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Published on 08/23/2010 at Mon Aug 23 17:42.
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Denver Broncos tight end Marquez Branson (85) catches an 11-yard touchdown pass in front of Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett (49) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, in Denver. -AP Photo

Can you name Denver’s #2 receiver so far this preseason?

Don’t look now, but it’s upstart Marquez Branson.  (You totally cheated and looked at the picture, didn’t you?)

That’s right, the undrafted free agent tight end from 2009.  So far Branson has put up 45 yards and one touchdown in the first two pre-season games.  It very easily could have been two as Marquez had a low pass from Tebow called incomplete and reviewed in Cincinnati.

Branson was given a chuckle by 850 KOA when they mentioned that he would’ve been the #1 ESPN highlight of the weekend by catching a pass from the ballyhooed Gator QB.  Replying with a laugh, Branson stated that the referee amusingly admitted that he wasn’t positive if the ball was dropped or not, so he would have to go with incomplete and let the instant replay handle the outcome.  From the looks of things, he’s not done.

Looking back into that 09′ draft there was a lot of controversy surrounding the drafting of a tight end.  That TE was not Branson but teammate Richard Quinn.  The Xanders and McDaniels selection of Quinn in the second round was chided by fans and draft experts alike.  If you’ll remember, Denver had to give up two third round selections to take the Tarheel.  The scrutiny lied in that Quinn was the very essence of a draft day reach.  He had very low production numbers in his college career, a measly 12 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.  We were told that Quinn could block, something that we have yet to see in spades.  Looking back on the posting of that trade and selection, it’s even humorous to see how Broncotalk and our readers responded.

The criticism has teeth.  In his rookie season Quinn played 15 games, he racked up 0 receptions, 0 yards, 1 arrest, and 0 touchdowns.  That’s a lot of drafting potential to give up for a guy who contributed squat in his first season.  Of all the things McD catches flak for, I think this should receive much more attention than it does.  Nobody cares about a depth TE other than the hardcore fans.  We would rather lament over Cutler, Marshall, and Scheffler.

But I ask you this…  If Marquez Branson turns out to be the tight end Richard Quinn will never be, does McDaniels get to call it par, or even better a win?  Minutes after going undrafted, Branson said that McDaniels called and said “you will be our 8th round pick”.  So far the 2nd year guy is making the most of his opportunities, and trying to follow in the footsteps of Shannon Sharpe.  This crisp route for points Saturday Night foretells of a bright future for the Central Arkansas player.  I for one, will give Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders the win.  Not only will I give them the win and forget the blunder that has been Quinn, I will heap praise upon the two.  Why you ask?  Because turning UDFAs and late round picks into stars are what Super Bowls are made of.

  • magster

    Richard Quinn broke up a fake punt in KC, where the intended pass recipient was wide open but for Quinn breaking up the play.

    Not saying that redeems Quinn, but that was a big play.

  • http://www.bigsportsballs.com Jimmy

    So Brady Quinn played a bit better this week. This is important for Denver because if Orton goes down, they DO NOT want Tebow playing every down. Quinn is someone who at least the Broncos can continue to call the same plays with and run the same offense with. With Tebow in, the playbook would have to be cut in half because of how limited he is.

  • http://broncoszone.blogspot.com/ Jon

    I've said since before Training Camp Branson will have a great year, Camp confirmed my confidence in him. Great post, Josh

  • Jjjj

    Richard Quinn does like to smoke that Kush though

  • anthony33

    What's becoming painfully clear is McD or Xanders, at least as of today, do not have a clue about drafting good players.

    Moreno – who knows.
    Ayers – Still not showing anything.

    Tebow – Hopefully… if he works out, scrap this comment completely.
    Thomas – Injured

    Four first round picks, all with huge question marks. How often does a team get 4 first round picks in two years? You would hope to be able to build a great nucleus… I don't think so.

    Quinn and Smith, both second rounders from last year, are in danger of getting cut… how bad is that.

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    Think we have a picture of that somewhere around here.

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    [Moreno - who knows.
    Ayers - Still not showing anything.

    Tebow - Hopefully... if he works out, scrap this comment completely.
    Thomas - Injured]

    But they're good people!

    Haha, hard to argue.

    Moreno will have an incredible year if he can stay healthy, as will Thomas. Tebow well he might as well go to jail, because we'll see him in two to three years.

