Hello Broncos fans,
Today I will be assigning grades to the Elway drafts as well as 2010. I am not doing 2014 or 2015, since it’s just to early to tell with a lot of those guys. The Roby pick would receive an A in my eyes however. I will look at whether the player developed into a contributor, was a good value in the round they were picked in, and who was passed on to select them.
Let’s get started.
1st Round, Demaryius Thomas: A
We did pass on Dez Bryant to get him, but I consider Thomas the better player. They are both stars, but DT is a better leader and arguably more consistent. The production we have gained from him is insane. Given that we didn’t pass on any other high rated players, I find an ‘A’ to be easily justifiable here.
1st Round, Tim Tebow: D
I know, he had one good year and won a playoff game. That’s the only thing keeping him from being an F in my eyes. A first rounder should be a franchise guy, and we passed on Devin McCourty to take him. Bad pick.
2nd Round, Zane Beadles: B
Good pick. Became a fixture at guard. My only issue is that there was a lot of talent behind him in that second round, but hindsight’s 20/20. Good but not great player, and a good pick.
3rd Round, J.D. Walton: B
Solid if unspectacular player who had a career cut short by injury. Good pick. Still, I’d rather have Emmanuel Sanders, NaVorro Bowman, or Jimmy Graham, all selected in the next 15 picks.
3rd Round, Eric Decker: A
I may be higher on Decker than some people here, but to get a great number 2 receiver in the third round in awesome. Sanders has been an upgrade, but that shouldn’t downgrade just how well Decker played for us.
5th Round, Perrish Cox: C
Hard pick to grade. He has developed into a solid corner, and played well for us, but the character issues made cutting him the right choice. I give this a C because drafting him was too much of a gamble.
6th Round, Eric Olsen: C
Never had much of a career, but it’s the sixth round. Hard to find talent this late.
7th Round, Sy’Quan Thompson: B
Considering that any value out of a 7th rounder is good, and Thompson made a couple plays in his short career, I’ll give this a B.
7th Round, Jammie Kirlew: C
Didn’t make the team, but it’s the 7th round. That’s almost expected.
UDFA, Cassius Vaugh: B
I hated watching Vaughn give up big plays as much as the next guy, but he was still a great value as an UDFA. He is now a mediocre corner for the Colts.
UDFA, Ben Garland: B
This may be projection, because he hasn’t done much to date, but he is the projected starter. If he starts, this becomes an A. If he doesn’t make the team, then this is a C.
Final Score: A-
Solid draft. Had some steals, but also some notable busts. The goal is to get 4 or 5 starters in each class, which we did, but the lack of good depth players keeps this from being an A. As bad a drafter as Hoodie McBaby was, he actually put together an excellent class in 2010. Still can’t forgive him for a 2009 class featuring second rounder Richard Quinn however.
Best Pick: Demaryius Thomas
Worst Pick: Tim Tebow
1st Round, Von Miller: A
Someone forgot to tell Von that he was picked by the wrong team. A move questioned because of the 4-3 Denver ran, Von immediately helped lead Denver to a playoff win. He has been the best defensive player in that class not including J.J. Watt, and Watt would have been considered a huge reach at number 2. Monumental pick.
2nd Round, Rahim Moore: B
Moore has been a very solid safety during his career. I feel as though he has failed to develop much play making ability or aggressiveness, so I’m not glad he’s gone, but there’s no question he was a good pick.
2nd Round, Orlando Franklin: A
Franklin was a day one starter and is one of the better lineman in the league. You can’t blame someone for playing their way out of Denver’s price range, and he was very good for us.
3rd Round, Nate Irving: B
Awesome depth player, and spot starter when need be, Irving was a decent value in the third. Hard to be overly critical of this pick, he played well last year until Brandon Marshall emerged.
4th Round, Quinton Carter: B
Had worked his way into the lineup and was playing very well until he got hurt. Injuries are hard to predict, and he is a very good depth player when healthy. Good value in the 4th.
4th Round, Julius Thomas: A
Whenever you get a top 5 player at their respective position in the 4th round, you’re doing something right. He was very good, and should continue to be good in Jacksonville.
6th Round, Michael Mohamed: C
Non-contributor, but that’s almost expected in the 6th round.
7th Round, Virgil Green: A
Whenever you find a starter in a late round, that’s great. But if that guys a leader and road grader, that’s awesome. Great pick.
7th Round, Jeremy Beal: C
Kicked around for a while, but is now out of the league, which is not shocking for a 7th rounder.
UDFA, Chris Harris Jr.,: A
I’m only allowing myself to give out letter grades without +/- in the individual scores, otherwise this would be an A+++++. To get the best corner in the league, and not even have to spend a pick on him, is pretty amazing.
