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01-25-2009, 01:54 PM
In his interview with the RMN, McDaniels said his conclusion, after reviewing tapes, was that "we
have a lot of good players."

Forget the draft failures of 2001-2004. We have to admit the last three years have been stupendous.
Which makes me so glad that Mr. Bowlen retained the Goodmans.

Anyway, there is a cluster of players taken in the second day who I believe would go in the first day
if the league knew then what it knows about them today. Here are the ones whom I believe that fits:

1: Brandon Marshall. Duh. Taken in the 4th round in 2006, he is now considered one of the elite
players in the league. How many teams would kill for him today? He may have been gone by the time
the Broncos picked Cutler in the 11th spot.

2. Ryan Harris. Taken in the 3rd round in 2007. He slid apparently because teams were afraid of
his bad back. Aren't we glad that he had a bad back? Today, he would be a first-rounder, IMO.

3. Eddie Royal. Yes, I know he was a first-day pick, 2nd round in 2008. But I have to list him here
because today Fast Eddie would not have been around, come the second round.

4. Chris Kuper. Taken in the 5th round in 2006, Kuper arrived with little fanfare or expectations.
He was one of those Division II candidates . . . you know, like Marshall. And Clady. And Rod Smith.
And, and, and. All I can say to the Goodmans is, keep scouting those small schools. Anyway, Kupe
played at a Pro Bowl level this year . . . and that isn't just my opinion. Today, I would project him
as a 2nd rounder, maybe even a late 1st.

5. Elvis Dumervil. Yeah, I know, Doom had an off year. Injuries will do that to you. But who in the
football world would forget his 12 sacks in 2007, when he was healthy all year? While he was a
meager 6th rounder in 2006, I would bet someone would reach for him in the second today.

6. Marcus Thomas. So he seemed decent but rather "pedestrian" this last year. What should we
expect of a DT who is in his second year . . . his first one, playing healthy? This was after
being out of football for essentially two years before coming here. Our own coaches have
explained to us that it takes two or three years for a DT to come into his own. Marcus will have
a breakout year in 2009. You heard it here first. But I would venture that several front offices
already know that. I believe that, as a 5th rounder in 2006, he would go in the late 2nd round
today.

7. Peyton Hillis. No, he would not be first day as it is right now, having been injured before he
could really show what he can do. But, had he remained healthy and continued his superlative
running and pass catching ability, I believe there would be teams drooling over him today. Under
those hypothetical conditions, I believe Hillis, a 7th rounder in 2007, would go in the 2nd round
today.

8. Wesley Woodyard. Man, everybody whiffed on him last year, including the Broncos (but with all
the studs they took in that draft, where would they have fitted him in?). You can bet a lot of
jaws dropped open when he took the field last year. His size is what probably closed him out of
the draft . . . he's listed as 230, but that's laughable: WW himself said he was playing at
around 215. Who cares? Tell me how many players anywhere would make us forget D.J. after D.J.
went down . . . well, we didn't forget about him, but you know what I mean. Today, WW would not
be an undrafted free agent. In fact, I would even guess that any team with the intention of
taking him in the 3rd round today would be out of luck: Someone would have taken him in the late
2nd round.


Injuries to a team can never be considered good. But what they did for the Broncos last year was
to expose just how loaded they are with good young players . . . I mean, really good young
players. And we haven't even seen what the likes of Ryan Torain, Anthony Alridge, and Carlton
Powell can do. And look at the quality backups in Tyler Polumbus, Kory Lichtensteiger, and Jack
Williams. And while the jury is still out on Josh Barrett, to think of what he may be is scary.


Yes, the Broncos have holes. They could use a MLB, and they desparately need a stud DT/NT
because of Robertson's knees and the need for additional penetration in the middle. They also need
a good safety, unless they try Woodyard back there, and he and Barrett achieve what I think they
may be able to achieve.

Have faith, Broncos fans. Our team is truly on the cusp of realizing its former greatness. The
forementioned players comprise a big reason for this.

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turftoad
01-25-2009, 01:56 PM
Good read Top. Thanks !

Lonestar
01-25-2009, 02:00 PM
a great break down of the kiddies..


But I have to wonder how many of the Defensive ones will stick in a 3-4 that is appears we are going to try to get to next year..

yardog
01-25-2009, 02:15 PM
My questions is can Powell and Thomas play end in our 3/4 Def?

broncobryce
01-25-2009, 02:20 PM
Wasn't Elvis a fourth rounder?

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01-25-2009, 02:26 PM
a great break down of the kiddies..


But I have to wonder how many of the Defensive ones will stick in a 3-4 that is appears we are going to try to get to next year..


My questions is can Powell and Thomas play end in our 3/4 Def?


IMO, all of the young defensive guys could contribute quite well in a 3-4, if
that indeed is the way they will go. Thomas is very athletic, powerful, and has
good speed for a DT. He may well fourish as a 3-4 DE. Same with Powell, who
more than showed his stuff with a minus YPC given up against opposing ball
carriers. Someone like that may be able to play anywhere on the line.

Woodyard may be a question mark at OLB in a 3-4, where size becomes more
critical at that position. But my private opinion (and I may be all wet) is that
the Broncos may be missing the boat if they don't put him at SS and keep him
there.

The secondary itself won't be affected much by either scheme. If you're good
back there, you're good.

IMHO.

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Cugel
01-25-2009, 05:13 PM
Well, Top, that makes an interesting read, but I can't really agree with you completely.

Shanahan & Goodman managed to find some superb picks, but they were almost ALL on offense! I would add such picks as Ryan Torain, who despite injury is a promising talent. He might never pan out because of his foot injury that has sidelined him the last 2 seasons but if he can get healthy he could be a feature back for the Broncos.

