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  • Broncos vs. Seattle-Game Day thread: Pre-season game 2

    http://oak.scout.com/a.z?s=66&p=2&c=887802

    Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and begins to breakdown the AFC West with the Denver Broncos leading off. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or is under 25 years old. Find out who Steuber targeted as the Broncos top 10 prospects inside.

    1) Ryan Clady
    2) Eddie Royal
    3) Knowshon Moreno
    4) Robert Ayers
    5) Alphonso Smith
    6) Ryan Harris
    7) Tim Crowder
    8) Peyton Hillis
    9) Jack Williams
    10) Wesley Woodyard

    After the Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long with the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, there were six more tackles taken after him in the first round. One of those tackles was Ryan Clady, who was the second tackle selected in the draft and the 12th pick overall by the Denver Broncos. Coming from the WAC conference - a conference that’s considered one of the weakest in Division I football - Clady dominated the competition for three years and decided to forego his senior season to explore his game at the next level. Clady did much more than explore in his first year.

    After a standout rookie season, Clady is on the verge of being the best OT in the NFL.

    It’s hard to imagine that a rookie offensive tackle could dominate from the moment he stepped into the league, but the 6-foot-6, 309-pound athletic mauler did just that. The No. 1 prospect in the Broncos organization, Clady started all 16 games for the Broncos and allowed just a half of a sack the entire season, which ranked first among all left tackles in the league. For his efforts, Clady finished third behind Matt Ryan and Chris Johnson respectively in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and was named second team All-Pro. The honor that Clady didn’t receive, but his draft counterpart Long did, was a trip to Hawaii to star in the Pro Bowl. Players are usually voted into the Pro Bowl based on reputation, and as good as Clady was in his first year, he wasn’t the top pick in the draft, didn’t play for a playoff team and didn’t have the name recognition that others possess around the league, yet. Clady’s game is now being compared to some of the best tackles in the league, including future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. The sensational first season that Clady put together provides the Broncos with a sense of security on the left side of their line. And from this point on, Clady will be a perennial Pro Bowl selection.

    Another 2008 draft pick, second round wide receiver Eddie Royal, also played at a Pro Bowl level during his first year. Known for his ability as a return specialist at Virginia Tech, Royal was a good slot receiver with the Hokies, but he struggled to show consistency catching the ball and running routes. Although, something clicked for the second rated prospect in the organization during his first year with the Broncos; maybe it was the fact that he was surrounded by better talent and had a quarterback that could get him the ball, but Royal showcased great ability as a receiver. In his first career game, which happened to be on Monday Night Football, Royal emerged on national television as a player to keep an eye on and caught nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. He started in 15 of 16 games [missing one game due to injury] and finished the season with 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns. Royal’s 91 catches were the most by a rookie since Anquan Boldin hauled in 101 during the 2003 season. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Royal’s size and skill are best suited for the slot, because he’s most dangerous in space. But, expect him to be moved all around – inside, outside and even in the backfield for some trickery - to create mismatches. If Royal can stay healthy, he will once again approach 90 catches.

    The Broncos have done a nice job of drafting the last two years, and this past April they secured three players that immediately will become top five prospects in the organization - running back Knowshon Moreno (No. 3), linebacker Robert Ayers (No. 4) and cornerback Alphonso Smith (No. 5). All three players have the talent and opportunity to enjoy the same success in their first year as Clady and Royal experienced.

    Moreno has a lot of talent and it's possible he starts the year as the featured back in Denver.

    At 5-foot-11, 217 pounds, Moreno is a mirror image of future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. Everything that they do on the field is comparable, from their ability to their physique, even their versatility; it’s all eerily similar. And the irony is that Moreno ended up in the AFC West, the same division that Tomlinson tore up for the last decade. Moreno is a tremendously gifted offensive weapon who finished his career at Georgia with 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns. He runs with outstanding pad level, displays great vision and tremendous cutback ability. He has a quick first step and is lethal on the edge. He’s deceptively strong between the tackles and will fight for extra yards. He’s faster than his timed speed suggests and has the potential to take it the distance from anywhere on the field. Moreno plays with a lot of emotions and is a high energy player who can occasionally be taken out of his game if he’s not productive. The upside of Moreno is limitless, his talent is obvious, and judging from the success that the ’08 running back class had in the NFL last year, don’t be surprised if he’s the starter on opening day.

