|Denver Broncos 2011 NFL Draft Review|
|By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor|
1 - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M (6-3, 246);
2 - Rahim Moore, S (6-0, 202);
2 - Orlando Franklin, OT (6-5, 316);
3 - Nate Irving, ILB (6-1, 240);
4 - Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma (6-1, 208);
4 - Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State (6-5, 246);
6 - Mike Mohamed, OLB, California (6-3, 239);
7 - Virgil Green, TE, Nevada (6-3, 249);
7 - Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma (6-2, 262)
Top Picks Analysis: The Broncos entered this offseason with the intent of overhauling a defense that was one of the NFL's most porous units in 2010 and began the rebuilding process with the selection of Miller with the second overall choice. A devastating pass rusher with the athleticism to be effective in coverage as well, the Texas A&M senior will serve as a strongside linebacker in Denver's new-look 4-3 alignment while also deployed as an end in nickel situations. The next step was to find replacements for the two aging safeties presently atop the Broncos' depth chart, hence the choices of Moore in the second round and Carter in the fourth. The former is a proven ball-hawk who led the NCAA with 10 interceptions as a sophomore in 2009, while Carter is an aggressive run stopper and strong leader who could be the future at strong safety. Franklin is a good-looking athlete with questions about his football IQ, but still figures to get an early opportunity to start at right tackle with incumbent Ryan Harris not expected to be retained.
Best Value Pick: Green is a premier athlete and one of the stars of this year's combine who should have gone much higher based on potential, but a previous microfracture procedure on his knee scared off teams until the seventh round. If healthy, he's got a real chance to contribute at a position where the Broncos are woefully thin.
We Question Why: The Broncos neglected to take a defensive tackle with any of their nine picks. Though the team had holes to fill on several spots of the defense, the interior line was probably the greatest need area. Choosing Miller over Alabama tackle Marcell Dareus at No. 2 was understandable, but not targeting the position at all was hard to fathom.
Summary: A mixed bag in the first draft overseen by franchise legend John Elway. Miller could be a star and third-round grab Irving is an underrated player who could emerge as an every-down middle linebacker, but there are questions about Moore's tackling ability and Franklin is a boom-or-bust project. Plus the absence of a defensive tackle was a curious decision.
FINAL GRADE: C+