2010 NFL Draft: The Denver Broncos Report Card

Erick SpaltiCorrespondent IApril 25, 2010

DENVER - OCTOBER 04:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos celebrates after Brandon Marshall caught the game winning 51 yard touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys with 2:47 remaining in the fourth quarter during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 4, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Cowboys 17-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos 2010 Draft Class:

WR: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech

QB: Tim Tebow, Florida

Guard: Zane Beadles, Utah

Center: J.D. Walton, Baylor

WR: Eric Decker, Minnesota

CB: Parrish Cox, Oklahoma State

Center: Eric Olsen, Notre Dame

CB: Syd'Quan Thompson, California

LB/DE: Jammie Kirlew, Indiana


Picks Mocked Correctly


Though I may not have guessed them in the exact spots, there were several selections by the Broncos that I guessed correctly this year.

The trade to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round.

Tim Tebow, J.D. Walton, Eric Decker, and Parrish Cox.

All in all I feel I did surprisingly well. Selecting the correct trade partner kind of shocked even me, while the rest of the picks were somewhat logical.

Can't wait to try again next year, hell, one year maybe I'll get them all right.

Draft Grades  

WR: Demaryius Thomas: B+ 

Demaryius Thomas is a talented receiver who fills our need for a playmaking receiver with size at 6'3'' 229 pounds.

Excellent straight-line speed but stiff out of his routes. Physical off the line, beats the press consistently. Tough to cover one-on-one as he is bigger than most NFL cornerbacks, Thomas can create a matchup nightmare for some defenses. Though his route running needs work, Thomas is a talented receiver who gives the Broncos a potential No. 1 receiver.

Rated this pick a B+ and not an A because although Thomas is a very talented prospect, he carried a second round grade and was a bit of a reach. With Dez Bryant, the consensus best receiver available, still on the board, not many teams would have selected Thomas. I believe the Broncos could have got him early second if they'd waited, but overall the pick fit a need.


QB: Tim Tebow: D+

Tim Tebow was the major shock of the draft other than the Jaguars selection of Tyson Alualu at No. 10.

Why in the world the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in the first round is beyond me. Though Orton is only under contract for one year, the Broncos traded for Brady Quinn this offseason to be McDaniel's pupil. Competition is a good thing, but not in the first round when you have bigger needs.

Dan Williams would have been a nice addition to rotate with Jamal Williams at DT and give up two quality NT's in the case of injury. With a player like Jamal Williams to learn from, Dan Williams had the potential to become an all-star nose tackle.

Tebow is a talented quarterback, although I doubt he will contribute much in his rookie year. With Tebow the Broncos get a committed, hard-working, intelligent football player. He will win fans, the locker room, and the viewers at home weekly with his spirit, determination, and respect for the game.

Though his accuracy needs some work, his scrambling and ability to keep his eyes downfield while moving are things you can't teach. May need a year or two of training before he's ready to play, but has the intelligence, determination, and fire to do great things.

The way Tebow consistently made plays week in and week out (while teams were designing entire game plans to stop him from doing just that) was nothing short of legendary. If Tebow pans out, or even becomes half the quarterback he was in college, the Broncos got a steal. If he busts and is a backup on another team in 3-4 years, McDaniels will have punched his ticket out of Denver.


Guard: Zane Beadles: B+

Zane Beadles is exactly the type of interior lineman the Broncos needed from this draft. Has the versatility to play tackle or guard, and has the potential to become an excellent player at guard. Great value pick in the second, wasn't likely to last must longer.

Though Beadles played in a spread offense, with some work out of a three-point stance he could become one of the best lineman of this draft class. Very powerful off the snap, great feet, and picks up blitzes well. Fits well in with what Denver is looking for in a lineman: versatile, smart, big, strong.


Center: J.D. Walton: A+

Walton was an amazing value at the Broncos biggest need position in the third round.

Has all the abilities to come in and become the starting center from day one. Solid all-around blocker, stays low off the snap, and has great footwork. Needs to work on his lateral movement, playing till the whistle blows, and sustaining blocks at the second level.

The Broncos had to acquire a starting center through the draft and Walton was arguably the second best available behind Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida. Acquiring a starter with a third round pick is an excellent value and definitely deserves an A+ grade.

WR: Eric Decker: A-

The main reason Decker gets a higher grade than Demaryius Thomas is because Decker wasn't a reach. He was rated to go late second early third and was one of the best players left on the board at the Broncos pick.

Though Decker doesn't have breakaway speed, he provides McDaniels with his Wes Welker-like receiving style. At 6'2", 215 pounds, Decker is a prototype possession receiver. Physical, smart, has amazing hands, and fights for the ball in traffic. The only real knocks on Decker were has he healed from the injury he suffered to his foot, and his route running ability.

Between Decker and Thomas, the Broncos drastically upgraded the talent level of their receiving corps. Both are big, physical, sure handed receivers that will provide Orton with a new set of red-zone targets next season.


CB: Parrish Cox: B+

Cox is a player I mocked for the exact reason the Broncos drafted him: Potential. 

At 6'1'', 195 pounds, Cox is deceptively fast for a man his size. Though his overall technique is lacking and he struggles to change directions, Cox has the potential to become a shutdown corner in the NFL.

With Champ Bailey to tutor him, Cox could turn into a diamond in the rough. Big and physical at the line, Cox is a solid tackler in open space, blitzes well off the corner, and also has the ability to return kicks.


Center: Eric Olsen: D+

Though I thoroughly understand the reasoning for drafting Olsen, I feel this pick could have served better value. Bringing in Olsen provides the Broncos with depth at center, competition to keep Walton from becoming complacent, and a player who also has the ability to kick out to guard if necessary.

