Any novice fan can tell right away that quarterback is the most important position on a football team. They’re involved on every offensive play and everybody talks about them. One reason the Broncos were successful during the bulk of the 80’s and 90’s was because they were set @ quarterback. While the rest of the division was expending high round picks or major trade capital searching for a guy, the Broncos knew they were set under center with John Elway. Unfortunately, that situation has flipped and the rest of division has been stable under center and we’ve spent first and second round picks on a position that remains unsettled.
My first Cutline Draft is today and I wanted to share my thoughts going into the final weekend before the season starts. Last week’s fantasy football thread can be found here.
I also wanted to post a link to this website which has a Mock Draft Simulator, which is pretty good practice for the real thing and very quick against a computer ADP. They also have some very handy tools like Target Lists which are broken down by position and week by week. This is a valuable resource for researching and predicting opportunity and volume which are the key drivers for fantasy production.
I wanted to start this discussion thread before I left town in the morning. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to check in this weekend, but I’ll try to answer any questions as quickly as possibly.
Our time in Canton was terrific. I had wanted to visit since I was a kid and it was worth the wait. Holding a parade the same weekend was an awful idea, though. The people in from out of town had no interest and the two groups just got in each other’s way. Despite that small misstep, I think the people of Canton did a very nice job in welcoming their huge flood of visitors.
Brendan Langley, our 3rd rd pick from Lamar, is an athletic corner with a big upside. He’s also a very good returner.
— John Elway (@johnelway) April 29, 2017
I wanted to do a mock draft that might show what it would look like if we traded up for Ed and Lisa’s little boy Christian. I can’t see moving all the way up to five or six to get in front of Carolina, but if he makes it past the Panthers, I believe he’ll make it to Indy @ 15.
So, this is the trade I proposed to Howie Roseman this morning and he accepted. Broncos send 20, 51 and 127 to Philadelphia for 14 and 77.
I brought us back up to ten picks by swinging a second deal with John Lynch that sent 101 to the 49ers for 109 and 161.
Here’s what I was able to buy after all the wheeling and dealing.
1/14 Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford: Are you not entertained?
3/77 Taylor Moton OT Western Michigan: Four year starter. Powerful and still developing right tackle.
3/82 Cooper Kupp WR Eastern Washington: Highly productive and extremely polished slot receiver.
4/109 Shaquill Griffin CB Central Florida: Signed with UCF to play alongside twin brother Shaquem who only has one hand. Aggressive press corner who will require refinement at the next level. Showed tremendous speed, burst and ball skills at the Combine. Some believe he’s a workout warrior and his production didn’t match up to his talent, but he’s a solid prospect who is only available this late due to the depth @ CB this year.
5/161 Michael Roberts TE Toledo: Massive tight end with huge catch radius and his hands measured just an eighth of an inch off the Combine record. Unstoppable in the red zone in the MAC.
5/177 Deatrich Wise, Jr DE Arkansas: Naturally strong, run stuffing DE, who may have been miscast in a 4-3. Father played in the CFL. Hard worker and team captain, but lack of short area quickness will limit him.
6/203 Jayon Brown LB UCLA: Speedy and undersized with a love for the game. Latest in a line of excellent linebackers from UCLA. Terrific in coverage and a special teams demon. Great locker room presence. One of my favorite players in this draft.
7/238 DJ Jones NT Mississippi: Squatty but athletic nose tackle. His best film will remind you of former Lions standout Jerry Ball. Has conditioning issues that need to be addressed.
7/252 Jerry Ugokwe OT William & Mary: Nigerian native who walked on and started 42 straight games. Looks the part and is very coachable. High character young man who excelled academically. Only began playing as a junior in high school and will require a lot of refinement.
7/253 Dylan Cole LB Missouri State: Super intense and productive small school hitting machine. Put up ridiculous pro day numbers, but lack of agility shows up in coverage.
Rick Dennison has always been a brainy guy, making Second Team Academic All America @ Colorado State as a linebacker/tight end, where he also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. His senior year, he received the Merrill-Gheen Award as the university’s outstanding male scholar-athlete. I’ve heard Kubiak and Elway both say he’s one of the smartest people they’ve ever met. That’s the type of player he was, too. Dennison was quick to diagnose plays from his LILB spot, but @ 6’3″, 220 pounds in an era when inside backers typically carried more ballast, Dennison was weak at the point of attack. He was still so heady he earned a starting job.
Unfortunately, he was blocking Bowlen’s Folly, clubhouse lawyer Ricky Hunley on the depth chart. In a major mismatch, Bowlen prevailed over Joe Collier in a battle of wills and Dennison was benched so Ricky Hunley could misread keys and overrun plays and bite on the Hog’s counter trey 22 times one afternoon in San Diego. While it’s true Hunley never played another game for the Broncos after helping make Timmy Smith the answer to bar trivia, he was actually dumped because he ran afoul of Dan Reeves during the bitter lockout that took NFL players off the field for four games of the 1987 season. So did Meck and some other guys, but Dan needed them to win ballgames.
