With The Eighteenth Pick In the FanIQ Mock Draft, The Denver Broncos Select...
Here are the picks so far:
1. Detroit Lions - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
2. St Louis Rams - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
4. Seattle Seahawks - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
5. Cleveland Browns - Micahel Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
7. Oakland Raiders - BJ Raji, DT, Boston College
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Everette Brown, LB, Florida State
9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
10. San Francisco 49ers - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
11. Buffalo Bills - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
12. Denver Broncos - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
13. Washington Redskins - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
14. New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
15. Houston Texans - Clay Matthews, LB, USC
16. San Diego Chargers - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
17. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The Broncos absolutely must focus on improving the defense in this draft. Any position outside of cornerback is an area of need for them on the defensive side of the ball. They will be using a 3-4 defense now and are hoping to find a nose tackle to clog the middle of the line, as well as get some more depth at linebacker. They missed way too many tackles just past the line of scrimmage last year, so a sure tackler at the linebacker position is a need. They will address defensive end almost surely by their third pick in the draft, #48 overall in the second round. Look for that defensive end to be a pass rushing specialist. A free safety is a possibility early in the draft, and they need to develop a capable strong safety with newly acquired Brian Dawkins not having many years left. Quarterback is obviously need as well with Kyle Orton and Chris Simms as the 1-2 quarterbacks, but their tremendous needs on defense might prevent them from being able to address that for many rounds.
With the way this FanIQ draft has gone, it's put the Broncos in a difficult situation. Selecting Aaron Maybin with the #12 pick got them the defensive end and pass rusher that they were looking for, so now they are looking to address defensive tackle and linebacker. After B.J. Raji, there's really not a defensive tackle that stands out, and not every defensive tackle will fit in the 3-4 scheme anyway. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry of Ole Miss is considered a top-20 prospect and available here, but he's undersized for the nose tackle position. USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga would've been considered, but they were just selected. If USC quarterback Mark Sanchez were to fall one more spot, I can't see them passing him up. I don't know if they would've passed him up at the #12 pick either. There's been talk they might take Malcolm Jenkins and move him to safety, but he was just taken as well.
The Pick: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Cushing becomes the third USC linebacker to be taken in this first round, and is a perfect fit for the Broncos. He's a sure tackler and will be a great piece to put in their new 3-4 defense on the outside, as either a strong or weak side linebacker.