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Evaluating our Draft a Week Late

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  • Evaluating our Draft a Week Late

    Well, I took a week off before deciding to really take a look at our draft. I wanted to be able to approach it with a level head and to really step away from it for a bit.

    Cutler -- I'm still not sure if I like this pick because QB is not a position of need and we gave up a third rounder to move up and snag him in what is a deeper draft than usual.

    That being said, I like Cutler. I have high hopes for him and I understand the selection. I mean, not only is it rare for a top quality quarterback to fall as far as he did, it is also rare for a top quality quarterback that fits our system to fall to a point that we could get him. He has a strong arm and good athleticism and you have to wonder what he would have been able to do with a somewhat decent team. His game against Tennessee was awe inspiring.

    Shanahan rated him as the best QB of the lot and he wasn't the only one. He's been hailed by a lot of people who you'd expect to recognize something special. Guys like Steve Young and Phil Simms consider him to be something special. Of course, like any player, there's a chance that he busts, but every player in this draft could be a bust, but most franchise quarterbacks are found in the first round. Sure, you could get lucky later in the draft (Like New England did with Brady or St. Louis did with Bulger), but that's a huge crapshoot.

    It is true that even in the first round, a good portion of the quarterbacks selected end up being busts. This can set a franchise back for years as they stick with him and hope that he pans out. So, with this in mind, an argument could be made that it is wise to select a franchise quarterback when you are set at the position. It is best to select him when you have a fallback if he doesn't advance quickly. This way, if he doesn't pan out, you have time to find a replacement. Further, you increase his chances of learning quickly when he finally does play after being taught for a couple of years. This way, don't have to have as many rebuilding years between quarterbacks.

    When I consider all of this, I understand why the Broncos made the move and I even get really excited about the move, but that's not to say that there aren't good reasons to not like the move, because, well, there are plenty of reasons to not like the move.

    To start off, there are more imminent needs. It isn't a need this year, but in just a little while, we will be needing another starting reciever. Rod Smith will be leaving the team in no time and even with Javon Walker, we have to wonder if we can expect players like David Terrell and Darius Watts to step up. Also, Lelie's contract is up soon and he'd shown signs before the draft of wanting to leave the team. I wouldn't have wanted to take a reciever at 15, but it was a position of need that we could have still filled by moving back and picking up a second rounder to go with that pick.

    Besides that, we would be well served to snag a defensive tackle or pass rushing defensive end. Our team ranked dead last in sacks per pass attempt last year and a quality defensive end or tackle could have possibly improved our team quite a bit. We could have waited at fifteen to see if one fell to us. If St. Louis drafted Cutler or traded back with somebody who had, it's likely that Buckley, Ngata and Wimbley could have been gone, but if St. Louis drafted somebody else, one of those players would have fell to us. We may even have still been able to get Cutler without losing a third round pick.

    Another thing to consider is that we are a superbowl contender and it is possible that addressing one of our need positions and weaknesses like the lack of a pass rush and our average run defense could have gone a long way in improving our chances.

    The other thing is that Plummer was a good quarterback by most measures and had a fantastic year last year. I mean, he was part of a good offense that was excellent at ball control and avoiding turnovers. He made the probowl as a reserve player and the DVOA rankings on football outsiders had him ranked as the fifth most effective QB last year while his traditional quarterback rating was seventh in the league.

    Besides that Plummer has been a leader and has always worked and played hard. People have said that the offense was simplified last year and that's why Plummer had such a successful year. I question whether that was really the case. I mean, Plummer passed from behind the center more often last year than the years before where he rolled out very much more often.

    Actually, I agree that the offense was more conservative this year. I mean, after all, we went from being first in the league in yards per completion to being eighth in the league in yards per completion all while seeing his completion percentage improve from 22nd in the league to 16th in the league and his interceptions go from near last in the league to nearly the best in the league. The thing is that we held the lead more often than any other team in the league, but Indy, so it's natural for our offense was more conservative. Also, we had a weakness at the third wide reciever positions. All of these things factored in making our offense more conservative, but that doesn't mean that we "dumbed down" the playbook for Plummer. I honestly don't think we did.

    I like Plummer. If I didn't, I would jump on this Cutler trade without a second thought. I think that several of his statistics and the fact that he was an above average quarterback by most measurements last year support my opinion, but how much one likes the pick has much to do with how well they percieve Plummer's play.

