After Denver Bronco owner Pat Bowlen fired Mike Shanahan, the search for a new head coach began. After taking into consideration all possible options, it was decided that New England's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be the best option.
The decision to hire McDaniels was met with mixed feelings. Some thought he would be the guy who could turn around a struggling team, primarily on defense, and make them into the playoff-caliber team they once were. Others looked at the situation and questioned whether McDaniels knew what to do to turn the team around.
More people began to question this new coach after a dispute with franchise QB Jay Cutler led to his trade to Chicago in return Kyle Orton and several draft picks. However, he would get a chance to prove his worth in the NFL draft.
Going into the draft, the main concern most fans had was the defensive line. Last year's line was one of the worst in the league, and the defense finished 29th overall. It was apparent that Denver needed some new players. With the switch to the 3-4, finding players who knew the scheme was also important.
McDaniels, however, had other things on his mind. For his first pick, not only did he skip D-line, but the entire defense as well, going instead with RB Knowshon Moreno. Now, Moreno is good, and a lot of the good linemen were taken, but there were still some players who could help turn the defense around.
For his second pick, McDaniels came did draft a D-lineman in Robert Ayers. However, Ayers is a 4-3 lineman and has no experience for the 3-4. But it is a step in the right direction.
The third pick is one of the most questioned, with Alphonso Smith being taken. Now, Smith is a very good CB but does not help improve Denver's poor defense. And to get him, Denver traded one of their first round picks next year, as well as a third round this year, to Seattle.
Pick No. 4 was safety Darcel McBath, a player that can help out a lot in the secondary in a few years. But by this time, people were beginning to wonder. Surely McDaniels would pick someone who could help on the D-line. Or at least maybe a LB. Those were the two most crucial positions.
The fifth pick was the worst of the draft, TE Richard Quinn, a blocking tight end, something Denver has zero use for, at least with defense being a problem.
The sixth pick McDaniels had would also be the last defensive player he would pick. safety David Bruton was picked, a follow-up to McBath.
There is no need to mention the rest of the picks. Denver needed defensive linemen who knew and were successful in the 3-4. They did not fill that need.
Now, serious questions are being raised about McDaniels. Can he lead the team? Does he know what he's doing?
There is still potential for McDaniels to prove himself as a good head coach. It will be difficult considering the decisions he has made so far. However, Bowlen is willing to give him a chance and so should the fans.