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DENVER BRONCOS


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2009 draft     2008 draft     2007 draft     2006 draft
2005 draft
     2004 draft     2003 draft     2002 draft

 

2009 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 12 Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia #3 RB Round 2
1 18 Robert Ayers DE/LB Tennessee #2 DE Round 1

Senior Bowl practice comment

Ayers had a sack in the 11 on 11's and made a good play on another occasion staying at home versus a run.  In the one-on-one's he looked good against everyone but Oher.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

6 - 5 Kropog 1-1  Oher 0-4  Luigs 1-0  Wood 2-0  Caldwell 2-0

Senior Bowl Game

Ayers showed excellent pass rush skills and also had a nice play against the run where chased down and tackled a ballcarrier.
2 37 Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest #2 CB Round 1

Senior Bowl practice comment

Looked very good in coverage, has a nose for the ball.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Smith is an undersized corner with great cover and ball skills.  Smith can play in a man-to-man or in a cover-two scheme.  The team that drafts Smith will get a playmaker in addition to a terrific cornerback.  Smith will be a star in the NFL.  In fact, if I were a NFL GM, I would target Smith as my guy, even over some of the more highly touted corners in the draft.
2 48 Darcel McBath FS Texas Tech #6 FS Round 4
2 64 Richard Quinn TE North Carolina #8 TE Round 4
4 114 David Bruton FS Notre Dame #4 FS Round 4

Senior Bowl practice comment

Burton did not flash but had very limited face time.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Bruton was productive in college and proved to be faster, more athletic, more fluid and stronger than originally thought.  He has tremendous physical skills and could be a very pleasant surprise for the team that drafts him.
4 132 Seth Olsen OG Iowa #6 OG Round 3

East West Shrine Game

Olsen looked like a beast at times blocking in the run game.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Olsen is a good run-blocker who proved to have better feet and be more athletic than originally thought.  Olsen had a solid East West Shrine Game, and I have him rated higher than many other draft analysts.
5 141 Kenny McKinley WR South Carolina #16 WR Round 4

Senior Bowl practice comment

McKinley showed good hands and quickness when wasn't trying to put too many moves together.
6 174 Tom Brandstater QB Fresno State #7 QB Round 4

East West Shrine Game

Brandstater is a big kid with a big arm and better mobility than it appears.  Brandstarter made some very good throws and, at times, looked like a future NFL starter.  He also had moments where he overthrew receivers and looked like he could be a coach-killer (teasing with good tools, but not putting it all together).  Net-net, based on what I saw he is worth a shot on day two of the draft as a player who could be a later round find.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Of the quarterbacks after the big three plus Pat White, Brandstater has the most upside. However, he is no sure thing.  Brandstater is a big kid with a big arm, and better mobility than it appears.  If on the surface that sounds like Big Ben and Baltimore Joe, well, it does.  However, unlike those two, Brandstater makes too many plays that make you scratch your head, and at times overthrows his receivers.  So who will Brandstater be down the line in the NFL?   Will he grow into the quarterback he looks like when he is very, very good; or will he be a tease and a coach killer?  Since I have a fourth round grade on him, not a sixth or seventh like most, I'm betting he will be a good NFL player.  However, I tagged him a round four value, behind Nathan Brown, not a round two value because I recognize the risk.
7 225 Blake Schlueter OC TCU #6 OC Round 4

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Wow!  How many times do you see a center be a workout warrior.  However, he ran a 4.79 forty, the only forty (as of this write-up) for centers below 5.05;  ran a 4.28 short shuttle (better than receivers Kenny Britt and Hakeem Nicks, and only 0.02 slower than Jeremy Macklin); and had a 35" vertical jump, second best amongst all offensive lineman as of this write-up.  He will need to bulk up, but he was a three-year starter and was selected All Mountain West three straight years.
FA ---- Chris Baker DE/DT Hampton #17 DT Round 5
FA ---- Marquez Branson TE Central Arkansas NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Tony Carter CB Florida State NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Britton Colquitt P Tennessee NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Rulon Davis DE California NR 7th/FA
FA ---- D. J. Johnson CB/FS Jackson State #22 CB Round 5

Senior Bowl practice comment

Showed some good things in coverage particularly press coverage in the one on one's.  However, was also beat often in the one-on-one drills.  He did flash a number of times, however, in the 11 on 11's.
FA ---- Everette Pedescleaux DE Northern Iowa NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Lee Robinson LB Alcorn State #14 OLB Round 5
FA ---- Nate Swift WR Nebraska NR 7th/FA

 

B-

2009 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The grade of B- is more reflective of the Broncos going in different directions than I thought they should in the draft, than it is a negative comment on the talent of the players that they added.  After all, the Broncos drafted five players from my list of players who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than them in the draft.  I thought the Broncos should have addressed their front seven more than they did on day one.  They did, however, sign some college street free agents that could find roles on their defensive line.

As far as trading Jay Cutler, I get it and I do not disagree.  The "New England way" for a quarterback is: first a leader, second a quarterback who can read defenses, third a quarterback who won't make mistakes, and fourth a quarterback who can win you games.  Cutler is not an ideal fit for that type of offensive philosophy.  If the Broncos started the year with Cutler, he may have played poorly in that offense and eroded his some of his trade value.  So, I believe the Broncos did the right thing trading him now.  In fact, I believe that when Cutler sulked, Bronco management took a sneaky strategy to allow his brooding to grow so it would be easier to get rid of him. 

DRAFT PICKS

The Broncos, like most NFL teams had Moreno rated more highly than I did.  I was probably the only draft analyst who had a high second round grade on him instead of a first round grade.  Even if he was good value at this spot, I wouldn't have gone running back here, I would have gone running back later.  Last year in my analysis, for teams that drafted a running back earlier than I would have, I wrote that I would have waited and drafted Tashard Choice.  After he went to the Cowboys I thought he might be buried so my observation would fall flat.  However he shined after injuries to Jones and Barber.  This year the running back I liked a lot who was available relatively late was Javon Ringer.  Once again, however, it may take an injury for my observation to be judged since he was drafted by Tennessee.  As for what I would have done differently if I were Bronco management, keeping the trade in the mix, my first and second round selections for the Broncos would have netted me, ILB Maualuga (and yes, I know this is much higher than where he went, but he's worth it), CB A Smith, DT Brace, OLB Veikune and DE Gilbert (or DE McGee).  We'll see which would have been better over time.

Robert Ayers is a very good football player, but I'm not sure how well he fits in to the 3-4 defense.  He isn't big enough to play end, and he isn't athletic enough to drop in coverage as a linebacker.  Oh, that doesn't mean he won't be a good player in the 3-4, just not as dominate as one would hope for from the 18th pick in the draft.

Other draft analysts may question trading a number one next year to draft Smith, but not me.  He was my second rated corner in the draft and is a much, much better player on the field than a workout warrior.  Smith has great ball instincts and will be a Pro Bowl talent despite his short stature.

McBath was a reach in round two.  In fact, I had Bruton more highly-rated.  McBath, a converted corner, is a plus in coverage but with Dawkins and Hill signed as free agents and the promising Barrett on hand, even as the draft unfolded for Denver up to this point,  I can't see taking him over Veikune, Cody Brown, Gilbert or McGee.  Especially with Denver grabbing Bruton in round four and Clemons also available later in the draft.

Quinn, one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft was rising up many analyst's boards as the draft approached.  On mine, he remained a fourth round value.  I can see some team that had few holes possibly reaching to select him in round two, but not the Broncos.  I would have gone with McGee or Gilbert and been more than happy if I landed a tight end like Bear Pascoe or David Johnson, who are also good blockers, later in the draft.

David Bruton had a great workout.  He is an amazing athlete.  He didn't always show that athletic ability on the field, but he showed me enough for me to strongly believe he will be a better NFL player than college player.  Long term, teamed up with Barrett, he could give the Broncos a very fast, very good young safety duo. 

Olsen was good value in round four.  He has quick feet and is a very effective run blocker.  He may never be Pro Bowl caliber, but is the type of kid who will be a long-term solid starter in the NFL.  A good get by Denver.

McKinnley was a nice get in round five.  He has good speed, quickness and hands, and down the line could be productive replacing Gaffney in the New England "Gaffney-role" in the Broncos' offense.

Brandstater was one of my two favorite developmental quarterbacks in this draft.  He has the arm, pocket awareness and escapability to flourish in the Broncos' new offensive scheme.  He will need to see the field better so he can make better decisions if he is ever going to rise above solid backup status, but I can see that happening, especially with Josh McDaniels coaching him up.

Schlueter had one of the best workouts ever for a center, and was an extremely effecdtive football player at TCU.  He is fast, he has quick feet, and he is very athletic.  He will need to bulk up a bit, but is an intriguing prospect who was an excellent seventh round pick.  He was on my list of players who will have a better NFL career than  many drafted higher than him in the draft (as was Smith, Bruton, Olsen and Brandstater).

 COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

After failing to land big bodies for their defensive line in the draft the Broncos made some good college free agent signings.  Of all their signings, Chris Baker is the best and I expect him to make their team and be a contributor.  To me, in a 3-4 defense Baker is at end, and in fact, played end in a 3-4 at Hampton.  At 326 pounds he runs the forty in under 5.00 and has quickness and athleticism.  Whether he will grow into a solid long term starter or reliable backup will depend upon his work in the weight room.  He needs to build a bit more strength and stamina.

If the Broncos decide to trade Scheffler, Branson has a shot to stick as a receiving threat at tight end.  If Scheffler stays he could be a good practice squad candidate.  Branson catches the ball well and has good speed for a tight end.

Carter is a short corner with good speed.  He has acceptable athleticism, strength and quickness as well and has return ability as well.  Despite his short stature, Carter isn't afraid to hit so he could stick as a special teams player and extra corner, however with all the talent in camp it will be a tough task.   If he doesn't stick,  he could make the Broncos' practice squad.

