Denver Broncos: What Free Agency Can Offer the Team to Fill Remaining Holes
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Since writing my last article, I have spent quite a bit of time going through comment sections and articles not only on this site, but many others.
While reading all of the comments and articles, I am baffled at the level of—let's call it flip flopping for lack of a better term—shown by so many of the Bronco fans out there.
Please allow me to explain myself.
During the Shannahan years, some of us, including me, attacked him on some of his personnel decisions specially in the draft, pointing out how he reached for players and constantly missed on his selections, of players like Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Marcus Thomas (whom I think can be a great player and has shown tons of promise) and the list just goes on and on.
During the McDaniels regime, we complained about his absurd dealings and his driving away of our pro bowl young players and of course, his head scratching draft picks.
Fast forward to today, and after witnessing the way that a team should approach the draft, and after watching said team make the best possible picks and trades they could, we are not complaining about the fact that instead of quite possibly reaching for a DT, we just took the best available player.
My fellow citizens of Broncos Country, do we not agree that taking the absolute highest rated player on the board, regardless of need, is what a rebuilding team needs? Because make no mistake, the Broncos are rebuilding.
The majority of my fellow brothers in orange and blue, complain about the fact that we did not address the need of DT through the draft, even though this was the so called deepest draft in that particular position.
While that might be true, we will not know or be certain of this for another three to four years, when we will be able to truly look back at all the DT taken in this past draft and grade them.
Another thing to consider, is the fact that even if this draft was deep at a particular position according to the so called experts, this only reflects the number of average rated prospects coming out; it does not however, refer to the number of elite prospects.
I myself like Stephen Paea, and I also thought that Marcell Dareus was an absolute beast, but if I am top be honest with myself, out of all the DT that were taken in the draft, only Dareus and Fairley were given elite grades, as true DT prospects.
The rest received excellent grades, but by no means in the same league as Dareus and Fairley.
I understand that we are mostly in accordance that taking Von Miller was the right thing to do, but what burns most of the commentators and fellow writers is the fact the we did not address that need in the second round.
I can tell you that Rahim Moore and Orlando Franklin were both rated higher than any DT that were available at the time we picked. The exception of Marvin Austin and Stephen Paea, but Austin has productivity concerns and received a high scouts grade only based on his workout and question about his intangibles and production have persisted and Paea, well there are a lot of questions about his health and ability to stay healthy.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the fan outcry, is the fact that we just have not had FA. Usually with FA coming before the draft, we the fans get to see, not only how our team will approach the draft, but we the draft makes more sense.
Having no FA before the draft has caused a bit of unrest among the fanbase, but I am here to tell you to rest easy Bronco fans, FA is coming and there are some serious options for us.
So without further ado, I have compiled a list of potential FA that the Broncos might target in order to fill in the remaining holes on the roster. I have also taken the liberty of adding a couple of players still under contract with their current teams, but because of various reasons they will probably be on the trading block.
First off, I think the Broncos should shore up that pesky DT position that has caused so much ruckus here in Broncos Country, so here are a few players that may be able to help out in that department.
Brandon Mebane is a name that Broncos fan should keep a look out for. He is a bit undersized, but the guy is the very definition of a run stuffer. Also at 6'1" and 311 lbs, the guy plays with natural leverage, something that the Broncos have sorely missed out of their DT for some seasons now.
Marcus Thomas—I know guys. I keep bringing him up, that is because the guy has shown that he can play in this league and he has gotten better and better every year. I was wrong last season when I thought that he might be better suited for the five technique, the guy is a natural three technique one gap penetraitor. He will more than likely be a restricted FA this season, so keeping him won't be hard.
Aubrayo Franklin, is another one to keep a close eye on. He has played at the NT position for the 49ers the last couple of seasons, and has been good. At the age of 30, I don't think he is the long term answer, but he can still give us just enough time to groom a young guy behind him. He is a natural run stuffer, and he does struggle to put pressure on the QB from the inside, but on a defense that features Ayers and Dumervile as DE and now Von Miller coming off the edge in obvious passing situations, he won't be asked to do much of that.
Another name that I would like to throw out there is Amobi Okoye of the Houston Texans. He is very much still under contract, but with teh Texans switching to a 3-4 base defense, Okoye could be on the trading block. Here is another guy that is a natural three technique one gap penetraitor, and his age could make him the possible long term answer on the DL.
This kid can do it all, he can apply preassure on the QB and collapse the pocket from the inside, perhaps not the greatest run stuffer of this list, but paired up with another name on this list, or Vickerson who is already on the roster, they could form a formidable tandem. His age of 23 and his size 6'2" 315 lbs make him very enticing.
We would have to trade for him, but given up a second rounder next year sounds like fair compensation, specially because he does not fit the new system. Also knowing some of Houstons needs, we could throw in a guy like Darcell McBath in there to sweeten the deal.
We have all heard the speculation on Albert Haynesworth so I'll mention him but won't go into too much detail.
As far as the running back position is concern, there isn't a whole lot of options out there. When looking at the list of available FA RBs, there is only one NFL FA that I can see the Broncos making a run for, so I will add some College FA into the mix as well.
DeAngelo Williams is about the only NFL running back that I see the Broncos making a serious run at, after all, he is a former player for our new HC. Williams brings speed and quickness to the table, he is a shifty runner with deceptive power. He runs with a low center of gravity, and in my opinion he has proven he can handle the load of a NFL running back.
However, he is at his best when kept fresh as a part of a two back system. Pairing him with Knowshon Moreno could provide very effective.
Williams would take about half the load from Moreno, allowing them both to flourish and be very effective. They would provide quite a one-two punch and they could rise to the top of the league if the OL improves, which the addition of Orlando Franklin will most certainly do.
There are other names I could mention, like Ronnie Brown, but the rest of the FA pool at RB is frankly lacking. They are all going to come at too expensive a price, and the ones that could be worth the price all have health, age and durability questions, see Ronnie Brown.
There are of course some notable college FA. Guys like Noel Devine and Derrick Locke are undersized but would provide ST help and an awesome change of pace. They bring a lot of speed and quickness to the table, as well as catching ability.
Other guys like Mario Fannin, Darren Evans and John Clay, provide more thump. These are some big backs that can get the job done in short yardage situations. They could also provide the ying to Moreno's yang.
The point is that there are a few options when it comes to this position, and there is a lot of talent available. However, it won't matter who we sign and bring in, if we can not open up holes for them to run through.
Keeping Ryan Harris might be key in this. I believe that we should not be so quick to dismiss the RT, we should keep him as our starting RT for now and place Franklin as our starting LG; if Harris just so happens to get hurt again or falter, we can always take Franklin and place him as the starter.
I believe this to be a list of names that we might be seeing in that familiar Orange jersey soon.
What do you guys think, let me know below.
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