Once again: versatile, big, smart, strong. McDaniels stockpiled lineman through this draft which is always a good thing. This was a very deep class of talented offensive line prospects and McDaniels was wise to add a few to a Broncos line void of depth.

I graded this a D+ because of a lack of value. Players such as RB Jonathan Dwyer, Safety Myron Rolle, and ILB Jamar Chaney all would have been better selections. The Broncos could have picked up a center like Eric Cook (New Mexico) in the seventh round.


CB: Syd'Quan Thompson: C+

Thompson is a player that would have been drafted higher if not for concerns about his size. At only 5'9'', 190 pounds, Thompson lacks the size to compete with bigger receivers on jump balls. 

Amazing zone coverage skills, great closing speed, good instincts, solid tackler. Also can return kicks which is an added plus. Biggest value may come on special teams and in the quarter package. Not polished at all in man coverage, needs significant work in reading receivers, tends to get beat out of breaks when required to change direction.

Quality player who adds depth at corner and gives the Broncos a quality return man as well. Good pickup in the seventh round, should contribute immediately on special teams.


DE/LB: Jammie Kirlew: B-

Another thing the Broncos needed to acquire in this draft was a pass-rushing specialist they could pair with Elvis Dumervil on third downs. Though they waited till the seventh round, the Broncos got lucky and got exactly what they wanted with Kirlew.

At 6'3'', 265 pounds, Kirlew is too small to play end in the 3-4 scheme so he will play linebacker for the Broncos. Heard a rumor today the Broncos may try to slide him to the inside and let him compete for playing time at ILB. 

Kirlew has the size for the position, and would provide the Broncos with another disruptive blitzer in their linebacking crew.

His tackling ability is his key asset, plays well against the run but has no true coverage experience to speak of. Should impress people with his non-stop motor and extensive football knowledge.

Either way, if he pans he will have provided the Broncos with depth at linebacker which was needed. Good value in the seventh round, could definitely wind up sticking on the roster. Should make a contribution on special teams immediately.

Overall Draft Grade: B-

Denver filled several areas of need in the 2010 NFL Draft.

They got depth on the offensive line, talent at receiver, a starting center, and added a talented quarterback who could become the future starter. McDaniels filled holes in the roster by bringing in high character guys with good work ethics and high football IQ's.

Though we didn't acquire a middle linebacker, Haggans can slide over to the middle and fill Andra Davis' old spot. Hopefully Robert Ayers is ready to start this season, looks like he's gonna get his chance. 

Altogether, the Broncos had a good draft that fit what McDaniels needed to make his offense tick. Though others may be skeptical, it's hard to really grade this draft without seeing how Tebow pans out. If he's amazing and takes them to the Super Bowl in three years, then obviously this draft would get an A+ no matter how the rest of the picks panned out, but even if every other player maximizes their potential, if Tebow turns out to be a bust, it will forever mire this draft in disparity.

Thomas and Decker pair with Eddie Royal to give McDaniels three young, talented receivers that he can use in various packages. My odds are on Thomas and Royal playing No. 1 and No. 2 with Decker playing in the slot.

Tebow gives McDaniels someone to compete with Brady Quinn on the depth chart. Orton is only signed for one more season and it's likely the Broncos will let him walk after the year. With Quinn and Tebow pushing each other behind McDaniels' coaching, either could be ready to start next season after a year of sitting and learning the offense.

Before you judge Brady Quinn on his time in Cleveland, he had a lack of talent around him, and spent too much time on the field thanks to a defense who couldn't stop anyone. If he's given time to learn the offense, good blocking up front, and a scheme that suited his strengths, the sky could be the limit for his potential.

Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, and Eric Olsen give the Broncos players who can come in and add depth to the offensive line. Walton becomes the default starter at center unless Dustin Fry has become Nick Mangold overnight.

Beadles is smart, can play tackle, and has great size. He gives the Broncos depth across the board with his versatility, and a potential starter in the future.

Walton has the potential to be an anchor for the next decade. Significant improvement to the offensive line upon his arrival. He will pair nicely with Ryan Clady, Chris Kuper, and Ryan Harris to form a solid core of young offensive lineman.

Olsen gives depth at center and could also slide over to guard in an emergency. Though his potential isn't great, Olsen should become a quality backup lineman in the NFL.

Parrish Cox and Syd'Quan Thompson are both players who have potential and flaws. Cox struggles at moving fluidly but otherwise just needs to work on his coverage skills. Thompson has toodamnshort-itus. Only 5'9'' he will become a special teams player who may get a few snaps in the quarter defense, doens't have the potential to become a starter in my opinion, but should be a serviceable fourth or fifth corner.

Jammie Kirlew is a player who has the skills to stick on the roster. With his ability to play against the run and rush the passer, he could see time on first and second down as well as special teams.

The offense may actually improve next season even with Marshall gone (McDaniels has long proved he can put together a potent offense without an elite receiver). With Orton and the entire offense having a full year in McDaniels' system, the unit should improve as a whole.

Though the defense didn't see any upgrades in the draft, the entire unit should improve from an upgraded defensive line. Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan, and Jarvis Green will give the Broncos a much stouter, experienced defensive line next season.

Hopefully the Broncos can get the most out of Tebow because he will forever define this draft. The Broncos have a more improved and talented roster than people give them credit for and are significantly better than last season. I could see a 9-7 season with a possible wild card spot next season.

I'm sure Broncos fans are ready to get back to the playoffs.


T hanks for reading my articles and all the feedback, it's greatly appreciated.

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