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Published on 01/28/2011 at Fri Jan 28 08:00.
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In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, you’ll see plenty of mocks and predictions on who the Broncos should pick. This isn’t one of them. This is a fan trying to make a case for a player, or rather, for a position.

Pick Six Heisman Worthy Football

LSU's Patrick Peterson is a popular pick at 2nd overall in many Mock Drafts. (AP Photo/Sean Gardner, File)

This week is Senior Bowl week, a time when NFL coaches and players get a chance to meet with some of the top college players in the country and watch them play live.  The Denver Broncos currently have only one scheduled meeting (known of), and that is with LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson.

This blogger loves Peterson and would love if Denver drafted him, while at the same time questioning if it is the right pick.

In 2009, the Cleveland Browns‘ defense ranked 31st, the second worst defense in the NFL that season.  Heading into last April, their defense needed some serious help.  The team selected Florida star corner Joe Haden with the 7th overall pick.  While Haden had a solid rookie campaign, the Browns defense didn’t fair quite so well.  Last season, Cleveland’s defense ranked 22nd overall, with the 18th best secondary and 27th worst best run defense.

Another team that was looking to rebuild its defense through the draft last season, the Detroit Lions drafted Ndamkukong Suh.  The former Nebraska standout helped the Lions defense go from dead last in 2009 to ranking 21st overall last season.

A year prior to the above mentioned NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers held the 9th overall selection.  Looking for help on the defensive line, Green Bay drafted tackle B.J. Raji out of Boston College.  Five picks later, the New Orleans Saints selected Ohio’s Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most scouted corners in 2009.  The Packers defense ranked third in 2010, with Raji starting all sixteen games while recording 6.5 sacks.  The Saints ranked 10th, with Jenkins contributing (now as a free safety), but he hasn’t had the impact Raji has over the past two seasons.


Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers (93) reacts after a sack during an NCAA college football game against Maryland in Clemson, Wednesday, Jan. 5. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)

Now don’t think I’m trying to compare Haden to Peterson and Fairley to Suh, that’s not fair.  This is a comparision of positions.  Over the last two drafts, teams looking to improve their defenses by starting with the defensive line have faired better than those that have selected corners.

This is not about a safe pick, it’s about rebuilding a defense by starting in the trenches.  A good pass rush can make any good cornerback look like a great one (just look at New Englands’ Devin McCourty).  That’s not a knock against Peterson — he is the real deal, and would be a safer pick than say Auburns Nick Fairley.  There are plenty of capable cornerbacks (many more than there are productive defensive tackles and ends) that will be available in later rounds, though.

Fairley isn’t the only option for the Broncos either.  Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, Alabam’s defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, and Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget have all drawn exceptional scouting reports and would help to get a defense headed back in the right direction.

Agree, disagree?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

  • Mross

    I think we would be safe with Either Fairley or Peterson. I like playmakers and each are one. I also believe Bowers could be great on the other side OF Doom. Problem. We need all of them!

  • Mross

    It would be great id we could land one of the three and be able to get back in to the 1st round with trading Orton.

  • CJ

    i doubt that would happen. Ive never really liked Bowers mainly cuz i would like to think Ayers can still play DE.

    I have a good case of denial. Bowers could be a beast and would make sense i suppose.

  • Darwin

    Defensive line is a priority but picking the best available player is the way to go. Suh was the best available player and B.J. Raji was the best available player. Getting a playmaker at any defensive position should be the Bronco's approach.

  • Paradisimo

    I agree 100%. It all starts in the trenches on both sides of the ball. If you can block well and get consistent pressure on the opposing QB you will be a winning team, plain and simple. We have had a shut down corner for 6 years now and it hasn't done squat for our defense. Defensive line all the way!

  • dogheadbrew

    I agree that the glaring need is Defensive front seven, but I am torn. Philosophically, I believe in taking the BEST player available to you at your pick, regardless of need. It seems to me that the best teams across professional sports landscape, amass talent and that takes care of need. However with only six picks, we do not have a lot to work with.

    I ideally, I would like to move back to the 8 to 12 position, pick up one of those strong DEs, and gain a late 1 or early 2 pick in the process. That sounds great, but who really wants the number two pick? Furthermore, our track record with the number 11 pick has not really been stellar.