In addition, there's C/G Ben Hamilton who I believe was a 4th round pick. He'd go higher now.

But, defensively, it's a vastly different story.

I know Goodman wasn't responsible for the draft desert of 2001-04, with such useless sods as Ashlie Lelie, Terry Pierce, Willie Middlebrooks and Paul Toviesi, but even starting in '06 there isn't much D.

In the 2006 Draft: Dumervil was the only defensive success and that's it.

Set aside the fact that by this time the defense was falling apart and needed more than 1 4th round band-aid. Dumervil is too small to be more than a pass-rush specialist. It wasn't just injury, teams started planning to get Dumervil blocked on every down, and because the Broncos have NO OTHER DL who is a remote threat to rush the passer, they got it done.

I like Dumervil, but he's just not big enough to stuff the run when big OTs run right at him. It didn't help that the DTs weren't doing their jobs either and the LBs were asleep at the switch.

And that means he can't be an every-down 4-3 DE. If the Broncos stick with a 4-3 Dumervil will probably wind up being the backup.

As for the 3-4 he's nowhere near big enough to play DE in a 3-4. Can he move to play OLB in a 3-4? Possibly.

In 2007 we saw Denver trade a 3rd round pick to move up 4 places to #17 and take . . . Jarvis Moss. He has to be the biggest draft disappointment since, well Ashlie Lelie or George Foster, except he cost more than either of those players.

To add insult to injury, the team spent a 2nd round pick on Tim Crowder, which is a complete and total waste.

Then in the 4th they took Marcus Thomas, who frankly has done nothing whatever to justify the pick so far. One explanation is the one you give TOP that it's just taking him longer to round into shape. The other possibility is simply that he WON'T have a "breakout year" in 2009, that the Marcus Thomas we see is exactly what we're going to get -- a vastly mediocre player who will be a career NFL backup.

It happens all the time and you can't say one is more probable than the other. Until we see some signs of life on the field, there's simply nothing to base such optimism on but hope. :coffee:

Thomas is still a much better pick than Jarvis Moss, who is earning $2.5 million a year and Crowder at least $1 million to sit on the bench. Moss was Dumervil's backup and Crowder was inactive most days. He and Moss alternated being inactive on game day.

Now, it might be that a DE will take 2 or 3 years to become a STARTER in the NFL but there ought to be SOME SIGN that he's starting to get it, become useful in his second season. He should at least be active and on the field in a backup role.

The fact that neither player was good enough to play at all for one of the worst defenses in the NFL is NOT a good sign! This wasn't the Steelers' or Ravens or Giants lineup he failed to crack even a little bit, but a defense that gave up 448 points!

There's been NO signs of life at all from Moss or Crowder and we have to face the probability that they are simply BOTH PURE DRAFT BUSTS!
:coffee:

Now, that's very bad, to blow 3 top round draft picks, but in 2008 there wasn't much defensive help either:

4th round - CB Jack Williams. He was little used his rookie year which is not encouraging, especially when you remember that both Darrent Williams and Foxworth managed to start their rookie years. But, he might get better this season, or he might wind up like Karl Paymah -- rather a disappointment who will probably be cut.

5th Round -- DT Carlton Powell. You don't often find starting DTs in the 5th round and this guy is no exception. Go back and look at the draft history (http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?position=Defensive+Tackles&type=position)and you will find that very few starting DTs evern come out of the 5th or later rounds so the odds are against him being of any use to start with.

Powell's on the "physically unable to perform" list, which isn't encouraging at all. IF it takes DTs 3 years to become useful, then Powell might be a help --- in 2011 with his rookie year a complete wash. If he's still around by then. It's true that we "haven't seen what Carlton Powell can do" unless that means sitting in the trainers room, but it's unlikely to be very much. If he ever becomes a useful backup that would be beating the odds.

6th Round -- LB Spencer Larsen -- Larsen played well for a 6th round pick, but he's not exactly a huge factor. If he can actually become a starter that would be the biggest defensive draft success since DJ Williams in 2004. I'm not holding my breath.

7th Round -- S Josh Barrett Nobody has a clue and I don't either but 7th round safeties don't make it in the NFL very often. Most likely he's a special teams player for 2 or 3 years and then disappears. That's just generally what happens to 7th round picks. Many are drafted, but few are chosen (to start).

Now maybe Shanahan was skewing the draft to shore up his sagging offense, but there's a pattern of failure on defense that is disturbing. The 3 major defensive picks since 2006 (Moss/Crowder/Thomas)have so far shown almost no success, and it's difficult to realistically envision much more this year unless you just take a wild leap of faith.

Changing to a 3-4 would at least give Dumveril and Moss a chance to become starting OLBs and give their careers a new lease on life, but nothing proves they can handle the job. Dumervil might not have the lateral mobility needed and Moss might not be either strong enough to play LOLB or a good enough pass-rusher to start at ROLB.

In either case, he'll be cut.

Of course the team has bigger problems than worrying about past failures, they have to find a starting NT or peferrably 2 (one a FA ready to start day 1 and one a rookie stud to groom for the future).

That won't be easy. Finding a stalwart RILB like Rey Maualuga or James Laurinitis might be easier. Either would make an immediate impact.

Conclusion: Goodman's drafting is very much a mixed bag: tremendous success finding offensive talent, even in later rounds, but so far complete failure to find good defensive players in any round, plus blowing 1st and 2nd round picks, even moving up in the draft to grab a player who has done nothing in 2 years so far.

