Denver Broncos 2011 NFL Draft Review

The Broncos completed the 2011 Draft with nine selections after starting out with seven picks. Two-thirds of the draft went to the defensive side of the ball. It was evident throughout the draft that Denver wanted to increase its team speed. Von Miller was the top selection and was viewed by the organization as a once-in-ten year’s type player. Denver then picked up San Francisco’s 4th and 5th round picks in this draft and exchanged their 36th pick for the 49ers’ 45th pick. The Broncos picked up two draft choices and still got their guy in safety Rahim Moore. Denver also had the 46th selection and drafted physical offensive tackle Orlando Franklin. Von Miller projects to be a Sam or strong side linebacker in John Fox’s 4-3 defensive scheme. Fox will find a way to utilize the consensus best pass rusher in the 2011 Draft to pressure and disrupt the offensive side of the ball for opponents. Miller was moved around in the Aggie defense to take advantage of match-ups and alignments to blitz and pressure the quarterback. He stunted from the inside standup position as well as playing up or down in a 3-point stance off the edge. Miller has a special burst after initial contact. He has outstanding first step quickness and timing to fly up the field. His run responsibilities were limited on pass downs at Texas A&M. He has a nose for the ball and can run down a back getting to the perimeter. The best thing he does is what the Broncos need – a pass rusher. Rahim Moore is the heir apparent to take over for veteran safety Brian Dawkins. Moore was a three-year starter and demonstrated good instincts and range at UCLA. He corralled 14 career interceptions and possesses a sixth sense to locate and recognize pass or run. He has good ball skills and quick reactions to what he sees and feels. He plays the ball in the air and has the speed and burst to overlap in deep coverage. Not a blowup type hitter, but he is a sure tackler. Orlando Franklin fills a need at right tackle, especially if the new free agency rules award unrestricted status to restricted free agent Ryan Harris. Franklin could also move inside to guard. He is a three-year starter with long arms and big strong hands. He has some violence in his game. He started at left tackle, but also has experience at right tackle and left guard. Explosive in his play, the big man is a knee bender with a solid lower body that is flexible and hard to knock off his feet. Nate Irving was a three year starter and team captain. His senior year he played middle linebacker, but has experience at the other two positions as well. He missed the 2009 season after he was severely injured in an automobile accident. This past fall he totaled 110 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, 3 sacks, and 1 interception. He is aggressive, explosive, plays instinctively and with leverage. Quinton Carter is a two-year starter who is a physical face up hitter with sideline to sideline range. Strong safety Renaldo Hill’s best years are behind him and Carter has experience at both strong and free safety. He is an explosive hitter on run support and has good foot quickness and change of direction. A contact player, he has a nose for the football, is confident and poised. Julius Thomas is an athletic developmental tight end who played four years of basketball at Portland State and only played football as a senior. He has the size and measurables for the position. He needs work on his inline blocking. Thomas looks natural catching the ball and flashes some run after catch ability. To acquire Thomas, Denver traded their 5th (141) and 6th (186) round picks to the Packers. The Broncos then received a 7th round (204) pick in the same deal. Michael Mohamed is a durable and instinctive inside linebacker. He has experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. A three-year starter, he is quick to read and react. A wrap up tackler, he is smart and plays with good field awareness. He plays well on all special teams’ coverage units. He will compete with Joe Mays at middle linebacker. Virgil Green may be the steal of the Broncos’ draft after falling down the draft board due to microfracture surgery a few years ago. Green was rated as high as the 3rd round on several teams’ draft boards. Athletically he rated 3rd out of 17 tight ends that worked out at the Combine. He is a natural hand catcher with speed, good ball skills, and production. Fluid in his movement, he can turn a short reception into a long gain. He is a position wall off blocker. Jeremy Beal was the Big-12’s 2010 defensive lineman of the year. He concluded his career with 223 tackles and 29 sacks. He also collected 59 ½ tackles for loss. He lasted this long due to a poor 40-yard dash time for his position. The Oklahoma three-year starter plays faster than his timed speed. He played up-back on the punt coverage teams. GRADE: GOOD.

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