Draft Record of Bronco GMs – A Decade of Decline: Part 3

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Shanny

After the smoked cleared in 2008, Ted Sundquist was fired by Mike Shanahan as the Denver Broncos General Manager. Jim Goodman, the team’s Director of Player Personnel and close personal friend of “Micromanaging Mike” was promoted to replace him.

It was May 5th, 2008, that Jim Goodman was hired on as the Vice President of football operations/Player Personnel, rather than GM (Interestingly enough, that is John Elway’s current title). This is because Jim’s son Jeff had been hired 3 months prior as an assistant to Sundquist and was officially promoted to Assistant GM along with another new hire, Brian Xanders. This triumvirate were supposed to act as a team of equals with Jim having the final say on matters.

When owner Pat Bowlen fired Mike Shanahan in December 2008 after failing to make the playoffs for 3 consecutive seasons, the Goodmans stayed and were part of the group that hired Josh McDaniels as the new head coach. They were abruptly fired less than two months after McDaniels was hired.

Jim Goodman spent numerous years in the college ranks at Rice, Clemson, Florida, Arkansas, Air Force, Valdosta State, North Alabama and Marion (Ala.) Institute Junior College. In 1998, he joined the Broncos as a regional scout. He moved up the ladder in the organization, becoming the Director of College Scouting in 2002 and served as the Director of Player Personnel from 2005-07.

The Goodman’s faced the huge task of  changing over the Broncos Defensive personnel from the 4-3 scheme that Shanahan used over to the 3-4 system preferred by Josh McDaniels and new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan. The entire McDaniels experiment was a lesson in futility with disastrous results and Pat Bowlen would eventually be forced to make a clean slate and start over.

9 players were drafted by the Broncos when Jim Goodman was the de facto GM. Five of those players are still in the league, but only Ryan Clady remains on the team. This draft class has had five full seasons to gage whether it has panned out. So far, Clady has been worth a second contract. To the Broncos at least. 5 of these players have played in 50 or more games (55.5%), though only two have started more than 45 games (22.2%). 5th round pick Carlton Powell was a bust (11%).

 

  • 1st (12) Ryan Clady (T) – 80 games, 80 starts in Denver

  • 2nd (42) Eddie Royal (WR) – 57 games, 45 starts in Denver, 10 games, 2 starts (SD)

  • 4th (108) Kory Lichtensteiger (C) – 16 games in Denver, 37 games, 35 starts (WAS)

  • 4th (119) Jack Williams (DB) – 21 games with Denver, 1 with Detroit

  • 5th (139) Ryan Torain (RB) – 2 games, 1 start in Denver, 20 gms, 12 starts (WAS, NYG)

  • 5th (148) Carlton Powell (DT) – 3 games for Atlanta, none with Denver

  • 6th (183) Spencer Larsen (LB) – 50 games, 15 starts in Denver.

  • 7th (220) Josh Barrett (DB) – 20 games, 3 starts, 5 games, 4 starts (NE)

  • 7th (227) Peyton Hillis (FB) – 26 games, 8 starts in Denver, 39 games, 25 starts (Cle, KC)

The Broncos went 8-8-0 in 2008 and missed the playoffs and on February 12th, 2009, the Goodman’s were given their walking papers and Brian Xanders was promoted to General Manager. It was the second time in two years that the Broncos turned over their Front Office,  a process that would soon occur once more in the near future.

I don’t think the Goodman’s were fired because they were inept at scouting and evaluating prospective talent. Ryan Clady has performed like a 1st round pick-He has been an impact player. Eddie Royal was a successful pick since he has started 47 games and isn’t finished by any stretch. He had an excellent rookie campaign and has been a 3 year primary starter, but other than that, is just another guy. Denver didn’t bother offering a second contract to him. As for the rest, Spencer Larsen and Peyton Hillis were very valuable in the 6th and 7th rounds respectively, so that tells me that Jim knew talent.

To me, it was the cronyism that was part of the Mike Shanahan regime that got them fired and they just happened to fall in the middle of a transitional period in the Broncos organization. The ennui that developed during Shanahan’s tenure was the main reason the Broncos suffered hardship. Mike kept acting like the team was “only a player away” from returning to the Super Bowl, but he was consumed by a determination to build Championship teams on his own merit without the luxury of a franchise Quarterback like John Elway. His insistence on drafting Offensive players 90% of the time finally caught up to him as well.

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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