Broncos Draft Strategy

While the Broncos mostly employed a best-player available strategy last season, they have some glaring holes that they probably can't ignore in the early rounds of this year's draft.

Denver's top needs are receiver, after the Brandon Marshall trade, and center. They have no obvious starting center on the roster, so their 2010 starter at the position could be selected in the draft.

There are other needs, which is why Denver could trade down from the 11th selection and pick up extra picks. Although receiver Dez Bryant seems to be a good fit at the 11th pick, he might not be there, and he has off-field issues, something the Broncos have tried to avoid (or get rid of). If Bryant isn't the pick, trading down to add an extra pick and selecting someone like Florida center Maurkice Pouncey later in the first round makes sense.

The Broncos were aggressive last year, moving up to take players they liked on their draft board to avoid missing out on them. While that doesn't seem to be a way to add much-needed depth to the roster with multiple picks, the Broncos have been unpredictable before. With an extra second-round pick this year and a second-round pick in 2011 from the Marshall trade, the Broncos have plenty of options if they decide to make some moves in this draft.

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. Nice fits: WR Dez Bryant, WR Arrelious Benn, C Matt Tennant



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