Denver Broncos Draft Notes: Brandon Marshall, McDaniels and Ruling on Lockout

Rob GregoryCorrespondent IIApril 25, 2011

DENVER - OCTOBER 11:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos is congratulated by head coach Josh McDaniels after catching a touchdown against the New England Patriots during an NFL game at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 11, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This weekend reminded Broncos fans why trading away Brandon Marshall was one of the few positive developments that has happened to the team in recent years. Sadly, the guy cannot stay out of trouble, and he seems to be prone to these “unfortunate mishaps,” whether it be a sandwich wrapper or a broken vase that causes his violent “misfortune”.

The truth being that Brandon Marshall needs a lot of counseling, and so do team's owners that are willing to keep paying this guy the big bucks. But that is something, thankfully, that Pat Bowlen doesn’t have to worry about anymore.

What does Brandon Marshall’s adventures into marital lunacy mean to the Broncos now that he is a Dolphin? More than you might guess.

One. It means that some kind of roster move by Josh McDaniels has finally been validated as “positive,” making the score Josh McDaniels 1, Denver Broncos –127 (as in all of the many poor transactions that have set this team back a few years).

This is especially relevant as we look forward to the upcoming draft and imagine what additional draft selections we might have this year had it not been for some wreckless trades under the Hoody regime.

Two. It reminds Broncos fans why it might not be such a bad thing if the Broncos pass on guys like Nick Fairley, Marvin Austin (I have admittedly been very high on him), Jimmy Smith (not that the Broncos are really targeting him) and so on.

To put it more concisely, though, maybe the Broncos should seek to find a happy medium, and instead of focusing too heavily on character and too little on talent and measurables, why not focus on guys who can flat-out play and don’t have any reported off-field issues?

That may sound too vague, so here’s an example. In last year’s draft, the Broncos passed on Dez Bryant because of character concerns, and instead took Demarius Thomas. Bryant hasn’t exactly been a choir boy, by no means, but Thomas has ongoing injuries that already threaten his career.

Thomas was viewed as a very smart kid with a lot of up-side, but there were also major concerns about his route-running skills and durability. He was also viewed as a system player who may not transition to the NFL game.

Those were big enough concerns to look at a different position or maybe even trade down and go with a different player. It’s not always about either or. Sometimes you can have both, just at a different position or at a later point in the draft.

That’s how Brandon Marshall ties into the Broncos draft, which is now days away.

The judge’s ruling on the lockout, which she essentially lifted, means that there is still a small chance, however slight, that the Broncos can actually perform business as usual before the draft.

In all likelihood, the league will appeal before any kind of transactions can take place, and the legal fight will continue to play out through the offseason and possibly further.  

Still, it’s fun to speculate. What if it becomes possible, because of whatever happens next, that the Broncos are again able to make trades, sign free agents, etc.?

Well that would mean that the Broncos could look at two important trade chips: Kyle Orton and Ryan Harris. Orton could command a second- or third-round pick from a team wanting his services, while Harris might net the Broncos something less, but still substantial enough to help them in this year’s draft, and possibly next year’s draft.

The Broncos have seven draft picks to work with but could really use a lot more. More importantly, if the lockout were to be lifted permanently, then that means that the Broncos could look at adding undrafted free agents to their roster after the draft concludes.

Remember that Sam Shields was an undrafted free agent and a Super Bowl winning cornerback for the Green Bay Packers last year. That worked out very well for the Packers. LeGarrette Blount was also an undrafted free agent who was initially signed by the Tennessee Titans, and later acquired by Tampa Bay. And he also turned out to be quite the find.

So, this whole ordeal with the lockout means more than just trading current players. It also means that the Broncos will have more opportunity to fill the roster, and possibly even find the next Rod Smith.