Colquitt has a NFL-leg, but he will be showcasing it for other teams.  Kern will be Denver's punter.

Rulon Davis has the frame to play end in a 3-4 defense.  However he will need to add some bulk and strength to make the team.  He can always work on his body from the practice squad if he shows enough talent.

Johnson is an interesting case.  He was thought to be an early second day pick as a cover corner and then put up numbers more associated with cover two corners or free safeties.  However, as a cover two corner or safety you need to tackle and Johnson only lifted the bar 7 times.  Still, the kid has talent so it will be interesting to see what happens to him in Broncos' camp.  Since I have a fifth round grade on him, even after his workout, I'm betting that he has a future in the NFL.

Pedescleaux is the third big-bodied college street free agent signed by Denver.  He has the size and speed to work with and could land a spot on Denver's bench or practice squad.

Lee Robinson is another player who was hurt by his workout  (don't tell me the numbers count less than the tape).  Robinson played outside linebacker in college.  However, he is a good football player and has the size to play inside in the Broncos' three-four.  He may be a bit of a long shot, but don't count this kid out.

Swift is a gritty kid with good hands who will have to make his primary living in the NFL playing on special teams.  He has the make-up to perform well there, and if he sticks and is forced into action on offense, he can catch the ball.

For chart below: red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
ARM-HAND relative to position, for ranges see ranking pages for 2009 draft

LAST NAME
at Combine
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HGT WGT ARM-
HAND
BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Moreno Knowshon Georgia 5'10.5" 217 S-XL 25 4.55 1.58 2.64 4.27 11.63 6.84 35.5" 9'7"
Ayers Robert Tennessee 6'3.1" 272 M-L 18 4.77 1.66 2.78 4.46 - 7.07 29.5" 8'6"
Smith Alphonso Wake Forest 5'9" 193 M-XL 13 4.47 1.50 2.60 4.38  - 7.09 34" 10'5"
McBath Darcel Texas Tech 6'0.2" 198 S-L 17 4.53 1.53 2.62 4.16 - 6.80 38" 10'0"
Quinn Richard North Carolina 6'3.7" 264 L-L 24 4.87 1.62 2.84 4.62  - 7.50 32.5" 9'11"
Bruton David Notre Dame 6'2" 219 XL-XL 19 4.40 1.56 2.59 4.28 10.96 6.60 41.5" 11'0"
Olsen Seth Iowa 6'4.5" 306 M-M 28 5.23 1.75 3.03 4.70 - 7.59 28" 8'7"
McKinley Kenny South Carolina 6'0.3" 189 S-M - 4.33 1.46 2.53 4.10 - 6.98 37" 9'5"
Brandstater Tom Fresno State 6'5" 220 M-L - 4.87 1.62 2.84 4.37 - 6.93 28.5" 8'10"
Schlueter Blake TCU 6'2.3" 290 - 28 4.79 1.64 2.77 4.28 - 7.42 35" 9'3"
Baker Chris Hampton 6'2" 326 L-L 24 4.94 1.70 2.90 4.58 - 8.07 35.5" 8'10"
Branson Marquez Central Arkansas 6'2.1" 247 XL-L 22 4.55 1.55 2.63 4.40 - 7.29 36" 9'1"
Carter Tony Florida State 5'8.6" 179 - 17 4.41 1.53 2.52 4.19 - 7.18 39" 10'0"
Davis Rulon California 6'4.6" 281 XL-XL 20 4.94 1.72 2.90 - - - 30" 9'3"
Johnson DJ Jackson St 6'1.3" 197 L-XL 7 4.50 1.50 2.57 4.28 - 7.00 32" 9'8"
Pedescleau Everette Northern Iowa 6'5.3" 300 - - 4.97 - - - - - - -
Robinson Lee Alcorn State 6'2.2" 249 L-L 24 4.73 1.66 2.74 4.67 - 7.57 32.5" 9'5"
Swift Nate Nebraska 6'1.3" 203 S-M 12 4.63 1.54 2.68 4.24 11.59 6.78 35" 9'6"

2009 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY
Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

QB Cutler is a good young quarterback.  Ramsey is an UFA.  The team will need to resign Ramsey or bring in another quarterback to back up Cutler.  They could also draft a young quarterback to groom as a back on day two of the draft.
RB The Broncos have a lot of bodies here but no sure things.  Pittman is an UFA, Torain looked good in a brief stint but has been injured much more than healthy as a Bronco, Bell is best served as a change-of-pace back, Young has flashed in the past so their is some hope, Hillis is solid but doesn't have big-play ability, Aldridge can fly but is too small to be a number one back.  Look for Denver top add a back later in the draft to add to the mix of potential starters.
WR Marshall and Royal are two excellent starters, and Royal could excel in a Wes Welker-like role in ne coach McDaniel's offense.  Darrell Jackson is an UFA.  Chad Jackson is familiar with new offense since he was drafted by New England and could finally emerge as a contributor in the NFL.  Look for Denver to bring in a receiver or two since the new offense will use a lot of multiple receiver sets.
TE Graham is another player familiar with the new offense.  Scheffler's role could decrease because the new offense is not tight end oriented.  If Jackson comes back healthy it wouldn't surprise me if the Broncos moved Scheffler during the draft and grab a tight end who is a better blocking/receiving combination.
OL The Broncos' offensive line is solid.  Clady was a great pick and will have a long, Pro Bowl NFL career.  Harris did better than I expected at right tackle.  The Broncos need here is to bring in some bodies to compete for backup roles.
DL The Broncos are going to a 3-4 and I'm not sure who on their roster can fill out the starting lineup.  Powell could possibly kick outside to end in the 3-4, maybe Thomas can also.  Robertson was ushered out of New York because he didn't fit the 3-4 defense.  Crowder and Moss will have to try their hands at OLB.  This team needs to rebuild its entire defensive line.
LB In the 3-4, Williams will be one of the inside linebackers.  Woodyard is scrappy, but may be too small to play inside in the 3-4.  He could either mover to strong safety or be the team's nickel linebacker.  Webster is an UFA who will, most likely, not be brought back.  Outside Moss, Crowder and Winborn will get looks and the Broncos hope at least one comes through.  This team needs 3-4 linebackers.
DB I like the Broncos' cornerbacks.  Bailey and Bly are a very good starting pair, Bell and Williams showed some skills and can improve, and I'm still waiting for Paymah to stake a claim to a significant role on defense.  Strong safety Barrett is a player who I like a lot and who is only going to get better.  He has very good speed and makes big hits.  The team needs a new starting free safety.
ST Competition needs to be brought in for Prater, although he has a big leg and using him again next year would not be bad.  Kern is a good young punter.  Royal is an excellent young return man and based on the "New England" model, using the starting slot receiver (Welker in New England) on punts is not something that the new coach will frown upon.

 

2008 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 12 Ryan Clady OT 6'6.1" 309 Boise St #2 OT Round 1
2 42 Eddie Royal WR/Ret 5'9.5" 184 Virg Tech #13 WR Round 3
4 108 Kory Lichtensteiger C/OG 6'2.2" 298 Bowling Green # 4 C Round 4
4 119 Jack Williams CB/FS 5'9" 180 Kent State #20 CB Round 4/Round 5
5 139 Ryan Torain RB 6'0.3" 222 Arizona St   Late Round Value
5 148 Carlton Powell DT 6'2" 292 Virg Tech #15 DT Round 4/Round 5
6 183 Spencer Larsen ILB 6'1.6" 238 Arizona #7 ILB Round 4

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Larsen is a better football player than workout warrior.   He will probably go on day two and be a top backup or stop-gap starter (although it wouldn't surprise me if he becomes a solid starter), but he will be a valuable member of a team while many linebackers selected ahead of him are limited to special teams and practice squads.
7 220 Josh Barrett SS/OLB 6'1.6" 223 Arizona St #1 SS Round 2

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Barrett is going to be one of the steals of this draft.  He has a second round grade from me but, most likely, won't hear his name called in round two.  He is a big-time hitter who has great speed, and good quickness and athleticism.  He will be a demon in the box against the run, and has the speed to keep up with receivers in the deep zones.  Barrett will develop into one of the top strong safeties in the league.
7 227 Peyton Hillis FB 6'0.6" 240 Arkansas #1 FB Round 4/Round 5
FA   Anthony Alridge RB/WR/Ret 5'9" 170 Houston #17 RB Round 4/Round 5
FA   Tyler Polumbus OT 6'7.4" 314 Colorado   Late Round Value
FA   Loren Sam WR 6'3.2" 220 UTEP   Late Round Value/Free Agent
FA   Garrett Hartley PK 5'8" 204 Oklahom   Free Agent
FA   Brad Kern P 6'3" 201 Toledo # 2 P Late Round Value
FA   Wesley Woodyard OLB/SS 6'0.3" 227 Kentucky #4 OLB Round 2/Round 3

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Woodyard is a very active player with the ability to make plays sideline-to-sideline.  He has excellent speed and quickness.  He is also a tough kid who likes to hit.  He is perfect as a WILL linebacker on a team that emphasizes speed over size.  He looked very good during Senior Bowl practices making tackle after tackle in drills.  However, in the game he had some very good moments, but also missed some tackles.   He will need to play under a little more control to become a more sure tackler in the NFL, but I believe that will be an easy adjustment for this kid.

 

A-

2008 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

After two years in a row of three players from my "draft value list", last year the Broncos only grabbed one (Crowder) and go their lowest draft grade from me since I started grading drafts in 2002.  This year they are back to three and since they are a round six player, a round seven player, and a free agent, you know I am going to love the late value the Broncos stole in this draft.  In fact, my only question in this draft, which is a minor point, is that Royal is a true slot receiver (albeit a good one), and the Broncos need a reliable #2.  Stokely is also best served in the slot, and I don't have faith in Jackson as a consistent #2 receiver (too many drops that kill drives).  Therefore, Hawkins would have been my pick.  He is going to be a very good starter in the NFL.  However, Royal will be a force in the offense from the slot after he adjusts to the NFL.