You can argue that somehow magically all this is going to change this year, but there's absolutely no evidence to support that so far. :coffee:

G_Money
01-25-2009, 05:53 PM
Just to play Devil's Advocate for a sec, Cugel:

The day we drafted Moss, I was screaming, "But we don't PLAY a 3-4! That makes him a 3rd down project pick! And we traded UP for him! What are we thinking?? ARGH!!11!!!one!!1!"

Still, all my Day One anger from the 07 draft aside, the only way Moss becomes a player is to play in a 3-4 as an OLB.

So in that sense, we finally have a chance to make good on the 07 draft by letting Moss and Crowder try their hands at OLB and DE respectively, and seeing if we can make anything out of em.

Thomas only being a career backup is actually pretty good as a 4th rounder. I don't know if we'll try him at NT or DE, but I'd prefer DE for now. I think he could be quite good there. Still, in the 4th you'd LIKE to get a bunch of Brandon Marshall talents, but it's just not always possible. I'm willing to see what Thomas can do with a defense and a coach who might be able to get more out of him.

Jack Williams would be considered a disappointment, but not being able to succeed in Slowik's "15 yards off the LOS" scheme isn't a damning indictment. And many CBs take more than one year to get it. Powell has never played. Still, he'll have to compete with Crowder and the rest of our DL at DE this coming year, so he may not make it with us. Drafting a 4-3 guy and then moving to a 3-4 has invalidated any number of players with their current teams.

Larsen was the best MLB on the field for us last year, and Barrett was the best safety, so it's a little early to be calling 6th and 7th rounders busts at this point.

Both could be starters for us as soon as next season, and both can play in the 4-3 or the 3-4. If not, getting legit backups with your 6th and 7th rounders is good value. If they start, it's obviously fantastic value.

So:

2006 - we only drafted one defender, and he had multiple double-digit sack seasons. We're likely now moving to a 3-4, so he'll have to play OLB or go play for another team, but he's not a bust. He's just a specialist who may no longer fit here.

2007 - Reached in the first for a 3rd-down specialist project in our current D. Added what should have been a solid DT/DE and traded back into the 4th (which we wouldn't have had to do if we hadn't traded up for Moss) in order to get Thomas, who has been our best DT.

2008 - Added a CB who wasn't able to on the field except in dime packages once our secondary is already injured, a DT who is lost for the season before the season even starts, our best MLB who is such a team player he moved to FB for part of the season, and the fastest, biggest man in the secondary who was our best safety once they let him on the field.

I understand that we don't really know what to expect from these guys in the upcoming season, but there are several other teams that would kill to have 6th and 7th rounders be able to outplay their free-agent hires and save them that kind of dough. If Larsen can play ILB well enough that we don't have to pay Crowder 25 million to do it, that's a huge boon.

If Barrett makes it so we don't have to pay Atogwe a ton of dough either, then we're looking pretty good.

If neither of them pan out and the brief glimpses of competence they showed were just a mirage, then we're in a bit of trouble, but they still save us when compared to what vet backups cost.

But potentially screwing up on Moss and Crowder doesn't invalidate every other choice.

Let's let them invalidate themselves before we go chastising the Goodmans for only adding 14 full or part-time starters in the last 3 years via the draft.

~G

muse
01-25-2009, 06:29 PM
Conclusion: Goodman's drafting is very much a mixed bag: tremendous success finding offensive talent, even in later rounds, but so far complete failure to find good defensive players in any round, plus blowing 1st and 2nd round picks, even moving up in the draft to grab a player who has done nothing in 2 years so far.

You can argue that somehow magically all this is going to change this year, but there's absolutely no evidence to support that so far. :coffee:

I'm not so sure. I'm pretty sure that Moss was Bates' choice - he fit exactly what Bates wanted: a pass rusher with a lot of speed to contain the run. As for Crowder...well, he showed some flashes in his rookie year, but faded this year. That said, the lack of production from ANY of our DEs this year seems to indicate - in my mind - that they've not been coached well this year. Whilst Moss and Crowder could be headed towards Bustville, I want to see what they can do with different coaches and a constant scheme. I don't think that 3 scheme changes in their first 2 years will have been particularly beneficial to their development.

As for Thomas, he's not been used to his strengths so far. He's at his most effective when playing 1-gap, but he's been used predominantly (seemingly exclusively under Slowik) as a 2-gap tackle. Likewise, I think he did pretty well to make the team in the first place seeing as he missed so much football in his later college career.

I'm willing to give Moss/Crowder/Thomas another year, maybe two simply because this D has been in a coaching mess ever since Coyer was fired.

For the 2008 guys, again, I'll give them a few years before I judge. But history or not, I think Larsen, Williams, Barrett, Powell, Woodyard and Bell have a good chance of making it in some capacity. Barrett has all the tools to be a good safety - size, speed and he's a very intelligent guy. Larsen at worst will become an STs ace. Considering he was learning two positions for most of the year and then turning out to be our best MLB (admittedly not hard) I was pretty impressed. Woodyard likewise has a future with the team, if only with STs. Williams kind of got supplanted by Bell but we've not really seen enough of him yet. Bell had some rookie errors but he also had some good games, especially against NY. I don't know how he'll fare as a press corner though. Powell is someone I feel very optimistic about. But who knows how he'll turn out.

In the end, the Goodmans have selected two D players on the first day. They haven't panned out - but at least one was selected to fit Bates' scheme. So I'll pass my judgement on their evaluation of D talent after next season. But judging by the late round picks in 08, I'm guessing the verdict will be a good one.

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01-25-2009, 06:49 PM
We may be a bit too hard on Moss here. It has been brought out before that
he had been suffering a chronic staff infection that robbed him of his weight
and strength. It was well into the season that he had begun to reach full
recovery from it, but he was still underweight and trying to get reorientated
in the middle of the season.