    Because I believe Plummer to have been one of the better quarterbacks in the league, I consider it somewhat of a longshot that Cutler is a serious improvement. I see him carrying the clipboard for a couple of years learning. This means that we are playing first round money for a guy that won't be starting for us for a couple of years.

    I am eager to see what Cutler does. I hope that he is as good as he looked at times in his college career. Even if I don't necessarily think that this was the best choice amoung the options, this was a good selection compared to some of the alternatives like picking a WR or RB at 15 who could be had later. It's just that Plummer is still a very good QB in this league, and is better than most of the QBs that have been drafted in the first round in the last few years, so it's not a given that Cutler will be a significant upgrade, but if he is, Cutler could lead our team to glory for 10+ years. I am honestly jealous of a team like Cincy, Pittsburgh or New England that has an elite quarterback that will be playing for a long time. If Cutler does that for us, I'd be very happy, but then I'd be crazy to not be happy. And it is true that we likely won't be drafting this high for quite some time and there's no guarantee that a quarterback that matches our system so well falls to us for quite some time, so it's hard not to be excited about Cutler.

    Javon Walker -- I honestly think that people underrate Ashley Lelie and that he is a good number two reciever and, given a shot, could step up and be a good number one reciever, but he there is no guarantee that he can be a number one reciever. His best year was a 1000 yard season and he's shown himself to be a fantastic deep threat all while also improving his blocking. But he wants to be a number one and would prefer to find a team in lack of a number one than to fight hard to win it from a couple of probowl recievers in Rod Smith and Javon Walker. I don't blame him entirely. Many good recievers would have trouble breaking into the starting lineup with these two recievers on the team and he feels that the team undervalues him and has used him incorrectly. I don't know if I agree with this as the Denver offense was one of the league's better offenses, but if I felt like he did, I might want to find a new home. He may be going about it the wrong way, but I don't entirely blame him.

    Still, with him leaving and Rod soon retiring, the time is now to find a reciever who has proven to be a number one in talent. That's what Javon Walker is. He's not only proven to be a number one reciever in the league, but has proven to be a probowl talent in the league. He's worth the investment for this reason, but I miss the 37th pick. There were some good players on the board at this point.

    Also, he is coming off of an injury.

    Tony Scheffler -- I honestly was not familiar with Scheffler, but the team has been able to find good recieving tight ends in the past. His combine numbers suggest that we was as good a selection as any as far as a recieving tight end goes. If he can improve his blocking, there is a chance that he becomes a very good player in the league.

    Also, he does fill a need.

    And if he can win the job as a long snapper, we could have won ourselves a free roster spot which is very important.
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  • #2
    Day Two

    Brandon Marshall -- He's a huge target who could play tight end or could develop into a good wide reciever. By the fourth round, the players are pretty hit and miss, so it is my opinion, that you should take players who you think could play in the league regardless of position. Marshall was a good pick who will provide competition for two positions of need.

    Elvis Dumervil -- He's a smaller prospect that rushed the passer very well in college. He was a good pick that could help us at a position of need.

    Domenik Hixon -- I honestly hadn't heard of him before the draft. I'll presume that the front office had him rated well and thought him as good value for this pick. I know that some of the draftniks on this board has guys like Oshinowo and Greg Blue rated pretty highly on their boards before he fell into the sixth and fifth rounds. Since other teams also passed on them, I'll give our front office the benefit of the doubt, but I'll still wonder. Though, I did hear that he played safety a bit, so maybe that's what they're thinking.

    Chris Kuper -- I'm not about to start doubting the FO on their offensive linemen selections. They've been able to consistently find good talent in the later rounds of the draft. From what I've read about Kuper, he has the physical tools to be a good guard, but didn't play like it. Good coaching is perhaps all that he needs. Well, Denver is a good place for him to get good coaching.

    Greg Eslinger -- This player could be considered a steal for us. He's one of those players that was rated high, but that most teams wouldn't be able to use. He's too small for most teams, but he is quick and worked in a zone-blocking scheme. He won the Outland Trophy as the best offensive lineman in the nation. He could be Tom Nalen's protégé. Of course, Ben Hamilton is also in line for being our next center, but he will provide good competition.

    Mike Bell -- He went undrafted, but there were rumors that he told teams that he'd rather be an undrafted free agent in Denver than to be drafted by them. That's a good attitude in my opinion. Anyway, I like him to provide good competition and I know that a lot of draftniks on the boards like him, so let's hope for the best.

