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  • Denver Broncos Can Help Their Cause By Adding These Undrafted Free Agents

    Denver Broncos Can Help Their Cause by Adding These Undrafted Free Agents
    By

    Rob Gregory
    on June 28, 2011

    Imagine Derrick Locke in a Broncos uniform.


    With ESPN reporting today that both sides of the NFL divide will meet for four consecutive days to hopefully hash out a new labor agreement, there is growing optimism that training camps will start on time, and that free agency can get squeezed in beforehand.

    That would not only mean targeting veteran players, because there are also plenty of undrafted free agents who are desperate to get signed and brought into a camp to compete for a roster spot. And a number of these guys could really help a team, whether that be in a more specialized and limited manner, or even, for a select few, in a more substantial role.

    Is there a LeGarrette Blount-type gem out there with this batch of undrafted rookies?

    And if so, will the Denver Broncos be able to snatch him up?

    The Broncos could use that sort of diamond-in-the-rough player, that’s for sure, but they can also use quite a few more rookies to compete for spots on the defensive line, running back and cornerback positions.

    And there is definitely talent available this year. Here’s a quick run-down.


    Ian Williams/Cedric Thorton/Brandon Bair

    Kevin Vickerson is a likely starter at one defensive tackle position, and Marcus Thomas might take the other spot if the Broncos can re-sign him, but if not the Broncos will be lacking a viable starter, not to mention depth at this position. Mitch Unrein is a Broncos defensive tackle that most of us haven’t ever heard of—sorry, Mitch!—and finding talented defensive tackles has consistently dogged this team for some time now.

    Denver might look at Ian Williams (Notre Dame) who might have been drafted had it not been for the glut of talent at his position in this year’s draft. The Broncos passed up defensive tackles in the draft to the bloody end, when they opted for defensive end Jeremy Beal with their final pick, so that could mean that they weren’t overly thrilled with guys like Ian Williams.

    Or at minimum, they didn’t like them enough to draft need over value.

    Or maybe they just really loved the guys they got, and still have their eyes on Ian Williams. Regardless, beggars can’t be choosers. Williams is a run-stopper and a very good tackler, but won’t consistently apply pressure on the quarterback. Maybe that’s okay now that Denver has added Von Miller and Jeremy Beal as two sack specialists?


    At Notre Dame Williams played in both a 4-3 and 3-4 system, so he is not necessarily pegged as a nose tackle in a 3-4. The Broncos could give him a shot, and hope he eventually develops into a more complete player, or they could look at either Cedric Thorton (South Arkansas) or Brandon Bair (Oregon).

    Or maybe they just bring in all three and let them battle it out in training camp. Whoever can stay upright the most against Ryan Clady wins the job.

    But that’s enough talk about the unglamorous defensive tackle position. Time to turn our attention to running backs and cornerbacks.


    Derrick Locke/Noel Devine/Darren Evans

    Derrick Locke is my lock, pun intended, for the guy that can push Knowshon to either speed it up or get the blankety-blank out of the way.

    Really, it’s a big surprise that Locke went undrafted. Maybe he got lost in the mix of super-charged mini-backs that went in the middle to late rounds of this year’s draft. Indeed, he’s small (5'8", 181 pounds), but according to Todd McShay (whom I’m sure you miss by now), the guy plays really big and is hugely underrated.


    McShay notes that he “does just about everything well” and “gets the most out of his physical tools” and “is a savvy route-runner” and “is one of the smoothest, most natural pass-catchers in the running back class.”

    That’s a lot of Ands!

    But wait, it gets better.

    “Most impressive, though, is Locke's efficiency as a runner. He runs low, shows great change-of-direction skills and does not waste many steps. He is patient attacking the line of scrimmage, sets up blocks well and has a keen eye for backside cutback lanes. Throw in his ability to quickly slip in and out of small creases and his willingness to lower his shoulder into defenders, and we put a third-round grade on Locke.”

    So McShay gave this guy a third-round grade at one point, and the Broncos can nab him for a smaller fee than what it costs to pay Mitch Unrein to have his name on the roster, so that fans won’t catch on to the fact that the Broncos don’t really have any defensive tackles past Vickerson?

    Sold!

    The Broncos should take a chance on this speedy, versatile back who can really help a team whose most explosive weapon out of the backfield is Spencer Larsen. Joke intended.


    But if the Broncos must pass on him, then Noel Devine (West Virginia) and Darren Evans (Virginia Tech) are two players that would likely make this roster, barring any major veteran free-agent signings.

