With the 2012 NFL Draft in the books, it’s that time to grade the Denver Broncos draft. They took care of some big-time needs right off the bat, first selecting a defensive tackle, then quarterback, and then running back, respectively.
As they stepped up to the plate, the Broncos took “a ball” on day one of the draft, trading their 25th pick away, and then trading their 31st pick for a second round pick (36th overall). The team did this because they believed that the players remaining on their draft board would still be available in the second round.
Let’s take a look at the moves they made and the players they selected before giving them a grade.
The Broncos’ first pick came at No. 36 in the second round. They traded their original 25th pick to the New England Patriots for the 31st pick and a fourth round pick (126th). Then they traded the 31st pick and the 126th pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 36th and the 101st pick. For the record, the Patriots took linebacker Dont’a Hightower at No. 25 and the Bucs took running back Doug Martin at No. 31.
Round 2 – 36th overall – DT Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati)
Wolfe is an interior lineman that stands 6’5,” 295 pounds. He’s not your typical lineman in that he will attack as a pass rusher. He had 9.5 sacks last year (including 21.5 tackles for a loss) and he totaled 20 sacks in his college career. He was also named the Big East defensive player of the year. It’s been said that his weakness is he’s slow off the ball and he could be a liability in the run game.
Round 2 – 57th overall – QB Brock Osweiler (Arizona State)
He had 4,036 yards (63.2%), 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2011. He’s a strong and athletic quarterback, but “raw” is the word that people most often use to describe his QB skils. He has limited experience as a starter, but studying the finest of football details under Peyton Manning will help this young gun.
In order to get the next pick, the Broncos sent their third round (87th) and fourth round pick (120th) to the Cleveland Browns.
Round 3 – 67th overall – RB Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)
He’s compared to Marshall Faulk at San Diego State, and he’s also compared to Darren Sproles for his style of play. At 200 pounds and with young legs, Hillman will compliment Willis McGahee nicely in the backfield. As a freshman, he ran for 1,532 yards and 18 touchdowns. In 2011, he had 1,711 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also added 24 receptions for 270 yards and one touchdown through the air. Some weaknesses might include his size and his blocking (or lack thereof).
Round 4 – 101st overall – CB Omar Bolden (Arizona State)
John Elway must know son Jack’s former teammates very well with two Sun Devils drafted this year. Bolden was a freshman all-American in 2007, and had he not suffered some serious knee injuries, many think that he would have been drafted in the second round. Bolden tore his ACL and did not play in 2011 nor did he play much in the slot in college. He has some speed to regain, but if he does, he will be a serious corner with a great football mind. He’s 5’10,” 202 pounds.
The next pick came from the New York Jets in the Tim Tebow trade.
Round 4 – 108th overall – C Philip Blake (Baylor)
Blake is a center that comes from Baylor just like current center J.D. Walton, but he can move to guard. This pick provides some great depth to an offensive line that is a bit shaky. The Broncos know they have to protect that $96 million investment.
Round – 5 – 137th – DE Malik Jackson (Tennessee)
He played defensive tackle for the Vols last season, but the Broncos will be using him as an end. The 6’6″, 290-pound all-SEC selection last season had 56 tackles and 10 QB hurries. In his college career, he had 136 tackles (27 for a loss) and 13 sacks. He joins Peyton Manning, Robert Ayers, and Britton Colquitt in guys that are former Volunteers. Downside: The Broncos have to get him accustomed to a new position at a new level.
Round – 6 – 188th – LB Danny Trevathan (Kentucky)
During his last two seasons at Kentucky, he had 287 tackles (27.5 for a loss), 6 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 9 forced fumbles. This guy is all over the field. The downside is his size. At 6’0″, 237 pounds, he resembles Wesley Woodyard in more ways than one.
Now it’s time. Give them an initial grade.