DRAFT PICKS

For some reason Clady went from the logical option for Kansas City at number five after Long was off the board to behind Albert, to falling out of the top ten.  Lucky Broncos.  Clady is an athletic left6 tackle who is immediately a much better option than Ryan Harris and could end up the best left tackle to come out of this draft in the long run.

Royal is fast, makes sharp cuts, knows how to get open and is an elusive receiver.  Even though he lacks size and bulk he has good strength so will be able to get off the line.  Before getting too excited know that the most catches he had in a year at Virginia Tech was 33 and the most yards 497.  His upside is as a top slot receiver.

Lichtensteiger is Nalen's heir apparent.  In the meantime he can also fill in at guard if needed.  He held his own during the Senior Bowl when he had to step up against tougher competition than he faced at Bowling Green.

Jack Williams is an interesting player.  While on the small size he is built very compactly, has good strength and terrific speed.  He is also a great athlete and has top-end change of direction skills.  At corner he shows good cover skills and has a nose for the ball.  Personally, I would like to see him add 10 to 15 pounds and move to free safety where he could be a special player if he can maintain his speed and agility at that weight.  His strength/change-of-direction/ball skills fit perfectly there.

Denver drafts a running back in round five and he immediately becomes a "sleeper" on hundreds of fantasy football sites.  Before getting too excited remember that he is coming off Lisfranc surgery and you may not see what he can really do until 2009 (assuming he makes it all the way).  When healthy he has the skill set to do well in Denver's zone blocking system.

Powell is an undersized, athletic defensive tackle who could help in the nickel and provide depth.

Larsen is the first of three players from my "draft value list".  Larsen is plain and simple, a football player.  His size indicates he should play in the middle in a 4-3, his measureables are more in line to play inside in a 3-4.  Larsen is a strong, instinctive kid with more quickness than you think.  It wouldn't surprise me if he winds up as Denver's starting middle linebacker at some point during 2008.

Josh Barrett in round seven is an out-and-out steal.  This kid was my number one rated strong safety.  He's big, can hit, and has rare speed for a strong safety.  Some question his ability to learn complex systems,  He thinks too much and doesn't play instinctively.  However, give him some time and you could have an in-the-box presence like Roy Williams, with Bob Sanders speed.  Worst case Denver has a monster special teams player.

Peyton Hillis is the ideal west coast fullback.  He is an excellent receiver with good size, strength and speed.  He was my top-rated fullback.  He also blocked for two first round picks in this draft (McFadden and Jones).

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Alridge is a Darren-Sproles type of player.  He is fast, quick, cuts on a dime and is an explosive athlete.  He also catches the ball very well and can line up in the slot or out wide and run patterns down the field.  He is also a good return man.  However, un-like Sproles who is short, Alridge is small.  Alridge is an intriguing signing who could play dividends as a spot player if Denver can afford a spot for him on their roster.

Polumbus is the type of athletic tackle that Denver prefers.  He is a big man who should, at worst, be a practice squad member.

Sam is a one-dimensional, big, strong receiver.  He has his work cut out for him to make the roster.

Hartley will get a look in camp because of the Elam defection. 

Kern is an underrated punter.  He has a real chance to win the job in preseason.

Woodyard was one of the best free agent signings by any team.  This kid is an active player who has good speed and quickness.  He is undersized which caused him to fall out of the draft.  Certainly he didn't fall out of the draft because he is over-aggressive which causes him to miss some tackles because that is coachable.  Woodyard will be a special teams staple and could force his way onto the field on defense down the line.  This kid isn't NFL-starter-ready now, but could be a solid weakside "tackle-hound" linebacker in the future.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
(blue college name indicates workout #'s include Pro Day numbers)

COMBINE
YES
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Clady Ryan BOISE ST 6'6.1" 309 24 5.18 1.81 2.96 4.73 NA 7.44 31" 9'0"
Royal Eddie VIRG TECH 5'9.5" 184 24 4.39 1.48 2.55 4.34 11.66 7.07 36" 10'4"
Lichtensteiger Kory BOWL GREEN 6'2.2" 298 NA 5.19 1.84 3.04 4.56 NA 7.60 23" 8'8"
Williams Jack KENT STATE 5'9" 180 19 4.32 1.46 2.51 4.34 NA 6.61 41" 10'6"
Torain Ryan ARIZONA ST 6'0.3" 222 21 4.51 1.54 2.58 NA NA NA 34" 10'0"
Powell Carlton VIRG TECH 6'2" 292 25 5.00 1.65 2.90 4.62 NA 7.64 27.5" 9'0"
Larsen Spencer ARIZONA 6'1.6" 238 27 4.82 1.64 2.78 4.29 NA 7.37 33.5" 9'8"
Barrett Josh ARIZONA ST 6'1.6" 223 17 4.33 1.50 2.50 4.27 NA 7.07 31.5" 10'1"
Hillis Peyton ARKANSAS 6'0'6" 240 26 4.57 1.66 2.68 4.24 NA 7.15 35" 9'9"
Alridge Anthony HOUSTON 5'9" 170 NA 4.33 1.45 2.50 NA NA 6.88 34.5" 11'2"
Polumbus Tyler COLORADO 6'7.4" 314 24 5.13 1.78 2.90 4.83 NA 7.59 33" 9'4"
Sam Loren UTEP 6'3.2" 220 23 4.59 1.61 2.72 4.35 11.38 7.11 33" 10'2"
Woodyard Wesley KENTUCKY 6'0.3" 227 NA 4.49 1.52 2.58 4.25 11.46 7.15 30" 9'10"

2008 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY

DEN       Major Need          Need          Upgrade         Depth Need         Not a Need

QB  Cutler appears on his way to being a very a good NFL quarterback.  Ramsey, a former number, has starting experience and is a solid backup.  Hackney is fine as #3, but competition could be brought in for that spot.
RB  If a player the Broncos believe can be a full time difference-maker falls into their lap, they will gladly add that player.  Otherwise, Young and Hall are coming back, and Henry will be given a shot again if he comes back at the right price.  Bell, was moved to fullback, but had good moments two years ago and could get another shot at tailback if needed.
WR  Walker wants out and if the Broncos grant him his wish they will need a starter opposite star receiver Marshall.  Stokley is a solid #3 but has had trouble staying on the field throughout his career.  Martinez could fill in for Stokley if needed, but other options could be explored as well.
TE Very strong and deep unit.  Graham is the blocker, Scheffler is the pass catcher.   Both are very good at their trades.   Jackson has the look of a good receiving tight end as well.
OL  With Lepsis retiring, the Broncos need a tackle.  If possible, a starting left tackle.  If not, a player who can challenge on the right side.  With Hamilton and Nalen coming back, the Broncos have good depth inside.  Harris, a player with some question marks, is currently the team's first tackle off the bench.
DL Despite not liking the Broncos' selection of Moss in round one last season, I like the young talent the Broncos are accumulating on their line.  I loved the selection of Crowder and said he would be a better player for Denver than Moss, especially since Dumervil has similar skills to Moss and is proven.  Crowder, Dumervil and Thomas are three young players who will only get better.  McKinley and Engleberger are reliable, but unspectacular veterans.  Another young tackle and possible upgrades on the bench are the needs here.
LB I thought the Broncos would give up on the Williams in the middle move early in the season.  The didn't, and he played well at times, but the Broncos would be much better served with him outside and bringing in a stud for the middle.  Gold didn't play as well in his second stint with Denver as did the first time and Webster is an okay, but replaceable starter.  The Broncos like what they saw in Winborn at the end of the year, but he has flashed sic skills in the past but has never held onto a starting job long term.
DB The Broncos have as solid a foursome at corner as any team in the league (Bailey, Bly, Foxworth and Paymah).  At safety,  Abdullah had some good moments and some not so good moments, but he is young and has potential.  There is a question as to whether Lynch will be back.  He still plays well, but a younger, faster safety could be tempting.  Look for the Broncos to bring in a safety whether or not Lynch comes back to compete with Lynch and Ferguson who is returning from injury.
ST Elam is a free agent, the punting situation is a mess, and the return game is in capable hands, but a game-breaker would be an upgrade.

 

2007 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 17 Moss, Jarvis DE 6-6 251 Florida #6 DE Round 2
2 56 Crowder, Tim DE 6-4 271 Texas #7 DE Round 2
3 70 Harris, Ryan OT 6-5 299 Notre Dame #11 OT Round 4
4 121 Thomas, Marcus DT 6-3 296 Florida #6 DT Round 3
FA Fenton, Mark C 6-4 290 Colorado Late Round Value
FA Harris, Steven DT 6-4 282 Florida Off My Board
FA Rogers, Roderick FS 6-1 189 Wisconsin Late Round Value
FA Young, Selvin RB 5-11 207 Texas Late Round Value

 

C

2007 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Broncos reached a bit for Moss in round one, but got intriguing players in rounds two and four.  Since they did most of their work prior to the draft, they didn't have a large number of needs which is reflected in the small number of college street free agents signed.  However, a linebacker (lost Al Wilson, moving D.J. Williams to the middle and former Seahawk Lewis has not been able to stay healthy and Holdman's best days may be behind him) and a return man would have been nice additions, even if they signed quality college street free agents to compete for spots.