    With the Broncos switching to a 3-4 defense, Ayers will make the transition from defensive end to linebacker. At 6-foot-3, 272 pounds, Ayers could play DE for the Broncos, but his athleticism and ability to get in the backfield make him a great weapon off the edge. A bit of a late bloomer, Ayers was a backup at Tennessee for his first three years and finally broke into the starting lineup as a senior. In his first year as a starter, Ayers had an up and down year and finished with 49 tackles, 15.5 for a loss and just three sacks. The 15.5 tackles for a loss shows his ability to get in the backfield and terrorize, which is what they envision Ayers doing more of with his transition to outside linebacker. Ayers is more quick than fast and uses his hands very well. He has a powerful lower body and great leg drive. He attacks mostly on the outside and has the ability to bring his momentum inside. He has an explosive nature, but has to develop better technique to compensate for his lack of straight-line speed. He has to show better awareness and improve his run defense. It will be interesting to see how Ayers progresses as a player, because he’s one of a handful of players selected in the first round that’s the ultimate boom or bust prospect.

    A first year player that the Broncos are extremely high on, which was shown during the draft when they traded their 2010 first round pick to Seattle to get him, is Smith. If Smith were a few inches taller he would have been a top 20 lock, but at 5-foot-9 and 193 pounds some wonder if he’s just a very talented nickel corner. Smith will start his career as the team’s nickel corner with Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman patrolling the outside, and will take some of the return responsibilities away from Royal so he can concentrate more on offense. Smith may be undersized, but he’s a physical, productive defender who registered 39 tackles and seven interceptions to close out his career at Wake Forest. He displays good route recognition and is a determined defender. He’s effective facing the action, locates the ball quickly and possesses excellent closing speed and ball skills that allow him to turn defense into offense. He is a very instinctive defender who has a great sense of timing. Smith plays physical at the line, and at the NFL level he will have to display that ability in the slot. It’s unfortunate that Smith’s career will always be tied to the first round pick that the Broncos gave up to acquire him, because if he struggles in his first year, fans will clamor for the unknown. A note to Broncos fans… don’t worry, the Broncos stole Smith in the second round and will be rewarded with an outstanding playmaker for years to come.

    Rounding out the top 10 are third year offensive tackle Ryan Harris and defensive end Tim Crowder at No. 6 and 7 respectively as well as second year contributors fullback Peyton Hills (No. 8), cornerback Jack Williams (No. 9) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (No. 10). Just missing the cut were former first round disappointment Jarvis Moss, free safety Josh Barrett and defensive end Ryan McBean.


    Can's comments:

    Interesting evaluation. Hopefully Crowder and Moss can raise their level of play under new coaches...I think they will. Possibly the 07 draft would come full circle if they do (along with decent play from Thomas).

    And of the top 10, there is an even split on O and D. Throw in the just misses, and it's 8 to 5 for the D, which would make some sense based on last year's play. Although we should not confuse this list with what we needed going into 09, as many of the players are in their 2nd or 3rd year.

    Bottom line to me is that we have a lot of really good young players on this squad.........and of high character.
    115
    More worried...
    29.57%
    34
    Less worried...
    22.61%
    26
    Never worried...
    13.04%
    15
    Same as before...
    19.13%
    22
    Still too early to tell...
    15.65%
    18
    Last edited by CanDB; 08-13-2009, 07:15 AM.

  • #2
    Seems to me that Peyton Hillis is one of the most underrated players in the NFL at the moment. Seems like almost everyone outside of Denver is pretty much clueless to just how good a player this guy is. For example on this list he is rated below Crowder. Yet is probably one of the 3 or 4 best fullback prospects to enter the league in 8 to 10 years...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by BIG AL View Post
      Seems to me that Peyton Hillis is one of the most underrated players in the NFL at the moment. Seems like almost everyone outside of Denver is pretty much clueless to just how good a player this guy is. For example on this list he is rated below Crowder. Yet is probably one of the 3 or 4 best fullback prospects to enter the league in 8 to 10 years...
      I tend to agree. Although in fairness, he didn't have much exposure last year, but neither did Crowder for that matter.

      Something about versatile fullback types.......

