, if available, would be a great fit should the Broncos select him in the second round.

He’s considered the top safety overall, and would bring something to the Broncos, which they sorely missed last year—guys who create turnovers. Moore seems to be yet another safe but reliable pick that the Broncos should consider on the defensive side of the ball.
Kelvin Sheppard, MLB, LSU

If the Broncos pass on Patrick Peterson, then the team should consider another tremendous defensive talent from LSU, in Kelvin Sheppard. This guy could end up being a big-time player for the Broncos.

Marcus Gilchrist, CB/Safety, Clemson

John Fox wants his new defense to be quick, athletic and versatile. He wants guys who create turnovers. It seems to me that Marcus would be an absolute gem for the Broncos in the 3rd or 4th round.

He ran a 4.51 at the combine, and he is versatile enough to play both corner and safety. He has “field quickness,” not just speed, and plays very physical. He is also a good, though not great, tackler, who could benefit from the tutelage of someone like Champ Bailey or Brian Dawkins, though Dawkins may not be back with the team.

Ultimately though, the Broncos need playmakers and young talent to complement Champ Bailey. If the Broncos don’t draft a guy like Rahim Moore, Gilchrist would be another excellent option, though with a later pick.

I hope to update this list as the NFL draft nears, but please let me know what you think of this initial Big Board. For Broncos fans, we can all agree that this draft is crucial and that the Denver Broncos have an overwhelming task ahead of them.

This we can be sure of.