Posted Sun Apr 29th by Tim Lynch
The 2012 NFL Draft left many of us Denver Broncos fans wanting more. To understand the vision and focus of the three-legged stool of John Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders, we must look at the entire picture. That vast portrait that is Elway’s grand plan for returning the Broncos to Super Bowl glory.
There is a method to this madness and we should try to see the forest through the trees.
The Broncos, in spite of Elway’s misdirecting comments, knew that Defensive Tackle was their biggest need after letting both of their starters go in free agency. Broderick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas were not part of Elway’s Championship vision, which means pass rushing trumps run support. This makes sense given that it is now a passing league and stopping a good rushing attack is somewhat easier than limiting a high octane passing attack, given all of the rules changes in recent years in favor of the passing game.
Another area of need turned out to be quarterback. Tim Tebow was too much of a risk for Elway, since Tebowmaniacs proved to be unruly and disruptive to the Broncos organization. I can respect that, even if I disagree with it. We have to move on and getting a future franchise quarterback was a necessary need.
After those two positions, it came down to offensive line help, defensive backfield and running back.
Derek Wolfe is a player that gives everything he has on every play and he can get after the quarterback. The Broncos will do well shifting him from tackle to end in order to keep the opposing offensive line guessing. Pairing him with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller should make the Broncos pass rush one of the most feared in the league. Shortening the amount of time a quarterback has to get rid of the football makes the pass defense that much better. This might be the best draft pick the Broncos made from the entire draft.
Waiting until 2013 to draft for the future was not ever going to be an option, since the Broncos reached in the second round to ensure Brock Osweiler would be theirs. He is “Plan B”, so we better get behind it as fans. The guy is young at 21 years old, so by the time Peyton Manning hangs it up he will roughly be Elway’s age when he started his first NFL game. I question Osweiler’s long term ability to be a franchise quarterback, but we’ll be married to him for at least the first three to four years he plays.
The Broncos rounded out their draft filling holes all along their areas of need, with Ronnie Hillman being the most explosive offensive player the Broncos picked up, along with several talented players who suffered various injuries in their final collegiate season.
When you look at who the Broncos picked up after the draft, you will see that Special Teams and depth at certain positions is something that concerns John Elway and John Fox greatly. Three linebackers, a safety and a tight end would immediately compete for a spot on special teams, while four offensive lineman proves what we all knew last year that the depth on the line was nearly nonexistent. Many of those guys won’t make the roster, but history has shown that at least one will become a significant part of the roster in 2012 and beyond.
The forest to see here is that the Denver Broncos intend to be explosive on offense, have a top notch pass rush and a dangerous special teams. Naturally all teams would love to be that way, but for the first time in a great many years I am starting to see a forest among the trees. I sort of saw that with Josh McDaniels, but he missed on his picks by drafting mostly failures and a big part of those players becoming failures was McDaniels’ own coaching style that may have stunted the development of younger players. With Mike Shanahan, I never felt like there was a forest – no rhyme or reason at times.
Whether this strategy pays off is obviously unknown, but it is nice to know that the guy in charge knows what he wants and is going to get it. However, I think combining Elway’s desire to draft with the forest in mind and John Fox’s ability to develop the younger players on the roster could be the perfect situation for us fans. We should all play the wait and see game now that we have gotten our kneejerk reactions out of the way.