      Comment


      • #4
        Good read thanks. And I think Moss will surprise people this year and I think Moreno will be a beast with our o-line. He should easliy be in contention for ROY.
        Twitter: @FFB_Hitman88

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow. Crowder above Hillis? I mean, Hillis is a beast and all, but I wouldn't have thought to put Crowder above him.

          That isn't to say I don't want Crowder to succeed. I've been pulling for him since we drafted him. It's just surprising.

          And of course Clady is numero uno. He should've been a Pro Bowl starter last year as a rookie. So much potential for this guy. :salute!:

          :go:
          sigpic

          Supporting McD since 2009.

          Adopted Bronco....Daniel Graham!

          Adopted by Chillez! :salute!:

          Comment


          • #6
            "I tend to agree. Although in fairness, he didn't have much exposure last year"


            Yea, thats seems to be the key to it. He had his 6 game stretch near the end where he actually got to play and get the ball and that was pretty much it so far. So it definatly makes sense that he isnt that well known yet. Without the injury taking away the last 3 games im sure he would be much more known outside of Denver...

            Comment


            • #7
              This off season really shored up my evaluation of Hillis. I am so high on this guy. When I watch his highlights I get an adrenaline rush. He's a bull with skill and smarts.

              That Pollard hit is just soo sweet. Not to mention he did a Kno-Mo hurdle last year too only to finish up that run knocking over 2 more defenders on his way down. I love the guy -he just needs to expand his musical tastes
              The beatings will continue until morale improves....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dizzolve View Post
                This off season really shored up my evaluation of Hillis. I am so high on this guy. When I watch his highlights I get an adrenaline rush. He's a bull with skill and smarts.

                That Pollard hit is just soo sweet. Not to mention he did a Kno-Mo hurdle last year too only to finish up that run knocking over 2 more defenders on his way down. I love the guy -he just needs to expand his musical tastes
                I can see Peyton opening huge holes for Knowshon, bashing through for solid gains himself, and then catching some balls as a nice variation. I am really getting this McD philosophy - competitive, intelligent, versatile and high character players who will wear the Broncos uniform with pride.......

                On a side note, but a complementary one.......unless he changes, not convinced that Marshall will fit this organization for too long.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am really exited to see Hillis run people over this year and I think my fears that McD wont give him enough touches are slowly being assuaged. I mean the guy really punishes opposing Ds and is still athletic enough to hurdle a guy or two while doing it!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The reason Hillis was still around in the 7th round was that he was a team player at Arkansas, stepping aside from the starting job and opening holes for Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. A true team player that Houston Nutt-job mis-used for 3 years, then, many think, bad-mouthed him to NFL scouts becaase he didn't kiss Nutt's arse. He was recruited as a running back, not a fullback, he simply did what was asked of him. Kind of a novel idea in this day and age, don't you think? I'm betting it works.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CanDB View Post
                      http://oak.scout.com/a.z?s=66&p=2&c=887802

                      Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and begins to breakdown the AFC West with the Denver Broncos leading off. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or is under 25 years old. Find out who Steuber targeted as the Broncos top 10 prospects inside.

                      1) Ryan Clady
                      2) Eddie Royal
                      3) Knowshon Moreno
                      4) Robert Ayers
                      5) Alphonso Smith
                      6) Ryan Harris
                      7) Tim Crowder
                      8) Peyton Hillis
                      9) Jack Williams
                      10) Wesley Woodyard

                      After the Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long with the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, there were six more tackles taken after him in the first round. One of those tackles was Ryan Clady, who was the second tackle selected in the draft and the 12th pick overall by the Denver Broncos. Coming from the WAC conference - a conference that’s considered one of the weakest in Division I football - Clady dominated the competition for three years and decided to forego his senior season to explore his game at the next level. Clady did much more than explore in his first year.

                      After a standout rookie season, Clady is on the verge of being the best OT in the NFL.

                      It’s hard to imagine that a rookie offensive tackle could dominate from the moment he stepped into the league, but the 6-foot-6, 309-pound athletic mauler did just that. The No. 1 prospect in the Broncos organization, Clady started all 16 games for the Broncos and allowed just a half of a sack the entire season, which ranked first among all left tackles in the league. For his efforts, Clady finished third behind Matt Ryan and Chris Johnson respectively in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and was named second team All-Pro. The honor that Clady didn’t receive, but his draft counterpart Long did, was a trip to Hawaii to star in the Pro Bowl. Players are usually voted into the Pro Bowl based on reputation, and as good as Clady was in his first year, he wasn’t the top pick in the draft, didn’t play for a playoff team and didn’t have the name recognition that others possess around the league, yet. Clady’s game is now being compared to some of the best tackles in the league, including future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. The sensational first season that Clady put together provides the Broncos with a sense of security on the left side of their line. And from this point on, Clady will be a perennial Pro Bowl selection.