I am most definitely willing to give him a chance this year because he was
ranked league-wide, not just by the Broncos, as a prime prospect.

But let's keep in mind that he is not part of the topic here since he was
already a first-day draft choice. Same with Crowder.

I did not mention several of the young players because I did not feel they
would have vaulted into the first day, as those listed would have, IMO.
I'm a big Larsen fan, for instance, but I don't believe he would go on the
first day, although he might go a couple rounds higher now.

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TXBRONC
01-25-2009, 08:52 PM
There are two things I will touch on.

First, Cugel if defensive tackles take time develop and I know you have said that yourself on many occasions why shouldn't we afford Thomas the opportunity to do so? I think being a little to quick to call a 4th round pick bust after just one full year of starting.

Second, how in world does anyone evaluate Larsen as bust? That sounds like there is no consideration of the fact he was moved to fullback where as a back up and he also was playing on Special Teams. However, when he actually to play his natural position because of an injury to Nate Webster he played well, in fact hands down he out played Nate Webster by country mile. Unfortunately for him when Nate returned from injury he was reinserted into the starting line up.

Cugel
01-25-2009, 09:28 PM
There are two things I will touch on.

First, Cugel if defensive tackles take time develop and I know you have said that yourself on many occasions why shouldn't we afford Thomas the opportunity to do so? I think being a little to quick to call a 4th round pick bust after just one full year of starting.

Second, how in world does anyone evaluate Larsen as bust? That sounds like there is no consideration of the fact he was moved to fullback where as a back up and he also was playing on Special Teams. However, when he actually to play his natural position because of an injury to Nate Webster he played well, in fact hands down he out played Nate Webster by country mile. Unfortunately for him when Nate returned from injury he was reinserted into the starting line up.

I NEVER said Thomas was a bust! I said he was MEDIOCRE and he was. He didn't play strong at the point of attack and hold his ground. He was a starting DT on one of the worst defense in the NFL, a defense that gave up 448 points. He bears some degree of blame for that.

I never said any of the second day picks were "busts!" How could they be busts when 4th and later round players are NOT expected to have much impact and usually don't. All I'm saying is that it's a lot to expect much from such players. 5th round DTs; 6th & 7th round Safeties and LBs are a dime a dozen in the NFL and they seldom do much or last more than a couple of years. Mostly they are ST cannon-fodder for a few years, get into the rotation as backups and then disappear and are replaced by similar players.

Every roster has it's share. But if you expect the Spencer Larsons of the world to be your STARTING LB then your defense isn't likely to be very good! They're SCRUBS and were taken in the late rounds for a reason -- there were more athletic and more accomplished players taken ahead of them. And if you want an elite defense you need elitely talented players.

Thomas was at least good enough to get into the lineup, unlike Moss & Crowder so he isn't a BUST, at least not yet. I think the indications are that both Moss & Crowder are going to be busts, but certainly they will get a chance this spring to prove themselves to Nolan and the new coaching staff.

As a Broncos fan I'd love nothing better than for Moss & Crowder to make a complete U-turn and fulfill their potential. Not ever 1st round pick pans out of course.

So, Thomas MIGHT possibly blossom this year, especially in a new system.

But, the team is obviously trying to move to a 3-4 in hiring all these coaches familiar with that system. How fast they do it will depend on whether they can find suitable NTs (at least 2 via the draft & FA).

If they move to a 3-4 I doubt Thomas will play NT. He's not strong enough. He might be able to move to DE, but that's a wholely new position for him right as he's attempting to come into his own.

I doubt that switch will HELP his development, so it probably means another year of him struggling.

As for Moss, Crowder & Dumervil, they will be evaluated this summer too. It's quite likely at least one will be cut/traded.

If the team is trying to move to a 3-4 it at least helps them have a CHANCE to make the team.

Despite what you say TOP about Moss, there are no excuses in the NFL. Perhaps illness has slowed Moss's development, but he's been paid $5 million so far (not counting his signing bonus) and has earned NONE of it! :coffee:

As Rod Smith used to say "You can't make the club if you're in the tub!" Injury can happen to anyone but often injured players find themselves out of a job. That's just the way it works. Perhaps Moss will suddenly be LOADS better this year. That would be great, but I'm not holding my breath. He hasn't done anything at all so far and Crowder less than nothing. :coffee:

A move to the 3-4 is likely to mean a "learning curve" for both anyway.

I think it will be a miracle if the defense is better to start the season than it was to end it last year.

Perhaps if they draft Maualuga or James Laurinitis at LILB it could have an immediate impact giving them a strong tough defender against the run who will be a team leader and "rah-rah" take charge guy on the field. The defense has missed that "field general" since Al Wilson left. Wilson was the heart of the defense and DJ Williams just doesn't have that kind of personality.

If they take a DT like BJ Raji, I doubt he'll be an immediate impact. In a couple of years if you're lucky you get a guy who can push the middle of the pocket and cause total havoc like Haloti Ngata did in the AFC Championship. That's how an elite NT is supposed to play! Denver hasn't had that kind of player since a young Trevor Pryce 8 or 9 years ago.

But, 3-4 or 4-3 the team is going to need a LOT better players than they currently have.

I do NOT blame the Defensive coaches for this failure. They were coaches with a lot of successful experience in the NFL, especially Bates and didn't suddenly become stupid when they came to Denver!

THe NFL is a PLAYER dominated league. Unless you have at least average players you can't compete.

