NFL Nation: Jarvis Moss

A look at the 16th, 17th pick

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not know until a coin flip at the NFL scouting combine if they or the Baltimore Ravens will pick 16th or 17th in the first round of the May draft.

The only time the Cowboys used the 16th pick in the draft came in 1961 when they selected E.J. Holub in the second round. They have not taken a player with the 17th overall pick since cornerback Kevin Smith in 1992. Before that? In 1990 they took Emmitt Smith, who is now the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

What type of player has been available at Nos. 16 and 17? Here’s a look at the past 10 years.

2013 – EJ Manuel, Buffalo; Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh
2012 – Quinton Coples, New York Jets; Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati
2011 – Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; Nate Solder, New England
2010 – Derrick Morgan, Tennessee; Mike Iupati, San Francisco
2009 – Larry English, San Diego; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
2008 – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona; Gosder Cherilus, Detroit
2007 – Justin Harrell, Green Bay; Jarvis Moss, Denver
2006 – Jason Allen, Miami; Chad Greenway, Minnesota
2005 – Travis Johnson, Houston; David Pollack, Cincinnati
2004 – Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia; D.J. Williams, Denver
2003 – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Bryant Johnson, Arizona.

Polamalu is by far the best player selected in either spot. He will be in the Hall of Fame. There are quality players in there like Williams, Greenway, Rodgers-Cromartie, Iupati, Solder and Kerrigan. Andrews had a pretty good short run as well. Kerrigan is solid and has done some good things versus the Cowboys. Coples has showed some pass rush his first two seasons. I expected more from Kirkpatrick, who was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012.

The Cowboys held the No. 18 pick in 2013 and traded down to No. 31 with the Niners where they took Travis Frederick. They felt they were in a position to trade down and still pick up a quality player. When they saw Eric Reid, Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Tyler Eifert go off the board in the next four picks they were left sweating it out until they got Frederick.

Raiders have key injuries

October, 16, 2011
OAKLAND -- The Raiders are playing without defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, cornerback Chris Johnson, fullback Marcel Reece and special-teams ace Rock Cartwright.

Manase Tonga will start for Reece, rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke will play for Johnson. Jarvis Moss will start for Shaughnessy. Receiver Louis Murphy is active. It will be his first game since he suffered a sports hernia in training camp.

Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor is still listed as a roster exemption after his five-game NFL suspension ended. The Raiders will likely activate him Monday.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights from ESPN’s "Sunday NFL Countdown," in which the 3-2 Raiders were a topic:

Tom Jackson: “I’m buying ‘em because they are built in the image of Al Davis.”

Merril Hoge: “The Raiders didn’t get the memo -- that this is a passing league. They didn’t get that memo because they run the football on the perimeter better than anybody.”

Bill Parcells: “If they could cut down a little on that recklessness, cut those penalties down, they’re going to go right to the top of that discipline index, and that usually means winning.”

Aaron Curry not an instant answer

October, 12, 2011
When a team can get a top-five pick for a minimal cost less than three years after he entered the NFL, it’s a deal worth doing .
However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Oakland Raiders’ defensive issues are solved by the acquisition of Aaron Curry. He will get a chance to compete for playing time and he will be given a chance to resurrect his career, but, by no means is Curry currently considered a top-notch player.

But if the Raiders can get the best out of Curry, it will be a good deal for the team down the road.

Essentially, this is a low-risk endeavor for a team that has long taken on players such as Curry. He was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 by Seattle. He lost his starting job this year.

Curry is physically imposing player at 260 pounds. But he didn’t show strong instincts and his toughness has been questioned. He has been a disappointing pass-rusher.

Still, he may benefit from a change of scenery. The Raiders have long been a willing taker of wayward first-round picks. Quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and defensive end Jarvis Moss are players who have found varying forms of success in Oakland after struggling as first-round picks elsewhere.

Now, Curry has a chance for his own Oakland revival. Just don’t expect the No. 4 overall pick in the draft to show up.

Key players out in Oakland

October, 2, 2011
OAKLAND –- The Raiders will be without three key players Sunday against New England.

