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Published on 04/29/2009 at Wed Apr 29 06:20.
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Draft grades are useless. I don’t believe in grades until a few seasons have passed. However reflecting on who was picked and why is a legitimate idea.

12. Knowshon Moreno

Summary: Some fans out there are calling for Josh McDaniels’ head because this wasn’t Brian Orakpo. I think I’ll stand by McDaniels choice of taking the best running back in the draft who will take pressure off of the quarterback instead of drafting a 4-3 end who is a potential bust (see Vernon Gholston).

Pros: Knowshon Moreno was amazing at Georgia in SEC, end of story. Take a look at some of his film. His forty time may be slow for his position but you can’t knock production. This pick indirectly patches up the quarterback problem. Whoever wins the starting job will have a lot of pressure taken off their shoulders if they have a back who can get the job done. If Moreno lives up to his expectations Brandon Marshall will be seeing a lot less balls thrown his way. Here is a great highlight reel and a him kickin’ it with Herschel Walker. As you can see from the highlight reel that Moreno is capable of doing some amazing things physically.

Cons: The main question is his speed, Moreno did not impress completely at the combine with his forty, but hey, neither did Terrell Davis. Some analysts have stated that he needs to bulk up possibly another 5-10 pounds because of durability concerns. Mike Mayock however thinks he’s the hardest runner since Adrian Peterson.

Good Value: Yes

  • Moreno is the top running back of the draft, so taking him at 12 when he could possibly be taken at 16 was a good choice.

Good Pick: Yes

  • Moreno has the capability to fix all the kinks in Denver’s underachieving offense. Moreno potentially will add T.O.P, touchdowns, and red zone efficiency, all things Denver has lacked for quite some time.

18. Robert Ayers

Summary: If you happen to be Mike Mayock then you love this guy. Most of you have heard that Mayock said “In three years Ayers wil be the best defensive player of this draft.” Mayock is usually spot on, not always, but usually. Denver hopes his streak continues.

Pros: What is insanely impressive about Ayers was his Senior Bowl performance. Michael Oher got bossed around by Ayers, and not only Oher was labeled Ayers chew toy. There wasn’t a single offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl who could stop Ayers, just take a look at this footage. Ayers possesses both kinds of pass rush techniques, that being the speed rush and the bull rush. It was very impressive watching Ayers knock Kraig Urbik flat on his back. If Ayers brings his style of play to the NFL then we’ll have to start calling him “The Boss” because thats exactly what he does to offensive linemen. Mayock called Mike Nolan a very “creative” defensive coordinator, so Ayers makes sense because Denver will have a hybrid package of 3-4 and 4-3, and he has the ability to play both.

Cons: Ayers exploded his senior year, which gave him the one-year wonder label, so there are questions about consistentcy. What posisiton Ayers will end up playing is still in the air, Ayers weights roughly around 272 pounds which puts in him the middle of a 3-4 defensive and and outside linebacker. What irks me is that analyst have been real hard on Denver for taking Ayers, saying he is not a 3-4 outside linebacker. However, if you weight 272 pounds and your name is Shawne Merriman being a 3-4 outside linebacker has worked out pretty well.

Good Value: Possibly

  • Denver possibly could have traded down and still landed Ayers. Ayers stock had been on fire lately so it is hard to say exactly where he would have ended up. I believe that he would have still been available a few picks later, but it is hard and risky to architect a first round draft trade that only skips down a few spots.

Good Pick: Yes

  • Like I said before some analysts will slam Denver for taking Ayers because he’s not a prototypical 3-4 defensive end or outside linebacker. Most of them don’t take into account the 3-4 hybrid Denver will run.

All in all I myself was very pleased with the first round. Denver managed to grab the best running back in the draft as well as defensive player with a huge upside. What do you think? Try to keep it to the first round only please. Air it out!

  • Jonathan Douglas

    I agree that both guys are great players and I hope they can both have a serious impact for our team this year. I also don’t think McD really reached for each of these two picks.

