Time to balance the ledger. The books will finally close on the Josh McDaniels era in Broncos’ Country.
McDaniels began his tenure as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009 by inquiring about the availability of Matt Cassel, causing a conflict with then franchise quarterback Jay Cutler to spiral out of control. The aftermath left the Broncos with Kyle Orton, the Chicago Bears‘ 2009 and 2010 first-round draft picks, and a 2009 third-rounder. While many lamented the loss of a promising young quarterback, the windfall from the deal was enormous — almost baseball-esque in the way the trade swapped the team’s MVP for a slew of young prospects.
Then the trades began.
The exact picture is a bit convoluted on how McDaniels’ 2009 and 2010 drafts precisely played out, but players such as Chicago’s Johnny Knox, Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace, New England’s Aaron Hernandez, Seattle’s Earl Thomas, and Dallas’s Dez Bryant can trace their draft position to the McDaniels swap meet.
Ultimately, the most contentious exchange was made in the spirit of McDaniles trading the most talented players on the roster. Prior to the 2010 season, Brandon Marshall was shipped off for Miami’s second-round pick. This pick, along with a third and fourth-round selection was packaged for Baltimore’s 25th overall pick used to draft Tim Tebow.
Regardless of the speculation pertaining to what Denver could have done with the picks it jettisoned in 2009 and 2010, it’s easy to make the argument that the Broncos ended up sitting pretty. 2011 resulted in a thrilling playoff run with Tebow at the helm. John Elway, Brian Xanders, and John Fox seem to have the ship righted from the disastrous 2010 season, and ultimately Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos.
Today, however, closes the book on the McDaniels era. When Manning was signed, the team sent Tebow to the New York Jets for their fourth and sixth-round picks. When picks number 108 and 188 are announced, a long string of questionable roster moves and draft pick exchanges from the McDaniels’ time in Denver comes to a close.
Update: The Broncos have selected Center Philip Blake from Baylor with the 108th overall pick and Linebacker Danny Trevathan from Kentucky with the 188th overall pick.