Does anything in the NFL make less sense than giving a team a draft grade the day after the NFL Draft finishes? The only way a team can truly be graded on their draft picks is how their picks perform for the team over a period of time. The first real test of this is whether or not all the draft picks actually make the team that drafted them. Well, all seven of the 2012 Broncos draft picks passed that test by making the final 53-man roster. Let's take a look at each individual rookie and where they are fitting in on the Broncos.
DT Derek Wolfe - Some felt there were better players (and better defensive linemen) on the board when the Broncos finally took him in the second round (No. 36 overall). Coming from a school like Cincinnati, many Broncos fans hadn't heard of the guy. However, he's been excellent in preseason and the Broncos have loved his agility and intensity so much that he's now listed as the starting left defensive end.
QB Brock Osweiler - Osweiler was selected as the quarterback of the (distant, hopefully) future (selected in Round 2, No. 57 overall). Fans have loved Osweiler's size and arm, but he had mixed results in preseason. Considering that he had just one full season of starting in college, that inconsistency should have been expected. Osweiler will be the No. 3 quarterback on the roster, and the best thing that Osweiler can do is simply shadow Peyton Manning and learn as much as he can while he can.
RB Ronnie Hillman - Hillman (third round, No. 67 overall) has been limited in preseason due to injury and fans have yet to really see what this guy can do. He is listed as the third-string running back despite that limited amount of playing time (ahead of Knowshon Moreno). I think fans won't really see what Hillman can do until the regular season starts the the Broncos take all the reins off of this multi-dimensional offense.
CB Omar Bolden - Bolden (fourth round, No. 101) was a guy who fell to the Broncos at this position because he missed his last season in college due to a torn ACL. Bolden performed well enough to be kept at cornerback when a 10-year veteran like Drayton Florence was cut instead. It could also be that the Broncos want Bolden to help out on special teams after watching him run back a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the final preseason game.
C Philip Blake - Blake was added to the team (fourth round, No. 108) simply to provide some depth to the offensive line. He's listed as the third-string center, but I'm fairly sure he's probably going to serve as backup at one of the offensive guard positions. Certainly Blake played well enough in the preseason that he was considered a roster lock on a team that will need some offensive line depth to protect Peyton Manning.
DT Malik Jackson - When a guy gets picked in the fifth round and 105th overall, there is no guarantee that he will make the final roster. However, for those of us who watched Jackson's inspired and hustling play during the preseason, he seemed destined to make this team for the regular season. My hope is that he can provide a great deal of talent and strength in the later stages of games (and especially as the season goes along) when perhaps older veterans like Ty Warren begin to wear down.
LB Danny Trevathan - Trevathan is another player who was by no means a lock to make this team because of his draft position (sixth round, No. 188). He's currently listed as fourth on the depth chart at weakside linebacker. However, the current starter, DJ Williams, is about to start a multi-game suspension for doping issues. Also, the third-stringer is Keith Brooking, who is one bad step away from a career-ending injury. It wouldn't surprise me to see Trevathan the primary backup at this position by the end of the first few weeks of the season.
Julie is a featured NFL contributor and writes about the Denver Broncos for the Yahoo Contributor Network. A lifelong football fan, she started following the Broncos when she moved to Colorado in 2001.
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