While Hunley was washing out of the league in AZ and with the Raiders, Dennison moved back into the starting lineup, this time @ RILB and he started for two more years. Give Dennison better physical tools and he probably would have started here for a decade. In total, Rick Dennison spent 26 years as a Bronco. Nine seasons as a player and 17 as a coach. He was with the team for all three world championships and six of eight AFC championships.
Somewhere across the vast multiverse, this draft class has already happened. In this reality, as in our own, quarterbacks are a dear commodity. After seeing Paxton Lynch come off the board in the top ten and Connor Cook go to the Jets @ 20, the Broncos shift gears. They make pick number 31 available and the Cowboys come calling with an offer. Denver sends picks 31, 63 and 144 to Dallas and get back selections 34, 67 and 101. It checks out. The Cowboys use the 31st pick on Christian Hackenberg.
Team captain. Big time hitter. Excellent range. The only thing keeping him out of the first round are his size limitations and injury history. I think many teams will be simultaneously scared away and enticed by the Bob Sanders comp that’s been floating around. Sanders was First Team All-Pro twice, but those were also the only two full seasons of his injury truncated career.
Very strong with huge hands. Quick and aggressive in seeking targets at the second level. Football bloodlines. The game means a lot to him. Outstanding fit for what we do in Denver. Somewhat undersized for an interior player and may be maxed out physically.
Amazingly productive college career. Fourth all time in the NCAA in touchdowns. Tough, versatile and extremely determined runner. Understands the game and competes hard all the time. One of the best receiving backs in the draft. Extensive use in college may be red flag, but didn’t have any crazy 400+ touch seasons like Derrick Henry. Fumbled 13 times over last three years. Pass protection must improve.
Honestly, I just really hope we select a running back relatively high in this draft. I like Dixon a lot and would be fine with trading up 10-20 spots to get him, but I would also be satisfied with Devontae Booker, Jordan Howard or C.J. Prosise here, or possibly Paul Perkins later in the draft. I think we really missed the boat by not drafting a runner from last year’s deep class. If Anderson or Hillman go down, we really don’t have another back to step in and take significant carries. If it was going to happen for Kapri or Juwon, I think it would have already.
High energy edge rusher with a non-stop motor. 19 sacks and five forced fumbles over the last two seasons. Needs to refine his skills and use his hands better. Shorter than you would like with short arms and can become wired to blockers. Must improve functional football strength to complement his excellent movement skills.
Well built and athletic. Holds the ball high and effortlessly powers football downfield. Has all the physical tools and intangibles of Dak Prescott, but better natural accuracy. Developed a bad case of happy feet playing behind shaky offensive line. Needs to take advantage of quick release with better decisions. Takes too many sacks trying to make things happen instead of checking down or throwing the ball away. Must become better at locating secondary and tertiary receivers under pressure. Floor is high quality backup, but could develop into a starter in a couple seasons. Will likely be completely overwhelmed by speed of pro game as a rookie.
Yes, Grand Valley State. The only school to recruit him. Division II monster who won the Gene Upshaw Trophy and utterly dominated his competition. 20 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss led all college lineman. Didn’t simply overwhelm overmatched opposition, has an assortment of pass rush moves. Excelled at the Combine. His 4.73 40 time was fifth best among DE; 30 reps tied for fifth; 35 inch vertical tied for fourth. He also interviewed well. Team captain. I would love to see Bill Kollar mold him into an NFL player.
Another Mountaineer. Like Kenneth Dixon, Nick had an extremely productive college career. He racked up 295 tackles the last three seasons. He had 11 tackles for loss in 2015. A WR and safety in high school, he understands the passing game and is alert and active in zone coverage. He isn’t a burner, posting a 4.73 40 @ the Combine, but he plays much faster because he doesn’t take many false steps. He also has excellent timing as a blitzer, collecting four sacks last season. Played every LB position and is a film room junkie. Team captain who will endear himself to the coaching staff immediately.
Check out the big brain on Ben. Smart as you would expect, but also quite a physical specimen. Dominated his lower level of competition, but also tested well in everything @ the Combine. Seems to really enjoy blocking. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and with something to prove. Very productive in college and performance was peaking at end of senior season.
Booming leg, as you would expect from any punter worthy of a draft pick. Might even be worth picking with our sixth rounder. Broke some of Shane Lechler’s records in college. Never had a punt blocked. Not Britton Colquitt.
Overshadowed by Laquon Treadwell. Humble kid who might not leave a lasting impression in interviews. Tall with long arms and a good leaper. Could be a nice red zone target. Willing blocker. Would contribute immediately on special teams. 18 career ST stops @ Mississippi. Football pedigree. Also lettered in baseball. Ran a 4.47 @ the Combine, but is not shifty or sudden. More of a straight line speed guy.
Well, cross these names off your big boards, Maniacs. I’ve just put the whammy on the Broncos drafting any of them, but that doesn’t preclude them acquiring one or all of these guys in a couple years after they bitterly disappoint elsewhere.
For entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering.