NFL Draft: John Elway and the Seven Things the Denver Broncos Should Do at No. 2
With great drafting position comes great responsibility.
This draft will be a superb chance for the Denver Broncos to significantly improve a team that needs help all over. It will also be the first chance for John Elway to demonstrate he is qualified for his new position, for Brian Xanders to prove that Josh McDaniels was a big dummy (wait... too late), and for John Fox to show that the cluster in Carolina wasn't his fault.
The No. 2 pick is fraught with danger historically, and this year is no different. The Broncos could end up with a star, like Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson, Julius Peppers, Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson or Lawrence Taylor.
They could also end up with an all-time bust like Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, Blair Thomas or Archie Manning (just kidding).
Finally, they could end up with a decent player, but not someone worthy of the pick or the money. Reggie Bush, Ronnie Brown and LaVar Arrington all come to mind in this category.
My thought: don’t end up with anyone at all!
Read on to find out…
“Pass” on Cam Newton, Jake Locker, and Blaine Gabbert
Although the Denver Broncos' quarterback situation is far from settled, it would be folly to use the second pick in this draft on yet another QB. Kyle Orton seems to be what we all figured—steady but unspectacular. Tim Tebow is a walking ATM, but early indications show that the two Johns—Fox and Elway—aren’t nearly as sold on The Timmer as all the fans in Jockey underwear.
That said, none of these potential picks are likely to be any better or more impactful than anybody currently in the stable. If we pick one of these QBs, it is at least one more year suffering with the worst defense in the league.
Go on Weight Watchers
Where’s the beef? Not on the Denver Broncos defensive line, that’s for sure. As the Broncos switch (back) from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, it is important to add size and depth to the front seven, specifically the front four. The Broncos need size, size, and more size so that, for once, they can throw their weight around. It isn't sexy, but championships are won in the trenches.
The best pick? Marcell Dareus. He is consistently rated as one of the top three players available, and he happens to play the position Denver needs the most. Even better: Ndamukong Suh was the second pick last year.
It’s Miller Time
Von Miller seems to be one of the few “can’t-miss” prospects in this draft class. While linebacker isn’t necessarily our biggest need (although it is up there), Von Miller provides something that any team can benefit from: speed from the outside. Many people have compared him to Derrick Thomas. Unless your starter is Lawrence Taylor (#2 overall in 1981), how could you pass on that?
[Insert LT joke here]
Imagine that the Denver Broncos bookend pass rushers were Elvis “Doomsday” Dumerville and Von Miller?! That kind of speed would make everyone in Denver look better.
No Mo’ Know’ Mo’
It would be a huge mistake for the Denver Broncos to draft a skill player, like a running back or wide receiver this early. First of all, the Broncos have drafted these positions in the first round over the last two years (Knowshon Moreno & Demaryius Thomas). Second, it would be way too early in the draft to use the No. 2 pick on one of those positions. The NFL, contrary to the drafting of Josh McDaniels, no longer values running backs or wide receivers.
RBs have become disposable commodities in a running-back-by-committee league.
Wide receivers divas have proven time and again to make little difference.
Quick question: how many titles have T.O., Ocho Cinco and Brandon Marshall won combined?
Instead, teams can get by in this league with lunch-pail guys like Wes Welker and Hines Ward if they are strong elsewhere.
Omit the Apostrophe
At one point, pass rushing DE Da’Quan Bowers looked like he might be the first overall pick in the draft. Then he injured his knee and may never be the same again (micro-fracture surgery… see Terrell Davis).
His knee is a medical risk; he should be avoided. However, not because of the knee, but because I can’t think of a single successful pro athlete with an apostrophe in his name.
Why of the Tiger?!
It pains me to write this, but the Broncos should seriously consider drafting LSU's Patrick Peterson with the No. 2 pick. This goes against everything I believe, and everything I just spent an hour writing. However, he is the No. 1 consensus “can’t miss player.” If you could get Deion Sanders, wouldn’t you draft him at any point, no matter what your needs were? Besides being the best cornerback in the draft, he is among the best returners in the draft. Additionally, with his size (6’ 2” 220), he can move to safety if he doesn’t work out at corner.
Fast, athletic, big, skilled, and versatile. What’s not to like?
And with the No. 2 pick...
The Broncos should make like Aaron Ralston, and bone out from that position. We may or may not be 127 hours from the draft (we probably aren’t), but the best decision we can make is to, uh, cut ties with the No. 2 pick. There are NO sure things at any pick, round, or position in the NFL draft. The busts are legendary (Ryan Leaf, Charles Rogers, Tony Mandarich), and diamonds in the rough are numerous (Tom Brady, Curtis Martin, Shannon Sharpe, Karl Mecklenburg).
The ONLY certainty about the NFL Draft is that there is NO certainty. It is the rare time when quantity, not quality, is of more value (I wish trading cards were like that). It is always about a 50/50 chance of success throughout the draft, so why not roll the dice on getting a few more rolls of the dice?
If the Broncos traded down, and traded down more than once, they could collect multiple early and mid-round picks for the defensive front seven. Being able to draft multiple guys at similar positions does three things:
1. Reduces the sting of a bust and increases the chances of a “find.”
2. Adds instant depth.
3. Means the team isn’t hamstrung by an expensive contract at the No. 2 position (even with a potential wage scale, the No. 2 pick will earn more money with more guarantees than a third-rounder who has to work his butt off to make the team). If Nick Fairley was lazy at times in college, what will happen when he is worth $10 million?
Hopefully, John Elway can convince Mike Shanahan to (insanely) trade up to No. 2 so he can select Jake Locker, a perfect fit for Shanahan’s roll-out offense.
Heck, I’ll even through in a can of spray tan.