Recent Draft History: Denver Broncos

 2008 Draft:

1 (12) Ryan Clady, OT  STARTER
Clady was an obvious choice to replace retired LT Matt Lepsis, but no one was really prepared for the impact he would have.  He started all 16 games as a rookie, allowing only half a sack, and anchoring an O-line ranked first in the league for run-blocking efficiency by Football Outsiders.  He looks to be a stellar pick who will play and produce for a long time.
2 (42) Eddie Royal, WR  STARTER
A surprise pick by the Broncos, he ended up leading all rookies in receptions (91), yards (980), and total yards (1829).  On top of that he proved to be a tremendously high character guy who could perform in tough spots.  Proved he was worthy of being taken as the top WR in the draft.
4 (108) Kory Lichtensteiger, C  Backup
Drafted to ensure depth at the position when veteran C Tom Nalen looked like he wouldn't be ready for the season.  In a huge surprise, however, veteran C Casey Wiegmann played well, earning a pro bowl berth and talk of a contract extension.  Kory still managed to see the field some, as a motion TE and FB in key short yardage and goalline situations.  His versatility means he could be looked at as a G as well.
4 (119) Jack Williams, CB  Backup
When Champ Bailey injured his groin, Williams received several opportunities to step in.  He was tried as the #2 corner and in the slot, but he was asked to play off the receiver in the dismal Denver defensive scheme.  A new coach in town, and a preference for physical, bump and press style corners, could raise Williams stock going forward.
5 (139) Ryan Torain, RB  Backup
2008 wasn't the year Torain had hoped for, breaking his elbow in pre-season, and tearing his ACL after only 6 quarters of work halfway through the regular season.  This came after missing over half of his games in his senior year at Arizona.  All told Torain has gone almost two full years without significant playing time, and more importantly, without significant practice time.  Before breaking his elbow, he had the coaches in denver talking, though, so 2009 should see him get an opportunity to carry the load for the Broncos.
5 (148) Carlton Powell, DT  Backup
A promising interior force, Powell tore his Achilles in training camp, and went to the PUP, and from there to IR.  Reports indicate he is on schedule with his rehab, but concern abounds as to his ability to hold ground at NT in a 3-4.
6 (183) Spencer Larsen, ILB  Backup
Larsen came on strong for the broncos, logging intense hits on special teams 2 weeks in a row, while practicing and lining up as second and first string FB.  Injuries earned him not only the opportunity to start at MLB, but his first game there he actually started at FB and MLB, the first player to do so in years.  A fan favorite who will get a chance to earn a spot among the ILBs in Denver's new 3-4 scheme.
7 (220) Josh Barrett, SS  Backup
Barrett was deactivated until late int he season,  When activated, then-coach mike Shanahan noted that "he had probably waited too long" to start Barrett over a group of misfits at the S position, NONE of whom are still with Denver.  Barrett's first game consisted of a stellar man-handling of TE Tony Gonzalez, who was effectively shut down, but then Barrett's play fell off as the season progressed, in tandem with the failing defense.  With two starting caliber safeties signed in free agency (including Brian Dawkins) Barrett looks like he will be asked to watch and learn
7 (227) Peyton Hillis, FB  STARTER
Easily the steal of the draft for Denver, Hillis had a rough start in training camp, suffering from a strained hamstring, and getting in the coaches doghouse after being only semi-effective as the starting FB.  After being benched for a handful of games, Hillis came back and was blocking well, only to find himself thrust into a starting tailback role.  Starting against Miami he set Broncos RB records for recieving, and in the following weeks he would rush for over 100 yards a game and inject a much needed toughness into the Broncos running game, before suffering a freak hamstring tear on an acrobatic reception.  The Broncos wouldn't be the same without him in the lineup for hte rest of the season, and C Casey Wiegmann noted that when Peyton left, their toughness left with him.  Peyton will be in the running for starting TB for the Broncos all season, but his great hands indicate that the coaches will look for ways to get him involved in matchups all over the field.

 2007 Draft:

1( 17) Jarvis Moss, DE  Backup
Leading off the less than stellar 2007 draft, Denver traded several picks to get Moss, who hasn't come close to warranting his high price tag.  After breaking his leg and missing his rookie season, he was exceptionally inconsistent in his second year, and was even deactivated several times.  With a switch to the 3-4 he is being asked to convert from DE to rush OLB, but his light weight may be a chronic problem.  The team really hopes he can earn his first draft billing from the standup rusher role.
2 (56) Tim Crowder, DE  Backup
Early in his first year Crowder looked to be the best of the Broncos 2007 class, and indeed, he was the only one who was consistently starting.  But in 2008 he fell completely off the radar in the Broncos bass-ackwards defensive scheme, being deactivated for nearly every game.  While there is hope that he has the versatility to move between DE and SOLB, he is anything but a lock, and 2009 could be Crowder's last season as a Bronco.
3 (70) Ryan Harris, OT  STARTER
After missing his rookie year due to off-season back surgery, Harris came on strong as a bookend across from fellow first year starter Ryan Clady.  Harris was extremely impressive, starting all 16 games and only allowing a half a sack.  He was always one of the first players down the field congratulating a teammate.  Though he appeared to come out of nowhere, Harris' play indicates he will be around for a while.
4 (121) Marcus Thomas, DT  Backup
After impressing fans in training camp with a standing back-flip, Thomas promptly fell of the radar, only contributing toward the end of his rookie season.  The big guy would later divulge that his time away from football due to a suspension at Florida ahd left him out of shape, and that the altitude had left him a struggling mess all season.  After dedicating himself to his training regime, he played well in 2008, but was a part of one of the worst defenses fielded in Denver history.  Unable to cause pressure when double teamed, Thomas looks likely to slide out to DE in the new 3-4, where it is hoped new life can be breathed into his game.  As a DE he has starter potential, but he will likely see strong DE competiiton coming from the 2009 draft, so he will need to be at the top of his game.