For the second year in a row I had the Bronco's first round selection identified correctly in my mock draft, and both times they traded up to make the pick.  Both times the Broncos had the player they selected rated higher than me.  Last year, however, I felt the trade up was a good move because if a team believes strongly in a first round quarterback, making a bold move to get that player is the right thing to do.  This year, however, I'm not sure the Broncos needed to make the trade to get Moss.  Even if they lost him, Spencer would have been a good alternative option.  In addition, Beason, or even better, Posluszny could have been taken in round one if the Broncos did not like Spencer.  I was in the minority in having a second round grade on Moss, which is why I had him going in round one in my mock draft.  When I rank players it is all about probability.  With Moss showing only average quickness and only lifting the bar 16 times in workouts, red flags came up for me.  He didn't play the run all that well in college and his workout shows why.  He will need to bulk up and get stronger if he is going to be dominate versus the run.   While he has the frame to to this, what will be the impact on his quickness if he does, and how will that impact his pass rushing ability?  This does not mean that Moss will not be a top NFL player.  It just makes it more likely he will be a one dimensional pass rushing defensive end than a dominate end who can play the run and the pass.  Hence my second round grade.  On the other hand, Crowder is a player I like a lot.  I had a second round grade on him, and had a higher opinion of his NFL future than many other draft analysts.  Crowder had more sacks than Moss last year, has similar speed, better quickness, and is much stronger.  He should develop into an excellent two-way end, one who can stop the run and rush the passer.  Harris is an example of a player who fell during the post-season.  He got beat often during at Senior Bowl practices.  However, he has the quick feet the Broncos' like in offensive lineman, and could develop into a solid right tackle.  Thomas is a run stuffing defensive tackle who can occupy blockers and play off blocks to make tackles.  Well, he can do that as long as he isn't high.  The concerns about Thomas are not on the field; they are off the field.

The Broncos didn't sign many college street free agents.  However, they did add a few worth mentioning.  Fenton is a center I thought could fall out of the draft because he is coming off a leg injury.  However, he is a tough kid with good quickness and athleticism, and is a candidate for the Broncos' development squad.  He could contribute down the line.  Harris was off my board because he didn't have a notable college career, and he is light for a defensive tackle.  However, at times he was unblockable at East West Shrine Game practices and is worth a look in camp.  Rogers is another player whose draft status was hurt by injuries.  He is a smart free safety with a nose for the ball.  He could surprise at a deep position.  Young is a tough kid who could do well in the zone blocking scheme.  However, he does lack top end speed.  Two college street free agents the Broncos could have used in free agency were Sam Olajubutu an undersized linebacker who is just plain and simply a football player, and Mike Mason a speedy receiver who can return punts and kicks.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

COMBINE
YES

 

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MOSS JARVIS FLORIDA DE/LB 6'6.4" 250 16 4.70 1.52 2.68 4.41   7.21 30.5" 10'0"
Moss is a very good pass rusher but he will have to add bulk and strength to be effective against the run, and is not quick enough to be a stud as an OLB in a 3-4.  He may get over-drafted but will be effective as a pass rushing defensive end.

COMBINE
YES

 

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CROWDER TIM TEXAS-AUSTIN DE 6'3.5" 272 32 4.69 1.59 2.71 4.32   7.28 30.5" 9'3"

PLAYER WHO COULD HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN PLAYERS SELECTED AHEAD OF HIM in the DRAFT

I'm tired of hearing how Crowder is an underachiever.  He did have 10.5 sacks his senior year.  This is a kid who got by in college on his athleticism.  He will need coaching, but he has the skills to be an excellent two-way (run and pass) end in the NFL.  I predict he will go in round two (where I have him graded - higher than many others). Then some draft talking head will say it was a reach because while he has great tools he doesn't play to his talent; but that talking head will be proved wrong in long run.

COMBINE
YES

 

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HARRIS RYAN NOTRE DAME OT 6'4.4" 305 25 5.09 1.75 2.96 4.52   7.78 25.5" 8'4"
Harris started the post-season as one of the potential top left tackles in the draft and ended the post season as an afterthought as a right tackle.  However, he has the skill set and quick feet to succeed as right tackle in the NFL.  He will need some work on his technique and has to become more consistent.

COMBINE
YES

 

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THOMAS MARCUS FLORIDA DT/NT 6'2.6" 314 27                
Thomas comes into the NFL with serious off the field concerns.  He has the "Ricky Williams up in smoke" disease.  On the field Thomas is a run-stuffing defensive tackle who can engage blockers so linebackers can make tackles, and can disengage from blockers to make tackles.

COMBINE
YES

 

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FENTON MARK COLORADO OC 6'4.2" 290 22       4.90   7.92 36" 8'8"
Fenton is a tough guy who has good quickness and athleticism for the position.  Coming off a leg injury, he could get lost on draft day, however; he could develop into a quality reserve and possibly even a solid starter.

COMBINE
NO

 

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HARRIS STEVEN FLORIDA DT 6'3.7" 282                  
Harris popped at the East West Shrine All Star Game practices.  He showed excellent technique and good quickness.  However, his college career was not great and he is a bit light for a defensive tackle, although he has the build to add weight.

COMBINE
NO

 

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ROGERS RODERICK WISCONSIN FS 6'0.7" 189 14 4.47 1.52 2.55 4.25   7.05 35.5" 9.9"
Rogers is a heady free safety with a nose for the ball.  Post-season injuries may hamper his draft status and impact his workout numbers.

COMBINE
YES

 

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YOUNG SELVIN TEXAS-AUSTIN

RB

5'11.1" 207   4.58 1.56 2.65          
Young is a tough kid who gets banged up a lot, but plays with injuries.  While he lacks top end speed, Young could stick as a change of pace back.

 

2007 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO THE DRAFT and FREE AGENCY
major need     need     depth/possible need     not a significant need

QB With Plummer likely gone, a backup for Cutler
RB If T Bell was the answer he would have had the job full time by now.  M Bell is a solid backup.
WR Walker and Marshall will be a top tandem for years.  Smith is a solid #3 now, but a young player should be added.
TE Scheffler looked good.  Alexander can block.
OL Carlisle is an UFA.  His replacement may be on the roster (Kuper, Meyers) but another body should be added.
DL This unit can use a make-over.  Ekuban and Warren could stick, and Dumervil as a situational guy.
LB Burns, a key backup, is an UFA. The starters are fine but backups are needed.
DB Time for Paymah to match the success of Williams and Foxworth.  A young CB and S should be added.
ST The Broncos need a good return man.

2006 DRAFT PICKS
Links go to write-ups at NFL.com

Denver
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 11 Cutler, Jay QB 6-3 225 Vanderbilt # 3 QB Round 1
2 61 Scheffler, Tony TE 6-5 255 Western Michigan # 9 TE Round 4
4 119 Marshall, Brandon WR 6-4 230 Central Florida # 7 WR Round 3
4 126 Dumervil, Elvis DE 5-11 258 Louisville # 17 DE Round 4
4 130 Hixon, Domenik WR 6-2 210 Akron Late Round Value > Round 4
5 161 Kuper, Chris G 6-4 302 North Dakota # 6 OG Round 3
6 198 Eslinger, Greg C 6-3 291 Minnesota # 3 C Round 3
  FA Bell, Mike RB 6-0 221 Arizona # 11 RB Round 3
  FA Powers-Neal, Rashon FB 6-2 240 Notre Dame Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Burton, Antwon DT 6-2 308 Temple Late Round Value > Round 4

 

A-

2006 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Broncos did a good job of drafting for value.  While they grabbed Scheffler higher than where I had him valued, Scheffler is a player I identified as one who will perform better in the NFL than many drafted ahead of him.  Since he was drafted in round two, that makes him a player who will perform to expectations at the spot at which he was drafted. A side note - this is the second year in a row that the Broncos selected three players from my list of players who will have better NFL careers than many selected ahead of them in the draft.  Last year the three were CBs Williams, Foxworth and Paymah, and two have already paid dividends.

The A- grade is inclusive of the draft day trade for Javon Walker.  With the Broncos recent history of drafted receivers performing below expectations, getting a known quantity like Walker was a good move for many reasons.  Walker was on his way to being one of the top receivers in the NFL before blowing out his knee.  He will provide the Broncos with a major weapon at wide receiver.  Now on to analyzing the Broncos' draft picks.  Cutler was my third rated quarterback and I did not have as high a grade on him as other draft analysts.  However, when the Broncos selected him; he was the top rated quarterback on my draft board; in my mock draft I had the Broncos taking Cutler with the 15th pick in round one because he fits their system and the Broncos (along with teams like the Steelers and Patriots) are adept at not only drafting good players, but players that fit their system; and the key to drafting a quarterback in round one is drafting a quarterback you really like, and the Broncos liked Cutler enough to maneuver to get him.  I hate some of the inane quotes you hear on draft day, especially as it relates to drafting quarterbacks early.  Comments like, if you have an early selection and have a need at quarterback you should draft one because you may never be in that position again, or you have to consider drafting a quarterback if he is the best value on your board, even if you have no major need at the position, etc., etc., etc.  Such nonsense.  If a quarterback is drafted in round one, a team has to feel strongly that that quarterback is the guy they want at that position long term.  If you miss on a quarterback early, all you get is a horrible salary cap hit.  At least if you miss on a position player, that player can play on special teams, be used in situational offenses or defenses, be used as an injury replacement without being too much of a liability, etc.  The Broncos believe strongly in Cutler and there was no other quarterback available that would have been a better selection, so the Cutler pick was a good one, even though they drafted him higher in round one than where I had him graded.  Scheffler in round two was another interesting pick.  I had a late third/early fourth round grade on him; but then I indicated he will be a steal at that spot.  The net result is the Broncos drafted him where I thought his talent level was, even though the depth at tight end in the draft, the fact that he played for a small school with a very dominate receiver (Greg Jennings) which helped take coverage away from him, and that the fact that he needs to get stronger to become a better blocker, resulted in me believing that he would be available a round or so later than where the Broncos drafted him.  Scheffler has very good speed, quickness, hands, and athletic ability.  His selection is interesting, however, because the word I read from the Broncos is that they let Putzier go because of his limitations blocking, and that is Scheffler's weak area as well.   Brandon Marshall was also on my "list."  This time the Broncos drafted a receiver who will be a star in the league in three years.  He will need two or three years to arrive, so Bronco fans, be patient.  Marshall has excellent size, good hands, can break tackles, is a willing target over the middle, and can make big plays down the field.  At the Hula Bowl, he was a man among boys.  If drafting on college production alone, Dumervil would have been a first round pick, however he is undersized for an end, and possesses only average speed.  But Dumervil is very strong, and is plain and simple, a football player.  This year he should be a good situational pass rusher.  Later in his career he will develop into a regular rotation at end.  While the Broncos reached a bit for Hixon, it's clear with Walker and Marshall already on board, Hixon was drafted primarily for his return ability.  He has the potential to develop into a good kick returner.  As a receiver, Hixon was thought to be a possession receiver with limited speed.  Then he ran a 4.36 forty.  Therefore, he does have some upside there as well.  Kuper is the third player Denver drafted on my "list."  Kuper is another example of Denver drafting a player who fits their system perfectly.  Kuper is a quick, athletic undersized guard that will thrive in the Broncos' system.  He has a shot to win the starting right guard job this year or next.  I had a third round grade on Kuper, who just may have been the most athletic guard in the draft.  Eslinger was good value in round six.  I also had a third round grade on him.  Eslinger is a bit light (although very strong) for a center, but Denver likes them that way. In fact, the player Eslinger most resembles is the Broncos starting center, Tom Nalen.

