Posted Sat Jun 12th by Ian Henson
We are two days into the first Denver Broncos mandatory mini camp of the 2010 off-season. Gone is the drama for the team, there is no recent Jay Cutler controversy and no one’s worried about Brandon Marshall’s status any longer.
Yet, what may be the biggest story out of this mini camp is the relatively unproductive draft of 2009. Although it’s still a little early to call it, the Broncos have already downgraded two of their draft picks they had expected to be number top on their depth chart this season (Robert Ayers, 18th pick overall and Seth Olsen, 132nd pick overall). The relatively unknown story is that Richard Quinn (64th pick overall) is also not looking great, dropping balls and looking like a non-factor in anything other than blocking dummy drills.
There are positives to the 2009 draft class though. It is well known that Knowshon Moreno looks much improved and not just running out of the backfield with the ball, but also as a receiver. Another often insulted draft pick Alphonso Smith looks good as well; don’t know that anyone’s ready for him to replace Champ Bailey or Andre Goodman just yet, but he’s looking to at least make a run at the nickel role… Yet, there’s a rookie who I will get to in a second that may give him a run for his money, not to mention veteran Nate Jones who has had a vise-grip on the role thus far.
Gone already from the 2009 draft are Tom Brandstater (174th overall) and Blake Schleuter (225th overall).
That leaves Darcel McBath (48th overall), David Bruton (114th overall) and Kenny McKinley (141 overall) to tip the scale for the judgment thus far of the 2009 draft class.
Here’s a quick rundown of every pick:
- Knowshon Moreno: Much improved in running and cutting, very impressive early according to veteran Correll Buckhalter and Wesley Woodyard. Very good coming out of the backfield as an extra receiving target as well.
- Robert Ayers: He says that he’s ready to step, but his demotion in favor of disappointing 2008 first round draft pick Jarvis Moss and undrafted rookie Kevin Alexander. Two insults here, because veteran Elvis Dumervil is attending, but not participating in the three-day mandatory training camp… So Ayers isn’t even filling in for Dumervil.
- Alphonso Smith: Much improved and thus far looking like he could possibly just be worthy of the trade that was made for him. Though rookie Perrish Cox may be a little too much for Smith to handle at this point and they’re both looking like it could be a battle all through preseason. Cox could lose by default if he ends up taking over for Eddie Royal in return duties.
- Darcel McBath: Rehabbed and better than ever, should be a special teams beast once again and proving that the Broncos have a sure safety for many years to come. He’s been rookie Tim Tebow’s worst enemy thus far, picking him and Kyle Orton off yesterday and today.
- Richard Quinn: The surprising thing would be if Quinn actually caught a ball. Though he was strong and earned a spot on the depth chart as a blocking tight end and a special teams player, with Tony Scheffler’s apparent replacement Marquez Branson out with an undisclosed injury it should make Broncos fans nervous that neither Quinn or undrafted rookies Riar Geer and Nathan Overbay have stepped up.
- David Bruton: Is no news good news? Haven’t heard anything about Bruton, sure he’s on the second team defense (sometimes), but is that saying anything?
- Seth Olsen: Given the opportunity to start at his natural position Olsen was jumped by rookie Zane Beadles (a right tackle) and is now playing second team. Olsen does have a realistic chance to get his first team chance back if current right tackle Ryan Harris suffers any set backs from his 2009 injury. Though veteran D’Anthony Batiste could also fill in for Harris and Beadles could maintain the first spot on the depth chart at Olsen’s position.
- Kenny McKinley: He’s been my dark horse for two seasons now. Then the Broncos drafted Demaryius Thomas and I got doubtful that McKinley would be anymore than a back-up. However, the wide receiver position will be the most competitive position in Broncos camp. Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal look to lead the role of the first two receivers on Denver’s depth chart, Thomas, McKinley, Brandon Stokley, Brandon Lloyd and now Matthew Willis is making his best campaign to get off the practice squad. Word on McKinley is that he’s looking just as good as Thomas thus far though. Willis has caught the eyes of several reporters attending camp along with their praise. These are the same guys who have seen Rod Smith, Ed McCaffrey and Brandon Marshall for years.
Colorado Springs Gazette’s Frank Schwabb pointed this out on twitter: Matt Cassel’s break out season that netted him $63 million, $28 million guaranteed (with $40.5 million in the first three years) stats in his 2008 break out season- 3,693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ortons stats in 2009 that netted him a first round tender worth one-year $2.621 million- 3,802 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Schwabb went on to point out that Cassel had Randy Moss and Wes Welker too, just saying…
Dumervil will most likely sign his tender before Tuesdays threatened deduction of his contract. He and many Broncos are hoping that he receive a longer contract offer, being that both Moss and Ayers are scheduled to make more money than him this season.