Denver Broncos News: The 2009 Draft, Day 2

On day 2 of the draft I was really hoping that Denver would address the defensive line.  Actually I was hoping for it yesterday but we know how that went.  Once again, the Broncos basically focused on offense and traded around some picks to move up today.  I am still pretty unsure of the whole weekend, but I guess I have no choice but to have faith in the front office that they know what they are doing.  I will say that now that I have had some time to calm down a little, I suppose I can see the logic in some of these choices.  I may not like some of them, but I guess I don’t get paid to make football decisions do I? I am going to stop being so damned negative also…nothing will change me being a fan of the team so I may as well buck up.  In any case, here is how day 2 of the 2009 NFL draft for the Denver Broncos went down.

4th Round, pick #114 overall: David Bruton, Free Safety out of Notre Dame


Bruton is a big kid who will probably do very well playing in the box and against the run.  He has decent speed and should do well learning from veterans like Dawkins and Hill.  It is pretty apparent to me that the Broncos are looking to groom some guys to eventually take over for the aforementioned veterans and they made a good choice here.

4th Round, pick #132 overall (from Pittsburgh): Seth Olsen, Offensive Guard out of Iowa


I love this pick.  Denver needed some depth on the line with the aging Ben Hamilton and Olsen should fit the bull nicely.  I am a loyal Hawkeye fan so this is a bit of a homer opinion but you cannot go wrong in general with an Iowa lineman on either side of the ball.  Coach Ferentz in Iowa starts his teams from the line(s) out and he prepares these kids with the tool they need.  Olsen is a strong kid with solid fundamentals and should help an already dominant offensive line in Denver become that much stronger.  Can you tell I like this one?

5th Round, pick #141 overall (from Cleveland through Philadelphia through New England and Baltimore): Kenny McKinley, Wide Receiver out of South Carolina


Denver moved up to get this young man, which might be the only thing I am not happy with.  He is a very talented receiver with good hands and sharp route running skills.  The only thing negative here is that he is a natural slot receiver and Denver is heavy at that position. That said, he will be a great option in the spread formation Denver is likely to utilize this year and will be a dynamic weapon overall.  I like the pick, you can never have enough talent catching the ball.

6th Round, pick #174 overall (from Detroit): Tom Brandstater, Quarterback out of Fresno State


We all saw it coming, Denver was bound to draft a quarterback for coach McDaniels to mold and work with.  This young man might be a great option later for sure.  He is a very big kid with great strength and overall athleticism to get the job done.  I like the pick and I am glad we did not go for a quarterback in the first round instead.

7th Round, pick #225 overall: Blake Schlueter, Center out of TCU


This is another late-round gem for the offensive line in Denver.  Schlueter is very quick and will be a nice future replacement for veteran Casey Wiegmann.  I like this choice, great value for the caliber of player this late in the draft.

That about sums up day 2 of the Broncos 2009 NFL draft.

Two things became pretty clear to me after this weekend’s choices.  First, that the front office is working towards developing young men with great football skills and desire as well as character into the future of the team with the help of the veterans.  Second is that it seems that new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan believes that he may have the pieces to run a hybrid 3-4 / 4-3 system this year with the players they have on the roster.  Let’s hope it truly is the system and not the players in that case.  Anything has to be better than the 10 yard cushions Slowik was giving up last year right?

Round 4: Solid B, the secondary last year was arguably as bad as the front 7 on defense and adding another solid option at safety will help that for the future.  Depth on the offensive line is always a plus as well and they made a great choice here.

Round 5: C, I like the player but don’t like that once again we gave picks up to get him.  I would have rather seen a defensive lineman here.

Round 6: B, coach McDaniels now has his project quarterback and he is a solid choice.  Plus his name is almost Tom Brady.

Round 7: Solid B, with Wiegmann aging and Lichtensteiger a question mark Denver had to have an option at center.  Again, depth on the line is a good thing.