    Devine is an explosive, shifty running back but receives mixed reviews from draft experts. Plus there are lingering character concerns with Devine. Meanwhile, Evans is more of a bruising power back.



    Kendric Burney/Ryan Jones

    At cornerback, the Broncos could use some bolstering up at a position that has Champ Bailey (thankfully), an aging (then again, aren’t we all?) and declining Andre Goodman and Perrish Cox, who is talented but now facing sexual assault charges, which will be a nice midseason distraction for the team, should he make the roster.

    Cox has the Broncos in a precarious position: He has not been found guilty of anything yet, but if convicted he could be facing prison time. A lot of it.

    Maybe the best solution is to find players that can outperform him in training camp, so that it doesn’t look as if the Broncos just dumped a guy who could very well be innocent.

    And while legal concerns and character issues are at the forefront, let's not forget that Perrish Cox was impressive early in his rookie season, but then all but tanked the rest of the way as he was consistently burned in coverage by smart QBs and decent-to-good wide receivers.

    Syd’Quan Thompson was a very bright spot on an otherwise dismal 2010 season. So a lot of fans would like to see him establish himself, but is it realistic to view him as a potential starter?

    Denver can look at Kendric Burney (North Carolina), who is considered the top undrafted cornerback, but like Syd’Quan, he’s just 5'9" and doesn’t project to be a starter. He has very good coverage skills, and like Syd’Quan he can really attack the ball, but the Broncos would have to temper expectations.

    Otherwise, the team might consider Ryan Jones (NW Missouri State), who is at least two inches taller than Burney, and had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in 2010.

    Maybe the team gives him a chance and maybe not.

    Regardless, the Broncos are in rebuild mode and look to build off the positive energy and momentum from the Champ Bailey signing and draft.

    Adding one or more of the players above would be yet another step in the right direction.



    QB- Tim Tebow
    RB- Deangelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno, Lendale White
    FB-Henry Hynoski, Spencer Larsen
    WR- Steve Smith(CAR), Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, Eric Decker, Matt Willis
    TE- Virgil Green, Dan Gronkowski, Julius Thomas
    LT- Ryan Clady
    LG- Ryan Harris, Zane Beadles
    C- J.D. Walton, Eric Olsen
    RG- Chris Kuper
    RT- Orlando Franklin

    MLB- Joe Mays, Nate Irving
    LOLB- Von Miller, Mike Mohamed
    ROLB- Thomas Davis, DJ Williams, Mark Herzlich
    FS- Rahim Moore, Renaldo Hill
    SS- Brian Dawkins, Quinton Carter
    Nickel- Syd’Quan Thompson
    CB- Champ Bailey, Perish Cox, Richard Marshall, Leigh Torrence
    LE- Cullen Jenkins, Robert Ayers, Ryan Winterswyk
    RE- Elvis Dummerville, Mario Haggan, Jeremy Beal
    DT- Derek Landri, Kevin Vickerson, Ed Johnson, Marcus Thomas, Ben Garland, Ian Williams

    Nothing finialished or ready for the 53 man roster but does this look like a superbowl team or what?


    With ESPN reporting today that both sides of the NFL divide will meet for four consecutive days to hopefully hash out a new labor agreement, there is growing optimism that training ...
    Last edited by BroncoSexyDaddy; 07-03-2011, 12:04 AM.

  • #2
    I have been on the Ian Williams bandwagon for a while. Is not flashy but performs his role. Clogs up his hole and does it well. Him I want. I think he would make the final roster. Another UDFA defensive tackle I would love is the guy from Richmond. Martin Parker. I have never seen him play besides the Shrine Game but he made some decent plays in that game and looked quite good. He could be a nice competition and training camp player. Potential roster.

    On running back I would like to add a fast explosive weapon to be our Dexter Mccluster. Play a role in the return game and make some plays catching or running the ball. Derrick Locke fits that bill. However I don't see him having any consistent role in a running back rotation. I would like to add Damien Berry from Miami. Looks like a well rounded runner. As is Chad Spann from Northern Illinois. As a goal line and short yardage back who I beleive runs faster than his 40 time would suggest. John Clay from Wisconsin. However He is hard to judge because the holes he had to run through were so big. He was hardly touched at times.