    HOWEVER, my issue with our first round of this draft was our leader’s inability to make a trade up to get one of the two quality DT’s in this draft.

    Initially, McD said that there were simply no quality DT guys when our pick came around, but he’s just spinning the situation because later that day he threw away our 1st round pick in 2010 for a CB.

    So, if he was willing to trade away our picks next year to move up for a CB (and a TE and a QB, etc), WHY NOT DO IT FOR A NT?

    I have yet to hear a Denver media outlet ask that question, but I would LOVE to hear Josh’s answer.

  • Mr.East


    I agree with you about trading up for the NT position. What I believe is that McDaniels and Xanders were not too sold on Raji. Raji is a major risk. McDaniels mentioned in his presser that not all the players they wanted were on the board when it was time to choose. I think Denver was going to user #48 on Ron Brace and they didn’t expect New England to take him due them having both Michael Wright and Vince Wilfork. After Ron Brace there really isn’t much dept at the DT position in the draft.

    Getting Chris Baker who is a day one guy is awesome. Baker does have character flaws but he’s an UDFA. The other defensive linemen like Everette Pedescleaux and Rulon Davis are all solid prospects. Davis and Baker could have easily been drafted.

    I think McDaniels was addressing the special teams in the draft due to the fact that the DT was extremely poor. You can’t draft players that do not exist, and you can’t blame him for not giving up the farm for Raji.

    To land Raji Denver would have had to trade a lot more than a first like they did with Alphonso Smith. Raji went at #9 so if Denver wanted to take the Jags pick at #8, they would have to convince Jacksonville that they didn’t want to take Eugene Monroe who is exactly what they need. Now Denver needs to move up to #7, the Raiders don’t do business with Denver. Now Denver needs to move up to #6, the Bengals needed a LT in Andre Smith, that wouldn’t happen. Now Denver needs to move up to #5, the Jets would have beaten out their offer. That is why Raji was not taken by Denver, plain and simple.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    If the trade couldn’t happen high in the 1st round… I understand completely. But that hasn’t been stated yet from the front office, so I have my doubts as to that being the case.

    Also, I think McD had very little idea what value players outside the first round had on other people’s boards. Point in fact is Ron Brace. We traded out 2010 first round pick to move up and pick a CB at #37 that would CLEARLY have been available at #48, instead of grabbing Brace before the Pats did at #40.

    That would have put our first two 2nd round picks at Ron Brace and Smith.

    It also shows up again when they sold off their 3rd round picks for a TE that NO ONE would have picked up that high.

    My point is… Since they over paid and seriously reached all day, why not do that for a NT like Raji or Brace?

  • Jonathan Douglas

    P.S. I like what I’ve seen on Chris Baker and I’m glad he’s on the team. That move makes sense and McD’s decision to pick him up AFTER the draft makes his value vs price a great deal for Denver.

    See… I’m not ALWAYS down on our HC. lol

  • Ian Henson

    Posted this in another thread, but here’s the BT podcast for Nation guest blogging with us are the wonderful Kyle Montgomery and Josh Temple. It is our post-draft show:

    I love Moreno, as I said during the show. When the Jay Cutler trade rumors started, I insisted on only trading him to Minnesota for Adrian Peterson. Now, we have a younger, healthier version of him.

  • Mr.East


    I don’t think Smith would have been available at #48 at all. He is first round talent and he would have been taken real quick.

    The only thing that helps me sleep at night about the Quinn pick is that it was two 3rds for a 2nd and a 4th. That seems decently equal to me. Quinn will provide excelent blocking talent, but I do think he was a reach.

  • Mr.East

    Also JD,

    I think the Raji trade would have messed up the whole entire draft for Denver. So McDaniels thought it was a better option to have more picks that could improve the special teams and other aspects where the players were avaiable. I don’t agree with some of the trades, but I do at least like the players.

