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Published on 10/18/2011 at Tue Oct 18 21:21.
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A revolutionary scouting system was scrapped upon Josh McDaniels' arrival. In place, the Broncos returned to classic magnetic boards and notebooks. (Photo courtesy of Eric Lars Bakke/Denver Bronocs)

Former General Manager of the Denver Broncos, Ted Sundquist, recently wrote an article about a high-tech scouting system which was developed by the Broncos and which he says would have been worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“The company’s engineers told us we couldn’t do the things we did with it, but we did. …  We had rosters, depth charts, practice squads, positional outlooks, street free agent lists, NFL Europe reports – all with a click of the button. …

“We could pull a current prospect and side by side compare him to the past Pro Bowl players, or last year’s first round pick, or against whomever he’d like.  We could grab a handful of “like players” based on correlated criteria. …

“We did away with magnetic boards and built our own tracking system through the database. … Draft meetings looked more like NASA’s mission control than another club’s cramped warroom with their white walls and stacked name tags.”

The system, says Sundquist, was taken for granted by Josh McDaniels and immediately scrapped.  With the arrival of McDaniels, “back came the magnetic boards, back came the name tags, back came the binders.”

Could this partly be one of the reasons that the Broncos’ drafting under McDaniels was particularly poor?  In two years, McDaniels drafted nineteen players and only seven of them remain on the team.

If receiver Demaryius Thomas starts this week, the Broncos will have six starters (all drafted in or above the third round) from the two drafts under McDaniels.  Those numbers in themselves are not particularly terrible, but the facts below are quite depressing:

  • Center J.D. Walton and receiver Eric Decker are the only players remaining on the team that McDaniels drafted in the third round or later (eleven selections). Update: I forgot safety David Bruton and cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson (injured reserve) are still on the team, so make that 4-of-11.
  • Only one of McDaniels’ second round picks (guard Zane Beadles) remains with the team (four selections).
  • McDaniels’ four first round selections have started a combined 34 games since 2010, a number which could be as high as 84 games (if each of the players had started all 21 games since 2010).

If you read the article, it sounds like the Broncos had a system unlike the NFL had ever seen.  Sadly, it was all tossed aside when McDaniels arrived.  I believe it could have only benefitted the Broncos to keep it.  What’s your take?

  • Anonymous

    Everything McDaniels did was counter-productive.  Look at how he handled the roster.  The one player he should have jettisoned was Marshall.  He should have kept Dennison and Turner and spent his time building the defense and working with Cutler.
    McDaniels was exposed by week 8.  Any real surprise the Rams offense is last in the league in points scored.

  • Dante Pakistan

    Worst coach ever!!

  • crazykid

    This is interesting and all, but its not exactly like Shanahan was killing in the draft either (except 2006, which is still phenomenal).

    I think the Broncos should hire Adam Schefter and my man, Walterfootball, to make the picks next year. We couldn’t miss! 

  • whatsmyfox

    O.T.   Just heard Elways show, I thought he gave up the cigars and booze…guess not.

  • rcsodak

    Wow. I thought this was 2011a. Must be the slow season….. :coffee:

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully they took it out of the mothballs and started using it again

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    Working in IT in health care, if I had a pound for everyone who thought their database was going to revolutionise the world – I’d probably have as many pounds as I’d have for every database that information was duly input into and then ignored.

    I have no doubt that this database was revolutionary and was ground breaking in some areas, but Ted’s smugness about it would be better backed up if it had been reflected in consistently good free agent signings and deep drafts.

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    I think the 2012 draft team should be made up entirely of people who have ever critised a draft pick.

  • Fan From Spain

    any news on McBean’s arrest?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like your typical office trying to go paperless…

  • Anonymous

    Seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Nah, the whole case is sealed. 

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    Oh yes, they’ll show you how they’ve set up access to record all the phone calls they get and they act like they’ve found the cure for cancer.

  • Anonymous

    “Could this partly be one of the reasons that the Broncos’ drafting under McDaniels was particularly poor?”

    Like this made any difference for Ted Sundquist? The guy was in charge of the Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, and Marcus Thomas draft. Ryan Khalil was available instead of Tim Crowder.

    If there is one thing that’s hurting the Broncos right now, it isn’t the 2 years under McDaniels, it’s the horrible management and drafting under Shanahan and Sundquist.

  • Anonymous

    Walterfootball hits as much as he misses.

  • flbronc

    exactly.  the database is a delivery system of information and stats that someone determines is relevant.

    there is a human on the other end who evaluates that information, and makes a decision on who to pick.  if the person who is responsible for making decisions sucks at the evaluation of those statistics you are set up for failure regardless of the amount of information in your database.

