2011 Record: 8-8
Key Free Agents:
QB Brady Quinn, WR, Eddie Royal, DT Broderick Bunkley, S Brian Dawkins, DT Marcus Thomas, LB Wesley Woodyard.
After signing a 4 year -$14 million dollar deal in January of 2011, John Fox had a pretty good season, all things considered. Despite an 8-8 record, the Broncos won the AFC West and pulled off an upset victory over the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. There will be a lot of hoopla, once again, surrounding Tim Tebow, but I don't doubt the team will roll with him and hope he can improve on his inconsistencies. Hopefully, the team can improve at other positions on both sides of the ball and help Tebow improve on his 2011 season.
1st Round (1.25): Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Both free agents Broderick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas were serviceable, but neither provided much pass-rush support. The team needs help on both sides of the line, but I expect them to plug up their defensive line with Still. Still became only the second defensive tackle to win the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. He was also a finalist for both the Outland and Bednarik awards. Still finished with 4.5 sacks in 2011.
2nd Round (2.25): Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
There is no doubt that Tim Tebow can do a lot of damage with his legs, but keeping him upright and giving him the chance to take a step further means the team has to upgrade the interior of the offensive line. Osemele started all 13 games in 2011 and had 44 consecutive starts.
3rd Round (3.25): Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
Some might think running back is too early at this pick, but there are big question marks at the spot. Willis McGahee had a Pro Bowl season in 2011, but he will turn 31 this year. Knowshon Moreno is coming off an ACL injury suffered last November, was arrested for drunk driving in February and has missed a steady amount of games over the past two seasons. Some believe he's heading towards being a "BUST" tag, but I think he's past that point. Gray racked up 1000+ rushing yards in 2010 and 2011 and also proved his value as a pass catcher, averaging 245 receiving yards and catching 4 touchdown passes in that same span. At the very least, he could battle for the No. 2 spot.
4th Round (4.25): Philip Blake, C, Baylor
The Broncos go right back to offensive line after drafting Osemele in the second round. Blake was one of nine players to start every game (13) in 2011 and he started all 38 games in his three-year career at Baylor. He was selected 23rd overall in 2011 in the CFL Canadian Draft by the Montreal Alouettes and was a first-team All-Big 12 center in his senior year.
5th Round (5.2) (From St. Louis): Trenton Robinson, FS, Michigan State
There hasn't been much news on whether the team will want Brian Dawkins back, who turns 39 in 2012. He is clearly playing on fumes and a neck injury from 2011 could decide his career. Robinson racked up 229 tackles, nine interceptions and 12 pass break-ups in 46 career games at the college level. He's versatile enough to play both safety and corner, which will eventually be a need once Champ Bailey hangs them up.
5th Round (5.25) B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga
After bashing Tim Tebow in an interview with GQ magazine and then apologizing, Brady Quinn may have talked his way out of Denver for good. If he isn't re-signed, the team could go the free agency route and the draft with only Adam Weber currently penciled in as the No. 2 guy behnd Tebow. After transferring from Tennessee in 2009, Coleman went onto rank second all-time in passing yards with 6,871. He broke a school record with 52 career TD passes and had seven career rushing touchdowns.
7th Round (7.25): Emanuel Davis, CB, East Carolina
Even though he is getting up there at 33, Champ Bailey still showed he is a dominant cover corner after holding Mike Wallace to just 3 catches (10 targets) for 26 yards in last year's Wild Card game. Still, it would behoove the Broncos to start looking towards the future and plan on finding Bailey's eventual replacement. Davis comes with a red flag after missing the 2011 opener after getting arrested for public intoxication and resisting a police officer in June, but he finished the season strong with 62 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception and 7 passes broken up.