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Broncos Gab Grades the Teams Picks in the 2011 Draft

By Abe Munch

1st- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
2nd- Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
2nd- Orlando Franklin, OT, Miami (FL)
3rd- Nate Irving, LB, North Carolina State
4th- Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma
4th- Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State
6th- Mike Mohamed, LB, California
7th- Virgil Green, TE, Nevada
7th- Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma

Synopsis: This was John Elway’s inaugural draft as the commander in chief of the Denver Broncos. He along with new head coach John Fox set out to reconstruct the defense from a base 3-4 to John Fox’s base 4-3, while also looking to upgrade the tight end position and give young quarterback Tim Tebow some weapons for the middle of the field.

Best Selection: Quinton Carter. Based on where Carter was selected, and also what Carter brings to the secondary from a skill set standpoint, I would say that he was the best value. Some may say Von Miller, but I disagree because Von Miller has never played the linebacker position in a 4-3 alignment, where the responsibilities are much different than a 3-4 linebacker (which Miller played in college).

Biggest Risk: Julius Thomas. Thomas is an extremely raw prospect who only played one full season at Portland State (a small school). He lacks size and strength to block in-line, shows inconsistent hands, and hasn’t proven he can stand up to solid competition or run NFL routes. He was selected above much more pro ready tight ends.

Sleeper: Jeremy Beal. He’s not a natural fit in a 4-3 alignment at linebacker or defensive end, but he plays hard and has deceptive closing speed in his pass rush. I had him graded much higher but projected him as an inside or outside linebacker in a 3-4. He was highly productive in college and plays the game smart, disciplined, and won’t miss many assignments.

Grade: C+

I wasn’t as keen on the selections as others as I feel that Denver is dealing with some misplaced parts. My grade would’ve been higher for this class had Denver decided to stick with a 3-4 alignment. I also felt there were more polished tight end prospects available who could be just as productive.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ben

    May 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Broncos Fans,

    I think a C+ has been pretty common on Internet sites, with some grading Denver as well as an A for the value that they received with each selection. The draft, especially initially is certainly in the eye of the beholder as they have yet to do anything for your team yet.

    This draft has had a huge grade variance for a couple of reasons, one being whether you believe Von Miller is a 3-4 LB only, or if you think his quickness would allow him to excel in any position in this defense, which has so many variations, some say it’s a 3-4 that calls itself a 4-3. Also, I saw an interesting comment recently from a scout that mentioned that Miller tends to get up the field so quick from his natural burst, but then runs past the QB, only to make a play coming back to the QB with his natural quickness. Obviously, this is interesting, because in college, this can happen, but in the pro’s you won’t see too many plays being made after over pursuing the QB. However, if you watch the tape, you will see a lot of similarities to the late, great Derrick Thomas who was a thorn in our sides for years. He played in a 4-3 and you never knew quite where he was coming from to attack your offense, because in passing situations you could line him up anywhere on the field, almost like a 12th man. With Dumerville, this could be a scary combo, and one that Rivers, Cassel and Campbell will try and avoid. I’m picturing teams trying to take advantage of Denver’s lack of talent at DT, rather than trying to throw on this edge rush, speed defense. If teams get into 3rd and long on this defense, this duo would create multiple problems.


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