  • flbronc

    exactly.  the database is a delivery system of information and stats that someone determines is relevant.

    there is a human on the other end who evaluates that information, and makes a decision on who to pick.  if the person who is responsible for making decisions sucks at the evaluation of those statistics you are set up for failure regardless of the amount of information in your database.

  • http://Facebook.com/BroncosZone Jon

    You make a good point, but Shanahan’s drafts keep many more players than McDaniels’ did.

  • Anonymous

    No, that’s not true at all. In fact that couldn’t be even farther from the truth.

    Since 2003, 6 of the 46 players Denver has drafted are still with the Broncos.

    Jeff Shoate, Karl Paymah, Willie Middlebrooks, Foxworth, Clarett, Tim Crowder, Jarvis Moss, Chris Myers, Paul Ernster, Terry Pierce, George Foster, Darius Watts, Trilandos Luke, Quninton Griffin, Nick Eason, Bryant McNeal, Ryan Harris, Hixon, Jack Williams, Carlton Powell, and the list could continue forever.

    Just to add some perspective, Ed Reed was drafted in 2002 and Troy Polamalu was drafted in 2003.

    Denver took Ashley Lelie in 2002 (five spots ahead of reed) and George Foster in 2003 (eleven spots ahead of Nnamdi Asomugha).

  • Anonymous

    Harris left through free agency and Foxy was traded in the final year of his contract.  Not anything like they were busts.

  • http://Facebook.com/BroncosZone Jon

    Hold on, six years later compared to two years after McDaniels’ drafts is not fair at all.  Nearly all of those players contributed to the Broncos during their time with Denver and most of them were starters at one point. In McDaniels case, the players barely contributed and were gone just two years later, compared to six.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that Harris was let go and Foxy was traded for a 7th round pick when Denver was a bad as it was, shows how important they really were.

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    I miss Foxworth

  • Anonymous

    Yes it is fair.

    The fact that Zero players remain from the 2003 and 2005, and only one from the 2004 draft is simply awful. Players like Jeff Shoate, Jeremy LeSeur, Nick Eason, Trilandos Luke, Darius Watts, Bryant McNeal, and Tim Crowder were gone very quickly as well. They may have “contributed” or were “starters”, but it didn’t last very long at all because they were no good. The only reason why these players got a chance to contribute is because Shanahan wasn’t fired.

    Do remember Maurice Clarett? He didn’t even play a preseason game.

    When do you think Big Ben, Troy P, Reed, Nnamdi, Vince Wilfork, and Haloti Ngata were drafted? There sure weren’t picked up two or three years ago.

    Do you think the Steelers just decide to pick up free agents to fill in gaps? Mendenhall goes down, Dwyer steps up. Hines Ward gets old, Mile Wallace blows up. 

    I’m not defending McDaniels’ draft choices. I’m just not acting like he is the sole reason Denver is in the mess they’re in now. There is no depth on this team whatsoever. 

    Before the season started you were all giddy about the defense saying that there was a plan at defensive tackle. Where is that plan now? The only DT on the team that was drafted by Denver is Marcus Thomas. That is just sad. With Kevin Vickerson gone now too, Denver hasn’t even signed a new DT to fill his shoes. Then they go trade Brandon Lloyd for a measly compensatory pick, a couple days before Tebow’s first start. So no, this isn’t all McDaniels fault.

  • Anonymous

    Breaking news! Josh McDaniels thought he knew how to do something better than anyone else because he saw Bill Belichik do it once!

    In other news, Ted Sundquist attempts to garner attention and validity based on being part of a shining moment from 15 years ago, not unlike a certain Shanahan.

    On a separate note:  I recently put the finishing touches on my database system that compares and categorizes an enormous and growing catalog of length, thicknesses, curvatures, colorations and fungal residues for toenail clippings!  It is the first and best of it’s kind and well ahead of anyone else’s processes!  It’s got to be worth at least 100K, and more when I add the CSI graphics to it!  The Systematic Toenail Utilization Program in Database (STUPiD) is the first in an ever growing aray or options in the Bath Room Floor Findings (BaRFF) suite.

    Available soon for iPhone

  • http://Facebook.com/BroncosZone Jon

    In no way am I trying to say this is ALL McDaniels fault, not at all. I know Shanahan and Sundquist had their fair share of draft duds but they also had some great picks.

    The mess we are in now is not all just because of McDaniels, Shanahan’s era also played a role as well, but the scouting technology they had sounds like something that shouldn’t have been scrapped (IMO).

  • http://Facebook.com/BroncosZone Jon

    Hahaha!

  • Anonymous

    “You make a good point, but Shanahan’s drafts keep many more players than McDaniels’ did.”

