Now All Denver Needs Is Another Greg Kragen
by Gus Jarvis
Apr 30, 2009 | 1663 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the first time in a long time Denver Bronco fans are without a security blanket. In the past, even when times were tough (read Wade Philips years), those of us in Broncoland had John Elway, Steve Atwater or Karl Mecklenburg to comfort us as we looked ahead to the next season.

This year is different. We have a new coach, new quarterback, new defense – an all around new team and we have nobody to put their arms around us and tell us everything will be OK.

Not that I dislike anything owner Pat Bowlen or coach Josh McDaniels have done so far, but this team really is a box of chocolates. We don’t know what we are going to get.

Going against what Denver has done in previous drafts, McDaniels picked up a great running back in the first round, Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno. He will be an instant starter no doubt.

What scares me about this pick is the latest trend in Denver running backs – they all seem to get hurt. The list of injured backs last year was long and debilitating. With the talent of Moreno, Denver must find a way to keep him healthy or that pick was a waste.

Denver did well on the other side of the ball when they picked up defensive end Robert Ayers, who will also be an instant starter. There are a couple things I like about this guy. He has the speed to get outside yet he can help force the pile on the inside. Did I mention that he is a Volunteer from Tennessee? Don’t tell me he won’t be pumped to be on the same team that Al Wilson – also of Rocky Top fame – played on until recently.

I like that Denver also picked up cornerback Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest. Anybody, and I mean anybody will be able to outplay Dré Bly, who Denver released at the end of last season.

As for second-round pick Richard Quinn, a tight end, we shall see if he can catch the ball over the middle and get whacked as well as Tony Scheffler. Sheffler is the man, in my book, but one too many shots to the head with him and we are going to need Quinn and Daniel Graham.

Denver picked up safety David Bruton, who offers decent size and speed, from Notre Dame, and the naturally large offensive lineman Seth Olsen. The young Denver O-line is good and only going to get better.

I am really excited about Ayers. He is the man Denver needs. He is a mean, hard-hitting player who will bring the heat. The rest of the picks are so-so in my mind, but I am not sure who Denver should have picked up instead.

For those of you who actually watched the draft, did you get enough of that male bimbo on ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr.? I certainly did. This is a guy who gets something right every 300 or so tries, so ESPN pays him a bundle to commentate before, during and after the draft.

Kiper Jr. gave McDaniels and the Broncos a C on their draft. Good. All I know is that Denver’s defense was terrible last year and we picked up some defenders. We traded baby-boy Cutler and ripped off the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton. Denver has great competition now for the starting job between Orton and Chris Simms.

Like I said before, I don’t know what lies in store for this new Bronco team. What I do know is that the Broncos, on paper, look nothing like they have the past three years and that is a good thing.

What Denver needs now is somebody to anchor their 3-4 defense, particularly at nose tackle, and I have a model McDaniels should follow. Remember the hard working, blue-collar nose tackle Greg Kragen of the 1980s? Kragen is just the type of workingman bruiser Denver needs in the trenches. I put him down as my number three favorite Bronco of all time, behind Mr. Elway and Tommy Nalen.

And guess what? A player like Kragen can be found before next season. He made it into the NFL undrafted, trying out for Denver (getting cut once and trying out again the next year, when he made it). He then played 13 seasons in the NFL, including a trip to the Pro Bowl.

So McDaniels, take ol’ Gus’s advice here and search out a hardworking nose tackle like Kragen. The next Kragen is out there. You must find him. Check the auto factories in Michigan or shipyards in Virginia. I know he is out there. With a Kragen player anchoring the defense, Denver will at least have a shot at the playoffs. (Especially by the looks of the Raiders’ picks.)

And if you think I am dreaming or reaching too far here, at least Denver is not like the Jets who blew their bank on a pretty Southern Cal boy and needs a player like Plaxico Burress for receiving. That is embarrassing.
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