Broncos Update Insider - 4/30

Tim Tebow had a college career that might be unmatched in the history of the game, but his accomplishments weren't all that intrigued the Denver Broncos.

Without Tebow's intangibles, he probably wouldn't have been the team's first-round pick. Character has become hugely important for the Broncos, and the devoutly religious Tebow has plenty of that.

The Broncos didn't draft him to be an ambassador, however. They are banking that Tebow's work ethic will translate into a quick development to NFL quarterback. Tebow has some things to work on after not playing in a pro-style offense at Florida, but he's ready for the challenge.

"I'm going to work extremely hard and give my heart and soul to this organization and I'm going to try to be the best football player, quarterback, that I can be and be the best Denver Bronco," Tebow said. "That's how I look at it and that's how I'm going to approach it every day."

The Broncos figure while Tebow works on refining his game to be the franchise's starting quarterback, he can help right away.

Not long after trading a second-, third- and fourth-round pick to Baltimore for the 25th pick, which he used to select Tebow, McDaniels was already talking about using Tebow in special packages as a rookie. The Wildcat formation seems perfect for Tebow, who is one of the best running quarterbacks in college football history. McDaniels will find other ways to use Tebow's unique talents right away.

Tebow's athleticism should allow him to be a playmaker right away. Denver fans are already hoping Tebow can solve the team's miserable short-yardage production from a year ago. Tebow was great at Florida at picking up first downs on third and fourth down.

"He's done a lot of things in his career, running the football and doing different things in terms of handling the football," McDaniels said. "He's a guy that gives you the opportunity to create some packages like that and if you want to use that then you can get creative. There's no mystery about the Wildcat (offense) becoming more in vogue, and having a player who may be able to do both run and pass the ball gives you another option."

NOTES, QUOTES

The Broncos needed linebacker help, so they signed former Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele. Ayodele could push for a starting spot, or be a valuable backup for the team.

--The Broncos signed 19 undrafted free agents, including a couple of local products: Colorado tight end Riar Geer and Air Force defensive lineman Ben Garland.

Garland's case is unique because he has to serve two years of active duty. He said he is going to try to serve his full active duty while working a schedule around minicamps, and then use his leave to participate in training camp.

"Definitely a creative schedule where I can serve full time for the Air Force and work out a time to go practice," Garland said.

--Broncos fifth-round pick Perrish Cox, a cornerback from Oklahoma State, thought he would go much higher in the draft. He was suspended for the Cotton Bowl after two curfew violations, which caused him to slip.

"It hurt me in a great way," Cox said. "I was told that I was supposed to go higher than I did. The Cotton Bowl mistake was a mistake on my part. It's something that I learned from and something that I want to put in the past. Hopefully I can do that and move on from it."

--While the pick of Tim Tebow in the first round was panned by many, Josh McDaniels had an unlikely supporter in former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

"I would never bet against the kid," Shanahan told "The Score" radio station in Denver. "He's one of the most enjoyable people I've ever been around. You're talking about a class guy, and almost too good to be true, and then when you meet him, he's the real deal. What you see is what you get, and I'm a really big fan of his. I think Josh (McDaniels) will do, and I don't want to speak for Josh, but he can run the offense he's been running very, very well."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I believe I have a strong enough arm to make the throws in the NFL and that's what I'm worried about." -- Tim Tebow on his arm strength.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The draft filled many of Denver's needs, which wasn't the case last year. This year, the Broncos identified good players who also can step into spots on the roster that were weak.

Denver addressed receiver, offensive line and cornerback with multiple picks at those spots. The Broncos didn't get a lot of help on defense, but the team had many holes going in.

MEDICAL WATCH: OT Ryan Clady suffered a knee injury, reportedly playing basketball, in late April and will miss three-to-four months. The Broncos hope he'll be back for the regular season.

--OG Russ Hochstein is recovering well from knee surgery and should be ready for the season. He could be limited early in training camp.

--OT Ryan Harris' rehabilitation from a toe injury should have him ready to go for training camp.

--WR Eric Decker is planning to start running full speed in June, and hopefully be able to do all drills by training camp. He is coming off a Lisfranc sprain in his foot.

--WR Demaryius Thomas said at the draft he is about 90 percent healed from a pre-combine foot injury, and should be fully healed soon.

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.
--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.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Josh Barrett: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Nick Greisen: UFA; 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.
--*QB Kyle Orton: RFA; (tendered at $2.621M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.621M/1 yr.
--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.
--LB Akin Ayodele: FA Dolphins; 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
--LB Andra Davis (released).
--OG Mitch Erickson (released).
--OG Ben Hamilton: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
--FB Peyton Hillis (traded Browns).
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--DL J'Vonne Parker (released).
--DE Kenny Peterson (released).
--TE Tony Scheffler (trade Lions).
--QB Chris Simms (released).
--C Casey Wiegmann (released).



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