I will follow the undrafted free-agent signings and give an overall team evaluation after that.  There is a lot of undrafted talent to be had, and Denver would do well to snatch some of it up.

Denver Broncos News: The 2009 Draft, Day 1

Today was the day that the Josh McDaniels hating crowd would be silenced. That is what I thought going in at least. Entering the draft this year Denver had some very glaring needs on defense, specifically with the front 7. There seemed to be many viable options and with Denver having 2 picks in the first round (12 and 18) I figured we would see the future of the Denver defense unfold before our eyes. To say the least, today I was thrown for a loop.

Here is how the first and second rounds went for the Broncos along with some commentary. To be honest, I have to give it a few days before I do a decent and in-depth analysis because I am not very pleased.  I will cover both draft days at that point but here is my take so far…

1st Round, pick #12 overall: Knowshon Moreno, Running Back out of Georgia


I am actually not upset at this choice albeit a little surprised.  The team clearly went for the “best player available” approach here, passing on a rich line backing field from USC alone as well as Brian Orakpo to help with the defense.  Moreno is a very talented back and should help open the offense up with his quick moves combined with a power running game that is hard to find.

1st Round, pick #18 overall (from the Cutler trade to Chicago): Robert Ayers, Line Backer/Defensive End out of Tennessee


This pick I am pretty happy with, thrilled actually.  Ayers is a very versatile and solid pass rusher that can work in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defensive scheme.  Some draft analysts have pegged him as the top defender in this class, but time will tell.  This choice absolutely addresses a need for the Broncos in their transition to a 3-4 defense and this young man will make an immediate impact.

2nd Round, pick #37 overall (from Seattle): Alphonso Smith, Corner Back out of Wake Forest


This is where I started wondering what was going on to be honest.  Smith is a fantastic potential “shut down” corner and a very solid player who I am excited will be joining the team.  That said, giving up a 2010 1st round pick to the Seahawks to move up to get him is a major gamble, and not something I am pleased about.  That pick was not Chicago’s either, it was Denver’s…and Denver will likely (based on schedule, players, etc.) finish with a top 15 pick again if not a top 10 pick next year.  By that logic, McDaniels and company are banking that Smith is top 10 talent.  I sure hope so.  He is a little small but talented as hell and will make for a very formidable opponent opposite Champ Bailey.  He can be a great future star for the team, no question.  I simply don’t like what we gave up to get him.

2nd Round, pick #48 overall: Darcel McBath, Safety/Corner Back out of Texas Tech


McBath is a safety that was converted from the corner back position, so he has the athleticism to make plays.  He is described as a ball-hawking safety which is nice but at 198 lbs, I am not sure how he will fare against the run.  I am actually not a fan at all of this pick.  He is a nice player and will learn from Brian Dawkins but seriously, did Denver need a safety here when there were some very nice options for the defensive line left on the board?

2nd Round, pick #64 overall: Richard Quinn, Tight End out of North Carolina


This pick just pisses me off actually.  Denver traded 2, count them, 2 3rd round picks to the Steelers for this slot to take a tight end that is known for great blocking, and 12 total receptions in his collegiate career.  I am not knocking the kid, great blocking is wonderful but he was slotted AT BEST as a mid to late 3rd round pick and even as late as the 6th round.  Way too much given up for this choice in my opinion, and I just don’t get it.  An interesting plot thickens with this choice, does it possibly mean we have seen the last of Tony Scheffler in a Broncos uniform?  Scheffler is a great receiving tight end but perhaps he doesn’t fit the new style.  In any case, I hate this pick and we wasted 2 picks tomorrow on something we could have had later.

Well kids, that is the short of it all for now.  Day one of the 2009 NFL draft is over and I am not happy.   My grades so far for Denver…

Round 1: Solid B, I think they addressed one need with Ayers and took a chance on a potential superstar in Moreno.

Round 2: D-, sorry but Smith is the only pick I like here…and we could have had him at #48 without giving up a #1 next year.  The rest are failed picks that don’t help the areas we need help with.

