Reflecting on the Denver Broncos 2009 Draft

New head coach Josh McDaniels and the Denver Broncos surprised everyone with their selections in the 2009 NFL Draft. Broncos Update takes a closer look at what actually went down over the weekend, and why.

The Denver Broncos came into the NFL draft as an unknown, with new coach Josh McDaniels and new general manager Brian Xanders in charge of their first draft, and those two surprised many with their approach.

Instead of working on the defensive front seven, the Broncos took a running back with their first pick and only one defensive lineman or linebacker among their 10 picks.

The Broncos created plenty of waves in Denver by trading their own 2010 first-round pick -- the Broncos had a second first-round pick next year after trading quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago -- for the 37th overall pick in this year's draft. They selected cornerback Alphonso Smith with the pick.

Later, Denver traded two third-round picks for the final pick of the second round and a fourth-round pick, and used the second rounder on North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn, who was surprised to be selected in the second round.

Denver's moves had a lot of people scratching their heads, but McDaniels was pleased with the results.

"We're happy with the players we selected, but the proof's in the pudding," McDaniels said. "Time is going to tell for us and for the entire league on how we did or how well these selections pan out."

The Broncos started their draft with a surprise, ignoring defensive needs to select Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. Nobody questioned that Moreno, a standout in the SEC, was worth the 12th pick, but the Broncos had already signed three tailbacks in the offseason.

"He is one of the very best players we had rated on our board from the beginning," McDaniels said. "We felt very good about him before the draft even started."

The Broncos turned to the front seven with their next pick, selecting Robert Ayers of Tennessee, who will start his career at end but could also shift to outside linebacker.

In the second round Denver picked Smith, safety Darcel McBath and Quinn. On the second day, Denver took another safety, David Bruton of Notre Dame, guard Seth Olsen from Iowa, receiver Kenny McKinley of South Carolina, quarterback Tom Brandstater of Fresno State and center Blake Schlueter of TCU.

Denver selected six offensive players and four defensive players. Denver still has a major need in the front seven but the Broncos didn't feel the players available to them were worth reaching for.

BEST PICK: Robert Ayers was in the discussion for the Broncos' 12th pick, but Denver had running back Knowshon Moreno higher on its board and was gambling Ayers would still be around with the 18th pick. The move paid off when Ayers fell, allowing Denver to take a player that could fit as a 3-4 end or at outside linebacker.

COULD SURPRISE: Kenny McKinley produced in college at South Carolina. His 207 receptions are third on the SEC's career list. he fell in the draft because of various injury concerns, but he has some ability and is coming to a great offensive system for a receiver under coach Josh McDaniels. He doesn't have pressure to perform right away because Denver has good depth at receiver, but he could end up being a steal for Denver.

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