For the second year in a row, the Broncos came out like gangbusters, only to whimper through December and miss the playoffs. This time, it wasn't the fault of Jay Cutler or Mike Shanahan.
After Shanahan's firing last year and the decision to trade Cutler to Chicago, the Broncos are in the midst of a bit of an overhaul. Kyle Orton -- brought in along with draft picks for Cutler -- didn't always look comfortable in Josh McDaniels' offense, but he also didn't look like a player who didn't belong. While Denver could use an upgrade at quarterback and at wide receiver, don't necessarily think they'll spend their first pick on either.
Given the holes on both sides of the ball, the Broncos can likely stay "true to their board" and draft the best available player without thinking too much about it.
Previous Pick: Jacksonville -- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech; Next Up: Miami
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: The safest bet among the defensive ends in this draft, Morgan is a good fit for either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. Since Denver is potentially going to add at least one line starter and could look to upgrade at rush linebacker, it would be hard for them to pass up on a player like Morgan. He looks good dropping back in coverage, and he has very good instincts. While other end/linebacker hybrids might not be as strong against the run, it's not a weakness for Morgan.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: He's an explosive pass-rusher who doesn't add as much as Morgan does against the run. While it's reasonable to think that Morgan could play end in the Broncos' 3-4 defense, there are likely no such illusions with Pierre-Paul. If he's drafted to a 3-4 team, he's going to be a linebacker. That lack of versatility may hurt him with the Broncos, but he's worth a look because of his speed and explosiveness off the line.
Joe Haden, CB, Florida: His 40 time seems to have scared some people, but Haden is a pretty strong prospect who should be a first-round pick. He's not the most refined cornerback to come out, but his speed and ability to understand what opponents are trying to do put him at an elite level. Haden is the kind of guy you have to watch on tape, instead of trusting a stopwatch to tell how fast he is. If available, he would be a nice add for the Broncos defense.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech: In the mold of former Yellow Jacket Calvin Johnson, Thomas is a big receiver who runs solid routes, has very good hands, is great in the open field, and is a beast of a blocker. One concern is the fact he starred in Tech's triple option offense, which doesn't exactly teach receivers the finer points of route-running. For the time being, his athletic ability and big-play potential make him a solid first-rounder.
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: The Broncos could use a receiver who can stretch the field. Tate brings that dimension, though he may have to work out of the slot early in his career while he gets a bit stronger, as he could struggle against jams early in his career. Tate also brings the ability to be an elite kick returner. Basically, he's Percy Harvin without all the red flags Harvin had before the draft last year. We all saw how that turned out for the Vikings.
|1.||St. Louis Rams||Sam Bradford||QB||Oklahoma|
|2.||Detroit Lions||Ndamukong Suh||DT||Nebraska|
|3.||Tampa Bay Bucs||Gerald McCoy||DT||Oklahoma|
|4.||Washington Redskins||Russell Okung||OT||Oklahoma St.|
|5.||Kansas City Chiefs||Eric Berry||S||Tennessee|
|6.||Seattle Seahawks||C.J. Spiller||RB||Clemson|
|7.||Cleveland Browns||Jimmy Clausen||QB||Notre Dame|
|8.||Oakland Raiders||Tim Tebow||QB||Florida|
|9.||Buffalo Bills||Bryan Bulaga||OT||Iowa|
|10.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Derrick Morgan||DE||Georgia Tech|