    I’m still arguing this point you made. It is impossible for McDaniels to do worse than Shanahan did from 1999-2008. Shanahan and Sundquist both drafted horribly and they did worse damage to the Broncos foundation than McDaniels ever had the time to do.

  • Anonymous

    Shanny drafted running backs and late round linemen, he sucked at defensive drafting for the most part.  McD drafted like it was a Madden game, the moral of the story is our D sucked due to Shanny and McD blew up our offense so combine both coaches drafts and we have our last years team.  We actually hit (it seems) on at least 3 this year so there is hope.

  • Anonymous

    That is bad management not poor drafting.  I think Shanahan’s head got to big.  He should have been fired sooner and a GM brought in.

  • Anonymous

    Actually it is all McDaniels’ fault.  He could have got on the phone with Cutler right from the start.  He should have kept Dennison and Turner and let them take care of the running game.  He should have gotten with his defensive coordinator and Xanders and started looking at defensive free agents and defensive draft picks.  He should have looked at the offense and realized that we can score points and with my tweaks we’ll score more.  Now we need the personnel on the defensive side of the ball.
    He had every opportunity to right the ship and he chose to try and build New England West, including cheating.

  • http://Facebook.com/BroncosZone Jon

     You’re probably right but I don’t think we saw enough drafts under McDaniels to judge that. But that’s just my take.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t they still have the software to do the same thing with it?

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    In other words, he should have done pretty much what Fox has done.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously? Having no defensive linemen is all McDaniels fault? How about the fact that Shanahan let go every great DE after they had a great season. I doubt he would have resigned Doom, he didn’t resign Berry, Hayward, or Pryce. 

    Also, there was no way they could have kept Turner because he was Shanahan gave him a raise in title and pay and he wanted to go back to work with Shanahan. As of Dennison, I really don’t think he added all that much to the team. He was a puppet of an offensive coordinator and it’s not like he was the best offensive line coach in the NFL.

    “He should have looked at the offense and realized that we can score points and with my tweaks we’ll score more.”

    Mike Shanahan had that same exact problem.

    “Now we need the personnel on the defensive side of the ball.”
    We needed it before McDaniels was there. Nate Webster and Marquand Manuel were starters on this team before Dawkins was signed. 

    The irony here is that McDaniels and Shanahan was so similar in their faulty methods. 

  • Anonymous

    Except that Fox now has to rebuild the running game now.

  • Anonymous

    The fact is that McDaniels never attempted to address the obvious weaknesses.  McDaniels wanted Patriots West.  It does not matter what Shanahan did or did not do.  Looking at what McDaniels has done with the Rams it is really difficult to believe that he was nothing but a puppet of an offensive coordinator.  I don’t see Dennison doing worse than McDaniels and he probably would have done better. 

  • Anonymous

    To say McDaniels wanted the Patriots West is useless. Every coach wants to do what’s familiar to them.

    When Mike Shanahan left San Fransisco to coach at Denver he basically was trying to create the AFC Niners. All coaches do that, it’s just human nature. The only reason why everyone took such great offense to McDaniels signing Patriot players was that the Patriots are one of the most hated teams in the NFL. 

    It totally matters what Shanahan did and did not do, he was the head coach of Denver for over a decade. How can you say that his actions did not matter?

    McDaniels also has been with the Rams for less than a year, so to blame their problems on him is foolish. 

    You build teams by drafting well and solidifying a strong foundation. Neither McDaniels or Shanahan did that.

    Shanahan inherited a strong team built by Dan Reeves and made the right tweaks that lead them to the Super Bowl twice. Since then the foundation that Reeves placed crumbled and Shanahan never thought twice about replacing it. This was ultimately his demise. 

    McDaniels then inherited a team with a weak foundation and instead of trying to solidify it, he just signed weak free agents that eventually faltered.

    I don’t know what your obsession is with Rick Dennison is. If Rick was really that great then he would be a head coach or he would at least have a job with someone not affiliated with the Denver Broncos.

  • 12508

    We still have a GM that is not really a GM. Blame McD for the picks. What is XANDERS still doing in the GM spot? All the problems we have start at the top. BOWLEN has no clue. He is a good man but this thing for XANDERS has to stop. We end up with Fox who is not a good coach. Fox brings nothing to the table as a head coach. Can’t remember when someone said Fox out coached the other guy. If we are stuck with Tebow shouldn’t we have a coach that is a good play caller. Fox wants to run the ball and manage field position. He can’t do it with this roster. We are a mess right now. How will things get better? I don’t see it. I would say suck for Luck and trade the pick for a lot. We need it. I just don’t trust efx with draft picks. Get a GM in here with a clue.

  • Anonymous

    The running game was never same after Mike Anderson.