The dust has settled on Championship Sunday; so what have we learned? Well, what we already knew…defense wins championships. I hope Broncos brass are taking notes. And no, I don’t mean that they are grasping this vague concept. What I am hoping that they saw on Sunday, especially in the Steelers 24-19 win over the Jets, is that a dominant front seven can make up for a lot of deficiencies in the secondary. Aside from Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ secondary is average at best. They look so much better because of the pressure that the front seven put on the QB, on the underneath routes, and forget trying to run on them.
That said, when Commissioner Goodell steps up to the mic at Radio City Music Hall to announce the second pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, I want to hear, ‘The second pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select Da’quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson”. Well either him or Nick Farely. Any way you slice it, the Broncos have to select a difference maker in the front seven.
What about a CB replacement for Champ Bailey, you ask. That is easy…Champ Bailey. If the Broncos can make a front seven impact in the draft and pick up a big impact front seven player in the off season via free agency, I believe that Champ would see that as a commitment to the defensive side of the ball and would consider staying. That would allow the Broncos brass to find a more affordable DB option in the later rounds of the draft. However, if they let Champ walk and use that 2nd overall pick to select Patrick Peterson, the CB out of LSU, this draft will be a failure. To me, a DB cannot impact a team in his rookie year the way a DE or DT can. The only caveat to that is if Elway and Ellis (can we re-invoke the nickname, “E-Train”?…sorry EY) select Peterson and make a huge splash, signing front seven help in the silly season…or once the work stoppage ends; whichever comes first.
And if we just look at recent Broncos history (since 2000) as it pertains to drafting DB’s in the first round, I only need to remind you of Willie Middlebrooks and Deltha O’Neal. A further look will show the Broncos have had better luck in finding DB’s in rounds 2 and later. Case in point: Alphonso Smith (2nd), Darcel McBath (2nd), Jack Williams (4th), Darrent Williams (2nd), Domonique Foxworth (3rd), and Karl Paymah (3rd).
I know that the Broncos brass are not dumb and will leave no stone unturned. However this first pick of the new regime is so critically important that I think I speak for all Broncos fans when I say, take adequate notes and don’t wiff on it.
By Matty P.
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