    Other undrafted free agents -- I have no idea how good any of them are. Let's hope for the best.

    Overall, I would have liked to address the defensive line a little earlier in the draft. This is what we failed to do by drafting a position that wasn't a need position in Cutler. Besides that, it would have been nice to address the safety position. Sure, we have some good depth and it isn't a position of dire need, but our safeties are aging, so it might have been worth addressing.

    Still, I like what we did. It was a good draft.
    Last edited by Archimedes Owl; 05-06-2006, 11:16 AM.
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    • #3
      As usual, Archimedes... very well thought out post....

      Your thoughts on Plummer/Cutler virtually MIRROR my own... as does Lelie and Walker.

      I like the Scheffler pick... he's slower than Vernon Davis and the blocking is an issue... but he was first in the cone drills, if I remember right.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Archimedes Owl
        Domenik Hixon -- I honestly hadn't heard of him before the draft. I'll presume that the front office had him rated well and thought him as good value for this pick. I know that some of the draftniks on this board has guys like Oshinowo and Greg Blue rated pretty highly on their boards before he fell into the sixth and fifth rounds. Since other teams also passed on them, I'll give our front office the benefit of the doubt, but I'll still wonder. Though, I did hear that he played safety a bit, so maybe that's what their thinking.
        I've read that teams were looking at Hixon at the end of the third until his injury was revealed. I like his selection...

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        • #5
          good post owl. . . . i'd like to go on the record here, and say, without bashing jake, that if cutler is playing like carson palmer in a few years (he has all the physical tools), virtually everyone will appreciate the pick. . . . .
          Officially Objectified by the GPA

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          • #6
            I like the way you gave your opinions yet looked at both sides of each argument with objectivity.

            Entertaining read.

            Thanks for the great post Owl!!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dogfish
              good post owl. . . . i'd like to go on the record here, and say, without bashing jake, that if cutler is playing like carson palmer in a few years (he has all the physical tools), virtually everyone will appreciate the pick. . . . .
              ...duh...
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              • #8
                Safety depth....

                I don't completely agree with this statement "Sure, we have some good depth and it isn't a position of dire need, but our safeties are aging, so it might have been worth addressing." The starters are older, but the depth averages 24.6 years old with two years of NFL experience. Sam Brandon has been a starter before and played very well in the "big corner" position covering Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates. I don't see a problem worth addressing with a draft pick. There is a rumor of Karl Paymuh being moved to safety, if so, speed at the safety position wouldn't be a problem. I think most people underestimate the talent already at the safety position, afterall, one is a Pro Bowler.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Colorado69
                  I don't completely agree with this statement "Sure, we have some good depth and it isn't a position of dire need, but our safeties are aging, so it might have been worth addressing." The starters are older, but the depth averages 24.6 years old with two years of NFL experience. Sam Brandon has been a starter before and played very well in the "big corner" position covering Tony Gonzales and Antonio Gates. I don't see a problem worth addressing with a draft pick. There is a rumor of Karl Paymuh being moved to safety, if so, speed at the safety position wouldn't be a problem. I think most people underestimate the talent already at the safety position, afterall, one is a Pro Bowler.
                  You know, I actually think that we are better off at safety than people realize. Sam Brandon did do pretty well at safety before and I like a lot of the second year players from last year. I'm hopeful and even optimistic about them stepping up as decent starters, but I still think that a top shelf safety would be a fantastic pickup. I really think that a good safety can alter a defense. Safety is a way underrated position.

                  And what we have in youth behind our two very good players is why I don't think it's a dire need, but I still think there is room for improvement.

                  Of course, we did rank very well in most statistical categories related to pass defense despite ranking last in the league in sacks per pass attempt faced, so I really do like the safeties we have now.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Archimedes Owl
                    You know, I actually think that we are better off at safety than people realize. Sam Brandon did do pretty well at safety before and I like a lot of the second year players from last year. I'm hopeful and even optimistic about them stepping up as decent starters, but I still think that a top shelf safety would be a fantastic pickup. I really think that a good safety can alter a defense. Safety is a way underrated position.

                    And what we have in youth behind our two very good players is why I don't think it's a dire need, but I still think there is room for improvement.