  • Ian Henson

    JD- I’ve said this to you in other threads, don’t know if you noticed, I feel the brace demonstrated that they had no problem plumping down more than what was needed to get the player that they wanted. The #12 and next years first would have gotten them into the top 5, two firsts and Tony Scheffler to Cleveland would have gotten them #5 or at least #8 from Jacksonville. I think the Broncos similar to last season when they picked Royal over DeSean Jackson just didn’t want him. They even literally passed on Orpako, they just had different priorities than we thought.

  • ssc

    i love mayock. he’s the chris collinsworth equivalent — head and shoulders above his peers in quality analysis. mayock’s assessment of moreno and ayers make me feel very good about the 1st round.

    do we know if ayers has the capacity to put on 10-20 lbs and be primarily a DE instead of an OLB?

    i’m not that worried about getting a premier NT or defending the rush. if they play the 3-4 with three 300 lb guys up front and 260-270lb former DEs at OLB, it’s basically a 5-2 front. i’m actually more concerned that that setup will be a liability in terms of speed and agility at the LB spot. basically leaves two 240-250lb ILBs, of which davis was dumped by the browns for lack of speed. that’s a LOT of size in the front seven.

  • Ian Henson

    I said brace, I meant brass. Wish there was an edit function =)

  • roshon2411

    Brett Farve released by the Jets, any shot he comes to Denver for a year?

  • mikebirty

    smith would’ve been taken by the pats if not sooner, probably when they took chung. And i think mcd knew it.

  • daveb

    What’s the guaranteed $$ difference between #8 and #12…seems like cash played a role in some of these moves (including trading Denver’s #1 pick next year…just don’t see Bowlen paying that kind of money for aplayer).

  • TD30isMVP

    First round picks should be starters or key back ups, if they did not have confidence in Raji then they did the right thing by not trading up. Here’s what I liked, they came up with a board of players they wanted and aggressively pursued them. In the end they got the players they felt we needed now and the more I look at it (the draft) coupled with the UDFA class, I like it.

  • OC Bronco

    East/JD – In one of McDaniel’s press conferences he made the statement that the staff felt Ayers could easily add 15-20 pounds to his frame without impacting his quickness/versatility. This guy will be a beast!

    The other thing about moving up to get Raji is simply about money. I don’t think we had any intention of moving too far up in the first because of the guaranteed money we would have to pay out to that pick. This could have also been one of the factors in trading away next year’s first but I’m not too sure of that point.

    The only reason we take Smith over Brace is that the staff likes Smith a lot more than Brace. Obviously as everyone has said we were not afraid to move up to grab the guys we want. This just doesn’t apply to Top 10 picks because of money.

    Quinn at first didn’t make sense to me either. But as East said we didn’t lose anything – a 2nd and a 4th for 2 3rds. To get our guy. Very even if not in our favor in my opinion. maybe we reached for Quinn but we got him and if you think about it he is the only real non-question mark past Moreno and Ayers. Looking at it that way it makes more sense. And as I said before, who didn’t think we needed another tight end. Even if we keep Sheffler, he will be hurt half the season. That’s why no one wants him!

  • MIAbronco


    since you asked to only keep it about the first round, i guess I’ll have to bring up the cutler saga, cause it would have happen eventually. lol

  • kerry

    Mr East:

    maybe we should have drafted ManBearPig to play NT.

  • Stav

    Don’t be shocked if the money situation has more bearing next year. Shanahan been throwing Bowlen’s cash away on crappy FA’s the past few years, Shanahan is now gone and Bowlen’s he’s still paying him, you KNOW if Cutler stayed that they would be looking for the Peyton Manning contract within two years, with that drama gone, he then gets 4 #1’s in two years, that’s alot of cash for any owner to dish out for especially with the 2011 drama that’s going to hit. Also, hate to say it, but isn’t Champ owed 9.5mill next year? That’s got to affect things, Alphonso Smith, the heir apparent, Champ Bailey re-structuring? Just some things to think about. Honestly, I think they LOVED Raji at #12, but only LIKED him at #6-#9. Really, how much money can you throw at a NT?

