Monday, July 14, 2008

Preparing for the '09 Draft; pars quarta:

If you have read the first three parts, especially "pars tertia", we have attempted to establish a rational basis for discussing the '09 NFL Draft. Previously, a likely group of players of interest for the Broncos was presented drawn only from college Seniors in '08. What happens when Juniors come out? It changes much and reshuffles the overall ranking of players. Look what happened prior to the '08 Draft. A bunch of Juniors joined an already deep group. There were several highly regarded RBs among them. They (McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart, Rice) crowded into the upper echelons of the pool and changed the order. Had that not happened, I doubt if the Broncos would have been able to pick either Ryans (Clady or Torain) with the picks they utilized.

What will happen in '09? Juniors will come out as they have regularly done. How many will impact the first round of the Draft? Hard to say because all of them won't come out, but a guess would be 8-10 first rounders. What this may do is shuffle Seniors of interest to the Broncos within their reach. It may also introduce a new player of interest for whom Denver might be willing to trade up. What Seniors of interest might be shuffled within reach? As indicated in "pars tertia", Duke Robinson, G, OU and Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest might be considered, especially the former. Just as a Clady is seldom available, the same could be said for Duke and it might solidify Cutler's blind side for years to come. Another FS for whom the Broncos might trade up is William Moore, FS, Missouri, 6-1, 224, 117 tkl, 2 sk, 7 tfl, 6 pbu and 8 int in '07. Due to its depth, '08 was a good year to acquire many rookies, but the need for quantity vs. targeted quality will pass eventually.

Could there be Juniors of interest for whom Denver might trade up? I'm thinking Taylor Mays, FS, USC, 6-3, 225, 65 tkl, 6 pbu, 1 int in '07. I think, on paper anyway, that he makes me think of ... Josh Barrett? Which is another thing we won't know until the end of this year; how will Barrett do? A stellar season on his part could change the outlook on the '09 Draft. What about Brandon Spikes, ILB, FLA, 6-3, 242, 131 tkl, 1.5 sk, 14.5 tfl and 7 pbu in '07? Make anybody think ... Al Wilson? Again, we don't know how Niko Koutouvides and Spencer Larsen will do in '08. If MLB moves up as a priority, I would expect the Broncos to be interested in Spikes and Laurinaitis and Maualuga as well. On the other hand Niko and Spencer might do so well that MLB could be moved to the back burner for awhile. Shanahan will only contemplate trading up for a certain player who is so good at a certain needy position that sacrifices will be made in order to obtain him.

What if Barrett and Wesley Woodyard are doing well as FS and box S, and Koutouvides and Larsen are fine at MLB/ST? An influx of highly regarded Juniors might bump some Seniors from the first to the second round. The presence of Mays and others might push Courtney Greene (who might actually be every bit as good a FS) to the second round. It's a possible scenario. In it, Denver might be able to get Robinson and Greene thus filling a couple of definite needs with well-regarded prospects.

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