                    Of course, we did rank very well in most statistical categories related to pass defense despite ranking last in the league in sacks per pass attempt faced, so I really do like the safeties we have now.

                    well teddy is on record as saying if whitner was available at 15 they would have thought long and hard about taking him. so obviously the FO feels there is room for improvement at the position as well.

                    but i also agree that there are potential prospects currently on the roster worth taking a look at. but i wonder why i keep seeing people post that paymuh might be moved to safety. i havent seen any official comments hinting at this. im wondering if this is just speculation because he didnt have the rookie year of darrent and fox, or is there more to it than that?


                    and good thoughts on the draft, owl. im pretty much in agreement with everything you said. i too would have like to see the broncs address the defensive line earlier, but when i look at each pick individually (especially the first day) they all make sense.
                    "Philosophers have hitherto merely interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."--Karl Marx


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bcbronc
                      well teddy is on record as saying if whitner was available at 15 they would have thought long and hard about taking him. so obviously the FO feels there is room for improvement at the position as well.

                      but i also agree that there are potential prospects currently on the roster worth taking a look at. but i wonder why i keep seeing people post that paymuh might be moved to safety. i havent seen any official comments hinting at this. im wondering if this is just speculation because he didnt have the rookie year of darrent and fox, or is there more to it than that?


                      and good thoughts on the draft, owl. im pretty much in agreement with everything you said. i too would have like to see the broncs address the defensive line earlier, but when i look at each pick individually (especially the first day) they all make sense.
                      Heck, it could even be the case that Shanahan prefered Whitner to Cutler (We just don't know).

                      Haha...

                      What if we wanted to trade up with Buffalo for Whitner??

                      *Everyone falls over anime style.*
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                      • #12
                        Well thoughtout Arch. I really like the pick of Cutler but that doesn't mean that I don't support Plummer as our qb. If we had gone another direction in the draft I would have been just as excited. Also like many if not most I wish we had gone defensive line earlier than we did. But there is nothing we can do about accept discuss and look back in hindsight.
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                        • #13
                          Well said Owl & all.

                          A pattern seems to be emerging about us addressing the D-line sooner. I was stunned, as I have said before, that we took Scheffler at 61 when Darryl Tapp was still on the board & then went at 63 to Seattle. Another thing I hear everybody saying is that there was no Safety taken. I also agree there; but Darnell Bing was taken early in the fourth, and I wasn't familiar with any other safety worth taking.

                          However, I am stoked at the addition of Elvis Dumervil (see below ) to the team, and I think that he will be a huge boon to the team. I also remember (was it you WAB) someone posting about a Tyler Everett out of Ohio State that we signed as a UFA after the draft for the Saftey (FS/SS) position. It also said in that article that Shanahan told him that he was going to be the only rookie DB this year.

                          We also shouldn't forget about Brandon Browner (last years S/CB UFA out of Oregon State), who has been on IR for the past year, while hopefully studying our schemes. That might have been the best thing for him anyway, but I hope to see big things from him this year.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MTRaiderHater
                            Well said Owl & all.

                            A pattern seems to be emerging about us addressing the D-line sooner. I was stunned, as I have said before, that we took Scheffler at 61 when Darryl Tapp was still on the board & then went at 63 to Seattle. Another thing I hear everybody saying is that there was no Safety taken. I also agree there; but Darnell Bing was taken early in the fourth, and I wasn't familiar with any other safety worth taking.

                            However, I am stoked at the addition of Elvis Dumervil (see below ) to the team, and I think that he will be a huge boon to the team. I also remember (was it you WAB) someone posting about a Tyler Everett out of Ohio State that we signed as a UFA after the draft for the Saftey (FS/SS) position. It also said in that article that Shanahan told him that he was going to be the only rookie DB this year.

                            We also shouldn't forget about Brandon Browner (last years S/CB UFA out of Oregon State), who has been on IR for the past year, while hopefully studying our schemes. That might have been the best thing for him anyway, but I hope to see big things from him this year.
                            A lot of people seem to be high on Browner. I hope that he's as good as some people expect, but I think it's too soon to really expect much. I'll just remain hopeful.

                            I think it's weird how according to this website, each of our linebackers is bigger and faster than our safeties. This kind of explains why we tended to blitz our safeties and send our linebackers back.

                            Also, according to that website, Nick Ferguson has pretty good speed, but overall, I wouldn't consider our safeties to have top flight speed or anything.

                            You know, I never know how trustworthy that site's numbers are, but they certainly are interesting.
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                            • #15
                              Arch Owl- excellent post. I do disagree with you on Lelie. As for Ashley being a solid #2, I feel for the most part that is true. As for him becoming a solid number 1, I have some serious doubts. What do you base your assessment upon?

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