In 2009 the Broncos were a couple of players away from challenging for the division crown. Cutler was on the verge of replacing Crybaby Rivers as the elite quarterback of the division. The Raiders and Chiefs would have stayed in their place. Everything was going to be beautiful. But then football armageddon hit Denver in the form of a 5'5" prema donna named Josh McDaniels. And the rest is history.
Now, starting from square one, Denver has the opportunity early on to show some leadership and professionalism in the draft. So far they've done a decent job of masking what their true intentions–trading down. Denver is in a good position to do so. The first overall pick is nearly impossible to trade out of because the team trading into that spot has to give up so much. The second overall is more likely. Even though Luck isn't going to enter the draft, Newton and Gabbert are still very appealing to a lot of teams that desperately need a good young prospect at quarterback.
Denver has a quarterback. Two of them, actually. Orton would be very dangerous in a system that has a halfway-decent offensive line where he doesn't have to run for his life every time he drops back to pass. Tebow can escape pressure and make blitzing defenses pay with his scrambling ability–something that Orton is incapable of doing. If Tebow can develop, which I believe he can, that position is solidified by the end of the 2012 season. If not, Denver gets another high pick next year and could consider a quarterback then.
So, what could Denver get for the number two overall? It depends on who trades for it. Let's take the Cardinals as an example. They are hurting to replace the venerable Kurt Warner and would like to return to the glory days of consistently making the playoffs and getting to a Super Bowl once in a while. They get the number five overall. By that time, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will probably be off the board with Newton going to Carolina and Gabbert going to either Buffalo or Cinci.
From there the quarterback prospects drop off significantly with Jake Locker being the third best. Hence, to make it up to number two, Arizona would probably have to give up their number one plus a combination of a basket of picks this year and/or next year. Let's just say that they give up their one and three this year, plus next year's one. Some will say that this isn't getting enough value for the number two overall, but in Denver's circumstance this is a perfect way to rebuild on the obvious side where help is needed: defense.
Denver's defense has been dismal since losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship in 2006. There have been good defensive players on Denver's squad since then, but there hasn't been consistent play. Dumervil and Bailey anchor this defense, but they have little help. In my humble opinion, Dumervil needs another playmaker along side of him in order to divert all of the attention he will get from opposing offenses. Hence, another defensive end should be taken with Denver's number one. It is more likely than not that Robert Quinn will be available.
If Quinn is gone, Da'Quan Bowers is suitable also. Denver's linebacking corps is also in need. Denver has two number two's. A linebacker, if not two, should be taken here. Additionally, Denver's secondary is not in great shape, but will have to not be a priority seeing that there are three corners on the team that were drafted last year (Cox, Thompson and Vaughn). Bailey was also re-signed, thus also showing some professionalism from the front office. If Denver has two number ones next year that they can spend on defense, maybe in a couple of years this defense will be respectable once again.
Offensively, Denver isn't too far away from respectability. JD Walton has to show some competence this season and stop whiffing on blocks. Ryan Clady has to show that he can recover from his knee injury and return to his rookie season form. A semblance of a tight end has to be put in place. If these things happen over the next few years, the Broncos are back in business on the offensive side of the ball.
This team isn't too far from being decent again. But it has to be run like a professional organization. The throwing away of draft picks, cutting/trading of good players, and bringing in tired old free agents needs to stop. Now. In a few weeks we will get a glimpse of Denver's front office in action.