 2006 Draft:

1 (11) Jay Cutler, QB  STARTER
Despite recent drama to the contrary, Cutler looks to be the long term franchse QB option that Denver fnas have craved since Elway's departure.  Cutler made tremendous strides between years two and three, and should get even better in his fourth year, but it will be a challenge to switch to an entirely new offensive system uder his new head coach.  But judging by how other QBs have flourished in McDaniel's system, Cutler may be poised for record numbers.
2 (61) Tony Scheffler, TE  STARTER
As half of the starting TE tandem with Daniel Graham, Shefller has been considered the "pass-receiveing" threat.   After an injury slowed his development as a rookie, Scheffler went on to form what can only be called a "bond" with his fellow draftmate, Cutler.  The two had some amazing plays involving timing and luck, and Tony became somewhat of an emergency relief valve for Cutler, something he excelled at.  But when injuries again forced him to the sideline in his sophmore campaign, Cutler found the emerging WR Brandon Marshall, and Scheffler never fully got back onto the same page, despite posting good stats.  In 2008 Scheffler again found himself hampered by injuries, and Graham's emergence as a pass catching threat caused Tony's looks to go further downhill, though he did manage some excellent receptions.  Scheffler is still considered part of the starting lineup, but 2009 needs to be the year he stays healthy and maintains consistent production.  If he can't do that, the broncos will not be committed to keeping him when his contract comes up, and with Graham's age slowly becoming a factor, that could leave Denver on the outside looking in for TEs.
4 (119) Brandon marshall, WR  STARTER
After a lackluster rookie campaign where Marshall never managed to catch the coaches' eyes, he finally came on strong after a kick in the but training camp forced him to put up or walk.  He ended up approaching franchise records that he would go on to set fully in his third season.  As a hard to tackle YAC monster, Marshall is nearly without peer, but off-field trouble haunts him and on the field he is susceptible to losing his game under the pressure of consistent double and even triple teams.  In 2009 he will need to take advantage of opportunities where he isn't double teamed, and learn how to finish off plays consistently.
4 (126)  Elvis Dumervil, DE  STARTER
Though he has led the Broncos in sacks all three seasons, and started every game since his arrival, DOOM's future is nonetheless in doubt as the team switches to a 3-4 where DOOM will be asked to move to rush OLB, where he has no experience.  If history is any indication, DOOM will thrive in response to the challenge, but it is a unique challenge unlike any of his earlier hurdles.  If Dumervil can show that he can be stout against the run as an OLB, he should continue his reign as a solid defensive starter.  But if he is relegated to a role player on passing downs only, his stock will plummet drastically, and there would be no guarantees of his longevity in Denver.
4 (130) Domenik Hixon, WR  STARTER/Giants
After emerging ahead of Brandon Marshall in their rookie season, Hixon found himself in the middle of a changing point in life, his and Kevin Everett's.  In a special teams collision that paralyzed Everette, Hixon seemed paralyzed as well, with his play falling off drastically in the following weeks, eventually getting into the coach's doghouse for mistakes on the field.  After languishing there for a while, Hixon was waived, and before he could be signed to the practice squad was picked up by the Giants for their late season Super Bowl run, where he starred as a third reciever and PR/KR.  Denver remembers him as "the one that got away" though many wonder if he would have gotten over the Everette hit without a move of this sort.
5 (161)  Chris Kuper, G  STARTER
Kuper received spot duty as a rookie, and eventually found himself stuck behind FA Montrae Holland, who played very well, but ended up int he coach's doghouse for weight related issues.  In 2008, while Holland worked to meet the reporting wieght, Kuper quietly dominated in Holland's absence, and before long Holland would be traded for a draft pick to the Cowboys, and Kuper, one of the strongest, nastiest players on the Denver Oline, looks to have the G position solidified for years to come.
6 (198) Greg Eslinger, C/G  Backup
After spending his rookie season on IR, Eslinger was sent to the final year of NFL Europa for seasoning, where he dominated and received All-Europa honors.  After returning, denver signed him to the practice squad, only to have him poached by the Browns, who later released him without playing a snap.  He was then picked up by the Texans, but again released, and as the 2008 season wound to a close, Denver picked him up again, resigning him to the practice squad.  Normally the PS is the route to the starting lineup for Denver starting olinemen, but with the recent early success of Kuper, Clady and Harris, and with Lichtenstieger's early contribution, Eslinger looks to be a player who is destined to be a backup in Denver.
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