Safety Michael Huff (concussion), defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) and fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) are all inactive. They were all listed as questionable on the injury report Friday.

Trevor Scott and Jarvis Moss will likely help spell Shaughnessy. Mike Mitchell could play for Huff as the Raiders try to slow down New England quarterback Tom Brady.

As expected, receiver/returner Jacoby Ford is active. He ha missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.

New England is also dealing with injuries. Tight end Araron Hernandez (knee), defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (back) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back) are all out.

Seymour leads one of NFL's top D-lines

September, 30, 2011
Richard SeymourThearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesRichard Seymour and his defensive linemates will welcome his old team to Oakland this Sunday.

Bill Belichick created this dilemma.

Now, the New England Patriots’ coach must find a way to overcome one of the NFL’s better defensive fronts on Sunday in Oakland, which will be one of the NFL’s showcase games of Week 4. The catalyst of Oakland’s defensive line -- a ferocious combination of power, speed, experience and zestful youth -- is a man Belichick said goodbye to two years ago. Belichick stunned the NFL, Richard Seymour included, by shipping him to Oakland a week before the 2009 season started. Belichick had a knack for knowing when to pull the plug on veterans over the years in New England. Seymour has been the exception.

Yes, there are reasons for the Patriots to feel good about the trade. They’ve made the playoffs both years without Seymour, they saved a lot of money (Seymour was re-signed to a lucrative deal by the Raiders prior to the lockout) and they got a promising left tackle in Nate Solder with the No. 17 overall pick in April as compensation from Oakland. Still, that won’t help the Patriots on Sunday in a critical early-season game for the two 2-1 teams. Seymour and his explosive defensive line mates will be coming after New England quarterback Tom Brady all game.

The Patriots know it.

“That’s a good question,” said New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien this week when asked how he is going to prepare for the former New England star defensive lineman and his new mates. “That’s a tough question. These guys are really big up front. They’re a physical defense, they’re fast. Again, that’s part of our discussion right now of all the different areas of their defense and how we’re going to handle some of the problems all over the place that they present -- challenges that they present. So, there are a lot of different things you can do -- I’m certainly not going to tell you, but [Seymour is] playing really well. They’re all playing really well right now; it’s a really good football team that’s playing fast and physical.”

[+] EnlargeOakland's Jarvis Moss
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesJarvis Moss had two sacks for Oakland in last week's surprising win against the Jets.
There is no denying Oakland’s attitude, talent and success up front starts with Seymour. Eyebrows were raised when Oakland traded for Seymour two years ago. The three-time Super Bowl winner would have been better-suited for a playoff contender. It has taken a couple of years, but the Raiders are now playoff contenders with Seymour spearheading the line.

“He’s obviously a leader for that defensive line,” Brady said at his press briefing Wednesday. “When he gets going, they all get going.”

The Seymour trade immediately improved massive defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. It allowed him to disrupt the middle. The Raiders continued to build with youth around Seymour. They added feisty, underrated pass-rusher Matt Shaughnessy in the 2009 draft and the versatile Lamarr Houston in the second round last year to round out the starting front four. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said Houston greatly benefits from playing next to Seymour; they are similar because both are able to play each position along the line.

The line also has strong depth. Add massive run-stuffer John Henderson, young defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, pass-rusher Trevor Scott and former Denver first-round flameout Jarvis Moss (he had two sacks in an upset win over the Jets last week), and the Raiders have a steady stream of talent on their first line of defense.

"I've been around some teams with six guys, maybe seven," Raiders coach Hue Jackson told reporters recently. "To have eight, that is kind of unbelievable."

Scott has said the line is like a “tag-team match.” This unit just keeps coming against the pass and the run. Oakland is tied for fourth in the NFL with 10 sacks in three games, but is still having trouble stopping the run. It is allowing 120 yards per game. Still, opponents know the best way to get success against Oakland defensively is get the game past the front four.

“The front four are very strong penetrators,” Buffalo coach Chan Gailey said this month. “They really get after you and create. They try to disrupt the running game by penetrating and they try to create pass rush by penetration.”

Williamson said he thinks the Raiders have a top-10 defensive line that continues to get better. He said the trade for Seymour was the beginning of the dominance.