                      Another 2008 draft pick, second round wide receiver Eddie Royal, also played at a Pro Bowl level during his first year. Known for his ability as a return specialist at Virginia Tech, Royal was a good slot receiver with the Hokies, but he struggled to show consistency catching the ball and running routes. Although, something clicked for the second rated prospect in the organization during his first year with the Broncos; maybe it was the fact that he was surrounded by better talent and had a quarterback that could get him the ball, but Royal showcased great ability as a receiver. In his first career game, which happened to be on Monday Night Football, Royal emerged on national television as a player to keep an eye on and caught nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. He started in 15 of 16 games [missing one game due to injury] and finished the season with 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns. Royal’s 91 catches were the most by a rookie since Anquan Boldin hauled in 101 during the 2003 season. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Royal’s size and skill are best suited for the slot, because he’s most dangerous in space. But, expect him to be moved all around – inside, outside and even in the backfield for some trickery - to create mismatches. If Royal can stay healthy, he will once again approach 90 catches.

                      The Broncos have done a nice job of drafting the last two years, and this past April they secured three players that immediately will become top five prospects in the organization - running back Knowshon Moreno (No. 3), linebacker Robert Ayers (No. 4) and cornerback Alphonso Smith (No. 5). All three players have the talent and opportunity to enjoy the same success in their first year as Clady and Royal experienced.

                      Moreno has a lot of talent and it's possible he starts the year as the featured back in Denver.

                      At 5-foot-11, 217 pounds, Moreno is a mirror image of future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. Everything that they do on the field is comparable, from their ability to their physique, even their versatility; it’s all eerily similar. And the irony is that Moreno ended up in the AFC West, the same division that Tomlinson tore up for the last decade. Moreno is a tremendously gifted offensive weapon who finished his career at Georgia with 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns. He runs with outstanding pad level, displays great vision and tremendous cutback ability. He has a quick first step and is lethal on the edge. He’s deceptively strong between the tackles and will fight for extra yards. He’s faster than his timed speed suggests and has the potential to take it the distance from anywhere on the field. Moreno plays with a lot of emotions and is a high energy player who can occasionally be taken out of his game if he’s not productive. The upside of Moreno is limitless, his talent is obvious, and judging from the success that the ’08 running back class had in the NFL last year, don’t be surprised if he’s the starter on opening day.

                      With the Broncos switching to a 3-4 defense, Ayers will make the transition from defensive end to linebacker. At 6-foot-3, 272 pounds, Ayers could play DE for the Broncos, but his athleticism and ability to get in the backfield make him a great weapon off the edge. A bit of a late bloomer, Ayers was a backup at Tennessee for his first three years and finally broke into the starting lineup as a senior. In his first year as a starter, Ayers had an up and down year and finished with 49 tackles, 15.5 for a loss and just three sacks. The 15.5 tackles for a loss shows his ability to get in the backfield and terrorize, which is what they envision Ayers doing more of with his transition to outside linebacker. Ayers is more quick than fast and uses his hands very well. He has a powerful lower body and great leg drive. He attacks mostly on the outside and has the ability to bring his momentum inside. He has an explosive nature, but has to develop better technique to compensate for his lack of straight-line speed. He has to show better awareness and improve his run defense. It will be interesting to see how Ayers progresses as a player, because he’s one of a handful of players selected in the first round that’s the ultimate boom or bust prospect.

