Broncos Update Insider - 4/19

The long-anticipated trade of Brandon Marshall changed the Denver Broncos' draft outlook.

By dealing Marshall to Miami, Denver picked up a second-round pick this year, which is 43rd overall, and a second-round pick next year as well. The Broncos now have three picks among the top 45, which gives them plenty of options.

The obvious downside to trading the controversial Marshall, however, is obviously a huge void Denver needs to fill at receiver.

"We're going to miss what he brings to the football field," tight end Daniel Graham said. "We have to move on."

Although the Broncos can be unpredictable -- they didn't select a defensive lineman with any of their 10 picks last year, despite it being a huge need -- it seems obvious they will take a receiver or two in this year's draft. The current starters are Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal, with Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Stokley and Kenny McKinley backing them up.

The quickest way for the Broncos to replace Marshall would be if Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant is available with the 11th overall pick, and Denver takes him. Bryant has some off-field issues, but nothing comparable to Marshall. He has the talent to become an instant impact player for the Broncos.

If Denver isn't able to pick Bryant, there could be some good value in the second round. The Broncos have other needs, and the extra second-round pick will help fill one of them.

From the outside it looks like the Broncos were shipping off another talented player, but Marshall's disruptive behavior was a constant distraction for the franchise, which grew weary of his desire to leave. Although no team signed Marshall to an offer sheet -- which would have cost a first-round pick to Denver -- the Broncos still managed to get two second-round selections for him.

"The situation was what it was, and we worked it the best way we could so all of us could get what we're looking for," McDaniels said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--TE Tony Scheffler was sent to Detroit, with Denver receiving the 137th overall pick from Philadelphia and the Eagles landing LB Ernie Sims. Unhappy with his contract in Denver, Scheffler told The Denver Post that he committed to not seeking a new contract or holding out in Detroit before the trade. Scheffler signed his $1.176 million tender as a restricted free agent last week.

Scheffler is an in-state product who was drafted by the Broncos out of Western Michigan.

Scheffler's time in Denver was numbered after he clashed with coach Josh McDaniels' staff and was benched at the end of last season. The four-year veteran has 138 catches for 1,896 yards and 14 touchdowns --The Brandon Marshall trade happened quickly after Marshall signed his tender. No team wanted to give up its first-round pick for Marshall by signing him, but the Broncos still got a pair of second-round picks from the Dolphins.

"I'm pleased with how the whole thing went down," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.

--Broncos tight end Daniel Graham, one of the team's captains, said he wasn't too surprised by the team trading Brandon Marshall to Miami. Marshall had indicated many times he wouldn't be happy without a new contract in Denver.

"It seemed like he really wanted to get out of here," Graham said. "He wanted to go somewhere where he felt he could be happy. He didn't feel that could be here in Denver."

--Broncos rookie running back Knowshon Moreno hasn't missed an offseason workout, as he tries to get prepared for the rigors of his second season. He admits his December struggles were at least in part because of hitting the rookie wall.

"I kind of wore down, but at the same time I was feeling good, I was having fun, everything was going well," Moreno said. "At the same time: a little bit. Just slightly."

--Broncos coach Josh McDaniels wished Brandon Marshall the best after he was traded to the Dolphins.

"I'm happy and excited for Brandon to have an opportunity do something he wanted to do," McDaniels said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm also excited about the opportunities we're going to be presented here in the coming week with the draft." -- Broncos coach Josh McDaniels on the aftermath of the Brandon Marshall trade.  

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL TEAM NEEDS

Receiver: The Brandon Marshall trade leaves Denver pretty thin. Jabar Gaffney finished last season well, but has never been a No. 1 receiver. Eddie Royal is coming off a miserable season, although the team keeps saying it needs to get him more involved for him to flourish. Brandon Stokley, Brandon Lloyd and Kenny McKinley all have strengths, but Denver needs to add some receivers. Using multiple picks on receivers, especially since Josh McDaniels likes to use three- and four-receiver sets, is a possibility.

Center: The Broncos cut Casey Wiegmann, who didn't fit their preferred power-running scheme, and haven't replaced him. The team has talked up a couple of candidates -- guard Russ Hochstein and future-contract signee Dustin Fry -- but there's a chance they will draft their starting center.

Linebacker: The inside linebacker spot next to D.J. Williams is still a bit unsettled after the team cut Andra Davis. Mario Haggan is one candidate, but the Broncos could just as easily draft a linebacker that could come in and compete for a starting spot. Denver could also use some depth at outside linebacker, especially with situational rusher Darrell Reid coming off knee surgery.

Tight end: With Tony Scheffler finally traded, the Broncos have Daniel Graham, Richard Quinn, and not much else at tight end. Even though Denver doesn't use the tight ends in the passing game often, the Broncos still need depth. It's unlikely the team uses a high pick on a tight end, but it could be addressed in the later rounds.

Defensive line: The Broncos signed three defensive linemen, but all are past 30 years old. Selecting some young defensive line talent is a possibility. The Broncos resisted drafting any defensive linemen last year because it is difficult to project how 4-3 linemen from college will fit in their 3-4.

Defensive line: The Broncos signed three defensive linemen, but all are past 30 years old. Selecting some young defensive line talent is a possibility. The Broncos resisted drafting any defensive linemen last year because it is difficult to project how 4-3 linemen from college will fit in their 3-4.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--P Mitch Berger was a midseason signee who had an up-and-down year. With the late-season addition of Britton Colquitt, don't expect Berger back.
--S Vernon Fox added some depth on special teams late in the year. He could return for camp.
--OT Brandon Gorin gave the Broncos some experience at tackle but was not the primary backup at the position. Denver could look elsewhere.
--LB Nick Greisen missed all of last season with a knee injury, and his health could determine his future.
--G Ben Hamilton was benched last season, and as a better fit in a zone-blocking scheme, is unlikely to return.
--DE Vonnie Holliday was a pleasant surprise as an addition right before the season started and would seem like a good bet to return for another year.
--CB Ty Law played well after being picked up during the season but did deal with some injuries and is near the end of his career. If he is re-signed, it's a sign the Broncos don't have much faith in 2009 second-round pick Alphonso Smith.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)
--*OLB Elvis Dumervil (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) should be a high priority for the Broncos after leading the NFL in sacks.
--*QB Kyle Orton (tendered at $2.621M with first-round pick as compensation) appears to be penciled in as the Broncos' starting quarterback for another season, but the question is whether the team wants to sign him long term.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Josh Barrett: ERFA; terms unknown.
--G Russ Hochstein: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--*G Chris Kuper: RFA; (tendered at $2.521M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.521M/1 yr.
--WR Brandon Lloyd: UFA; terms unknown.
--K Matt Prater: ERFA; terms unknown.
--*TE Tony Scheffler: RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.176M/1 yr.
--*DE Le Kevin Smith: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED --RB J.J. Arrington: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Justin Bannan: UFA Ravens; $22M/5 yrs, $6.3M SB.
--DE Jarvis Green: UFA Patriots; $20M/4 yrs.
--CB Nate Jones: UFA Dolphins; $4.33M/4 yrs.
--QB Brady Quinn (trade Browns).
--NT Jamal Williams: FA Chargers; $16M/3 yrs, $7M guaranteed.

PLAYERS LOST --TE Tony Scheffler: Trade Lions.
--LB Andra Davis (released).
--OG Mitch Erickson (released).
--FB Peyton Hillis (traded Browns).
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--DL J'Vonne Parker (released).
--DE Kenny Peterson (released).
--QB Chris Simms (released).
--C Casey Wiegmann (released).



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