“The beauty of Seymour is that he is good at everything. He is a great interior pass-rusher on throwing downs,” Williamson said. “He can be an excellent defensive end in either the 4-3 or the 3-4, and he still is a great 3-technique for the 4-3. So when he is on the field, you don’t know exactly what front you are going to get, and he can shift effectively right before the snap to further confuse matters ... by all accounts, Seymour is a great locker-room guy and leader.”

Seymour will surely like to remind his former coach about all of those attributes that Oakland is benefiting from Sunday.
It’s not exactly the onslaught, but there is movement in the AFC West.
  • The San Diego Union Tribune reports the Chargers signed right tackle Jeromey Clary for four years, $20 million. Clary was a target of the Chargers, who have plenty of cap room. The Chargers have several free agents and are working on keeping targets Eric Weddle and Kevin Burnett. Clary is an underrated part of a strong offensive line. Keeping him means continuity for a strong offensive line.
  • In Kansas City, center Casey Wiegmann reportedly has signed for one year. This has been expected. His agent Joe Linta, told me last week that Wiegmann, 38, wanted to play one more year in Kansas City. The Chiefs have long wanted him back. Wiegmann is an anchor to a strong offensive line. He is a leader on and off the field. Wiegmann will groom second-round pick Rodney Hudson, who can also play guard.
  • The Raiders brought back former Denver first-round pick Jarvis Moss. He is strictly a backup. The Raiders have plenty of high-profile free agents, but keeping Moss is just for depth reasons.
  • Meanwhile, keep an eye on Seattle free agent Brandon Mebane in Denver. If the Seahawks don’t re-sign him, he could fit with the Broncos.
  • I continue to hear linebacker Nick Barnett would love to play in San Diego. I’m sure the Chargers would have interest in him at inside linebacker. Barnett has been told by Green Bay he’ll either be cut or traded soon.
  • Oakland guard Cooper Carlisle was at the Raiders’ facility Tuesday. There has been reports that he could be cut as Oakland tries to get under the salary cap. Oakland has been working on contract restructuring to get under the salary cap.
  • Ohio State has made a decision that could help Terrelle Pryor get a spot in the supplemental draft. There had been questions whether or not he’d be eligible. Pryor has been connected to Oakland.
  • San Diego also brought back tight end Randy McMichael for one year. He is a favorite of head coach Norv Turner. McMichael is a solid backup receiver and an underrated blocker. He is good insurance if starter Antonio Gates has another injury-filled season. McMichael, 32, had 20 catches for the Chargers in 2010.

Draft Watch: AFC East

April, 7, 2011
» NFC Draft Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: history in that spot.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills' top pick is No. 3 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: DT Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers)

2009: DE Tyson Jackson (Chiefs)

2008: QB Matt Ryan (Falcons)

2007: T Joe Thomas (Browns)

2006: QB Vince Young (Titans)

2005: WR Braylon Edwards (Browns)

2004: WR Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)

ANALYSIS: Some sexy picks have been made in this spot. None of the players have been out-and-out busts, although character concerns have overshadowed a couple. Only McCoy and Jackson haven't been selected for at least one Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald is an elite receiver, arguably the best in the business. Edwards can be a dangerous playmaker when not dropping passes, which he didn't do last year. Ryan is an emerging star. Young has been a lightning rod, but he did win rookie of the year and has gone to a pair of Pro Bowls. Thomas is a star blocker with four Pro Bowls on his résumé already.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins' top pick is No. 15 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants)

2009: LB Brian Cushing (Texans)

2008: G Branden Albert (Chiefs)

2007: LB Lawrence Timmons (Steelers)

2006: CB Tye Hill (Rams)

2005: LB Derrick Johnson (Chiefs)

2004: WR Michael Clayton (Buccaneers)

ANALYSIS: This is a region of the first round where picks can break either way. There have been solid players drafted here, but no superstars. Cushing was a rookie of the year, but his career has been tainted by performance-enhancing drug usage. Clayton made an immediate impact with 80 catches for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, but hasn't caught more than 38 passes since. Johnson has been a solid linebacker for Kansas City, while Timmons has been an influential member of Pittsburgh's defense the past two seasons. Hill has been the biggest disappointment. He has been with four teams, starting 25 games.