  • T-Money

    This is extremely irrelevant but i thought i would drop it in just because i found it interesting.

    Jack Elway participated at the ASU scrimmage and went 0-5 with 2 picks. And the end of the season he concluded that football was not for him and that he wanted to focus on his studies. Looks like the Elway era ends with John =(

    I really like all of or picks except the Mcbath and the Quinn pick. I think they are great players and all but the amount that we gave up for them was steep and i believe that both would have still been around at our original picks.

    I REALLY like the Moreno pick. He’s all about team and doing whatever it is they want him to do. Robert Ayers is a great pick. He’s a flat out beast. I also like the Smith pick. He’s still growing on me and he has a lot to prove but he reminds me alot of DWill who was going to be the next Champ Bailey.

  • jcampb72

    East, like everything in this post but the Ayers like Shawn M part. At 275 S.M. ran a 4.6 40. At 272 Ayers ran a 4.9 40. Thats the difference between a LB and DE.

  • Mr.East

    MIAbronco – Someone had to do it.

    Kerry – That would be totally serial!

    jcampb – Ayers is much slower than Merriman, I just making the case for the weight. I think he should gain 10-15 pounds to play the 5 technique.

  • Mr.East

    jcampb – Merriman also was on steroids.

  • the decider13

    That’s true…Merriman was roiding it.

    I like both picks. Andre Smith said that the hardest player he had to face was Ayers. Ayers was an animal last year, not pretty on highlights, but effective. He won’t be the same kinda player as Merriman, he will be much more versatile for the hybrid D.

  • NathanH47

    Ayers is nothing like Merriman, Merriman is a rusher focused on getting to the Qb, Ayers is a rusher that can shut down the run to his side of the field and take a double team from a tackle and guard on his side. Thats why i think he’s best suited to play on the line. If he plays OLB, don’t expect big sack numbers of a Merriman, but you can still expect great production out of him and the great affect he should have on our run game.

    Knowshon will help round us out, and should make our clock control top 3 in the league. He won’t be asked to do all that much in my opinion next season carrying wise, but he’ll be used a lot off screens, and he’s a great blocker for McDaniels’ spread if you look at how NE’s backs were used and how Knowshon played at Georgia.

  • twebb

    Just a random thought, but there are four or five quality DT/NT in next years draft. I know that picking up a big man next year doesn’t help this year, but maybe McD thinks they can hold out until next year then select the future NT. Also, looking at the potential star power in next years draft, Im pretty disappointed that McD traded one of next years first-rounders, although I do like Alphonso Smith and think that he will be a good player.

  • twebb

    Also I just noticed that the Saints released Hollis Thomas. He is 35, but the Broncos could sign him to a 1-year contract to add depth.

  • broncobobmeridian

    This is off subject, but does anybody on here listen to Adam Shein and Solomon Wilcox on Sirius radio. Those guys are the biggest Bronco Haters and do nothing but talk Sh*t about how bad Mcd is, stating he is the worst NFL head coach who hasnt coached game in NFL history.
    Today some fan called in, and Solomon started going off on McD about firing someone in the office as soon as he was hired. Wilcox said it was a bunch of bull and he had a problem with it. But the Dumb A** never even mentioned about all the people last year who got let go when Shanahan was here.
    These 2 idiots have been bashing the Broncos big time and thought the Culter issue was all McD’s fault and Culter had every right to act like the way he did.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    i agree with S & W!
    I’m not a Bronco hater!

  • Anthony

    People don’t worry about the fact that we traded our pick next year. Really it is not a big deal because if we’re in a situation next year where we absolute must have the player, we can make the necessary adjustments and grab him. I mean it wasn’t that difficult to trade into the top 10 this year as it was rumoured that most of the top 10 teams wanted to get out of their picks anyway.

