A Few Early Offseason Musings in Broncos Country

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Christian McCaffrey

Punxatawney Phil hasn’t even had a chance to portend the weather yet and the NFL Draft Mockery season has seen fit to rear it’s ugly head way too early once again. It’s like skipping Thanksgiving and going from Labor Day to Christmas season. The Super Bowl has another week of pageantry, the Combine is a month away (Feb. 28th-March 6th) and Free Agency will open (March 9th) before the NFL Draft in Philadelphia (April 27-29) rolls around.

I’ve been thinking about the possibility of Stanford Running Back Christian McCaffrey becoming a Bronco for quite awhile and just noticed that his name has been brought up as a draft prospect for the Broncos. There is some nostalgia in the storyline, which makes it all the more intriguing. And we all know that Broncos country loves a good story.

He is a Bronco legacy, being one of the many talented offspring of Ed and Lisa McCaffrey. Christian and his brothers played semi-pro <sic> ball in high school at Valor Christian in Denver, as good a prep school for the NFL as any other, and having a father who was an NFL Pro Bowl Wide Receiver and 2-Time Super Bowl champion simply has to count for something.

Young McCaffrey fits the descripton of a 1st round draft pick. He’s an impact player. A playmaker. A guy you can line up anywhere in any situation. Someone who can start right away. He doesn’t have sub-4.3 speed like Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, but Christian’s football intelligence is up there with the great ones–He knows the game, where his blockers are and where the opponents are–which is as much an asset as physical talent and ability.

Yes, I like the possibility of another McCaffrey in Orange. It’s a nice dream. Just don’t hold your breath. We are way too early in the process to even argue about it.

I think we will find that it will take a trade up from the 20th (current) position in the 2017 Draft to select Christian. The Broncos are looking at getting a few Compensatory picks this year and those can now be used for trade purposes, so John Elway will have some ammo to maneuver, if he chooses to do so.

Anyway, back in 2012, I wrote a piece on how the Broncos have done with 1st round draft picks and I intend to reference it.

In the article, from 1967-2011, 1296 players were drafted in the 1st Round throughout the NFL. In the same time span, the Broncos chose 38 players. The numbers below reflect that timespan.

Looking at the chart in the linked article, players drafted in the top 10 have a 70% success rate.

Pro Football Reference shows 6 of the 6 Bronco players drafted in the top ten during 1967-2011 started at least 58 games (100%). One is in the Hall of Fame (Floyd Little) and another is likely on his way (Von Miller).

The Broncos are at present, set to have the 20th overall selection in April’s Draft.

The results of the article claim that picks 11-20 have a 50% success rate. 13 of 19 Bronco players started at least 56 games (68.4%), so Denver has been above the curve there as well.

As an added bonus, Picks 21-50 have a 35.3% success rate. Now we know the first round ends at the 32nd pick, but I went ahead and checked through the second round, all the way to the 50th pick. 11 out of 44 Bronco players started at least 54 games. (25%). That is below the curve and explains the lack of depth at some positions, but having so many consecutive seasons where an Undrafted college Free Agent makes the team has to balance some of that out.

In case you were wondering, the Broncos have had the opportunity on two occasions, to draft with the 20th overall pick. In 1989, it was Steve Atwater. The “Smilin’ Assassin” was an 8-Time Pro Bowler, made the Ring of Fame and should have already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A stellar career nonetheless.

In 2003, Right Tackle George Foster was the pick. George started 57 of 68 games as a 4-year primary starter. He played another 19 games over two seasons with the Detroit Lions after leaving Denver. Although Foster played up to his draft status success from a financial perspective, one would prefer a little more oomph, like the All-Star impact Atwater had.

Here’s a little more history for you.

According to Pro Football Reference, here are the Broncos 1st round Draft picks by position in the modern era (1970-2014)

  • Defensive Backs – 6
  • Linebackers – 6
  • Running Backs – 5
  • Offensive Tackles – 5
  • Wide Receivers – 4
  • Quarterbacks – 4
  • Defensive Ends – 4
  • Defensive Tackles – 2
  • Nose Tackles – 2
  • Guards – 2
  • Tight Ends – 1

Out of those 41 players, 12 were All-Pros, 14 made at least 1 Pro Bowl, 17 were 5+ year starters and 31 started at least 1 year. 9 players are still active and 6 are still with the team.

So in the next few months, we have time to look at both the options in this year’s draft and who is available in Free Agency.

And whether it would be feasible to pursue the next McCaffrey generation.

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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