New England Patriots

The Patriots' first-round picks are Nos. 17 and 28 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in those spots, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: G Mike Iupati (49ers) and DE Jared Odrick (Dolphins)

2009: QB Josh Freeman (Buccaneers) and G Eric Wood (Bills)

2008: T Gosder Cherilus (Lions) and DE Lawrence Jackson (Seahawks)

2007: DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos) and T Joe Staley (49ers)

2006: LB Chad Greenway (Vikings) and TE Marcedes Lewis (Jaguars)

2005: LB David Pollack (Bengals) and DE Luis Castillo (Chargers)

2004: LB D.J. Williams (Broncos) and CB Chris Gamble (Panthers)

ANALYSIS: Results have been mixed with these slots, but the 28th pick actually has found more starters than the 17th in recent years. Freeman showed signs of developing into a future star last year, and Cherilus has started 40 of his 43 games at right tackle. Williams and Greenway have been regular starters. But Moss and Pollock didn't work out. In the 28th slot, Odrick is the only one who hasn't been a regular starter. Injuries detonated his rookie season.

New York Jets

The Jets' top pick is No. 30 overall. Here are the last seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: RB Jahvid Best (Lions)

2009: WR Kenny Britt (Titans)

2008: TE Dustin Keller (Jets)

2007: WR Craig Davis (Chargers)

2006: RB Joseph Addai (Colts)

2005: TE Heath Miller (Steelers)

2004: RB Kevin Jones (Lions)

ANALYSIS: What strikes me is that all seven selections not only are offensive players, but also ball handlers. Perhaps teams in the back of the draft feel they can gamble a little bit and try to hit big on a skill position. Whatever the reasoning, it seems to have worked. This has been a successful spot. Jones and Addai rushed for 1,000 yards as rookies. Best appears to be the Lions' running back of the future. Miller and Addai have gone to Pro Bowls. Britt was the Titans' leading receiver last year. Keller is one of the NFL's better tight ends.
Ken Whisenhunt is right when he says Levi Brown takes more criticism as a high draft choice than he would take as someone selected later in the process.

That's the way it works. The highest picks in a draft class should outperform their peers.

[+] EnlargeLevi Brown
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesLevi Brown, drafted fifth overall in 2007, can still become an "outstanding" player according to Ken Whisenhunt.
The Arizona Cardinals don't need anyone to remind them that they selected Brown over some All-Pro performers, including Adrian Peterson and Patrick Willis. But it's not as though Brown, a player with 56 consecutive regular-season starts, qualifies as a flat-out bust, either. He moved to left tackle from the right side last season and will stay there.

"He improved last year," Whisenhunt said this week from the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans. "As a left tackle, it's not an easy position to move from right tackle. He will continue to get better. He is a talented football player. The biggest thing he has struggled with is the consistency of his play. But a lot of times you are under the microscope more because you were the fifth pick in the draft."

I would rank Brown, chosen fifth overall in 2007, somewhere around 20th out of 32 first-round picks that year.

Brown has obviously or arguably outperformed the following first-round selections from 2007: JaMarcus Russell, Jamaal Anderson, Ted Ginn Jr., Amobi Okoye, Adam Carriker, Justin Harrell, Jarvis Moss, Aaron Ross, Reggie Nelson, Brady Quinn, Anthony Gonzalez and Craig Davis. Gaines Adams, chosen fourth that year, passed away after Tampa Bay traded him to Chicago.

The following first-rounders from 2007 have obviously or arguably outperformed Brown: Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, LaRon Landry, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darrelle Revis, Lawrence Timmons, Leon Hall, Michael Griffin, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Meriweather, Jon Beason, Anthony Spencer, Robert Meachem, Joe Staley, Ben Grubbs and Greg Olsen.

"The reason we drafted Levi where we did was because we had him rated high enough to go in that position, but we also felt like we had to develop our offensive line and defensive line at that point, because that is where the most critical component of your team," Whisenhunt said. "That is the only way you are going to have a chance to compete. Levi has been a good player. He is often criticized, but I think that comes with being the fifth pick, and I don't understand how you evaluate offensive linemen, because they are not catching passes or running touchdowns in."

