2011 NFL Mock Draft: Grading the Denver Broncos' (Mock) Draft(s)

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Grading the Denver Broncos' (Mock) Draft(s)
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We have beat this dead horse more than a few times. Seriously, it’s getting gross. Maybe we should stop.

Joking aside, it’s hard not to start off every article on the Denver Broncos' draft needs with, well, the fact that this team is a hot mess.

The Broncos can use new talent at every position except quarterback, wide receiver and center. And now draft experts are arguing that Denver needs a quarterback! They have six total picks in the draft but could use about 25 new players.

Check that: 27.

Things could be better for my beloved Broncos. Thankfully, the draft should help get the ship floating in a generally correct direction. And I know that handing out draft grades is usually best done after the draft.

But who does that anymore?

We have to look ahead, or we will fail to see what great possibilities are out there. Enough mumbling! Here are actual mock drafts available online, along with my corresponding grades, some two weeks before the actual draft. This article will recap the first two rounds of the draft.

Possible draft outcome No. 1:

Draft expert: Rob Rang, courtesy of CBSsports.com. Read it here.

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Round 1: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Round 2: Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh

Round 2: Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois

Marcell Dareus is a very safe pick for a team that desperately needs to get better on defense. Dareus would be an immediate impact player, both against the run and on passing plays, because he is so big, physical, quick and disruptive.

Sheard is a guy who can compete with Robert Ayers for a DE spot, which is not at all a bad thing considering we don't really know how Ayers will do. We saw some progress last season, when he was healthy, at the linebacker position, but how will he do at his “natural” position in the NFL? That remains to be seen, though there are bigger questions to look at on the defense.

Martez is also a safe pick, in my estimation. I can see him being a nice contributor, and solid against the run, so maybe you can’t complain. You may not want to go out and buy his jersey, but he could be dependable.

Grade: C. It's safe and reliable, but nothing to write grandma about. Unless your grandma is a big Jabaal Sheard fan.

Possible draft outcome No. 2:

Draft expert: Chad Reuter, courtesy of CBSsports.com. Read his draft here.

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Round 1: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Round 2: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

Round 2: Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois 

Dareus is a great pick, as stated above.

In the second round, things start to get very interesting. They say that the Wu-Tang Clan is nothing to bleep with. Yeah, well neither is a hamstring injury. We should keep this in mind when making mock drafts that have Kyle Rudolph going to Denver with one of their two second-round picks.

Rudolph is by far the most complete athlete at his position, the same position and skill set, by the way, that the Broncos just so happen to lack.

Kyle is a reliable weapon in the passing game, as well as a good blocker on all downs. The problem is that the guy had his hamstring muscle completely tore from the bone during a game last season. Ouch.

I like Kyle Rudolph, and I love his potential, but is this a similar situation to Demarius Thomas? An outstanding talent, a good guy off the field, smart kid but someone who struggles to stay on the field?

Having said all of the that, I wouldn’t revolt if the Broncos drafted him. I might do this little growling sound at the TV, maybe spill a little Dos Equis Lite, but that’s all.

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Mikel LeShoure? Yes, please. Mikel is being compared to the Rams' Steven Jackson, and for good reason. The Broncos just have to many question marks at the running back position.

Will Knowshon impress us for a full season, or will he battle through injury and inconsistency? Flashes of brilliance are not enough at this point. And we cannot say with certainty who will be the other running back.

This is a very interesting draft, but it has risk, and it has too much offense for my taste. I would like to see at least two defensive players, if not three, out of the first two rounds.  

Draft Grade: C+. A lot of Broncos fans will be shaking their heads with those two offensive picks. I thought Josh McDaniels was fired!

Possible draft outcome No. 3:

Draft expert: Michael Keller, Broncos Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Read his full draft here.

Round 1 (from Houston): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Round 2: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Round 2: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

Round 2 (from Houston): Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina 

In this scenario, the Broncos trade down with Houston to pick up an extra pick in the second round. I agree with Michael that the Broncos are likely to trade this pick; they just have too many needs to fill with only six total picks.

Prince Amukamara is starting to fly under the radar a bit, but I do think he will turn out to be a solid cornerback in the NFL. Plus, Champ Bailey can help make him even better, just like Darrell Green helped tutor Champ during his rookie season. To this day, Champ credits Green for helping him become a complete corner, so we shouldn’t understate the importance of that pairing.

I still like CU’s Jimmy Smith, and I understand the off-the-field issues, but I think Smith can cover guys like nobody else in this draft. Period. The guy is a freak athlete, and if he can stay committed, Smith can become a Pro Bowler.

Rahim Moore also fills an important need. The Broncos may not bring back Brian Dawkins or Renaldo Hill, so Moore could fit in nicely. There are questions about his ability to tackle, but he is by far the best overall safety in the draft.

I also like Quan Sturdivant, and think he can compete for a starting spot. This is a solid draft and I love the idea of trading down.

Draft Grade: A-. The first was too hot, the second one was too cold. This one is just right, Momma!

Those are just three mocks and three grades, but I’m sure there will be a whole variety of draft scenarios to consider. What do you think of these drafts? Would you be happy? What would you change?

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