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    Quinn is in no danger of being cut. The man is a blocker, the same reason Denver drafted him, is the same reason Daniel Graham chose to leave New England; there's only room for one catching tight end in this offense and yes I know McDaniels has brought back the h-back, but he keeps the sixth lineman as well… Which Quinn is perfect for.

  • Sayre Bedinger

    I definitely think you have to give Quinn time. I mean, he is a completely different type of TE than Branson, and with Graham due to be a cap casualty sooner rather than later, we need that blocking prowess up front. It's easy to harp on the pick with Quinn out right now.

  • anthony33

    Ian
    I sincerely hope you are right and all four turn out to be solid picks and maybe even a few pro bowls between them.

    Separate note:
    Tapped into this sight right around the time time Shanny was fired and love it. However, seems like things have dropped off quite a bit. Kyle, who I think basically ran the sight, he rare. kerry, love him or hate him is absent as is WhidbeyBronco.

    Hopefully this site won't die as it is still far better than anything else out there.

  • Jake White

    Everyone forgot about Alphonso Smith. Out of all of Denver's high round picks from last year, he is the bust of them all. Just last week he dropped a pick that was virtually thrown right at him and negated a kick out of bounds penalty that would have started Denver's final drive at the 40. Instead, Denver started at the 20 after the re-kick. It seems he's blowing every chance he gets. Just think of how much better of a team Denver would be if they would have just one effective player from the three first rounders from last year…

  • Jackfnburton

    Every draft pick can't be a winner. You take some risks, you win some and you lose some. Its easy to bitch when a reach doesn't work out but every team has them. Its just a fact of life.

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  • areferee

    What OS are you using? Windows 95?

    Kyle posts more than Publisher's Clearing House! He would NEVER let a few feet of wet, heavy snow keep him from the task at hand. He writes more than Stephen King…and just as S C A R Y… :-)

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Quinn isn't blowing me away with his blocking, though, either. That was his reputation coming into it, but watching him in training camp I wasn't satisfied.

    I think Graham could have a surprising year if he stays healthy. He got a lot of red zone (end zone) targets in camp.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    I comment less than I used to but am still the main author of the site. I always tend to slow down post-wise during the summer but pick up steam around training camp. Thanks for visiting and the feedback, love it!

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Haha I really don't get the Stephen King thing, but thank you. :)

  • AKfan

    Too early to give up on Quinn for sure, but expecting Quinn to be a worthy replacement for Graham is a little too much. Graham is a beast of a blocker but was also a consensus all American in college, John Mackey award winner, and destined to be a longtime starter in the NFL. Quinn was a major reach that hopefully will be a serviceable blocking TE. Trading up to take a blocking tight end (or undersized, slow corner that projects as a nickle back at best) were major mistakes. I blame Bowlen as much as I do Mcd and company. They were rushed into preparing for a draft and had very little experience and it showed. Bowlen should have kept the Goodmans on for 1 more year so as not too waste such a important draft for the long term future of the team. This draft is already looking much better for the young guys. Drafting the right type of players in the right spots comes with experience.

  • anthony33

    Glad to hear things are well. All look forward to reading what's up with
    the Bronx.

  • areferee

    Not really. Josh had him pegged in his story: “Starting Offense Looks Great as the Backups Give Away a Victory”
    Posted Sun. Aug. 22nd by Josh Temple

    “If Quinn is the goat of the offense, (then) Alphonso Smith has to be tagged as the goat of the Defense and Special teams. After letting a QB break his tackle and out hustle him to the end zone(,) Smith made a boneheaded move that will get him embarrassed in the film room this week.”

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    I disagree on Ayers. He is showing improvement, it's slow, but still improvement. His progress hasn't been stagnant. On Jarvis Moss' sack and fumble caused it was Ayers on the other side of that sandwich, something they did a good bit of in camp. I would really like to see those to be the outside pass rushers come the regular season.

  • anthony33

    Josh
    I'd like to think you are right. We've read about the OTA's, we heard about the learning process, we've heard about the improvement. So what happens?

    He gets mysteriously demoted then reinstated as the stater. Two preseason games and I think the guy has like 3 or 4 tackles. The only consistent thing I see from him is he is always at the bottom of the tackle stats.

    I hope the guy turns out to be a great player and lives up to expectations. I think it was Mayock that thought he would be the surprise of last years draft and be the defensive rookie of the year.

    Very disappointed in what I've seen so far. Hopefully he changes my mind… haha, like that matters.

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