A bit tough to concentrate on all this grading with the draft results trickling in, but I must post a quick response to the Broncos’ work this time around, especially in light of my previous post advising Mr. Shanahan.
I have here at my desk a draft chart, with a number of names and positions scribbled upon it. They represent my hopes going into our draft this year. (Yes, I am aware of my collapsing myself into the third person plural here despite the fact I am not on the payroll of the Broncos. No, I don’t care.) Comparing these scribbles with what happened over the past two days (positions in my order of need):
OFFENSIVE LINE. Denver’s number one need. I figured we didn’t have a shot at Ryan Clady of Boise State, but I’m glad to be wrong. In addition to taking a tackle with the first pick, I wanted Denver to grab a Guard or Center with a late pick. I had tabbed Drew Radovich of USC, thinking he could be had in the 7th round. Turns out the Broncos jumped this need in the 4th with Kory Lichtensteiger of Bowling Green. Radovich, by the way, didn’t get drafted, so he still could be a Bronco.
KICK/PUNT RETURNER. I’d thought the big names would be off the board before Denver was up in the second round, so I’d suggested that Shanahan and crew might gamble on Danny Woodhead of Chadron State, converting the record-setting running back to a returner. Turns out I was very wrong. The Broncos had the pick of the litter among returners and opted for Eddie Royal of Virginia Tech (pictured above). On paper he looks a lot like Steve Smith … here’s hoping he is! Woodhead remains available — and he’s a Denver fan!
INSIDE LINEBACKER. I really wanted a young middle linebacker, someone to push the newly acquired Niko. As Jonathan Goff of Vanderbilt started to slip I got quite excited. I figured he’d go in the 3rd round — in which Denver, sadly, did not have a pick — so to see him available when their 4th round picks came up had me bouncing. But the Broncos didn’t draft him. Not at 108. Not at 119, 139, or 148. Egads! Pick this guy! Nope. As I was with Brandon Siler last year, I was ignored. New York Giants heard me and snatched him up at 165. Then (then!) the Broncos decided to look at LB, grabbing Spencer Larsen of Arizona. Sigh. My late-round special, Shane Simmons of Western Washington, remains available.
SAFETY. I was hoping for a young safety project to learn for a year and then push for a spot in 2009. I thought this would be a 4th round pick, and I was thrilled when our picks came ’round and Josh Barrett of Arizona State (his name appears on my sheet twice, I liked him so much!) was still available. Like with Goff, though, the Broncos didn’t pick him. Again and again and again and I couldn’t believe he’s still there and again and … they picked him! Lord a’mighty! 220nd pick in the draft, in the seventh round. I can’t believe he was still available. And the round wasn’t even done…
FULLBACK. There were two fullbacks I liked in this draft: Owen Schmitt of West Virginia and Peyton Hillis of Arkansas. Somehow, inexplicably, Hillis was still available with Denver’s last pick — number 227! — and they smartly snatched him up.
OTHERS. The middle of the draft had me really scratching my shaved noggin’. While Goff, Barrett, and other excellent folks were slipping down the boards the Broncos drafted:
CB Jack Williams of Kent State. Who? Um, don’t we have at least four solid cornerbacks? The more the merrier, I guess, but Goff is still there!
RB Ryan Torain of Arizona State. I know, I know: You can never have too many running backs. And Denver has done quite well with runners around this slot. But, um, Goff is still there!
DT Carlton Powell of Virginia Tech. Who? Didn’t we just trade for Dewayne Robertson like, what, two days ago? Depth is good, I guess — lord knows the defense needed help up front — but, damnit, Goff is still there!
Huh. Color be confused, but I suspect there’s a reason Shanahan runs the Bronx and I don’t. I assume (and hope) he knows something about these folks that I’m not privy to know. And I’m not about to complain, what with that terrific final round. I’ll give the whole an A- at this point, knowing that we’ll not know how it turned out for another 3-4 years.
Except that, you know, in addition to a placekicker I’d like the Broncos to place free agent calls to the following two fellows:
P Mike Dragosavich, North Dakota State. I can’t even name our current punter.
RB Danny Woodhead, Chadron State. Just give him a shot, Shanahan!