Sunday, June 22, 2008

X, Y, Z: '08 Bronco Receivers

With about a month left before training camp, the Broncos still have eleven WRs and five TEs with a couple of cuts needed in order to be at 80. Mike Shanahan recently commented on the depth at WR as being the best ever.

There seems to be a top group of six including Brandons Marshall and Stokley, Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert, Samie Parker and Eddie Royal. Except for rookie Royal ('08 2nd round pick), it is a group of established experience and accomplishment in the NFL. If this group becomes the '08 WR corps, I can certainly see what Shanahan is saying ... that's deep.

The other five include Glenn Martinez (who logged plenty of time in '07), Cliff Russell (former 3rd round DC of the Redskins and a pretty speedy guy), Lorne Sam (a CFA from UTEP who is a very intelligent and gifted athlete with size and speed), Marquay McDaniel ('07 Practice Squad) and Edell Shepherd (added in the off season).

One wonders how many WRs the Broncos will keep? That top six would fine by me. Besides the unusual size of Marshall, consumate ability of Stokley ("the slot machine") and interchangeability of Jackson and Colbert, you have major speed demons in Parker and Royal. It's only when you look at all of the players in each position that you really gain appreciation of Shanahan's architecture. Sam would seem a likely candidate for the Practice Squad.

Ian previously commented on the lack of depth at TE. I can't really see the Broncos keeping more than three and they have five now: Tony Scheffler, Daniel Graham, Nate Jackson, Chad Mustard and Brett Pierce. Scheffler and Graham are very good at what they do. Mustard had recent hamstring repair surgery (doesn't really sound very good) and Nate Jackson is coming back from injury in '07. Brett Pierce was added in the offseason and used to be a decent blocker and short to mid-range receiver when he played at Stanford. This position is not able to sustain injury, but would it ever? The Giants lost Shockey in '07 and relied on rookie Kevin Boss in the playoff run. Scheffler's annual injury escapades worry us all and Graham is getting older. Perhaps next year, the Broncos will add a rookie TE. It's a hard position recently because they seem to either be blockers or receivers, but not often both. I hope Mustard is ready by TC.

So, X=Marshall, Jackson and Colbert? Y=Scheffler, Graham, and Brett Jackstard? Z=Stokley, Parker and Royal? I never was any good at algebra. What is that anyway? An undergarment made from plant fibers?

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