Posted Mon Aug 23rd by Josh Temple
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.