    I think an area that should be looked at is Center. I am not sold on J.D Walton not one bit. He had a very rough rookie year and needs competition. He has Jeff Byers but I would add some competition for training camp. Kristofer O'Dowd from USC. Jake Kirkpatrick from TCU. Zane Taylor from Utah. I don't think either would make the roster or even beat out Eric Olsen who looks like he will backup the guard spot. But competition and bodies in camp are needed. I wouldn't be surprised if in our next draft Center is something we look at early if J.D plays poorly in 2011.

    At cornerback I am not sure if we need anyone. I think Goodman and Champ are fine. I like Perrish Cox and Syd Thompson working the nickel and Casius Vaugh has special teams value and development potential. I think we could add one more guy who compete and play during training camp. We have Chevis Jackson and it would be great to pick up Kendrick Burney. However I see him trying to go some where with less young talent. Another interesting guy is Devon Torrence from Ohio State.

    Offensive Tackle is a place someone needs to be brought in. We have no backups of any worth. I don't think any UDFA are either however some guys should be bought in for competition and camp bodies. I have heard people talk of David Mims but I have never watched him play. Sounds interesting though. A guy who could be bought in is Swing Tackle Ray Dominguez. Played well against good/elite competition. Marcel Dareus. He is nothing special but is a solid pass protector. Also Jacob Sims from South Florida. Good all around Tackle. Pretty athletic and could be a good competitor and possible backup. Played well against Daquan Bowers. Also from Arizona Adam Grant and a guy I have never watched but sounds good, Kyle Hix from Texas.

    Overall the UDFA I would like are:

    DT:

    Ian Williams
    Martin Parker

    RB:

    Derrick Locke
    Damien Berry
    Chad Spann
    John Clay

    C:

    Kristofer O'Dowd
    Jake Kirkpatrick
    Zane Taylor

    CB:

    Kendrick Burney
    Devon Torrence

    OT:

    David Mims
    Ray Dominguez
    Jacob Sims
    Adam Grant

    Is that you lineup of the writers line up at the bottom.

    Comment


    • #3
      Players that I want the Broncos to bring in:

      DT:
      Martin Parker - Richmond
      Ian Williams - Notre Dame
      Cedric Thornton - Southern Arkansas

      DE:
      Zane Parr - Virginia

      RB:
      Mario Fannin - Auburn
      Derrick Locke - Kentucky
      John Clay - Wisconsin

      FB:
      Henry Hynoski - Pittsburgh

      OL:
      Justin Boren - Ohio State
      Mike Person - Montana State
      Carl Johnson - Florida

      WR:
      Darvin Adams - Auburn
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      • #4
        I'd definitely bring in Cedric Thornton and Ian Williams, kind of wish we took Michael Jasper in the 7th round, he's a 375 lb. DT who played this past college season at around 430, he struggles with stamina but he's extremely athletic and his body fat isn't really high for his size apparently. At RB I don't think Locke will hold up, he couldn't do it in college so the NFL will probably be worse. I like Mario Fannin and Chad Spann. I think both will be very good/great RBs if they get a chance in the NFL, they are both similar and they would probably remind Fox of Jonathan Stewart. I'd like to add another young CB for the future, Burney reminds me a lot of Thompson but I don't like the idea of 2 5'9" CBs getting a lot of playing time

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        • #5
          I'm rooting for Mark Herzlich to get picked up by us.He would provide a lot of spark to our defense if he ever get back to form.Von Miller and Herzlich together causing havoc,i would like to see it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by beastlyskronk View Post
            I'd definitely bring in Cedric Thornton and Ian Williams, kind of wish we took Michael Jasper in the 7th round, he's a 375 lb. DT who played this past college season at around 430, he struggles with stamina but he's extremely athletic and his body fat isn't really high for his size apparently. At RB I don't think Locke will hold up, he couldn't do it in college so the NFL will probably be worse. I like Mario Fannin and Chad Spann. I think both will be very good/great RBs if they get a chance in the NFL, they are both similar and they would probably remind Fox of Jonathan Stewart. I'd like to add another young CB for the future, Burney reminds me a lot of Thompson but I don't like the idea of 2 5'9" CBs getting a lot of playing time



            That and the fact that he had slow 40 times at the combine. I think he ran in the 4.7s at the combine, and at his pro day didn't improve his time that much.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by beastlyskronk View Post
              I'd definitely bring in Cedric Thornton and Ian Williams, kind of wish we took Michael Jasper in the 7th round, he's a 375 lb. DT who played this past college season at around 430, he struggles with stamina but he's extremely athletic and his body fat isn't really high for his size apparently. At RB I don't think Locke will hold up, he couldn't do it in college so the NFL will probably be worse. I like Mario Fannin and Chad Spann. I think both will be very good/great RBs if they get a chance in the NFL, they are both similar and they would probably remind Fox of Jonathan Stewart. I'd like to add another young CB for the future, Burney reminds me a lot of Thompson but I don't like the idea of 2 5'9" CBs getting a lot of playing time
              I don't like the idea either. The WRs in the AFC West are getting taller, and the last thing we need to do is sign short and slow CB's.
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              • #8
                I dont like the way this guy rights