    I guess I would say, quit trying to be smart, and just grab the best player available. Fill out the rest of your roster, play a season and repeat.

    Oh, and get the CBA done quickly so that we can trade Orton to a team that will make him a starter (good for him) and get us a couple more picks (good for us).

  • Codyhull20

    sign champ

  • Fjjhe

    Why wouldn't Fairley be a safe pick? He dominated in the sec! Are you kidding? Auburn has great players and character is a part of their team, no matter how bad ESPN tries to smear them. Fairley would be a dominant force on the d-line for years to come. Just Watch.

  • MrEast

    I completely agree with you. If you keep drafting the best players available, then soon you will have all the best players available. None of the top 5 DEs/DTs in this draft are sure-fire players. Whereas Peterson seems to be a once in a lifetime player. I think it would be dumb to draft DaQuan Bowers out of need. It's not even like all Denver needs is a DE/DT and then their play off contenders either.

  • MrEast

    He dominated for one year, he was nothing before then. Also what is in question is his work ethic and character, he has a problem with playing dirty and being lazy.

  • MrEast

    I agree that Denver's most pressing matter is defensive line. However, the talent isn't there at #2 overall. I'd rather have Denver just start taking future pro-bowlers / DROYs in each first round regardless of their position. After a few seasons the squad will be full of talent from the draft and players of need from free agency.

  • Mross

    Fairley has the maiking of a pre-madonna, or could be great, I agree with Mr. East. I would say it would really depend on whether we are going to be a 4-3 in most situations. Fairley is not a NT in a full time 3-4 defense imo. I would like to see us drop 3-4 picks and grab Bowers if we can and/or get Peterson. I know it is a strech but we have a high 2nd and Orton to move.

  • MrEast

    Jon, I like the article but you can't compare the Raji and Jenkins picks. Raji was a no doubt top-10 pick and Jenkins went at 17. Unless New Orleans, who won the Super Bowl that year, wanted to give away the rest of their draft, they couldn't have selected Raji. Also, Raji didn't have that big of an impact during his rookie season, he only started one game. What also helps Raji a lot of having a guy like Ryan Pickett to rotate with. I would venture to say that Jenkins and Raji have both had equal effects on their teams during the regular season this year.

    The same goes with Haden and Suh. Suh wasn't going to make it past #2. If there was a player like Suh this draft I would be screaming my lungs out for Denver to select him, even over Peterson. Drafting Haden was one of the best choices the Browns could have made at the time. There were no real DTs or pass rushers at the number for them to take. They could have reached on Brandon Graham or Jason Pierre Paul, but they haven't proven to be anything yet. Whereas Joe Haden had 6 INTs, 18 passes defended, 1 sack, and 1 FF in his rookie season.

  • Matthew shaver

    I agree that when rebuilding a defense you start with the front 7 but it always isn't the case look at the jets and revis

  • BroncoMan24

    Here is to hoping that they can get the CBA taken care of so we can have FA before the draft. I would rather pick up some experience DL in FA that we know can produce and then go for BPA in the draft, but it is looking more and more likely that there is going to be a lockout. If we pick Peterson in the draft and end up not picking up any DL in FA, we are going to be in trouble again this year. I know there are players later in the draft, but it is too much of a risk to think that later rounds picks are going to shore up our DL. Go Broncos!!!

  • Ian Henson

    In 2009 the Denver Broncos had a player that had 17 sacks, their defense ranked 9th in the NFL in Yards allowed per game and 12th in points allowed per game. In my opinion the defensive line got BETTER if you compared 2009 to 2010 (with additions of Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan). The only player that started in 2009 on the defensive line that was off the roster by 2010 was Kenny Peterson. Williams and Bannan were upgrades over Ryan McBean and Ronald Fields

    The loss of Dumervil was traumatic to Denver's defense. It killed the linebackers, Robert Ayers improved, but not enough to have the effect that the loss of Dumervil caused. Beyond that, Andre Goodman only started eight games to Champ Bailey's 15 and the two starting Broncos safeties are a combined 69 years old… I'm all for grabbing one of the best corner backs to EVER come out of college football. Not to mention he'll be an immediate contributor on returns.

    We can spend the rest of our picks on defensive linemen and linebackers… Even a tight end.

    Either way, I am completely confident in any defensive player Fox picks with the number two draft pick, he's got a good track record.