                      A first year player that the Broncos are extremely high on, which was shown during the draft when they traded their 2010 first round pick to Seattle to get him, is Smith. If Smith were a few inches taller he would have been a top 20 lock, but at 5-foot-9 and 193 pounds some wonder if he’s just a very talented nickel corner. Smith will start his career as the team’s nickel corner with Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman patrolling the outside, and will take some of the return responsibilities away from Royal so he can concentrate more on offense. Smith may be undersized, but he’s a physical, productive defender who registered 39 tackles and seven interceptions to close out his career at Wake Forest. He displays good route recognition and is a determined defender. He’s effective facing the action, locates the ball quickly and possesses excellent closing speed and ball skills that allow him to turn defense into offense. He is a very instinctive defender who has a great sense of timing. Smith plays physical at the line, and at the NFL level he will have to display that ability in the slot. It’s unfortunate that Smith’s career will always be tied to the first round pick that the Broncos gave up to acquire him, because if he struggles in his first year, fans will clamor for the unknown. A note to Broncos fans… don’t worry, the Broncos stole Smith in the second round and will be rewarded with an outstanding playmaker for years to come.

                      Rounding out the top 10 are third year offensive tackle Ryan Harris and defensive end Tim Crowder at No. 6 and 7 respectively as well as second year contributors fullback Peyton Hills (No. 8), cornerback Jack Williams (No. 9) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (No. 10). Just missing the cut were former first round disappointment Jarvis Moss, free safety Josh Barrett and defensive end Ryan McBean.


                      Can's comments:

                      Interesting evaluation. Hopefully Crowder and Moss can raise their level of play under new coaches...I think they will. Possibly the 07 draft would come full circle if they do (along with decent play from Thomas).

                      And of the top 10, there is an even split on O and D. Throw in the just misses, and it's 8 to 5 for the D, which would make some sense based on last year's play. Although we should not confuse this list with what we needed going into 09, as many of the players are in their 2nd or 3rd year.

                      Bottom line to me is that we have a lot of really good young players on this squad.........and of high character.
                      Thanks for the good read. I agree with most that Hillis is under-rated, but I believe the bigger surprise is Harris. I would certainly put Harris over Ayers and Smith, and possibly even Moreno and Royal.

                      This list also goes to show that, contrary to what many people believe, Josh McDaniels did not invent high-character drafting.
                      Hoping for a defensive-minded head coach and a return to the ZBS on offense. At the very least, no more cheaters for head coach.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Decent list. I think if the 2008 draft was redone, Clady goes top 2 and Royal top 20. Both those guys should be staples in our offense for many many years, playing at a probowl level (voted in or not). I also agree that Harris is very undervalued as is Hillis.

                        I would like to give Spenser Larson honorable mention. Guys is 2nd string at two positions right now and a ST ACE. I would not be surprised at all to see him emerge as our ILB this year next to DJ, but even if he doesn't he adds tremendous value allowing roster flexibility.

                        Also:

                        Chris Baker
                        Kenny McKinley
                        Lee Robinson
                        David Bruton

                        Are 4 guys I think will way outperform their draft status.

                        R Ayers - B Cofield - A Haynesworth - CJ ohnson
                        J Anderson - J Beason - DJ Williams
                        R Bailey - P Amukamara - R Hill - A Goodman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Carlton Powell > Tim Crowder & Jack MF Williams. I'm biased tho.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by theMileHighGuy View Post
                            Carlton Powell > Tim Crowder & Jack MF Williams. I'm biased tho.
                            Powell is another one, but may take until 2010 to really have an impact. Hopefully he can get a lot of reps this year as he could be the run stuffer we need on the line.

                            R Ayers - B Cofield - A Haynesworth - CJ ohnson
                            J Anderson - J Beason - DJ Williams
                            R Bailey - P Amukamara - R Hill - A Goodman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cutler2007 View Post
                              Decent list. I think if the 2008 draft was redone, Clady goes top 2 and Royal top 20. Both those guys should be staples in our offense for many many years, playing at a probowl level (voted in or not). I also agree that Harris is very undervalued as is Hillis.

                              I would like to give Spenser Larson honorable mention. Guys is 2nd string at two positions right now and a ST ACE. I would not be surprised at all to see him emerge as our ILB this year next to DJ, but even if he doesn't he adds tremendous value allowing roster flexibility.

                              Also:

                              Chris Baker
                              Kenny McKinley
                              Lee Robinson
                              David Bruton

                              Are 4 guys I think will way outperform their draft status.
                              Agree completely with everything. I'm expecting Larsen to beat out Andra Davis by midseason, if not earlier.
                              Hoping for a defensive-minded head coach and a return to the ZBS on offense. At the very least, no more cheaters for head coach.

                              Comment

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