Denver the last 3 seasons has had increasingly talented young players on offense -- but increasingly worse than mediocre players on defense. We're about the same talent level as the KC Chiefs -- except we have Cutler and Marshall instead of Brodie Croyle and nobody much. IN fact their defense -- with the addition of Glenn Dorsey is already ahead of ours. They'd be a lot further ahead if they hadn't traded away Jared Allen, possibly the most brilliant 4th round pick in the history of their franchise. :coffee:

Cugel
01-25-2009, 09:57 PM
Just to play Devil's Advocate for a sec, Cugel:

The day we drafted Moss, I was screaming, "But we don't PLAY a 3-4! That makes him a 3rd down project pick! And we traded UP for him! What are we thinking?? ARGH!!11!!!one!!1!"

Still, all my Day One anger from the 07 draft aside, the only way Moss becomes a player is to play in a 3-4 as an OLB.

So in that sense, we finally have a chance to make good on the 07 draft by letting Moss and Crowder try their hands at OLB and DE respectively, and seeing if we can make anything out of em.

I agree, as I've said. I think your instincts were better than mine. I liked both picks.


Thomas only being a career backup is actually pretty good as a 4th rounder. I don't know if we'll try him at NT or DE, but I'd prefer DE for now. I think he could be quite good there. Still, in the 4th you'd LIKE to get a bunch of Brandon Marshall talents, but it's just not always possible. I'm willing to see what Thomas can do with a defense and a coach who might be able to get more out of him.

That's also true, but the Broncos don't have a starter to play ahead of Thomas. Also there was much talk about Thomas having first round talent, but being taken in the 4th round only because of his drug busts. I.E. Denver was taking a chance on him remaining clean and sober, but getting a steal.
Well, it hasn't worked out that way. So far Thomas has played about exactly where he was drafted -- 4th round. (Denver actually gave up a 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft to move up into the 4th round in 2007 and take Thomas).


Jack Williams would be considered a disappointment, but not being able to succeed in Slowik's "15 yards off the LOS" scheme isn't a damning indictment. And many CBs take more than one year to get it.

A 4th round CB -- you can't expect anything great. Sometimes you get lucky with a guy like Darrent Williams in the 3rd round. Most times not.


Powell has never played. Still, he'll have to compete with Crowder and the rest of our DL at DE this coming year, so he may not make it with us. Drafting a 4-3 guy and then moving to a 3-4 has invalidated any number of players with their current teams.

You normally don't get a starting DT in the 5th round. Over 60% of the starting DTs in the NFL were taken in the 1st or 2nd round (Source: Football Outsiders). Powell is on the "physically unable to perform" list. He's not going to be ready to start this season and may be a total loss. If he's going to take 3 years to develop, which is about what you'd expect from a DT taken that late -- developmental player -- he'd be ready by 2011-- if ever. Let's forget about Powell and then be pleasantly surprised if he ever emerges as anything. :coffee:


Larsen was the best MLB on the field for us last year, and Barrett was the best safety, so it's a little early to be calling 6th and 7th rounders busts at this point.

Both could be starters for us as soon as next season, and both can play in the 4-3 or the 3-4. If not, getting legit backups with your 6th and 7th rounders is good value. If they start, it's obviously fantastic value.

If they start it's obviously a sign that the defense is seriously lacking in talent! Neither is good enough to start for another team. While everybody loves a bargain, being good enough to start for a defense that gave up 448 points and huge yardage is not a great resume builder.



So:

2006 - we only drafted one defender, and he had multiple double-digit sack seasons. We're likely now moving to a 3-4, so he'll have to play OLB or go play for another team, but he's not a bust. He's just a specialist who may no longer fit here.

Correct, but how does that help the defense? :confused:



2007 - Reached in the first for a 3rd-down specialist project in our current D. Added what should have been a solid DT/DE and traded back into the 4th (which we wouldn't have had to do if we hadn't traded up for Moss) in order to get Thomas, who has been our best DT.

You're talking about Moss, but skipped over the 2nd round pick of Tim Crowder (#56). This is an area of the draft where there is still a ton of talent and you should get someone decent. A total and humiliating draft failure. Unless Crowder turns it around big-time this season he'll go down as another Terry Pierce or Paul Toviesi -- complete bust of a 2nd round pick!



2008 - Added a CB who wasn't able to on the field except in dime packages once our secondary is already injured, a DT who is lost for the season before the season even starts, our best MLB who is such a team player he moved to FB for part of the season, and the fastest, biggest man in the secondary who was our best safety once they let him on the field.

I understand that we don't really know what to expect from these guys in the upcoming season, but there are several other teams that would kill to have 6th and 7th rounders be able to outplay their free-agent hires and save them that kind of dough. If Larsen can play ILB well enough that we don't have to pay Crowder 25 million to do it, that's a huge boon.

If Barrett makes it so we don't have to pay Atogwe a ton of dough either, then we're looking pretty good.

If neither of them pan out and the brief glimpses of competence they showed were just a mirage, then we're in a bit of trouble, but they still save us when compared to what vet backups cost.

Not every team would "kill" to have Spencer Larsen. There are a LOT of guys like that in the NFL. Normally they are successful Special Teams players and guys who advance onto the regular rotation as backups. Every team needs them and they are inexpensive so they form the backbone of good team defenses. But they're not starters -- at least on defenses that aren't ranked 29th in the league.



But potentially screwing up on Moss and Crowder doesn't invalidate every other choice.

Let's let them invalidate themselves before we go chastising the Goodmans for only adding 14 full or part-time starters in the last 3 years via the draft.

~G

Moss & Crowder were the MAJOR defensive picks of the last 3 years! Getting some use out of 6th rounders like Spencer Larsen does NOT make up for the HUGE and COSTLY BLUNDERS of moving up in the draft to grab a player who's done absolutely nothing in 2 years in the NFL -- while earning $5 million not doing it. Crowder has earned millions more and done even less if possible.

