Bon giorno from the media room here at Dove Valley, a four-sided enclosure that, for all practical purposes has been my home for the past few days in preparation for the draft. We’re here awaiting the first pre-draft press conference of the Mike Shanahan era, which is also his first presser of any ilk since the season-wrap session back in February.
Today’s session is mandated by the league; every team must now hold a pre-draft session; the Broncos were one of the few teams that did not have a pre-draft media briefing last year.
12:00 P.M. Punctual, as always.
12:01 P.M. Says it’s “sometimes” a little more difficult to move back in the draft than to move up … Also says that even though the team doesn’t pick on day 2 until the sixth round, the pick “isn’t a whole lot different” than the one in the fifth that was dealt to Detroit.
12:02 P.M. When asked whether there’s a chance they’ll move up, Shanahan plays his cards close to the vest, but says that the team “will not move up just to move up.”
12:03 P.M. On middle linebacker: “The opportunity to put D.J. in the middle — we’d like to do that,” he said. Says that the new defensive scheme involves more man-to-man coverage than in the past.
12:04 P.M. Says Williams “fits the middle linebacker mold pretty easily” and that it will be “natural for him to make that transition.” … “I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t step up.”
12:05 P.M. In his first public comments on Al Wilson since the release, says the decision was “tough,” and that he doesn’t know if Wilson will play again. Shanahan declined to go into detail about whether the move was based more on the salary cap, the condition of Wilson’s neck or his performance. “I would never go into detail which one it was,” Shanahan said.
12:07 P.M. On returns, says that Brandon Marshall will have the chance to compete for duties there.
12:08 P.M. Back to the draft; Shanahan says that safety, wide receiver and defensive line are each “deeper than it his been.”
12:09 P.M. Says that according to the doctors, Brandon Stokley will be ready by the start of training camp.
12:10 P.M. On Javon Walker: “I don’t know if you ever get over it … But Javon’s been working extremely hard in the offseason program … He’s leading the pack; he’s doing great … He’s looking extremely good right now; his attitude is great and hopefully he keeps on getting better.
12:11 P.M. Need versus best available player in the draft. “I think everybody looks at need first … I think a lot of times people will reach for a guy because of need and it comes back to haunt them. There’s a fine line as to what you want to do.”
12:11 P.M. On Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson: “He has all the things you look for … extremely bright … just a class act.”
12:12 P.M. On the offseason so far: Says he thought the team needed to address tight end and running back depth and did so with Daniel Graham and Travis Henry … Says that a veteran backup quarterback was essential … On Montrae Holland: “Here’s a guy that I thought the world of when he was with New Orleans … When he did start (there) I was very impressed. It’s hard to find those guys early in the draft and in the middle rounds.”
12:14 P.M. Says that Alvin McKinley can swing around to both tackle and end, and that defensive tackles Amon Gordon and Antwon Burton fit the new defensive scheme better than they did the one utilized last year.
12:15 P.M. D-line depth: “I think we’ve got a little bit more depth there than people think.”
12:18 P.M. On the draft board, “character has always been a big issue,” Shanahan said. “That does not mean that guys are not still on the bubble.”
12:19 P.M. Acknowledges that character did impact the placement of some players on his team’s draft board, but he obviously chose not to specify for whom this was the case.
12:21 P.M. On the contract extension he signed earlier this month: “It’s a great honor … How many times does a coach have a chance to spend 17 years with one team? It just doesn’t happen nowadays.”
12:24 P.M. On taking chances with draft picks. “I’m a risk taker; there’s no question about that. I love to gamble. But you’ve got to be educated … You’ve got to research, find out what makes them tick.”
12:26 P.M. On JaMarcus Russell: “Until the guy plays at the pro level, you really don’t know … Everything is not just based on talent. There are so many things that are involved … He’s a big human being.”
12:27 P.M. When asked about Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss, he jokingly replies, “Horrible,” his smile demonstrating his choice to decline comment about specific players. Some mock drafts have the Broncos selecting Moss with the No. 21 pick.
12:30 P.M. On pre-draft trade rumors, he says he has not talked to the Houston Texans and that he hasn’t spoken with the Detroit Lions since one week after the Scouting Combine … “It’s amazing to me what they find out.” …
12:30 P.M. Said that the Broncos had a deal done with the Lions to get the No. 2 pick when he talked with them after the Combine, but that the Lions declined to make the swap. “That happens all the time. The only reason I mention that is because it’s been talked about.”
12:33 P.M. Says that the status of wide receiver Brandon Marshall is unaffected by his arrest last month, but of the league’s new personal-conduct policy, says: “It makes people accountable for their actions,” Shanahan said. “I just think it’s good for the league. It’s the image we’d like to portray.” Specifically addresses Travis Henry and Todd Sauerbrun’s issues, saying, “These guys know one time, they’re gone. No second chances.”