The Broncos' Draft Darts

The NFL Draft
The Broncos look forward to the draft (Ben Liebenberg/, via


The NFL Draft is like a modified game of darts. Each pick is a dart, with the later picks being thrown further from the board. There is no guarantee any shot will be a bull’s eye, but teams with a shot from further back (the last pick) have a much tougher shot than those who throw from close (the first pick). Having more darts (extra picks) gives you a greater chance of scoring higher than fewer darts (fewer picks).

The Broncos have six darts this year, including one particularly good one: the second pick in the draft. As JaMarcus Russell has proven, though, there is no such thing as a “sure shot” from any position. So why not get together as many darts to throw as possible?

The Broncos have some major changes on defense coming and are expected to focus on the front seven in the draft this year. The two big pieces are DJ Williams and Elvis Dumervil, although there are concerns about how well Dumervil would do in a 4-3 defense. The Broncos could also look at drafting a center, cornerbacks and safeties.

The second pick is great and is expected to be a slam dunk, with the Broncos selecting either DT Nick Fairley of Auburn or CB Patrick Peterson of LSU, depending on who is available.

The second pick, though, is just one dart. An injury or disappointing performance leaves the Broncos with a potential missed throw. So why not instead convert that great dart into several good ones?

The Detroit Lions have the 13th pick in the 2011 draft and are targeting a cornerback. It would not be unheard for the Broncos to trade the 2nd pick to the Lions and get their first (13th) and fourth round picks. Again, an extra dart.

Kyle Orton is not the future for the Broncos, but he is a good quarterback could certainly help a team win now. The extension he signed last year makes him less appealing to other teams, as he is owed $8.4 million, but a team that feels they are a QB away from winning or have some extra money to spend (Minnesota, Miami, Washington) could part with up to a third round pick. Another dart.

The Broncos can also save a dart by pursuing Champ Bailey and setting up to sign him once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed. Bailey has become a staple of the Broncos football team, and although he will be 33 next season, he still has a few years of being a key piece of the defensive rebuild.

The Broncos have a major stockpile of wide receivers who can provide the Broncos extra darts. Brandon Lloyd is signed to a very appealing contract for someone who produced at his level last season and is signed through next season. However, the Broncos cannot expect to have things turned around at that point. How about a second round pick for Lloyd? A fourth round pick for Jabar Gaffney? Those two moves give the Broncos two more darts and free up space in the starting lineup for Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker after their rookie years.

Finally, as Kim Constantinesco’s article contests, the Broncos could reunite DeAngelo Williams with Fox, Willams’ head coach from Carolina, by signing him this offseason. With Williams and Knowshon Moreno on board in Fox’s run-heavy offense, one or two of Lance Ball, Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney become available for trade. Ball showed promise in 2010, and Buckhalter and Maroney could pull a fifth and sixth round draft pick. Two more darts.

Those trades add six picks to the Broncos’ arsenal of six (and one saved dart), giving them twelve. Yes, all of those trades won’t happen, but having even eight or nine darts to throw for a management group with the experience of Fox and general manager Brian Xanders would put the Broncos in excellent position to rebuild the Broncos.

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Tags: Champ Bailey D.j. Williams Darts Denver Broncos Draft Elvis Dumervil John Fox Nfl Draft

  • arap

    man im glad your not the GM

    the 2nd pick has a value of 2600 points…the lions 13th pick 1150…the lions 2nd 460….leaving us with a draft board loss of 690 points

    then how about we keep our offfensive players and focus on defense in the draft…josh traded or lost good offensive talent and instead of drafting heavey def…had to draft replacements

    consider llyod and thomas wide…and decker and royal splitting the slot…or both in a 4 wr set

    gaffney we can get rid of…although a 4th is a reach

    and why woould we draft peterson anyway?…even the best DB’s wil get beat if the front line dont get pressure…peterson will be a great player no doubt…but we need a dline to contend…build the trench players and you can get away with a average secondary…no dline and even the best secondary will fail

  • David Graham

    @arap Good points. My thoughts:

    -I’m not sure where your points system comes from, but I think it’s important to remember that the second pick commands a lot of money. Even if the Broncos give up some “points”, having money available to sign free agents (if and when the CBA gets signed) is more critical, IMO.

    -I’m not saying we dismantle the defense, and neither are the Broncos. Keeping OC Mike McCoy on means that Fox likely feels the same way. But Fox ran a run-heavy offense in Carolina and will likely push a similar agenda here. Thus, the Broncos don’t need a lot of WR’s for spread sets of the caliber that they have right now. A trade here makes sense and can be done without dismantling the team. Teams like San Francisco and St. Louis could use Gaffney and could give up a 4th round pick, although that may be a stretch.

    -We need almost every defensive position. I would agree that the defensive line should be a focus, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos shouldn’t draft defensive backs. If Peterson is the best defensive player on the board, it makes sense to grab him, especially if Fairley is gone.

    Thanks again for the comments.

  • Chris

    Do you think that Bowers would be a good 2nd pick? I love Peterson, but I also think Bowers could show immediate impact. A couple of decent CBs will be free agents (after the new CBA is signed).