Here's Crowder's official 2008 season:


2008: Played at Oak. (9/8) and recorded one tackle… Was inactive vs. N.O. (9/21) and vs. T.B. (10/5)... Had two tackles and tied for the team lead with two quarterback pressures vs. Jac. (10/12)... Had two quarterback hurries at N.E. (10/20)... Listed as inactive for Denver's last eight games... Activated at S.D. (12/28) and made one tackle in 15 snaps on defense.

That ladies and gentlemen is what a bust looks like. In his first NFL season they give him a chance. He plays in 13 games (1 start) as a rookie and totaled 22 tackles (18 solo), four sacks (39 yds.), one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Not a bad start. Then in his second year he's inactive in 10 games and only activated the last game of the season due to injuries. The defense gives up 52 points and he does nothing. This is not an accident. The coaches have evaluated him and concluded: "bust."

So much for Tim Crowder. See ya! :wave:

TXBRONC
01-25-2009, 10:57 PM
I NEVER said Thomas was a bust! I said he was MEDIOCRE and he was. He didn't play strong at the point of attack and hold his ground. He was a starting DT on one of the worst defense in the NFL, a defense that gave up 448 points. He bears some degree of blame for that.

I never said any of the second day picks were "busts!" How could they be busts when 4th and later round players are NOT expected to have much impact and usually don't. All I'm saying is that it's a lot to expect much from such players. 5th round DTs; 6th & 7th round Safeties and LBs are a dime a dozen in the NFL and they seldom do much or last more than a couple of years. Mostly they are ST cannon-fodder for a few years, get into the rotation as backups and then disappear and are replaced by similar players.

Every roster has it's share. But if you expect the Spencer Larsons of the world to be your STARTING LB then your defense isn't likely to be very good! They're SCRUBS and were taken in the late rounds for a reason -- there were more athletic and more accomplished players taken ahead of them. And if you want an elite defense you need elitely talented players.

Thomas was at least good enough to get into the lineup, unlike Moss & Crowder so he isn't a BUST, at least not yet. I think the indications are that both Moss & Crowder are going to be busts, but certainly they will get a chance this spring to prove themselves to Nolan and the new coaching staff.

As a Broncos fan I'd love nothing better than for Moss & Crowder to make a complete U-turn and fulfill their potential. Not ever 1st round pick pans out of course.

So, Thomas MIGHT possibly blossom this year, especially in a new system.

But, the team is obviously trying to move to a 3-4 in hiring all these coaches familiar with that system. How fast they do it will depend on whether they can find suitable NTs (at least 2 via the draft & FA).

If they move to a 3-4 I doubt Thomas will play NT. He's not strong enough. He might be able to move to DE, but that's a wholely new position for him right as he's attempting to come into his own.

I doubt that switch will HELP his development, so it probably means another year of him struggling.

As for Moss, Crowder & Dumervil, they will be evaluated this summer too. It's quite likely at least one will be cut/traded.

If the team is trying to move to a 3-4 it at least helps them have a CHANCE to make the team.

Despite what you say TOP about Moss, there are no excuses in the NFL. Perhaps illness has slowed Moss's development, but he's been paid $5 million so far (not counting his signing bonus) and has earned NONE of it! :coffee:

As Rod Smith used to say "You can't make the club if you're in the tub!" Injury can happen to anyone but often injured players find themselves out of a job. That's just the way it works. Perhaps Moss will suddenly be LOADS better this year. That would be great, but I'm not holding my breath. He hasn't done anything at all so far and Crowder less than nothing. :coffee:

A move to the 3-4 is likely to mean a "learning curve" for both anyway.

I think it will be a miracle if the defense is better to start the season than it was to end it last year.

Perhaps if they draft Maualuga or James Laurinitis at LILB it could have an immediate impact giving them a strong tough defender against the run who will be a team leader and "rah-rah" take charge guy on the field. The defense has missed that "field general" since Al Wilson left. Wilson was the heart of the defense and DJ Williams just doesn't have that kind of personality.

If they take a DT like BJ Raji, I doubt he'll be an immediate impact. In a couple of years if you're lucky you get a guy who can push the middle of the pocket and cause total havoc like Haloti Ngata did in the AFC Championship. That's how an elite NT is supposed to play! Denver hasn't had that kind of player since a young Trevor Pryce 8 or 9 years ago.

But, 3-4 or 4-3 the team is going to need a LOT better players than they currently have.

I do NOT blame the Defensive coaches for this failure. They were coaches with a lot of successful experience in the NFL, especially Bates and didn't suddenly become stupid when they came to Denver!

THe NFL is a PLAYER dominated league. Unless you have at least average players you can't compete.

Denver the last 3 seasons has had increasingly talented young players on offense -- but increasingly worse than mediocre players on defense. We're about the same talent level as the KC Chiefs -- except we have Cutler and Marshall instead of Brodie Croyle and nobody much. IN fact their defense -- with the addition of Glenn Dorsey is already ahead of ours. They'd be a lot further ahead if they hadn't traded away Jared Allen, possibly the most brilliant 4th round pick in the history of their franchise. :coffee:

The way I read your initial post it sounded like you were saying they busts. My mistake.

If you're right about having someone like Spencer Larsen as one of the starting linebackers means that more than likely means we have bad defense the Steelers ought be right there with us. Of the players they drafted (I'm talking about their starting front seven) only two were drafted within first two rounds (Hampton and Woodley) and Hampton was the only one that was first rounder. Everyone else was a third rounder or lower. As I'm sure you are well aware they have the defensive player of the year (James Harrison) and he wasn't even drafted.

Being drafted latter does not automatically equal scrub. I'm not saying Larsen is the next big thing. But I don't think he should automatically be written off as scrub nor does it mean the defense will stink just because a 6th rounder is a starter.

Personally I wont write off our defense until I see what Nolan does with it.

G_Money
01-25-2009, 11:19 PM
Tim Crowder has been atrocious. I don't know what he did to be forbidden to play. With all the terrible players on our defense, for him (and Moss) to be inactive all the time, not to even have a CHANCE to see the field, is just crazy bad.

But DL bust. That's what they do. They bust as often as QBs, and just behind WRs if IIRC. It's a horribly risky pick.

Unfortunately, it's also hard to get all-pros in later rounds at the position. So you have to draft em early, but they're exceedingly likely to crap out on you.

Shanahan tried to get around that by importing defensive linemen. That failed utterly.

*shrugs* It's a hard thing to predict. I thought Crowder would be okay for our DL rotation - he could hold the edge against the run, make a few plays against the pass, though nothing spectacular, and had a decent motor. I wasn't especially enamoured of the pick, but compared to massive-overdraft Moss or multiple-back-surgery Harris? I thought he was our best first-day pick, somebody like Ekuban who can be a decent player. Which is a reach for the draft slot, but not a waste.

Whoops.

Crowder does look like a blown pick. Moss looks like a blown pick at his current position, with a bare chance at redemption in a move to a different position in our new scheme. Harris looks like a GREAT pick, back surgeries or no back surgeries, if he can hold up. Thomas wasn't a blown pick, but isn't a spectacular success. My problem with that draft is we lost 4 picks (a third to move up for Moss, a 6th, a 7th, and a 3rd the following year to get Thomas) to get one guy who's worked out about at his mid-round draft position.

That's horrible return on investment.

Still, Harris is locked in as a starter and should be a future Pro-Bowler, and Thomas could be a more successful starter in a 3-4. With our old drafting habits (00-04) that's about the best we could hope for in a draft. I'm glad that's now considered an atrocious draft.

I agree with you on the 07 draft, Cugel.

06 doesn't have enough defenders in it to say one way or the other. We drafted one guy in the 4th, he worked out as well as could be expected for a 4th rounder and was the only sack threat on our team 2 years running, and now is probably unsuited for us. That's a shame, but it doesn't mean picking him in the 4th was a mistake by any means.

And 08 hasn't had enough time to tell.

We really don't know what Larsen can do. Was he a liability in pass coverage for his college team? No. Was he a team leader? Yes. Did he create devastation in his conference? Yes. Was he good on the field for us as a starter? Yes. Can he hit, and tackle, and read plays, and fill gaps? Yes.

Can he be a Zach Thomas for us, an under-rated LB in college who was told his physical gifts would not be up to the task and proved everyone wrong? No clue. Way too early to say. I liked his early returns enough to let him start for me next year if we need to address other areas, and see if his skillset stops at "competence" or can exceed that and verge into "excellence."

Barrett is not like other 7th round safeties. Other 7th round safeties do not run 4.35 40s at 230 pounds. They're 7th rounders because of speed issues, or strength issues. He's a 7th rounder because of injury questions and instinct questions. Every physical tool he would need to play the game at the highest level, he has. Whether he can be taught the pro game, and stay healthy enough to throw himself into it without hesitation, is up in the air.

But Barrett's combine will outshine every combine number put up by every safety in the draft this year. He's not a normal 7th rounder. That doesn't mean he'll be successful - there are plenty of workout warriors who can't play football. But Barrett HAS played football very well when healthy. *shrugs* There's no safety in this draft with better physical attributes. All we need to find out is whether we have a coach who can take those attributes and turn them into performance.

I like Donatel's chances.

Williams will also need Donatel's help, but he's a ballhawking, aggressive corner who looked lost playing the passive, neutered scheme of Slowik's. Getting aggressive with our corners should help him a lot with his comfort, so if he's got the ability to start, we should see it this year. He's not a special-teamer just yet.

So I'm still waiting on the '08 returns.

We blew our shot at first-day defense in '07, so since we're exceedingly likely to draft a lot of defense in this draft, including the first day, I hope we learned from those mistakes.

Do not draft a first-day, 3rd-down-only, work-in-progress specialist.

Do not draft a first-day, already-maxed-out defensive lineman with questionable athleticism.

We'll see what we DO draft, but hopefully those blown picks do bring their own rewards and that we don't repeat history. In the meantime, I still have hope that last year's picks have more help to offer us down the road.

Which is good - we need all the help we can get.

~G

lex
01-26-2009, 12:27 AM
Well, Top, that makes an interesting read, but I can't really agree with you completely.

Shanahan & Goodman managed to find some superb picks, but they were almost ALL on offense! I would add such picks as Ryan Torain, who despite injury is a promising talent. He might never pan out because of his foot injury that has sidelined him the last 2 seasons but if he can get healthy he could be a feature back for the Broncos.

In addition, there's C/G Ben Hamilton who I believe was a 4th round pick. He'd go higher now.

But, defensively, it's a vastly different story.

I know Goodman wasn't responsible for the draft desert of 2001-04, with such useless sods as Ashlie Lelie, Terry Pierce, Willie Middlebrooks and Paul Toviesi, but even starting in '06 there isn't much D.

In the 2006 Draft: Dumervil was the only defensive success and that's it.

Set aside the fact that by this time the defense was falling apart and needed more than 1 4th round band-aid. Dumervil is too small to be more than a pass-rush specialist. It wasn't just injury, teams started planning to get Dumervil blocked on every down, and because the Broncos have NO OTHER DL who is a remote threat to rush the passer, they got it done.

I like Dumervil, but he's just not big enough to stuff the run when big OTs run right at him. It didn't help that the DTs weren't doing their jobs either and the LBs were asleep at the switch.

