Posted Mon Jun 6th by Monty
In my mind, there were a few exceptions to the Broncos’ execution of their Best Player Available philosophy over April’s draft weekend, and this selection is the first one. My guess is Orlando Franklin wasn’t the best player on the Broncos’ draft board when they selected him with the 46th pick. But, at that very moment, he was the best solution to a problem the Broncos had been facing all offseason: Who’s going to play right tackle?
The Broncos could pay to keep free agent Ryan Harris, who had one great season and has been hampered by injuries otherwise, or they could draft a starting-caliber replacement. They chose the latter route.
But is he starting caliber yet? Therein lies the problem. Scouts are mixed as to whether Franklin can step in and play at this level right away. He’s a big, physical, mauling blocker, but many question his instincts, quickness, and footwork. Watching tape, I note concerns in his stance (too wide at times) and consistency in bending his knees. Those are things that develop over time, but the Broncos drafted him — arguably early — because they want him to start right away.
Then again, nothing is guaranteed. Maybe the Broncos do resign Harris, and maybe Harris starts, and Franklin’s given the opportunity to develop at either right tackle or guard. Then the value of this pick could increase. But right now signs point to him starting from Day One (whenever that is).
“I went down to (the University of) Miami early last year on the road,” GM Brian Xanders said. “He’s a guy that stood out to me in practice…. He has really long arms, but when they put him at left tackle, he was a physical, fierce competitor. He takes his guy three or four yards down the field. He’s a good pass protector because he has length in his arms. His footwork was good enough. We just liked his demeanor, and then we had a good interview.
“He had an edge to him,” Xanders continued. “He was ready to go. We think he fits in also as a right tackle because of his physicality and his size and in the vertical movement he possesses. We’re excited about him.”
- Big with large wingspan
- Great strength and power
- Aggressive and nasty
- Slow footwork
- Fundamentals/technique in question
- Speed/agility lacking
You’ll quickly note the obvious with Franklin in these two videos — his forte is run blocking, not pass blocking.
The Verdict: We’ve said over and over again that we’re a fan of the Broncos’ Best Player Available philosophy they used throughout the draft. They didn’t use it here. This was a need pick; is Franklin ready to start at the NFL level? If Tim Tebow is Denver’s starting quarterback, we’re talking about Franklin being our QB’s main blind side protection. Similar to Tebow himself, the physicality and attitude are there. Is the technique?