The Denver Broncos drafted 9 players in the 2011 draft. Obviously some made more of an impact than others, but we’re going to look back on the rookie’s performances and grade them again. Based on last year’s poll, most PO readers gave the Broncos a draft grade of B+.
1. LB Von Miller (Texas A&M) – 1st round (2nd overall)
The Broncos had never picked this high in the draft. Many wanted the team to go with a defensive lineman, namely Marcell Dareus, but it’s clear that the Broncos picked correctly. Miller finished the year with 11.5 sacks, 64 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles. He probably would have produced more had he not been wearing a cast on his hand towards the end of the season. Miller was named to the AFC’s 2012 Pro Bowl roster.
2. S Rahim Moore (UCLA) – 2nd round (45th overall)
Moore came into the league saying that he patterned his game off of Ed Reed. Moore began the year as a starter, but was moved to the bench after missing too many tackles. He finished the year with 38 tackles and 1 interception. He is supposed to be the guy that takes over Brian Dawkins’ role once Dawkins retires, so this kid has to improve in a hurry.
3. T Orlando Franklin (Miami) – 2nd round (46th overall)
As the youngest guy on the Broncos offensive line, Franklin struggled at first, but quickly turned things around. Along with Miller, he was the best pick up for the Broncos. A right tackle, he protected Tim Tebow’s backside nicely, and he helped the Broncos to their No. 1 ranked rushing offense. Solid job for this rookie.
4. LB Nate Irving (NC State) – 3rd round (67th overall)
Irving survived a deadly car crash in 2009, and came back to record 89 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles at NC State. He was hoping to compete for a spot at middle linebacker, but never made the grade. Irving mostly competed on special teams, and recorded 4 tackles on the season.
5. S Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) – 4th round (108th overall)
It’s always good to see a middle round pick excel so much that he earns himself a starting job. Carter recorded 2 interceptions in the playoffs which tied him for 2nd place in team history for interceptions in a single playoff run. He ended the regular season with 56 tackles and 1 sack.
6. TE Julius Thomas (Portland State) – 4th round (129th overall)
The former basketball player showed that he had good hands during the preseason. He suffered an ankle injury, however, and that kept him sidelined for the better part of the season. He saw action in just five games this season and had 1 catch for 5 yards.
7. LB Mike Mohamed (California) – 6th round (189th overall)
Mohamed didn’t see action in any games.
8. TE Virgil Green (Nevada) – 7th round (204th overall)
Green saw action in 15 games this season and recorded 3 carries for 24 yards. Two receptions went for first downs.
9. LB Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma) – 7th round (247th overall)
Another guy who didn’t see time this season. He came from a 3-4 defense and spent his rookie year on the practice squad.
That’s the quick hit on the Broncos 2011 draft picks. Of course, undrafted rookie Chris Harris came in and made an immediate impact as a starting CB, but we won’t include him in our draft grade.