Running back was the only position where the Broncos did not draft a player, where I thought they could use an additional body.  I am not convinced that Ron Dayne can be a lead back, and he certainly can't be the power back in a two-back rotation - just ask any New York Giant fan or coach.  In fact, if Dayne shares the position, he should not be the back the ball is given to in short yardage and goal line situations.  However, free agent signee Mike Bell could be that back.  I had a third round grade on this bull of a back who has Mike-Anderson-like skills.  Bell is also a better receiver than most think.  Another free agent signing of note was Powers-Neal.  He is a west coast type of fullback, a better receiver than blocker who can be effective as a runner.  He has a shot to make the roster, but could be a candidate for the Broncos' practice squad.  The Broncos also signed Antwon Burton, a defensive tackle who could stick as an inside rusher in the nickel and backup.  Down the line he could blossom into a rotation player at tackle as well.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

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Cutler Vanderbilt 6'3.2", 226 4.77 1.61 2.79 4.31   7.10 23     26
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - I'll hold off final judgment until after the Combine, but I don't have Cutler close to Young and Leinhart.  In fact, I like Rodgers and Campbell (last year) better than Cutler. 
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Cutler and Croyle were the talk of practice at the Senior Bowl, but Whitehurst gets the nod, ever so slightly for his play during the game.  No quarterback looked great during the game.

Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - An interesting prospect, Cutler put up some big numbers down the stretch against some pretty good competition with little help around him.  With good workouts, the big-two could become the big-three.
Mike Mayock, NFL Network - Mayock has Cutler as his clear number one QB.  He stated that if he changed teams with Leinart, USC does just as well but Vanderbilt doesn''t win as many games.  He has Leinart as his number two.
Butch Davis, Network NFL - Cutler showed a very quick release and tremendous accuracy, especially on deep throws, at the Combine workouts.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Cutler has a strong arm, and extreme confidence.  He is a good NFL prospect, but there is too much risk associated with him to be considered a top ten pick.  I have him as a mid-to-late first round pick, but that is more in deference to other experts.  Personally, I'd group him with Croyle, Jacobs, and Whitehurst as the best of the second tier rather than with Young and Leinart as the worst of the top tier.
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Scheffler Western Mich 6'5.3", 254 4.54 1.61 2.66 4.01 11.41 6.81 17 33.5" 9'7"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Scheffler is an extremely athletic tight end who will be a good receiver in the NFL, but needs to work on his strength and blocking.  However, his speed, quickness, and hands are unquestioned, and he will have to be accounted for by defenses in the passing game.

TE/LS
Mike Mayock, NFL Network - Scheffler had a good Combine and has some upside.
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Marshall Cent Florida 6'4.4", 229 4.49 1.60 2.71 4.31 11.82 6.96   37" 10'0"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Desire a big receiver?  Forget Nance.  Forget Baskett.  And yes, forget Stovall.  Jump on Marshall.  He is over 6'4", ran a 4.49 forty at the Combine, and was a man among boys at the Hula Bowl.  Marshall has good hands, is strong, can make the tough catch, is both a middle of the field and down the field target, and is a good athlete.  He has the best potential to be a star of all of the big receivers in this draft.

WR
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - At the Hula Bowl, Marshall showed excellent hands, moves, the ability to make the tough catch, toughness, the ability to use his size, and the ability to get deep.  Clearly, Marshall was the best player in the game.
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Dumervil Louisville 5'11", 257 4.75 1.68 2.81       30      
DE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Dumervil lacks the measureables and is undersized, but has tremendous strength and had great college production.  In his senior year, Dumervil had 20 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, and 65 tackles.  While many will downgrade him because of his shortcomings, I wouldn't bet against him.
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Hixon Akron 6'2", 192 4.36                  
WR - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Hixon is a good kick returner, has good hands, and showed more speed than expected during his workout.
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Kuper North Dakota 6'4", 301 5.10 1.78 2.96 4.60   7.59 24 30" 9'1"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Kuper is a small school prospect who looked dominate in his league.  The key to a player like this is his workout numbers to see if he has the athletic ability to translate his skill to the next level.  He does.  Kuper's speed, quickness and athletic ability were towards the top of the draft class guards.  He does need some work in the weight room, but he'll get plenty of that in the NFL.

OG/LS
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Eslinger Minnesota 6'3", 292 5.13 1.77 3.02 4.69   7.59 30 30" 8'5"  
C
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Eslinger is a smart, athletic center who knows how to play his position well.  He is not overly big, but is strong and athletic.
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Bell Arizona 6'0.2", 221 4.56 1.60 2.73 4.16 11.48 6.91 21 33" 9'6"  
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - At the Senior Bowl, Bell showed good cutting ability and power running skills.  Not asked to do it all at Arizona, Bell showed he could catch at Senior Bowl week.  Bell has speed and toughness, and good cutting ability.  He had a very good week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
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Powers-Neal Notre Dame 6'2.2", 240 4.61     4.25   6.96 19 31.5" 9'8"  
FB - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Powers-Neal is a better receiving fullback than blocking fullback.  He also has good speed for the position.  He could be an asset in a west coast system that primarily uses their fullback to catch the ball.
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Burton Temple 6'1.6", 308 5.39           31 31.5" 9'5"  
DT/NT - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Burton missed the 2004 season with a broken foot.  He has good strength and athleticism for his position, and has the potential to develop into an inside pass rusher in the nickel defense and a rotation player at tackle.

 

2006 TEAM NEEDS
prior to free agency

DEN
QB A veteran to back up Plummer would be nice.  Van Pelt has upside, but he is still a year or two away from being able to keep the offense going should Plummer go down.
RB Anderson and Bell are a good one-two punch.  Dayne is an UFA who the Broncos should be able to resign.  If a big time back can be secured, fine, otherwise this unit is solid.
WR I keep saying Smith is getting older, and he is due to slow down.  One day I may even be right.  Lelie has his moments, can get deep, but is starting to look more like a three than a two.  Adams and Devoe have NFL skills, but are not starting material.  A moment to digress.  I had Williams, Foxworth and Paymah as players who will have better NFL careers than others drafted ahead of them.  While most analysts ripped apart the Bronco draft, I did not.  Now the Broncos have another player from that list, they signed Bill Flowers.  He is not a future star, or even a future starter.  He has Proehl/Stokely potential.  Enough of that, back to the Broncos' receiver needs, it is time to bring in a number two receiver who can be a number one in a couple of years when (if?) Smith finally slows down.
TE Alexander can block, Putzier can catch, Duke can play basketball.  While Putzier can catch he is not dominate enough to replace Alexander on first downs.  Maybe Duke will develop.  However, with the draft deep in quality tight ends, maybe one can be drafted who is a big enough receiving to put Alexander on the bench. 
OL One down, one to go.  The Broncos extended Nalen, now they need to do the same thing to UFA Lepsis.  If not left tackle would be a huge hole.  Depth is also needed, although I like Meyers, he fits the Broncos scheme very well.
DL The Cleveland experiment worked.  However, Warren, who became a key player for the Broncos is an UFA and may now get attention from numerous teams.  That would be a shame for the Broncos because his replacement is not currently on the Broncos' roster.  At end Pryce, Brown, and Ekuban come back.  The Broncos may have a serious need at tackle depending upon what happens with Warren.
LB Williams-Wilson-Gold are a very strong starting trio, however, two key reserves are UFAs, so depth may be a concern.
DB Not only did I tag the three corners (see WR comments), but also said Paymah would be the one to emerge last, and could be moved to safety long term.  The Broncos are set at both corner and safety in terms of quality starters, and quality reserves.
ST This is a strong unit with Elam, Sauerbrun, and Williams.

 

2005 COLLEGE DRAFT

Denver - links below go to NFL.com reports Jaybird Jaybird
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Ranking Value Board
2 56 Williams, Darrent CB 5-8 188 Oklahoma State # 9 CB Round 2
3 76 Paymah, Karl CB 6-0 204 Washington State # 13 CB Round 3
3 97 Foxworth, Domonique CB 5-11 178 Maryland # 8 CB Round 2
3 101 Clarett, Maurice RB 6-0 234 Ohio State   > Round 4
6 200 Myers, Chris G 6-5 300 Miami (Fla.) #12 OG Round 4
7 239 Ernster, Paul P 6-0 217 Northern Arizona   > Round 4
FA   Pears, Erik OT 6-8 312 Colorado State Late Round Value > Round 4
FA   Browner, Brandon CB 6-4 221 Oregon State # 11 CB Round 2

 

Except for one pick (Clarett), the Broncos drafted players at, or higher on my board than where they were selected by the Broncos.  They also grabbed three players from my "players who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him" list. 

