Now that NFL roster cuts have come and gone, the smoke is settling on just how terrible the 2009 NFL Draft was for the Denver Broncos.
When it happened, the team's first pick, running back Knowshon Moreno, looked like a good choice at No. 14 overall. While Moreno has been inconsistent, he hasn't been quite as terrible as most make him out to be. However, he also doesn't look like the game breaker he was at Georgia and clearly needs to be part of a tandem backfield.
That season, the Broncos were moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive system and needed a pass rusher. Sure, hindsight isn't fair, but with the 18th pick the team could have taken Clay Matthews who proved at USC he could stand up and get after the passer in 3-4 sets.
Instead, the team chose Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers. It was a risky pick considering Ayers only had 7 sacks over his last two years at Tennessee. He also seemed too stiff to play linebacker. Both concerns have played out as truths as Ayers only has 1.5 career sacks. He'll at least get a shot at redemption as the Broncos switch back to a 4-3 system this year.
The same chance won't be afforded the team's three second-round choices. All three are no longer on the team. The Broncos traded a first-round pick in the 2010 draft in order to select cornerback Alphonso Smith 36th overall. It seemed like a wise move at the time, but Smith never really got on the field in Denver. He was promptly shipped off to the Detroit Lions the following season for tight end Dan Gronkowski, whom the Broncos cut Saturday. Seattle used that pick in 2010, 14th overall, on safety Earl Thomas.
The Broncos' second second-round pick was Texas Tech safety Darcel McBath. He was waived Sunday and has been injured throughout his pro career.
All things considered, the third second-round pick by the Broncos that year was the easily the worst and most confusing at the time. The Broncos traded away two third-round picks that year to jump into the final pick of the second round. Really, they could have had their choice of very good players remaining. Among them were defensive ends Michael Johnson and Matt Shaughnessy, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton or even tight end Jared Cook.
Nope, none of them is what then-new head coach Josh McDaniels coveted. He wanted North Carolina blocking tight end Richard Quinn. When that pick happened, a collective "Who?" reverberated across the nation. He was waived this season with an injury settlement. His career stat line is 29 games played, 1 receptions for 9 yards. That's Gholstonian levels of terrible.
Fourth-round pick David Bruton is a backup safety and special teams player. The fifth-round pick, offensive tackle Seth Olsen, was released on the final day of cuts last year. Fellow fifth-round pick Kenny McKinley suffered a serious knee injury in 2009. He committed suicide Sept. 20, 2010 and reports surfaced that he suffered depression due to his injury and gambling debt.
Sixth-round pick Tom Brandstater was cut in June of 2010 and his since bounced around to three other teams. He's currently seeking employment. Seventh-round pick Blake Schlueter didn't make it out of training camp and was waived.