More to come tomorrow, let’s hope for some day 2 magic.  Oh and how about A FREAKING DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OR TWO!!!

Denver Broncos News: Broncos 2009 Schedule

Yesterday the official schedules were released by the league and Denver has a doozy.  They are rated with the 19th toughest schedule this coming season, here is what it looks like including a Monday night game against the defending Super Bowl champs in Denver and a Turkey day game at home against the Giants.

Preseason

TBA (Aug. 13-17) at San Francisco TBD
TBA (Aug. 20-24) at Seattle TBD
Sunday, Aug. 30 CHICAGO 6 p.m. (NBC)
Thursday, Sept. 3 ARIZONA 7 p.m.

Regular Season

Sunday, Sept. 13 at Cincinnati 11 a.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 20 CLEVELAND 2:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 27 at Oakland 2:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 4 DALLAS 2:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Oct. 11 NEW ENGLAND 2:15 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Oct. 19 at San Diego 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Oct. 25 BYE
Sunday, Nov. 1 at Baltimore 11 a.m. (CBS)
Monday, Nov. 9 PITTSBURGH 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Nov. 15 at Washington 11 a.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Nov. 22 SAN DIEGO 2:15 p.m. (CBS)
Thursday, Nov. 26 N.Y. GIANTS 6:20 p.m. (NFLN)
Sunday, Dec. 6 at Kansas City 11 a.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 13 at Indianapolis 11 a.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 20 OAKLAND 2:05 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 27 at Philadelphia 11 a.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 3 KANSAS CITY 2:15 p.m. (CBS)

Tune into episode 3 of the Tailgate Radio podcast which will be live this weekend where I will discuss the schedule and what I think of it at this point along with our chances.  Episode 2 is now available on itunes and the Zune marketplace for your listening pleasure.  As always please spread the word and  rate and review it!

Denver Broncos Rumor: Mark Sanchez?

So the rumors run rampant leading up to the draft, I think we have all come to know and love that fact.

One that I am really worried about personally is that the Broncos will draft a quarterback in the first round to replace Jay Cutler.  Huh?  Maybe I missed the boat, but didn’t we get a starter in return?  Say what you want about Orton, but he has started and won NFL games.  Nobody available in the draft can say that and save me the Matt Ryan examples…that is not typical.  As a matter of fact most first round quarterbacks are not even close to what they should be when they make it to the NFL…forget about starting in year 1.

I am happy about the trade and excited to see Simms and Orton compete for the starting job but seriously if Denver drafts a quarterback with their 1st or 2nd pick I will be pissed and a little confused.  What does that say to Orton?  I am praying it is a baseless rumor and they stick with the plan to build the defense up.  Let one of the guys on the team already battle for a spot and if you MUST get a quarterback for God’s sake do it in a later round or wait until next year when the class is better.  We don’t need a quarterback right now from the draft, we need a defense.

On another note, as some of you know I help run Tailgate365.com and this week we put out our first podcast.  It is titled Tailgate Radio and is available on itunes and the Zune marketplace.  Rate it, review it and give us your feedback.  You can also email questions into podcast@tailgate365.com.  podcast #2 is in the works already, so stay tuned!

The Jay Cutler trade: Color Me Excited!

A lot has been made during this off season about Jay Cutler and the future of the Broncos. Many posts, many stories and many rumors have floated around and finally we can put them to rest. Jay is gone and magically the Denver Broncos will get along fine without him. Sure, we may miss some of the passes only a guy with that kind of arm can make but we have one heck of a strong player in Kyle Orton.

My column is not really about Orton, I think he will be fine. He is a talented and more than adequate option to compete for the quarterback spot with Chris Simms this year and more than anything he has already shown what a great team guy he is by showing up to work out with the team last week. He already has been to twice as many off season workouts than Cutler, woo hoo!