Final Score: A+
Whenever you have a draft with 4 top 5 players at their respective positions (Von, Harris, Julius, and Franklin), 2 above average starters (Moore and Green) and 2 solid depth players (Irving and Carter) That can be considered a perfect draft. Our only picks that didn’t pan out were 6th and 7th rounders, so those can’t even be counted as blemishes. This is hands down in the conversation as the best class in Broncos’ history. The only knock on it was that it was a talented class in general, so a lot of teams fared well. Still, this laid the foundation for all those playoff runs we’ve enjoyed the last few years.
Best Pick: Von Miller
Worst Pick: Mike Mohamed
2nd Rounder, Derek Wolfe: B
Derek Wolfe is a solid guy. A decent starter, he probably should have been picked a little later with his lack of athleticism. Still, his pre injury play was OK, and he’s not a liability. But when you consider that we could have had Bobby Wagner a couple picks later, this is not deserving of an A.
2nd Rounder, Brock Osweiler: B
Yes, this is a projection. But given the fact that Oz has the look of a franchise passer, I feel comfortable with the value here. It’s not like he hasn’t done everything right. What, did fans expect him to unseat Manning? He will continue to develop his lightning quick release, and his arm could win us a Super Bowl half a decade from now. Add in the fact that he is still only 24, and Elway was smart to add a potential franchise passer in the second round. I’m only giving this pick a B however because he is still an unknown.
3rd Rounder, Ronnie Hillman: C
I realize he has had his fair share of contribution. He has been an ok pro. Still, a 3rd round pick is too high for a third string tailback. He has never been anything but a liability.
4th Rounder, Omar Bolden: B
He hasn’t been a star, but he also hasn’t really been given much playing time since we are so deep at corner. Bolden has been a good enough special teams player and spot defender to justify this grade.
4th Rounder, Phillip Blake: D
Blake was a guy who I was very high on when we picked him. I was clearly wrong. He is out of the league if I am not mistaken.
5th Rounder, Malik Jackson: A
Pro Football Focus’ number 3 4-3 end last season is in for a big jump. A leader on the field and a true enforcer, Jackson is a great value here. I see pro bowl production in his future.
6th Rounder, Danny Trevathan: A
Great value, a good starter and team leader. If he can stay healthy he will be a star in 2015.
UDFA, Duke Ihenacho: B
We got some starter snaps out of him, and he was an excellent value pickup. Still, he gave up a whole lot of big plays.
Final Score: B
Iffy draft. Hillman and Blake are busts, while Wolfe and Bolden were arguably over drafted. If Oz is great then this class moves into the A range, and if Oz falls flat this could drop to a C. This class depends on him.
Best Pick: Malik Jackson
Worst Pick: Phillip Blake
1st Round, Sylvester Williams: C
While I do project that Williams can flip the script this coming year, he hasn’t done enough to date to shed the bust label. He has the talent to turn it around but has been awful to this point.
2nd Round, Montee Ball: D
You don’t draft running backs in the second round unless they are going to come in and play. Ball has been awful when he’s seen the field. Also to note, we passed up on Eddie Lacy to take Ball. Ridiculous pick.
3rd Round, Kayvon Webster: C
While he hasn’t made a huge impact, I have a feeling that Webster would play more in a less stacked secondary. He showed a lot of talent his rookie year. Still, you need more production out of a third rounder.
5th Round, Quanterus Smith: D
Fifth rounders shouldn’t be released already. Poor selection.
5th Round, Tavarres King: D
Read: Smith, Quanterus.
6th Rounder, Vinston Painter: C
Never stuck, but that’s not terribly surprising from a 6th rounder.
7th Rounder: Zac Dysert: C
Only expected to be a 3rd stringer/practice squad player, and that’s exactly what he is.
UDFA, C.J. Anderson: A
Great pickup. He has a shot at being a top 5 back next year. As good a drafter as Elway is, he may be a better UDFA finder. Unbelievable value.
Final Score: C-
Anderson is the only thing keeping this class from being a flat D. In fact, Anderson was the only player in this class above a C grade. If Williams develops into a good starter, as I think he will, this class moves up into the C+ range. Still, a real miss from John Elway and Co.
Elway as a Drafter
Elway has fared very decently in the draft. Out of the drafts I graded him on, He received a B average, which is solid. His 2014 and 2015 efforts also seem like they are going to push his grade above that, with certain players already turning heads from each class. He has found serious all pro talent which has laid the foundation for playoff teams down the road. Also, as good as he is as a drafter, he’s an even better UDFA finder. In 2 of the 3 classes he found an all pro level talent who wasn’t drafted, and in 2012 he found a spot starter who was passed upon. That is special. Tell me how you would grade these classes and what you would do differently in the comments.
In Elway we trust, go Broncos.