  • TheFan

    Nick Fairley > Patrick Peterson > Trade down > Da’Quan Bowers
    These are pretty much our options…

  • ArtM

    I think we have to give Ayers a chance because he was never really cut out as a 3-4 DE

  • CJ

    The closer the draft comes the more we will have an idea which direction we want. To me all three of these guys gotta have a killer combine.

  • Jon

    Thanks, East

  • Jon

    I agree about trading down, I think that would be the best move. Who would want the 2nd overall pick? I think more teams than you would suspect. In 2007 the Broncos offered two 1st-round picks, a 2nd-rounder & two 3rd rounders Plus linebacker Al Wilson to the Lions for 2nd pick. Of course, this year there isn't a Calvin Johnson that may not last past the 2nd selection but I do think Denver could trade down if they really wanted to. On picking the best player available, consider the 2009 NFL draft. Do you think B.J. Raji (who I was hoping for with all my heart) or Knowshon Moreno (the guy the Broncos thought was the best available) would have been a better pick for the Broncos? Given Moreno's production, I think Raji because there are plenty of backs out there who could have contributed as much as (if not more) to the Broncos as Moreno has the last two seasons. Meanwhile, none of there defensive lineman have been as productive as Raji has been for the Packers …

    And yes, please just work out the dang CBA, NFL!

  • Jon

    Fair enough

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  • 5280

    i like what you said henson. The thing i can't understand that you all seem to be saying is “who wants the #2 pick?” thats crazy talk. Why on gods green earth would you not want the 2nd pick overall? we can get damn near any player we want with that pick. I disagree(to an extent) with taking peterson right off the bat. nobodies a sure fire star in the NFL. you have to prove it. case in point, jamrcus russell, or ryan leaf. Need is the best aspect to draft by. the lions picked Suh not just becasue he was the best player available. they needed a Dlinman. they were set at reciever and QB(which QB might be in question now). they needed to build their D and the best way to do that is through the Dline. we have bunches of corners right now so taking peterson doesn't make sence. what can he do for us if we cant get to the QB anyway? he's pretty much useless unless we have an effective pass rush so why draft him? Fairley is considered just as much as a sure thing as peterson and so is von miller. mayock has repeatedly said that von miller is the best LB in the draft and thats because he's so versitile. he can line up at 4-3 DE or 3-4 LB and excell. I also think marcel dareus would be a great pick. he'd be a good strong big body up front to stop the run and instead of tradingup to the to the 8 to 12th pick the smartest thing to do would be to take one of their 2nd rounders and trade back down into the 1st round. that way we can keep our 2nd overall pick and pick up great talent and still have another 1st rounder to pick up more front 7 talent. petersons the only 1st round talent at CB in the draft the rest of them are 2nd and 3rd rounders at best.however this is a very deep draft for DL's and OL's. yall need to watch more senior bowl coverage. Im interested to see peterson's 40 time.

  • mikebirty

    The Broncos can't afford to miss with this pick.
    The Broncos need a player who will make an impact in 2011
    The Broncos need a player who will make some Pro Bowls in the first 5 years
    The Broncos need a player who will make the rest of the defense better

    I don't watch enough (or any) College Football to tell you who that is but I trust that Fox, Elway and X will know who that is

  • Benic the Red

    We also have to realize that no matter who we want Carolina may take them at the #1 spot. I have to say if Number one goes and it was either Fairley or Peterson, I would be happy to take the other, this only gets sticky IMO if both of them are still on the board at #2, which I just dont think is going to happen.

  • Benic the Red

    Ok so just a couple of things.

    1) People dont like trading for the top 5 picks because of the cost of those players, right now it is just so stinkin expensive to sign those guys that teams can have a tendency to avoid trading to that position in the draft.

    2) Comparing taking Peterson at #2 To the Raiders taking Jamarcus Russell is just silly, I guess I get the Ryan Leaf one, but there was little agreement with Davis that Russell was going to be a star after one good game in college.

    The rest of your argument isn't bad, but I just had to give a comment on that first bit.

  • 5280

    yo after the senior bowl im REALLY feeling von miller. he's flexable enough to do what we need him to do.

  • MrEast

    100% agree. Don't draft a guy straight out of need.

  • MrEast

    100% agree. Don't draft a guy straight out of need.