What I am excited about is what this trade can do for the Denver Broncos in the long run. Getting a 1st and 3rd round draft pick this year and a 1st next year, in addition to a starting quarterback from the Bears for Cutler and a 5th round pick (by way of the Keary Colbert experiment) is highway robbery. I know, I know…Orton is not Cutler.

This trade was not about Orton for Cutler boys and girls. This trade was about shoring up the Denver Broncos future and with 4 1st round draft picks in 2 years, that could happen a lot quicker than we think. I am not exaggerating when I say that if Denver can hit on their day one draft picks over the next 2 years, they could be setting themselves up for a serious run of some pretty sweet seasons.

Think Herschel Walker, only to a lesser degree. That monster trade between the Cowboys and Vikings transformed the Cowboys into a dominating force throughout the 1990’s. I realize this is not the same thing, but it is pretty darn close.

I truly hope that the Broncos front office uses the next 2 years wisely to build a powerhouse defense to go along with what is surely to be a dynamic offense, even with Kyle Orton. These are exciting times Bronco Nation no matter what some fans may think. So think bigger than Cutler versus Orton because the guys in charge sure are.

Denver Broncos News: Jay Cutler traded to the Chicago Bears

Disgruntled Jay Cutler is now going to be the quarterback for the Chicago Bears. It was reported today by NFL.com that the teams agreed in principle, details to follow.

This was a team he wanted to go to, hope he is happy.  I cannot wait to see what we get in return!

*UPDATE*

Denver will get Kyle Orton, the Bears 2009 1st round draft pick (#18), their 2009 3rd round pick and their 2010 1st round draft pick.  Chicago gets Cutler and Denver’s 5th round pick.

Jay Cutler: “I really didn’t want this”

Are you kidding me Jay?

No seriously, please tell me this is some sick April Fool’s joke. Last night it was reported by Jay Glazer and Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com that Jay Cutler told them, he never wanted to be traded at all.

From the FoxSports.com article:

The Denver Broncos say Jay Cutler wants to get traded.

The star quarterback disagrees.

Cutler spoke exclusively Wednesday night with FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer at the UFC Fight Night 18 card in Nashville that both were attending. Cutler says he was shocked the Broncos issued a statement proclaiming he was on the block after conversations with agent Bus Cook.

“I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon,” Cutler told Glazer in his first comments since the statement was released. “I didn’t want to get traded. This wasn’t me. They [The Broncos] had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback and then they didn’t.”

“I really didn’t want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn’t want it to get this far.”

In a team-issued statement Tuesday, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said his attempts and those by first-year head coach Josh McDaniels to reach Cutler for the past 10 days were “unsuccessful.” But in what has turned into an obvious he-said, she-said situation, Cutler claims he is the one who had not heard from the Broncos during that time. Cutler said the first time he heard from the Broncos in 10 days was Tuesday when they informed him of their decision to trade him.

“A conversation with his agent earlier (Tuesday) clearly communicated and confirmed to us that Jay no longer has any desire to play for the Broncos,” Bowlen said. “We will begin discussions with other teams in an effort to accommodate his request to be traded.”

Hmm, that is odd because I specifically remember this statement Jay…

Cutler and Cook issued the trade request a day after a meeting with McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders did not go the way quarterback had hoped.  (courtesy of the Denver Post online)

What a joke this thing has become.  Someone is lying, and it really seems to be Jay and his agent Bus Cook.  You requested to be traded after you did not like the way your meeting with the new coach went, and now that you see that as something that is going to happen…you say you never said it?

My God, this is crazy.  Part of me thinks that Jay had no idea how far it would go and he put too much trust in his agent, and Bus struck again.  Another part of me says Jay was actually unhappy about the meeting and requested the trade, and now regrets it with the thought of playing somewhere like Detroit.

Sorry Jay, you lost a fan here.  I don’t care if you stay, I won’t be able to like you again.  I will always root for Denver and if you happen to be a part of that then great.  Unfortunately, you are making your intentions pretty clear Jay, this is a money play and I, as a fan, don’t want you representing the franchise I love.