The statement above is the good news.  The hard-to-figure-out news is that, while they selected three outstanding players from my "list", they were all cornerbacks!  However, outside of a young linebacker, the Broncos came out of the draft meeting their most glaring needs.  Williams is a player who the Bronco fans will love.  He will start out as their nickel corner, but will show, in time, that he has the skills to be a top starting corner despite his lack of height.  He reminds me of a young Aaron Glenn.  Williams also solves the Broncos need for a game-breaking return man.  Paymah was a very underrated player coming into this draft.  He had the label of a heady, smart, and very effective player, but a player that did not possess the athletic talent to transfer his effectiveness to the NFL.  Then he worked-out.  Paymah clearly has the athletic talent needed to be a top corner in the league.  He could push Walls to the bench, or worse, especially with Foxworth also added in round three.  In fact, of the three corners the Broncos drafted, I had the highest grade on Foxworth.  His road to the draft was similar to Paymah's, but he is faster, quicker and was a better player in college.  Looking at these three players long term, I look for Foxworth to start along side Champ Bailey, with Williams being the nickel corner and one of the top return men in the league.  Paymah, who is the most physical of the corners, could move to free safety, eventually replacing Lynch, or bumping Lynch back to strong safety.  Now the puzzling pick.  If this were any other team I would rip this pick apart.  However, how can one argue with the Broncos' success at selecting running backs.  So, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but wait, they signed Ron Dayne, one of the biggest draft mistakes of the New York Giants.  Hmmmm.  Dayne, big, slow, not very strong.  Clarett, big, slow, but at least he's strong.  So if the Broncos drafted Clarett as a Dayne-upgrade, kudos. A third round pick to upgrade their third or fourth string halfback.  Obviously, even with the Broncos' history of selecting good running backs, I highly question this pick.  Meyers was the steal of this draft for the Broncos.  Given how much I like Williams, Paymah, and Foxworth that is saying a lot.  He is the perfect guard for the Broncos system.  Meyers is a bit small, but quick and strong.  For the majority of teams I had him graded as a fourth round pick.  However, for the Broncos, who like small, quick, strong offensive lineman, his value was more like a third rounder.  A great pick.  Ernster started his college career as a kicker, and become a punter for the first time this past year.  He did very well as a punter and has a good chance to win that job with the Broncos.  As an added bonus he could serve as a kickoff specialist, saving the wear and tear on Jason Elam.

As of this writing the Broncos had two free agent signing of note.  OT Erik Pears is a big man with toughness and a non-stop motor.  An injured shoulder, and the need for further development, resulted in him not being drafted.  Pears, however, has a good potential and was a nice get by the Broncos in free agency.  Their second signing of note was CB Brandon Browner.  At one time, Browner was a potential late first round selection.  Then he ran a 4.68 forty.  Not good for a cornerback.  However, Browner has good size and could be a useful player in nickel packages.  He could even be a specialty player used against big, physical receivers who are not burners.  Another possibility is to get him in the weight room, improve his strength, and move him to safety.

RED NUMBERS BELOW - among best at position   
Long shuttle numbers (where available) in blue, top performers to be determined later

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Williams CB 4.31 1.49 3.97   6.98 16 39" 10'4" 25

JAYBIRD PLAYER WHO WILL HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN MANY DRAFTED HIGHER THAN HIM

If he were 6'0" he would be mentioned in the same breathe as Rolle, Jones and Rogers.  In a worst case scenario, Williams will be one of the best nickel backs/return men in the league.  Best case, he is the next Aaron Glenn, a shorter corner who can dominate.  In my opinion, he will be the next Aaron Glenn.

Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports: Oklahoma State CB Darrent Williams was the most aggressive cover corner in Mobile, despite measuring in at just 5-8, 170. Williams, who missed most of the 2004 season with a broken arm, made up for lost time, getting in the face of opposing receivers, sticking like glue, and exploding on the ball once it was in the air.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Okalahoma State CB Darrent Williams continued to be the top CB in Mobile as he picked off two more passes at practice on Wednesday.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Oklahoma State CB Darrent Williams continued to be the North's most aggressive DB (at Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday) as he broke well on several passes. 
InsideTheLeague.com reports:
Oklahoma State CB Darrent Williams was impressive in man-to-man coverage, excelled in drills and was probably the best-looking player at the North team workouts, impressing scouts at the Senior Bowl.
Zac Jackson, of ClevelandBrowns.com, reports:
Oklahoma State CB Darrent Williams displayed good quickness during Senior Bowl practice Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Jamie Moore of GBNReport.com reports:
A couple of undersized players showed well on Monday. Oklahoma State CB Darrent Williams was very aggressive breaking on the ball, and showed good instincts in coverage.
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Paymah CB 4.41 1.55 3.94 10.92 6.97 16 41.5" 10'5" 15

JAYBIRD PLAYER WHO WILL HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN MANY DRAFTED HIGHER THAN HIM

A late entry on this list, Paymah is the classic case of a corner with good skills, who turns out to be much more athletic than originally thought.  Paymah ran a 4.41 forty, a 3.94 short shuttle, and had a 41.5" vertical.  He is also close to 6'0" and plays physically.

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Foxworth CB 4.34 1.48 3.89   6.78 14 41" 10'5" 20

JAYBIRD PLAYER WHO WILL HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN MANY DRAFTED HIGHER THAN HIM

Last year I had Randall Gay on my list.  He wasn't drafted, but started in the Super Bowl.  My reasoning was that he was considered a smart, instinctive corner without top speed.  He then ran a 4.33 forty!  Foxworth is my Randall Gay in this draft.  Here is what the USA Today's Sports Weekly Draft Edition says about Fowworth, "A solid starter for three-plus years, Foxworth lacks the measurables to be a higher pick (they project him in round four or five) but has enough experience to land as a reliable reserve.  Now his workout numbers: 4.34 forty, 3.89 short shuttle, 6.78 long shuttle, 41" vertical jump, 10'5" broad jump.  This was one of the best workouts by any prospect at any position.  Obviously, I like Foxworth a lot in this draft.

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Clarett RB 4.67 1.63 4.44 12.09 7.43 22 34" 9'7" 19
Gil Brant of NFL.com reports: Clarett really looked good catching the football at his workout. Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson conducted the drills
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports: The 'rehabilitation of former Ohio State RB Maurice Clarett's draft prospects that is. After impressing NFL personnel people with what appeared to be a better attitude earlier in the week, Clarett fell apart at yesterday's RB workouts at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Clarett clunkered down the 40-yard track, timing out in over 4.80 in his first heat, and then barely cracking the 4.70 mark in a second run. Then rather than trying to make amends in the agility drills, Clarett packed his bags and went home.
ESPNews reports:
RB Maurice Clarett plans to go through all of the workouts at the NFL Combine. Clarett noted that he feels he has better work ethic, despite having not played football in more than two years. Provided he is happy with the results of his combine workouts, he does not plan to work out again before the NFL Draft.
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports: NFL Draft prospect RB Maurice Clarett showed up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at a muscular 234 pounds, as opposed to the soft 237 pounds he was at during last year's Combine. "I did a lot more weight lifting, a lot more strength training and things like that," Clarett said. "I weighed in today at 234 but it's a lot different from last year." Clarett also said he has been humbled by his experiences since leaving Ohio State two years ago. "I don't want to say I was humble in the past all the time, I might have said some things to the media I shouldn't have said and things like that."
FROM 2004 DRAFT WRITE-UP
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports:
Clarett had a solid, not spectacular, individual workout Monday, April 5, at the Ohio State University athletic complex. The workout will likely make Clarett a first-day selection in April's draft. "He answered some questions, for sure, and he's probably a first-day guy now," one scout from an AFC team said. "He moved better than I thought he would and he had a better change of direction than I had seen on tape. Plus he caught the ball well. I could see him maybe going in the second (round) now. Probably no worse than the third (round)." Clarett was timed in the 4.58-4.59 second range in the 40-yard dash, performed 19 "repetitions" of the standard 225-pound bench press, had a 36½-inch vertical jump and registered a long jump of 9 feet, 6 inches. In addition, the running back that played just one year of college ball dropped only a single pass during receiving drills.
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Meyers G/C 5.15   4.38   7.38 35 32" 8'10" 25
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Meyers is a smallish offensive lineman with some skills.  However, he is quick and strong so, in the right system, he could be a good player.
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Ernster P                  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Ernster was originally a placekicker in college.  Last year he was asked to punt as well and did a good job.
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Pears OT           24     32
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Pears will be limited in his workouts leading up to the draft because of a shoulder injury.  This could effect his draft status.  He is a big man who is a tough-guy, effort player.  While he will need some time, he has good base skills that can be developed further when he reaches the NFL.  
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Browner CB 4.68 1.63 4.24   7.21 13 36.5" 10'3" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Browner's advertised 4.4 speed turned out to be false advertising.  He is still an intriguing player, but now is more of an extra-back, special match-up type.  He could now go anywhere from the bottom of round two, to late in day two.  It depends upon the defensive packages, and needs of teams looking at him.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Brandon Browner did not run particularly well at the Combine and may now get a longer look as potential free safety.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports:
Cornerback Brandon Browner of Oregon State, who measured 6-3¾ and 221 pounds on Sunday, might suddenly be a tad devalued. While he possesses what most scouts would consider prototype size, talent evaluators are curious about Browner's speed in the 40

Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: At 6'4" with 4.4 speed (want verification of both during workouts), Browner could be the rare corner who can cover the new breed of fast, tall receivers. 