    Moreno will be a beast and Ayers will immediately help our run defence and eventually learn enough moves to contribute 7-9 sacks per year, while being a dominant run defender. I hope Norv Turner runs the chargers into the ground so we can steal the division from them. Still so far away! :(

  • jcampb72

    It’s going to be an interesting new battle with SD. I think odds are on our side considering SD has always had a tough time with NE.

  • ssc

    @broncobobmeridian: i listen to nflradio all the time (makes the commute bearable). can’t stand wilcox or randy cross. adam is usually pretty level headed and fair though. or maybe i’m thinking of jim miller. shannon sharpe during the season was pretty bad too, but all time lease prepared and least insightful is jerry rice.

  • jchase8410


    I think he looks more like a bearpigman…but he would make a fantastic NT, that guy is a beast!!!

  • kerry


    a bearpigman huh? what about a pigmanbear? lol you know, half pig, half man, half bear. iam so super serial! maybe if we get Marcus Thomas some Weight Gain 4000. then he can play NT. BEEFCAKE!!

    but in all seriousness, i dont think Moreno is as good as some think. i dont think he is an everydown back and he isnt gonna be pounding the rock like Terrell Davis used to do because the system doesnt call for it. Moreno is gonna be catching alot of passes out of the backfield. but there is a reason why McDaniels signed all of these RB’s, because he uses RB by committee so Moreno isnt gonna be a 20-25 carry back. the pick is decent but we reached on Moreno. people are dillusional if they think this guy is Terrell Davis all over again. just because they both went to the same school means nothing. one thing that bothered me about Moreno is that during his introductory interview at Dove Valley, he said he is gonna be playing at 210 pounds. thats pretty small for a guy who everyone THINKS is gonna be a beast.

  • Mr.East


    Moreno said he likes to play at his weight but he would gain weight if they told him to. Also Moreno is only 7 pounds lighter than Adrian Peterson who is a pounding back.

  • kerry


    Moreno is no Adrian Peterson. not even close. Moreno isnt gonna be a pounding back, not because he doesnt want to, but because the system doesnt call for it. if McDaniels hold true to form then Moreno is gonna get maybe 13-17 carries a game. while sharing the duties with Buckhalter and Arrington and Hillis. Moreno is not gonna be a pounder. he is not gonna carry the ball 25 times a game like Peterson does.

  • jcampb72

    Kerry, I don’t think any of us will know until our season starts. You act like you know what your talking about but in reality you don’t. This isn’t going to be the exact same O as in NE for the simple fact that our linemen are different. Our linemen are best suited for zone blocking. So it will be some kind of hybrid O to play to our strengths. If you watch Moreno he POUNDS the ball in terms of his running style. He has a nack for finishing every play but averts the big hit, most the time, due to his balance and shiftyness. Mayock said it first, I’m just backing him up.

  • kerry


    thats funny how you say: “its gonna be a hybrid O to play to our strengths” and you say i act like i know what im talking about. and in case you didnt notice, if McDaniels was gonna adjust his system to fit our strengths, then Cutler would still be here and Scheffler wouldnt have been shopped. McDaniels doesnt care about playing to the currect rosters strengths, he cares about his system and if you cant play in his system then you go. McDaniels isnt gonna magically change his system to “Fit” our O-lines strengths. he is gonna put in his system, if our O-line cant play according to that system then he will get rid of them. its as simple as that. Cutler was being shopped because his abilities didnt mesh with McDaniels system, Scheffler was, and possibly still is, being shopped because the Receiving TE isnt used much. i may not know 100% what is gonna happen, but i sure know that McDaniels isnt gonna adjust his system just to suit the strengths of the players. he wants guys that fit his system. no coach walks in to a locker room and says “hey im gonna change my system just so you guys can play in it” in reality the coach basically says, “this is my system, learn it or you get cut”

  • jcampb72

    Cutler cutler could have played in this system n0 problem. Tom Brady and cutler have way more similar tools than brady and cassel. So, from what I saw last year McD played to Cassel’s strengths. He didn’t air it up all the time in the reg season like Brady does. If you read up on McD he says that he has an open mind, and that tweaking something here or there could actually work better. Kerry this is not new england. There are no similarities I see so he is going to have to work with our strengths. Moss does not equal Marshall, nor does any other players on the NE execept maybe our TE’s. If he wants to put blinders on and scrap good players then he’s an idiot. He’s got a long time before the broncos can turn into the patriots.