                That locke line did it in for me

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bernie24 View Post
                  I dont like the way this guy rights

                  That locke line did it in for me
                  Thats Bleacher Report for you, I think a good portion of the posters on this forum have much better writing skills than any writer I have ever seen on that site.

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                  • #10
                    I'm championing for Hynoski.
                    I hate the Defenseless Receiver rule and the fines. Posted since '07. 2011 rule addition :nono: backhand a fool!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by marcus_miller View Post
                      I'm championing for Hynoski.
                      I like Hynoski, but I would rather add a proven veteran at the position. Both Lawrence Vickers and Mike Karney are great full backs who are free agents. Plus they don't have the technique concerns that Hynoski does.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Den615 View Post
                        I like Hynoski, but I would rather add a proven veteran at the position. Both Lawrence Vickers and Mike Karney are great full backs who are free agents. Plus they don't have the technique concerns that Hynoski does.
                        True, the flip side is Hynoski is younger and can not only learn those techniques but grow with the team. Not to mention he should be much much cheaper. I have heard the launch argument but have also seen him move three guys out of one running lane, gotta have your feet under you to do that. I think he can be taught that which he lacks. In my limited viewing of him I have seen him stay on his feet more then launch. I think he has great versatility and as it should be his strength is in run blocking.

                        I'd like to get Leach in here but all things considered, I think Hynoski would be just as smart of a decision. I do understand he isn't some peoples cup of tea and it's hard to say if he will work out or not. I'd give him a go.
                        I hate the Defenseless Receiver rule and the fines. Posted since '07. 2011 rule addition :nono: backhand a fool!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by marcus_miller View Post
                          True, the flip side is Hynoski is younger and can not only learn those techniques but grow with the team. Not to mention he should be much much cheaper. I have heard the launch argument but have also seen him move three guys out of one running lane, gotta have your feet under you to do that. I think he can be taught that which he lacks. In my limited viewing of him I have seen him stay on his feet more then launch. I think he has great versatility and as it should be his strength is in run blocking.

                          I'd like to get Leach in here but all things considered, I think Hynoski would be just as smart of a decision. I do understand he isn't some peoples cup of tea and it's hard to say if he will work out or not. I'd give him a go.
                          Vickers is 28 and Karney is 29. Not young, but not even close to over the hill. Obviously Leach would be great, but he has made it very clear that he wants to be the highest paid full back in the leage. Vickers, Karney, and Hynoski would be much cheaper.

                          I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him in at all, he is an intriguing prospect for sure. I really hope we go after Vickers, but that is partly due to my Colorado bias.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Den615 View Post
                            Vickers is 28 and Karney is 29. Not young, but not even close to over the hill. Obviously Leach would be great, but he has made it very clear that he wants to be the highest paid full back in the league. Vickers, Karney, and Hynoski would be much cheaper.

                            I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him in at all, he is an intriguing prospect for sure. I really hope we go after Vickers, but that is partly due to my Colorado bias.
                            Yeah It'd be easy to think I have the W. PA bias on Hynoski but truth be told; Other then Penn State, I don't watch much college ball and didn't even know who Hynoski was until I did an amateur FB study a month of two leading up to the draft. The FBs that actually got drafted I seen as not true FBs and were more hybrid tweener TE / power HB - Cooley types. I thought and still do that, Hynoski was the best traditional FB in the draft, on his tape and expert opinions alone.

                            I as well would have no problem with your picks in Vickers or Karney and Leach's $ is why I mentioned him in comparison to Hynoski. I think we can both agree, we need a real road grader, that can help out pass blocking and when a defender to block is not present a check down receiver. When it comes right down to it, just a FB to help out in the run game.
                            Last edited by marcus_miller; 07-03-2011, 01:36 PM.
                            I hate the Defenseless Receiver rule and the fines. Posted since '07. 2011 rule addition :nono: backhand a fool!

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                            • #15
                              Very well put BSD. I too would love Locke on the team & have been singing his praises since before the draft
                              "Happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion." Jimmy Ruffin

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