2005 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT

Jay Goldberg of 90FootballLinks.NET reports: 
major need         need position         possible need, depth needed    no real need
Key UFA: Hamilton G, Ellis DT, Johnson DT, Hayward DE, Spragen LB, Kennedy S
Knorr P, Coleman DE
Key RFA: Putzier TE (6th), Pope DT (7th), Palepoi DE (2nd), Walls CB, Herndon CB
NOTE - RFA COMPENSATION AT MINIMUM TENDER

QB: For better or worse, Plummer is their guy.  Kannell is in the mold of the Detmer's, a good sub for a game or two, but not for the long run.  The Broncos should draft a young QB in the mid-rounds of the draft for Plummer insurance and to be a more long-term backup.
RB:
An embarrassment of riches.  Bell and Griffin are definiotely back next year.  Droughns may be back as well if he can't find a team that will offer value to the Broncos in a trade.
WR: Smith keeps rolling along.  Lelie took a big step forward.  Watts and Luke have potential.  Another player to compete with the youngsters and to round out this unit is advised.
TE: Putzier is better than people think.  He is a RFA, we'll see what the Bronco's think of him, by the amount with which he is tendered.  Carswell is a very good blocker.  Hape has his moments.  If a stud can be obtained, why not, otherwise resign Putzier and keep status quo.
OL: The offensive line is always a strength for the Broncos.  Hmilton is an UFA so he, or another guard wikl need to be secured.  Other than that, just bodies for competition and depth.
DL: Hayward is an UFA, Pryce is being shopped, and the Broncos are talking about switching to a 3-4.  Ends are needed.  At tackle there are a lot of free agents, and this position will also have to be sorted out in the offseason.
LB: If the Broncos gop to a 3-4 they have two spots locked up with Williams and Wilson.  Pierce could also slide in next to Wilson in the middle.  A pass rusher will be needed for the other outside backer position. 
DB: Bailey is back at corner.  Walls and Herndon are both RFA's and only one will probably be tendered at a salary where he won't get serious offers in free agency.  Alexander is a nice young nickel.  Lynch is also back at safety.  Kennedy is an UFA, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Broncos slyly let him walk.  They have Ferguson who is a good player, can get a vet at a bargain in free agency, and draft a young prospect.
ST: Elam is a top kicker.  Knorr is replaceable.  A young return-man should be drafted.

 

2004 COLLEGE DRAFT

Denver
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 17 Williams, D.J. OLB 6-0 247 Miami (Fla.)
2 41 Bell, Tatum RB 5-11 212 Oklahoma State
2 54 Watts, Darius WR 6-1 188 Marshall
3 85 LeSueur, Jeremy CB 6-0 197 Michigan
5 152 Shoate, Jeff CB 5-10 189 San Diego State
6 171 Luke, Triandos WR 5-10 189 Alabama
6 190 Sewell, Josh C 6-2 300 Nebraska
7 225 Mauck, Matt QB 6-1 213 Louisiana State
7 247 Miree, Brandon RB 5-11 237 Pittsburgh
7 250 Van Pelt, Bradlee QB 6-2 223 Colorado State

 

The Broncos had a solid draft, and a great college free agent signing period.  D.J. Williams was the player I had projected for the Broncos with their first pick in the draft.  He was value at that spot and fills a need with Gold leaving and Mobley slowing down.  He should start from day one.  While I can't argue the selection of Bell, I am a very big fan of Garrison Hearst.  He should be an excellent player in the Bronco offense, and could be spelled quite effectively by Quentin Griffin.  Therefore, I would have gone with DE Travis LaBoy or Antwan Odom.  Pryce needs a player for opposing teams to be wary of to avoid constant double-teams.  While I can't argue Bell, I can and will argue Watts. With Odom still on the board the Broncos should have selected Odom and looked receiver in round five.  P. K. Sam was available at their spot in round five.  LeSueur was a solid selection in round three. I had him with a late second round grade.  Shoate could surprise, he has skills and Luke is a speedy receiver who will probably peak as a special teams player who contributes in multiple receiver sets, maybe.  Sewell, Mauck and Miree will have their work cut out for them trying to make the team.  However, I love the Broncos' selection of Van Pelt.  He is a seventh round steal who I predict will outplay Mauck and will make the Broncos as their third quarterback.  In a couple of years, Van Pelt could be one of those later round quarterback finds.  After the draft the Broncos did not rest.  They had one of the best performances in terms of signing college street free agents.  CB Roc Alexander has as much upside as any corner not named Robinson or Hall in this draft.  That's a pretty good free agent.  However, he needs to stay healthy and prove he can tackle consistently on special teams to win a roster spot.  Guard, Tyson Clabo could have easily been selected early in day two of the draft and no one would have batted an eye.  WR B. J. Johnson saw his stock drop because he was not healthy enough to work out.  If his workouts went as expected, he could have gone late in day one or early in day two.

PLAYER/ TEAM NEWS PRIOR TO DRAFT

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DJ Williams O 6-0¾, 250 4.55 4.05 11.40 7.00 - 38" 9-9
DJ Williams
Miami

#1 ranked OLB  by Jaybird

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Due to a pectoral muscle ailment, Williams did not bench press (strength lift) at Miami's Pro Day.
NFLFans.com reports: One of the top athletes in the draft and at the top of the LB recruits. With his great athleticism and physical skills he could succeed in the NFL at all three LB positions. He is a very dedicated player who will only get better under good coaching and tutoring at the next level. He has some weakness, as indicated, but all draftees have areas of improvement, just as all players already playing in the NFL do, but he can certainly overcome any of those listed. A bright future is in store for D.J. Williams.
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Bell 5-11, 212 4.37 1.49 2.58 - - 25 38½" 9-9
Bell
Oklahoma St.

#6 ranked RB  by Jaybird

Nolan Nawrocki and Mike Wilkening of ProFootballWeekly.com report: RB Tatum Bell has caught the eye of several scouts (at Senior Bowl practice).
D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports:  Not enough has been said about the job Tatum Bell has done (at Senior Bowl practices).  He is much like Mewelde Moore, his value will come as a receiver out of the backfield. Bell has showed some elusiveness in practice and could be a guy some teams look towards in the middle of the draft. May not be the best running back here but he has probably made fewer mistakes than any running back on either roster.
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports: Oklahoma State RB Tatum Bell surely did help himself by running a 4.37 and a 4.40 while lifting 25 reps.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Tatum Bell, RB, Oklahoma State: Sometimes overshadowed by tailbacks with higher profiles, Tatum Bell of Oklahoma State stepped up nicely on Saturday, blistering the 40 in a time of 4.37 and generally doing more than enough to catch scouts' attention. Bell might well be the most explosive back in the entire draft. He has nice enough size but will have to run tougher inside and also get his pad level down. Right now, he's a tad too upright and stiff. He catches the ball well, though, is a willing blocker and can run away from defenders if he hits air in the secondary.
Vic Ketchman, of jaguars.com reports: Oklahoma State's Tatum Bell, 5-11, 212, is, yet, another second-round possibility. Bell is quick through the hole and mixes straight-line speed with a little wiggle, but he's strictly a north-south runner. Outside the tackles, his speed diminishes quickly. He might fit best in a rotation system.
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Watts 6-1 3/8, 186 4.43 - 4.18 - 6.94 - 35" 10-3
Watts
Marshall

#18 ranked WR  by Jaybird

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Watts finished his college career with 47 touchdown catches, just three shy of the Division I-A record, held by current Jacksonville wideout Troy Edwards. But he also finished with a lengthy injury dossier that included a shoulder separation, badly sprained ankle and twisted foot. Given that the wide receiver group is likely the deepest position here, Watts needs a quick recovery, but he is still wearing a walking boot much of the time. "I need to be able to run and, if I can fight through the pain, I'm going to try," said Watts. "My numbers (in college) were good and I think that teams know about me. But I can't afford to try to live off my reputation. I mean, there are a ton of guys here with bigger names than I've got."
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LeSeur CB 6.00.1, 199 4.55 - - - - 35½" 9-8
LeSueur
Michigan

#10 ranked CB  by Jaybird

D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports: LeSueur (CB) proved (at Senior Bowl practices) he can be a nice pick for a team that wants a physical corner.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: LeSueur fell down while running at the combine and did not workout, but he will work out on March 31, at 11 a.m.
NFLFans.com reports: Prospect is rapidly gaining attention from a lot of scouts and GMs.
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Shoate CB 5-10¼, 187 4.53 - - - 12 35½" -
Shoate
Arizona State

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Shoate a fine cover corner and solid tackler often referred to as “the Playmaker” in the Aztec’s secondary, hurt his draft standing by dropping some very easy passes thrown his way during positional workouts (at pro day). Not a good showing for the man. Could hurt his position taken in the draft.
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Luke 5-11, 191 4.41 - - - - 15 38½" -
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Mauck 6-2, 220 - - - - -
Mauck
LSU

Jaybird: below 4th round

Pete Fiutak / CollegeFootballNews.com posted at foxsports.com reports: Projected: second day. Good or bad move to come out early? Huh? Mauck had a great season leading LSU to a share of the national title, but as good as he was, he wasn't necessarily the reason the Tigers won the title. He had NFL-caliber talent all around him, yet he didn't put up out-of-this-world numbers. Maybe it's because of his age (25) and his experience as a pro baseball player that made him want to leave early. Pro prospect wise, he could've used another year to sharpen things up.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Observations from two AFC personnel directors and an NFC college scout "Some of our guys like the LSU kid, Matt Mauck, too, but he's a little older and that is a concern."
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Bell 5-11 7/8, 226 4.58 - - 4.48 7.29 24 32" 10-1
Miree
Pittsburgh

Jaybird: below 4th round

Bryan Dietzler of NFLFans.com reports: Miree is a big back with a lot of power but he doesn't have blazing speed or quickness. He is not elusive either, and doesn't make a lot of defenders miss.
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Van Pelt 6-2¼, 223 4.90 - - 33½" 9-7
Van Pelt
Colorado State

