Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Cecil was right. Elway's free agent acquisitions that offseason (like Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and TJ Ward) were key players on the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos. Cecil was back last night to give us his annual offseason review of the Broncos and a look forward to the NFL draft. Cecil currently can be heard weekdays on Denver radio station 104.3 The Fan from 9 to 11 am as the station's "football insider".
"John Elway plays chess, while the rest of the league plays checkers," said Cecil, again emphasizing the theme that the Broncos will come out of this offseason just fine under John Elway's leadership. A few insights Cecil gave us this night:
Malik Jackson gone: Malik signed a 90 million contract with Jacksonville - too much! "This is the best defensive line class I've seen in a decade," said Cecil. "The Broncos can find a replacement for Malik in the 4th round."
Danny Trevathan gone: The Broncos can replace him from their linebacker depth. "Zaire Anderson had 100 tackles a year with Nebraska and he can cover sideline to sideline," said Cecil. Expect Anderson to have a bigger role with the team this year, and Todd Davis will see more playing time, too. The Bears overpaid for Trevathan.
CJ Anderson contract: It was a good deal for the Broncos. If CJ had been given a 2nd round tender, he'd be a unrestricted free agent next year. Elway expects CJ to have a big year, and his current multiyear contract will then be considered a bargain.
Colin Kaepernick: "if he doesn't want to be here, move on"
Russell Okung: great contract for the Broncos. Elway showed patience in not waiving Clady, and this paid off with the trade to the Jets last week. The Broncos were getting calls for Clady (the Ravens were one team inquiring) so Elway held out until he was able to make a trade, saving cap space and acquiring a 5th round pick in the end.
Mark Sanchez: Cecil's guess right now is that Sanchez will be the opening night quarterback for the Broncos. A rookie QB could be groomed behind Sanchez and take over before the season is complete. Cecil didn't have much confidence in Trevor Siemian. When Siemian was selected by the Broncos in the 7th round Cecil called it "the worst pick in the draft. He couldn't beat out a running QB at Northwestern." After seeing Siemian in camp Cecil concedes that Trevor has a cannon of an arm but one that is very inaccurate. "We'll see the Broncos add two more quarterbacks," Cecil predicted. "Siemian is on the hot seat this year."
Sylvester Williams/Phil Taylor: Sly is still a bit of a project. The Broncos have not exercised the 5th year option on Sly which could be an indication of what the team really thinks of him. He's a situational player at best. Free agent Phil Taylor who the Broncos signed this offseason will be the best nose tackle on the team if he is healthy.
Mike Sullivan: the Broncos capologist. Sullivan was a bulldog as a player's agent, always getting the most for his clients. Now that he's working for the Broncos, he's the master of the salary cap. The Okung deal was very cap friendly. There's a clause in Demaryius Thomas contract, too, where the broncos can convert the money owed to a signing bonus, freeing cap space.
Cecil also mentioned some 2016 NFL draft prospects to keep an eye on:
Keith Marshall, Georgia running back. Will be a bargain in the 6th round.
Jaylon Smith: Will likely miss his rookie season due to injury. Can play all four linebacker positions. If he's on the Broncos he'll be the second best player on the defense.
Paxton Lynch: Good QB fit for the broncos, the team likely would have to move up to around pick 20 in the first round to get him. Paxton Lynch would be a long term solution at quarterback. Mark Sanchez or another vet is just a short term answer. The broncos need a QB solution, not an answer.
Josh Forrest, Kentucky linebacker: another possible 6th round pick, reminds Cecil of Malik Jackson
Cecil gave a 20 minute talk and then answered many questions from the NFL savvy Bronco QB club crowd. Thanks to Cecil for once again sharing his opinions on the Broncos - it is always one of our club's best meetings of the year.
Next up for the Broncos QB Club: ESPN's Jeff Legwold, the Broncos representative on the Hall of Fame committee, will give us an inside look at the Hall of Fame selection process. He'll also give opinions on the Broncos 2016 draft class. Join the QB Club now and you, too, can attend this May 3rd meeting!