Thursday, July 17, 2008

Preparing for the '09 Draft; pars sexta:

Between the end of the '07 season and now, it's impressive what Shanahan and Co. have accomplished in terms of addressing the many personnel needs apparent at the end of last year. The Broncos now have a rebuilt OL, LB Corps, and more WRs and RBs than can make the roster. DL is thinner in experience than is optimal, but a cadre of young D-Linemen will tell us with their play this season whether and how much additional help is needed. Acquiring another DT via the '09 Draft may be advisable. MLB will be an adventure in '08 with the jury out on that position until the end of the season. At some point in the future, OLB will need to be addressed, but that, too, is unclear at this time. The obvious conundrum of the kickers (an ancient mystery cult) will prevail until consistency and stability is acheived which might not occur this season necessitating attention in the '09 Draft.

Fortunately '09 is a good year for PK/P and P/PK (I am obsessed with one player doing both) and most of those will be available in the final round or in CFA. A FS, a G and a TE seem, at the moment, to be the clearest positions of need in that order. The entire Safety group seems enigmatic due not only to the new D, but what roles the safeties will play in it. The current group seems dominated by Box/SS types which is why FS seems such a priority, presence of the unproven Josh Barrett notwithstanding. Given the age and injury history of three Denver OL, G needs to be addressed. At the moment I feel a promising third TE is needed and a good one may be available after the first two rounds.

We previously established these groupings of some players of interest:
Worth trading up:
  • William Moore, FS, Missouri
  • Duke Robinson, G, OU
  • James Laurinaitis, MLB, the OSU
  • Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC
  • Brandon Spikes, MLB, Florida [*if he comes out]
First Rounders within anticipated reach:
  • Courtney Greene, FS, Rutgers
  • Arian Foster, RB, Tennessee
  • Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin
  • Derek Pegues, FS, Mississippi State
Second Rounders within anticipated reach:
  • Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
  • Demetrius Byrd, WR, LSU
  • Mitch Petrus, G, Arkansas
  • Pannel Egboh, DE, Stanford
  • CJ Spillman, FS, Marshall
  • Josh Mauga, MLB, Nevada
Pushing our collective imaginations into the future (less than a year away, crybabies), let's develop some conceivable third-rounders:

Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss, 6-3, 298, 58 tkl, 3.5 sk, 10.5 tfl, 1 pbu, and 1 int in '07;
Curtis Taylor, FS, LSU, 6-3, 208, 54 tkl, 1 sk, 6 pbu and 3 int in '07;
Keegan Herring, RB, Arizona St., 5-10, 195, 154 att, 815 yds, 5 TD, 10 rec, 88 yds in '07 [*4.4 speed]
Alex Magee, DT, Purdue, 6-3, 295, 38 tkl, 4.5 tfl, 2 pbu in '07;
Bear Pascoe, TE, Fresno State, 6-5, 258, 45 rec, 553 yds, 4 TD in '07.

I hope that FS has been addressed by the time Denver gets to the third round (which I hope they have in '09). Peria Jerry is a good DT prospect, but I think a good one might be available later. The same could be said for Keegan Herring as well as Alex Magee. Let's watch out for "Bear" Pascoe this season. He was a QB in HS, has become a pretty good blocker (he plays full contact sports with cattle and horses when he isn't playing football) and is a terror on ST which is a definite prerequisite for a third TE. I like this guy a lot as a third TE for the Broncos in his rookie year with the future looking good for him in the NFL. I hope I can get to Fresno State's season opener at Rutgers. That way we could evaluate how well Courtney Greene covers Bear Pascoe, if he's called on to do so. That could be an interesting matchup.

For those who have been following "Sam's Mystery Tour" here, you may want to reference the first five "partes" for additional names and comparisons.

Here is what I would consider a reasonable first three rounds for the Broncos in the '09 NFL Draft:
  • 1st Round- Courtney Greene, FS, Rutgers
  • 2nd Round- Mitch Petrus, G, Arkansas
  • 3rd Round- Bear Pascoe, TE, Fresno State
These conveniently satisfy my three targeted positions of need with players who seem to be able to help.

As previously stated, these projections are predicated on Denver selecting aproximately 25th [editor's note: Sam means 32nd], or so, and emphasis is currently being placed on '08 College Seniors. I don't know yet how many draft picks the Broncos will have in '09, or which, if any, will go to the Jets for DeWayne Robertson. Trading up is always a possibility with Mike Shanahan and will happen if: he feels he can afford whatever would be required to strike such a bargain; and, a "must have" player had been targeted and positioned for acquisition. Otherwise, the pool of players thus far presented has been intended to provide a range of possibilities in each round.

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