The countdown is on. The draft approaches. Let the speculation continue.
In recent days, the draft buzz surrounding USC quarterback Mark Sanchez has reached fever pitch. I’ll cut to the chase: I don’t expect Sanchez to be wearing a Broncos uniform this fall.
There are several reasons for this.
First, the Broncos need a lot of help on defense. With the twelfth and eighteenth overall picks, they could select a couple of highly rated defensive players and, hopefully, continue the rebuilding process on the defensive side off the ball.
They need a nose tackle; they need a pass rusher; they need a tough linebacker.
Second, the Broncos already have two veteran quarterbacks, Kyle Orton and Chris Simms. My belief is the Broncos are content to let those two guys compete, have one emerge as the starter, and go with that guy in 2009. Whoever doesn’t win the starting job will be one of the better back-up quarterbacks in the NFL.
Third, new Broncos’ head coach Josh McDaniels has had great success working with/developing quarterbacks that were not high-round picks, with Tom Brady and Matt Cassel being the two main examples. New England chose Brady in the sixth round in 2000 and Cassel in round seven of the 2005 draft.
Fourth, if the current quarterback situation of Orton and Simms doesn’t work out in 2009, the Broncos will still have two first round picks in 2010. Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy of Texas will be among the quarterbacks who will be available a year from now.
As talented as Sanchez is and as much as he seems to have going for him in many areas, I believe the Broncos will go in a different direction, even if somehow Sanchez is available when the twelfth pick rolls around.
So what will the Broncos do? That is the big question. Here are a few thoughts.
1) I think the Broncos will use their two first round picks. I don’t see them trading down. They already have a good stockpile of selections and they need a couple of difference-makers. Think back to last year when the Broncos took tackle Ryan Clady and wide receiver Eddie Royal with their top two picks. They turned out to be guys who came in and contributed right away.
Right now, the Broncos have three of the top 48 selections. Can you imagine three more players of similar ability joining this team? I know the draft is an inexact science but the Broncos are in position to really make some substantial improvements if they pick the right guys.
2) I believe Coach McDaniels when he says they will take the best available player at a position of need when it is the Broncos’ turn to pick so I think there will be some balance between the team taking offensive and defensive players.
At the same time, it is really hard to ignore the needs on defense. While I believe the Broncos will draft some offensive players, I believe they will do their best to shore up the defense.
Talk is flying around about Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji but it seems unlikely he will still be available at 12.
Lately, the name of LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson has come up and he seems like he could very well be a guy the Broncos are targeting. Assuming Raji is already off the board when the Broncos pick twelfth (and assuming they stay in that spot), I could easily see the Broncos taking Jackson.
3) It is always dangerous to make predictions about the draft because the unexpected always seems to happen. But here goes.
The Broncos take Tyson Jackson with the twelfth pick. Then at 18 they take either a linebacker or an offensive skill player, that is running back or wide receiver. Then in the second round, it’s back to defense, perhaps defensive tackle Ron Brace of Boston College.
With so many picks and seemingly an equal or greater number of needs, the Broncos can go in any direction. I cannot wait to see what transpires this weekend.
Time for you to weigh in. What do you think the Broncos should and what do you think they will do?
Thanks for reading. I’ll post some thoughts about whom the Broncos drafted next week.
Tags: 2009 NFL Draft