Broncos climbing to No. 15


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Jan 22, 2006
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Broncos climbing to No. 15
First-round draft position to improve after dealing No. 29 and two mid-round picks
By Mike Klis
Denver Post Staff Writer

All but silent in the free-agent market, the Broncos are about to make a racket in the upcoming NFL draft.

In a move that essentially will push them halfway up the first-round draft board, the Broncos, according an NFL source, have a three-team deal in place that would swap their 29th overall pick, plus a middle-round pick in each of the 2006 and 2007 drafts, to Atlanta in exchange for the Falcons' 15th overall selection.

The Falcons in turn will send the 29th overall pick to the New York Jets in exchange for defensive end John Abraham.

On the surface, the deal seems like a no-brainer for the Broncos. They had two first-round picks - the 22nd, which they received last year in a trade with Washington, and No. 29. The Broncos will still have two first-round selections, the 15th and 22nd picks.

What kind of players can the Broncos expect to have at their perusal with the No. 15 pick?

"What 15 allows them to do that 22 and 29 wouldn't is get a wide receiver," NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said. "This deal is all about the guy Denver wants is not going to be there at 22."

Kiper and many others consider Florida's Chad Jackson, the fastest man at the NFL scouting combine last month, and Ohio State's Santonio Holmes the top receivers in this year's draft. The Broncos bid on free- agent receiver Terrell Owens before he signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday for considerably more money.

Denver also tried to sign running back Jamal Lewis before he re-upped with Baltimore last week. If the Broncos want to use the No. 15 pick on a running back who can compete with Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne this season, LenDale White of Southern Cal and Chatfield High School, DeAngelo Williams of Memphis and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney are among the possibilities.

"As long as LenDale is a professional and he's treated like a professional, it doesn't matter which team he plays for," said Herman White, who is serving as a consultant to his nephew. "With Denver there might be some concern about distractions, but whatever makes LenDale happy."

This trade will address two concerns for the Broncos: One, there are more than a few freckles of gray sprouting on their team's nucleus. Rod Smith, Tom Nalen, John Lynch and Al Wilson figure to have more NFL seasons behind them than ahead. The Broncos could use a youth infusion, even as they try to take that next step from their 2005 season, when they earned home-field advantage in the AFC championship game.

Two, the Broncos' salary cap constraints were tighter than most teams' this year. With roughly $8 million of available cap space, the Broncos apparently decided better value could be found in the draft than in what fast became a pricey free-agent market.

The twist to this trade is that in the early days of free agency, Abraham was the Broncos' primary target. However, once it became apparent Abraham was looking for a contract with guarantees approaching $15 million, the Broncos backed off and addressed their pass-rushing need by signing former Cleveland defensive end Kenard Lang.

Once the Broncos backed off signing Abraham, it became a two-team race between the Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons weren't willing to give up their 15th pick for Abraham, but they needed to outbid the Seahawks, who were willing to surrender their 31st overall pick.

That's where the Broncos came in. The Falcons will get Abraham and two middle- round picks in exchange for their 15th overall pick. The Jets, who already have the fourth overall pick, will get a second first-round draft pick in exchange for a disgruntled player who wanted out.

The Broncos, meanwhile, hope to offset the loss of their middle-round pick in this year's draft after they receive at least one, and possibly two, picks from the league as compensation for losing Reggie Hayward and Kenoy Kennedy to free agency last season.

When the draft commences April 29, the Broncos will have two first-round draft picks, plus selections in the second and third rounds.

Make no mistake: With this trade, the Broncos are on the clock.
I don't think Denver is done moving up.

They may be targeting Vernon Davis!
A very likely selection for them.
CrossBones said:
I don't think Denver is done moving up.

They may be targeting Vernon Davis!
I've heard rumors that they may actually be making plans to move up even more Bones!! ;)
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