Grading the Draft: Denver Broncos

Trading out of the first round well before the draft ever started, the Denver Bronco's were one of several teams unimpressed with this years first round talent. After revamping the defensive line in free agency the Bronco's were expected to try and improve an under whelming secondary. While they made little noise early on, Denver did score the draft's biggest surprise at the close of the first day.

For the second time in as many years Denver selected a player from Oklahoma State with their second round selection. Cornerback Darrent Williams offers an explosive presence as either a ball hawking cover man or as a return specialist. His size limits his starting potential at the next level but the athletic skills and production are undeniable. Washington State cornerback Karl Paymah, the team's next selection, is a prospect that offers good size but must improve his feel for the position.  He projects nicely to a zone system and in time Paymah could develop into a starter.  The same can be said for Maryland cornerback Dominique Foxworth, the teams third choice and one of the more underrated cornerbacks in the draft. Foxworth offers a variety of skills and has been productive for quite a while in college.  Expect him to get plenty of playing time as a rookie.  After rebuilding the secondary to their satisfaction the Bronco's set out to shock the world with the final pick of the first day. Surprising even the player himself, Denver chose Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio State Buckeye. If he is to succeed, Clarett's best opportunity will be in Denver's running back friendly offense. Lacking top speed Clarett could easily take advantage of the big holes and off balance linebackers created by Denver's offensive line. Miami Hurricane blocker Chris Myers will have to fight for a roster spot, though his ability to play center, guard and potentially long snap is enticing. Paul Ernster of Northern Arizona will likely serve as a camp leg to keep Jason Elam fresh for the regular season.

Denver does not have the best tack record in terms of drafting talent under Mike Shanahan. The teams first three selections were flooded on a need positions with the hopes of getting at least one starter and another significant role player.  Selecting Clarett in round three could be nothing more then a statement by Shanahan as opposed to drafting the best player available. Undrafted underclassmen Brandon Browner of Oregon State will be tried at safety.

RD   Pick Player Pos School
2   24 (56)   Darrent Williams   CB   Oklahoma State  
3   12 (76)   Karl Paymah   CB   Washington State  
3   34 (97)   Domonique Foxworth *   CB   Maryland  
3   38 (101)   Maurice Clarett *   RB   Ohio State  
6   26 (200)   Chris Myers *   OG   Miami (Fl)  
7   25 (239)   Paul Ernster   K   Northern Arizona  

UDFA Signings: DB Brandon Browner, QB Chad Friehauf, OT Erik Pears, TE Wesley Duke

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