  • jcampb72

    The reason why McD scraped Cutler was because the relationship wasn’t there, not his ability. Also, I meant blocking TE’s not Tony.

  • DC

    I think it would be ignorant of McD to try and make his old system work here. We don’t have the same players like jcampb said. Moss is a deep threat like Fitz and Marshall more like Boldin. Two different skill sets. Think NE has a Knowshon type player….no. I think McD is smart enough to branch out and play to our strengths within his system.

  • roshon2411

    41-57!!! Bill Belichick’s record before Tom Brady. System or not, I still don’t think this team is going anywhere with neckbeard. The one thing I wish McDaniels would have brought with him from New England is the system where you don’t piss off your QB.

  • Katch22

    McD is his own man and will run things as he sees fit. I see a combo of his system and team personal. I think we are going to be way better than most experts are predicting this season. I don’t care what might have been with the picks because in reality nobody real knows untill they play in the NFL. I will say on a side note that Raji and Brace will more than likely fall apart with out each other. If you watch game film on them you will see what I’m talking about……

  • Katch22

    Kinda of a dumb question but I’m moving to Germany next month and been looking into Yahoo Game Pass to watch the Broncs play this season. Has anybody used this before? If so how does it work?

  • SanDiegoBronco55

    We just released Selvin Young…Im sure more cuts to come!

  • robtink242

    hey before Tom Brady there was no air show in New England. Everyone talking about this “system”. If your guys would stop acting like “professionals” and use your common sense there is NO ‘system.’ After realizing what talent Tom Brady was the team built around him. Let Moreno play then we can talk system. This guy is going to pound the rock and prove that he needs 20-25 carries. Cause last time i check theres no back in N.E. worth that load.

    Moreno is no Peterson by no meaning but that doesn’t mean that he is a special back.

  • kerry

    well sorry everyone im not ready to crown Moreno the next Terrell Davis before he takes a snap in a minicamp. everybody said the same thing about how Ryan Torain was gonna make SUCH AN IMPACT. he didnt. same with Selvin Young. he didnt. every year its the same thing when someone crowns a Denver RB the next Terrell Davis and every year nothing happens to suggest that at all.

  • robtink242

    No one is crowning this kid the next TD. But unlike Torain and Young this guy is a complete back with no history of injuries. Most people are just being optimistic. I don’t know if you watch college football but you are probably a CU or CSU fan. I am a Gator fan living in the Bahamas so i catch all SEC games. Moreno is a beast. And a person with not much speed he surely out runs a lot of SEC CB, S and LB’s. He’s special and will do this team great.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    Anthony { 04.29.09 at Wed Apr 29 22:06 })

    ” People don’t worry about the fact that we traded our pick next year. Really it is not a big deal because if we’re in a situation next year where we absolute must have the player, we can make the necessary adjustments and grab him. I mean it wasn’t that difficult to trade into the top 10 this year as it was rumoured that most of the top 10 teams wanted to get out of their picks anyway.

    Moreno will be a beast and Ayers will immediately help our run defence”

    The reason it was so easy to trade up this year is the quality of the players available. Next year with the better class (presumably) it’ll be harder.
    and y mention the two guys we didn’t waste a pick for when trying to defend McD’s dumb pick?

    Oh yeah, to whoever said McD shopped Cutler cuz he didn’t fit his scheme… my goodness it’s hard not to name call in here sometimes!

  • Mr.East


    In all fairness, he was the coach of the Browns… I mean that’s gotta suck. That is a crazy stat though, BB is a defensive guy so I’d more like to see his stats before Richard Seymour. Let’s hope McDaniels is really the QB guru everyone says he is.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    yes let’s