And that means he can't be an every-down 4-3 DE. If the Broncos stick with a 4-3 Dumervil will probably wind up being the backup.

As for the 3-4 he's nowhere near big enough to play DE in a 3-4. Can he move to play OLB in a 3-4? Possibly.

In 2007 we saw Denver trade a 3rd round pick to move up 4 places to #17 and take . . . Jarvis Moss. He has to be the biggest draft disappointment since, well Ashlie Lelie or George Foster, except he cost more than either of those players.

To add insult to injury, the team spent a 2nd round pick on Tim Crowder, which is a complete and total waste.

Then in the 4th they took Marcus Thomas, who frankly has done nothing whatever to justify the pick so far. One explanation is the one you give TOP that it's just taking him longer to round into shape. The other possibility is simply that he WON'T have a "breakout year" in 2009, that the Marcus Thomas we see is exactly what we're going to get -- a vastly mediocre player who will be a career NFL backup.

It happens all the time and you can't say one is more probable than the other. Until we see some signs of life on the field, there's simply nothing to base such optimism on but hope. :coffee:

Thomas is still a much better pick than Jarvis Moss, who is earning $2.5 million a year and Crowder at least $1 million to sit on the bench. Moss was Dumervil's backup and Crowder was inactive most days. He and Moss alternated being inactive on game day.

Now, it might be that a DE will take 2 or 3 years to become a STARTER in the NFL but there ought to be SOME SIGN that he's starting to get it, become useful in his second season. He should at least be active and on the field in a backup role.

The fact that neither player was good enough to play at all for one of the worst defenses in the NFL is NOT a good sign! This wasn't the Steelers' or Ravens or Giants lineup he failed to crack even a little bit, but a defense that gave up 448 points!

There's been NO signs of life at all from Moss or Crowder and we have to face the probability that they are simply BOTH PURE DRAFT BUSTS!
:coffee:

Now, that's very bad, to blow 3 top round draft picks, but in 2008 there wasn't much defensive help either:

4th round - CB Jack Williams. He was little used his rookie year which is not encouraging, especially when you remember that both Darrent Williams and Foxworth managed to start their rookie years. But, he might get better this season, or he might wind up like Karl Paymah -- rather a disappointment who will probably be cut.

5th Round -- DT Carlton Powell. You don't often find starting DTs in the 5th round and this guy is no exception. Go back and look at the draft history (http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?position=Defensive+Tackles&type=position)and you will find that very few starting DTs evern come out of the 5th or later rounds so the odds are against him being of any use to start with.

Powell's on the "physically unable to perform" list, which isn't encouraging at all. IF it takes DTs 3 years to become useful, then Powell might be a help --- in 2011 with his rookie year a complete wash. If he's still around by then. It's true that we "haven't seen what Carlton Powell can do" unless that means sitting in the trainers room, but it's unlikely to be very much. If he ever becomes a useful backup that would be beating the odds.

6th Round -- LB Spencer Larsen -- Larsen played well for a 6th round pick, but he's not exactly a huge factor. If he can actually become a starter that would be the biggest defensive draft success since DJ Williams in 2004. I'm not holding my breath.

7th Round -- S Josh Barrett Nobody has a clue and I don't either but 7th round safeties don't make it in the NFL very often. Most likely he's a special teams player for 2 or 3 years and then disappears. That's just generally what happens to 7th round picks. Many are drafted, but few are chosen (to start).

Now maybe Shanahan was skewing the draft to shore up his sagging offense, but there's a pattern of failure on defense that is disturbing. The 3 major defensive picks since 2006 (Moss/Crowder/Thomas)have so far shown almost no success, and it's difficult to realistically envision much more this year unless you just take a wild leap of faith.

Changing to a 3-4 would at least give Dumveril and Moss a chance to become starting OLBs and give their careers a new lease on life, but nothing proves they can handle the job. Dumervil might not have the lateral mobility needed and Moss might not be either strong enough to play LOLB or a good enough pass-rusher to start at ROLB.

In either case, he'll be cut.

Of course the team has bigger problems than worrying about past failures, they have to find a starting NT or peferrably 2 (one a FA ready to start day 1 and one a rookie stud to groom for the future).

That won't be easy. Finding a stalwart RILB like Rey Maualuga or James Laurinitis might be easier. Either would make an immediate impact.

Conclusion: Goodman's drafting is very much a mixed bag: tremendous success finding offensive talent, even in later rounds, but so far complete failure to find good defensive players in any round, plus blowing 1st and 2nd round picks, even moving up in the draft to grab a player who has done nothing in 2 years so far.

You can argue that somehow magically all this is going to change this year, but there's absolutely no evidence to support that so far. :coffee:

I disagree. I dont think its any coincidence that our best coaches were on the offensive side of the ball and consequently, they looked better. But when you consider that Larsen, Woodyard, and Barrett stepped in and seemingly raised the level of play above what we were seeing from the starters, thats not on Goodmans. In fact, its quite the opposite. If anything, its absolute and complete validation of the Goodmans. The Goodmans just acquire talent. They dont coach them or decide who plays.

atwater27
03-05-2009, 01:47 AM
In his interview with the RMN, McDaniels said his conclusion, after reviewing tapes, was that "we
have a lot of good players."

Forget the draft failures of 2001-2004. We have to admit the last three years have been stupendous.
Which makes me so glad that Mr. Bowlen retained the Goodmans.



-----

Do you think Bowlen is slapping himself yet? I mean, with our recent draft history, building a team from the draft up successfully, and then completely wiring the system up with DET cord and TNT and pushing in the plunger?
BOOM! Mr. Bowlen. Bravo!

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