Broncos have 3 glaring needs entering draft
AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos have three glaring needs, three big vacancies and three of the first 45 picks in the NFL draft.
After waiving starting linebacker Andra Davis, trading Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall and letting savvy center Casey Wiegmann bolt back to Kansas City, the Broncos have some huge holes and shoes to fill.
They own the 11th pick in the first round Thursday night and coach Josh McDaniels hinted he’ll either stand pat if the player he wants is there or try to trade down if he’s not.
After beefing up the defensive line with Jamal Williams, Jarvis Green and Justin Bannan in free agency, McDaniels finally has a stout three-man front for his 3-4 defense.
Now, he can start augmenting the linebacking corps by drafting Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain.
If McClain isn’t on the board, the Broncos could move down and take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey or focus on finding a wide receiver to replace Marshall, whom McDaniels sent to Miami for two second-round picks, including one this year that gives Denver the 11th and 13th picks in the second round Friday night.
Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant was in for a workout at Dove Valley and impressed the coaching staff.
McDaniels said that while some teams may have questions about Bryant’s character after his final college season was cut short by an NCAA suspension, the Broncos don’t.
“I think you need to be careful confusing character issues with some people who have made some mistakes. This guy has never been arrested, never had a drinking issue and never done anything to put himself in that position,” McDaniels said.
“We enjoyed our visit with him and he did everything we asked him to do. He had a smile on his face and he did everything well. I’ll tell you this, he’s on our board, there’s no question. I know there are other teams that may have taken him off their board but he is not one of the players who is off our board.”
McClain was in for a visit the same day as Bryant, and McDaniels lauded his football IQ.
“He’s obviously been well-coached but even if you’re coached well, it takes another side to get to where he’s at,” McDaniels said. “He’s obviously done a lot of listening, studying and understands the game at a level where most kids that come in as rookies will never be at.”
Tennessee defensive lineman Dan Williams also presents an intriguing possibility to the Broncos if he’s available at No. 11.
“We do have an interest in Dan Williams. He is a good player, he is a good kid and we think that that would be a possibility,” McDaniels said.
The Broncos also need another tight end after sending Tony Scheffler to Detroit in a three-way trade Monday that netted them Philadelphia’s fifth-round draft pick.
McDaniels said he wouldn’t mind selecting a guard at some point in the latter rounds.
Although they traded for Brady Quinn to compete with starting quarterback Kyle Orton, picking a quarterback for the second straight season isn’t out of the question, either. Neither is selecting another running back even though they did that with their top pick a year ago with Knowshon Moreno.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and running backs Toby Gerhart of Stanford and C.J. Spiller of Clemson were among the players the Broncos brought in for pre-draft workouts.
McDaniels said he would love to add Tebow to his roster.
“You look at the tape, and the only thing that you can say about the tape that isn’t flattering or very impressive is that he dips the ball a hair” in his throwing motion, McDaniels said. “He has already fixed that. … Everything else that you’re watching on film is accurate, tough, smart, good leader, versatile, can move out of the pocket, can move in the pocket, can run with the ball.”
McDaniels’ first draft last year included some head-scratching moves, including two in the second round, when he selected tight end Richard Quinn and traded a 2010 first-round pick to move up and draft defensive back Alphonso Smith, who was lost in coverage last season while Quinn’s contributions consisted of a single kickoff return. More importantly, first-round picks Moreno and Robert Ayers had so-so rookie seasons.
McDaniels insists some players don’t blossom until their second season in the league, so he’s not down on his first draft. But he knows he needs several players this time around who will come in and make an immediate impact.