#9 ranked QB  by Jaybird

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Observations from two AFC personnel directors and an NFC college scout "You'll think I'm crazy, but chew on this name for a quarterback we would think about around the fifth round or so: the (Bradlee) Van Pelt kid from Colorado State. I knew his father (former New York Giants linebacker Brad Van Pelt) as a player, and this kid has the same kind of toughness. Our (scouts) really are intrigued by him. He's got far better athleticism than other teams seem to think. And we think he could maybe play a couple of positions, maybe even chase down kicks on special teams."
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Van Pelt, son of former Giants quarterback Brad VanPelt, did the drills at pro day and looked good.
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Alexander CB 5-11 1/8, 185 4.35 4.38 - 6.93 5 39½" 10-5
Alexander
Washington

#13 ranked CB  by Jaybird

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Washington's Roc Alexander  ran in the low 4.4s at the Combine.  Alexander is also a kick returner.
NFLFans.com reports: Roc Alexander is probably the most naturally gifted CB in the draft possessing all the attributes needed to br a great NFL CB, but injuries in the last couple of seasons have really held him back. Shows up big in the big game as was evident against Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl. Also led the Pac 10 with a 29.2-yard kickoff return average that year. Plagued by shoulder problems Alexander is still a top athlete combining blazing speed, agility and athleticism. If Roc’s shoulder checks out medically he could swarm up draft boards.
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Clabo G 6-6¾, 317 5.27 - - - 22 - -
Clabo
Wake Forest

#8 ranked G  by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: A workout warrior who will give you good solid production at either OT or OG. Is very athletic and was an excellent basketball player in Prep School. If he adds some strength, especially to his lower body, he may very work out to be a good LOT in the NFL. He has experience at that position in college and is projected by some to play there. Definitely could be a gem if as I suspect he slides to the 3rd or 4th rounds due to the strength of the OT and OG positions in the 2004 draft.
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Johnson 5-11¾, 202 - - - - - - - -
Johnson
Texas

#22 ranked WR  by Jaybird

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Johnson (5-11¾, 202) had been hurt and didn't run. He tried but pulled up before he could finish. Johnson will try to run in the first part of April because so many teams are interested in him.
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Kennedy DE 5-11, 325 - - - - - - -
Kennedy
North Texas

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: I am not saying that because of his lack of height that Brandon could not be a productive DT in the NFL but I do believe it will be a major deterrent of many scouts that think of this literally as a major short-coming of a DT prospect. He will be a very workman-like DT who excels against the run, especially in short yardage situations when they try to power it up the middle, but will struggle against the big guys in the NFL when it comes to pushing into the backfield and giving consistent pressure up the middle.

 

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT

Denver
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 20 Foster, George OT 6-5 338 Georgia
2 51 Pierce, Terry ILB 6-1 251 Kansas State
4 108 Griffin, Quentin RB 5-7 195 Oklahoma
4 114 Eason, Nicholas DT 6-3 301 Clemson
4 128 McNeal, Bryant DE 6-4 248 Clemson
5 157 Claxton, Ben C 6-3 301 Mississippi
5 158 Madise, Adrian WR 5-11 215 Texas Christian
6 194 Hunt, Aaron DE 6-3 267 Texas Tech
7 227 Mitchell, Clint DE 6-7 257 Florida
7 235 Galloway, Ahmaad RB 6-0 223 Alabama

B

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

Foster has tons of potential, but has a history of injuries.  His injuries limited his experience at the college level so he may need a little more time to develop than the typical first-round offensive tackle.  Pierce was an intriguing, but good pick in round two.  He is not the typical small, quick linebacker usually associated with the Broncos.  He has size and hits like a truck.  How can you argue with any running back ever selected by the Broncos.  Griffin has tremendous skills. He is just small.  Could be an excellent change-of-pace back for the Broncos and, with their history, will probably be one of those freakish backs who can withstand the punishment of the NFL even with his smallish stature.  Eason is a risk, but worth a shot in round four.  He has second-round talent, but some question his character.  McNeal can rush the passer but is too light to be an every down defensive end.  Claxton could be a useful player.  That's all one could hope for from a fifth round draft choice.  Madise could be one of those receivers that just misses NFL standards by a little in every area (e.g. was a speed receiver in college but if his forty times translate to effective but not superior speed in the NFL, was a strong receiver in college with good hands but that could be negated in the NFL because of his stature doesn't measure up as well against the physical corners in the NFL).  Hunt and Mitchell both have potential (I especially like Mitchell).  The Broncos are looking for a defensive end to play opposite Pryce.  Hunt or Mitchell could be their guy (with McNeal playing in the nickel).  Also, Galloway or free agent Cecil Sapp could be develop into an effective short-yardage and goal line back.
Foster WORKOUT NUMBERS   Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Foster was impressive at Pro Day. He stood at 6-5½, 331 pounds, ran a 5.03 and 5.10, had a 32-inch vertical, and had an 8-foot, 7½-inch long jump. He looked very good in the drills.
Pierce AllProScouting.com reports Terry Pierce weighed 251-pounds and did 28 reps at the combine.
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Pierce ran three times because there was a large disparity between his first (4.9) and second (4.78) runs. His third 40 produced a time of 4.87. Pierce had a 31-inch vertical jump, 9-7 long jump and ran the short shuttle in 4.51 and the three-cone drill in 7.3. He didn't bench since he did it at the Combine.
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports,Terry Pierce worked out for a second time at Kansas State.  In attendance were the Packers, Chiefs, and Patriots. He weighed 246-pounds and ran 4.77, 4.79, and 4.80. He looked very good in LB drills as well.
Q Griffin Draft2003.com reports, Quentin Griffin, Oklahoma -- Ran 4.47 in the 40... at 5-foot-7, 196 pounds... caught the ball very well during drills... and those were the two areas of most concern to scouts... his size limits his upside...
Eason AllProScouting.com reports Clemson DT Nick Eason came in at 6032, 301-pounds at the combine.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Eason of Clemson. He ran in the low 5.0s two times, got off the ball pretty well in drills, and seems to be a guy who can help compress the pocket from the inside, as well as being a very good run defender.
Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports:  DT Nick Eason (Clemson) helped his draft status at the combine.  A notorious underachiever during his senior year, he made himself a player to watch with his combine performance. He wasn't going to run, then decided at the last minute to participate in the 40-yard sprint and clocked an excellent time, with some scouts getting him at just under five seconds.
Gil Brandt reports Nick Eason, DL, Clemson, lifted 29 times at the combine, a very good number.
Draft2003.com reports, Nick Eason, Clemson -- Ran 5.04 in the 40... at 6-foot-3, 301 pounds... did 29 reps of 225 pounds... surprised scouts by deciding to run at the last minute... ran well... and that will bump him up 5-10 picks come April...
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports,  There is an ongoing feeling around the NFL that Clemson DT Nick Eason may have some mental stability problems. Eason is already on his fourth agent since January and teams are comparing his situation to that of former Arkansas LB Quinton Caver.  Eason has made the rounds of Atlanta based agents since January. He first signed with Len Rowe, but before Rowe could send the SRA into the NFLPA, Eason had signed with Gene Burrough. Burrough, who is also based in Atlanta, found out how quickly Eason's mind changes when he signed with Hadley Engelhard of So-So Def Sports.  Engelhard, who has represented Eason since Febuary 5th, found out earlier today that Eason had signed with Greenville, SC based agent Gene Krcelic of OMG Sports. That would make four agents since the early part of January.  There are also rumors of a pending investigation into whether Eason has accepted benefits before his eligibility expired at Clemson.  One team official I spoke to said that Eason is "digging his own grave just like Caver did." There are also rumors that Eason could be bi-polar.
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Eason was 6-3 and 298 pounds. He ran the 40 in 5.01 and 5.06, added a 28-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot-8 broad jump. He added a 4.52 in the short shuttle, a 7.51 time in the three-cone drill and did 26 benches.
McNeal WORKOUT NUMBERS Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, DE McNeal was 6-4 3/8 and 248 pounds. He pulled up early on his first 40 with an injury, so the only time recorded was a 1.68 on the 10-yard portion of the 40.
Madise WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Madise also ran at the Combine. During the individual workout, he ran a 4.56 and 4.53. He measured 5-foot-11 inches and a quarter, and weighed in at 208 pounds. He registered a vertical jump of 30 1/2 inches and long-jumped 9 feet, 6 inches. Scouts are looking at him as as more of a kick returner.
Hunt Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports Aaron Hunt measured 6024, 267, did 24 reps, and ran a 4.73 forty.
Mitchell Gil Brandt, for NFL.com, reports Florida DL Clint Mitchell is looking good at the NFL Combine. He ran well and is a pretty good-looking athlete.
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports Clint Mitchell-DE-Florida: measured 6067, 257, did 16 reps, and ran  4.88 and 4.93 in the forty.
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Mitchell is 6-6 7/8 and 252 pounds, making him one of the tallest defensive linemen in the draft. He ran the 40 twice for times of 4.98 and 4.95 seconds. He didn't do anything else because he did it already in Indy.

 

 2002 COLLEGE DRAFT

GRADE : B-


Lelie is a great fit for this offense.  He is a combo of Smith and McCaffrey.  He has excellen speed like Smith and good size like McCaffrey.  Portis is a good situational RB.  He is a better compliment to Davis than Anderson (who is moving to FB) or Gray since he offers a change-of-pace.  Davis is a mountain of a man and should allow Pryce to move outside.  FS Brandon started as a WR and has upside potential,  SS Young could be a steal in round seven.  Haygood, with 4.45 speed in the forty, is one of the better return men in the draft.


Links below take you to NFL.com's report on player, position or college team.

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 19 Lelie, Ashley WR 6-3 197 Hawaii
2 51 Portis, Clinton RB 5-11 204 Miami (Fla.)
3 Forfeited
3 96 Davis, Dorsett DT 6-5 304 Mississippi State
4 131 Brandon, Sam FS 6-2 199 Nevada-Las Vegas
5 144 Haygood, Herb WR 5-11 193 Michigan State
6 191 Putzier, Jeb TE 6-4 230 Boise State
7 228 Young, Chris SS 6-0 210 Georgia Tech
7 231 Pope, Monsanto DT 6-3 295 Virginia

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