Mile High Monday: Denver Broncos Draft Overview
By Chris Krier
The 2012 NFL Draft proved to be the most unpredictable and exciting draft in recent memory. With a record 19 trades in the first round alone, there was simply no way of telling what we were going to see next.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement has removed the uncertainty and the ridiculous costs associated with a contract for a top draft pick. That resulted in teams being more willing to move up at the start of the draft so they could get their guys.
The draft also moved at a frenetic pace. The first round lasted about 3 hours, which may not sound quick, but it was exactly that when compared to first rounds of the past. It went so fast and furious over the first ten picks that I needed to take a break and catch my breath.
That is the power of the NFL draft. It is an event that captivates football fans across the globe and provides renewed hope to all of them. There is not an NFL fan out there who doesn’t feel like their favorite team improved over the weekend. Some may not be pleased with everything their team did during the draft, but they all think the future is a little brighter today, and that is what keeps NFL fans coming back stronger each and every year.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Broncos’ draft:
Derek Wolfe, DT Cincinnati (Round 2, Pick 36 Overall)
The Broncos traded back twice in the first round and ended up making their first selection early in the second round. This was somewhat controversial because the movement only gained them a single 4th round pick and many felt they should have held out for more. I didn’t mind it though. They only moved back 9 spots and still picked up one of their targeted players, and that extra picked helped them trade up later on.
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Denver would have taken guard David DeCastro if he would have slipped to them at 25, but Pittsburgh snagged him at 24. Denver had known all along that they would trade back in this scenario and that’s exactly what happened.
The Broncos took Derek Wolfe with their initial selection. He is a 6′-5″ 295 pounder who is the reigning Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was a 3-year starter at Cincinnati and gained a reputation for being a hard worker. Wolfe has excellent pass-rushing skills, is stout against the run, and is relentless with his effort. The national experts heaped a ton of praise on this selection, and it sounds like Wolfe could become a fan favorite very quickly.
Brock Osweiler, QB Arizona State (Round 2, Pick 57 Overall)
This is easily the most criticized pick of the entire Denver draft class. Not because of the player selected, but because of the position in which he plays. Denver obviously is set at quarterback heading into 2012 with Peyton Manning, and in a perfect world Osweiler won’t play a single snap for at least 3-4 years. With a team that needs as many impact players as they can manage in order to win right now, it seems like they may have been better suited going after a player who could make a difference on the field this season.
Regardless, John Elway loves Brock Osweiler. He is a massive 6′-7″ tall and weighs 242 lbs. He has impressive speed and agility and is a natural leader. Osweiler also has above average arm strength but needs time to develop into a polished passer. I think Elway sees himself in Osweiler and has him tabbed as the successor to Manning. But did he get his successor a couple of years too early? Time will tell.
Ronnie Hillman, RB San Diego State (Round 3, Pick 67 Overall)
There was little doubt that Denver was going to have a running back by the time the dust settled on the 2012 draft. Many thought the target would be Lamar Miller or Robert Turbin when this pick came around, but the Broncos stayed quiet regarding their interest in Hillman and even traded up to get him early in round 3. They see him as a Darren Sproles type back who will be the perfect complement to a bruiser like Willis McGahee. He is small at 5′-9″, but he comes in at 200 pounds and has the quickness to go the distance on every touch. He will be effective catching the ball out of the backfield and could become a favorite target of Peyton Manning.
Omar Bolden, CB Arizona State (Round 4, Pick 101 Overall)
Denver spent their picks in round 4 addressing positions of need. CB Omar Bolden brings some youth to an aging secondary and will hopefully make an impact right away. Bolden has injury concerns and is coming off a torn ACL, but all indications are that he is healthy and ready to go in 2012. It has been speculated that he would have been a 2nd round pick had he stayed away from the injury bug, so if he can avoid it going forward Denver may have found a steal here. Bolden is a high-character guy known for his leadership and he is above average in coverage, run-support, and ball skills.
Philip Blake, C Baylor (Round 4, Pick 108 Overall)
Blake is a versatile 3-year starter and is expected to provide immediate competition on the offensive line at both center and guard. He could eventually develop into a starter in the interior which is the weak link of Denver’s line. He’s got good bulk at 311 pounds and is a smart player who brings a lot of effort to the game, but he needs some work to become an elite player.
Malik Jackson, DE Tennessee (Round 5, Pick 137 Overall)
Jackson is a big defensive end with his 6′-5″ and 284-pound frame. One of his biggest strengths is his versatility so he will probably add some bulk and see time in the middle of the defensive line. He will also most likely be a rotational player but has the potential to turn into a nice run stuffer.
Danny Trevathan, OLB Kentucky (Round 6, Pick 188 Overall)
Grabbing a late round linebacker is typical to bolster the special teams, and Trevathan will contribute to that unit immediately. He has some intriguing upside though and could see some playing time in the future. He was a team captain in college and continued a trend by the Broncos of selecting players with good leadership qualities. Trevathan has great instincts and above average speed so he is projected as more of a coverage guy who could see time as a 3rd down specialist.
I give the Broncos a B for their efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft. They addressed every single position of need at some point and there is no doubt that Denver ended up with several players they wanted. I have no problem with a team going after guys they want, even if they have to get them early when compared to their perceived value in the eye of the general public. However, that only works if they are right with their player evaluations. Only time will tell with that.
Derek Wolfe will make an immediate impact on the defensive line, and guys like Blake and Bolden will provide competition at their positions and could develop into future starters. Hillman will also see playing time right off the bat and could turn in to an elite playmaker. If he does, then I believe people will hold this draft class in high regard over time. Osweiler is the wild card. It will be a long time before we find out if he was worth a second round pick. Broncos’ fans everywhere are hoping he follows the Aaron Rodgers career arc and benefits from several seasons backing up a future Hall of Famer.
Make sure to follow @MileHighMonday on Twitter.