Whisenhunt said he thought Brown can and will become an "outstanding" player.

"Any time an offensive lineman gets drafted that high, especially in a fantasy football world where people want you to get dynamic playmakers, you are going to face some kind of criticism," Whisenhunt said. "I have to give Levi some credit. As tough as it's been, he hasn't let it affect him. He has continued to work and get better and I think this will be a big year for him. This is a chance for him to show that he can play this position very well."

Draft Watch: AFC West

March, 17, 2011
» NFC Draft Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today's topic: draft rewind -- examining the past five drafts.

Denver Broncos

Best choice: Elvis Dumervil, linebacker. The Broncos have had an uneven drafting history in the past five years. Many of Denver’s better picks are no longer with the team. Dumervil was a safe choice. He has been a very productive player since Denver took him the fourth round in 2006. Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. He missed all of last season with a pectoral injury. But he is considered a cornerstone of Denver’s defense as it begins the John Fox era.

Worst choice: Alphonso Smith, cornerback. There are a lot of candidates here, but I had to go with Smith. He edged out 2007 No. 17 overall pick Jarvis Moss, who was cut last season. Smith is the choice because he lasted one season in Denver and he cost the Broncos the No. 14 overall pick in 2010. Former Denver coach Josh McDaniels fell for Smith when he dropped to the second round in 2009. McDaniels, running his first NFL draft, traded the team’s first-round pick in 2010 to take Smith. He was replaced four times as a rookie, including by an undrafted rookie. Denver finally dumped him off to Detroit on the final cut-down day last year.

On the bubble: Knowshon Moreno, running back. There are a few choices here, but Moreno has to make immediate strides. The No. 12 overall pick in 2009 has had a slow start to his career. He’s had his moments, but he’s been plagued by injuries and an overall lack of productivity. If he doesn’t progress in 2011, the Broncos may have to make other plans at tailback.

Kansas City Chiefs

Best choice: Jamaal Charles, running back. Charles was a wonderful parting gift from the Carl Peterson era. He was part of Peterson’s final draft in Kansas City and was he a doozy. He was taken in the third round, with the No. 73 overall pick in 2008. The pick was acquired from Minnesota in the Jared Allen trade. Charles has developed into one of the best running backs in the NFL. He is a big reason why the Chiefs were a worst-to-first story in 2010.

Worst choice: Turk McBride, defensive lineman. The Chiefs haven’t had many overtly horrible picks in the past five years. I’m going with McBride because he was a second-round pick, No. 54 overall, in 2007. The defensive lineman spent his second season on the injured reserve and was cut in 2009.

On the bubble: Tyson Jackson. Jackson had potential to make Kansas City fans forget about McBride. The defensive end was the No. 3 overall pick in 2009. He hasn’t done much in two seasons. Still, the Chiefs are hopeful that the earnest Jackson will develop into a good player. He will have time to prove himself, but he will be watched closely.

Oakland Raiders

Best choice: Zach Miller, tight end. The Raiders’ 2007 draft will always be remembered for the colossal JaMarcus Russell mistake. But the Raiders did find a gem with their very next pick. They took Miller in the second round with the No. 38 overall choice. Miller has developed into one of the better young tight ends in the NFL. He is a top offensive weapon.

Worst choice: JaMarcus Russell, quarterback. I didn’t have to do much debating on this one. Russell is considered by many league observers to be the worst draft pick of all time. He never improved and the Raiders gave up on him last spring at the age of 24. Russell is still out of the league.

On the bubble: Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver. The No. 7 overall pick in 2009 needs to start producing on a consistent basis and he needs to show he can catch the ball. If not, Heyward-Bey will fall further behind Oakland’s other, more productive young receivers. Heyward-Bey has only 35 catches in 26 NFL games.

San Diego Chargers

Best choice: Marcus McNeill, left tackle. The Chargers have some solid picks in the past five years, but I’m going to go with McNeill. He is not an elite left tackle, but he is a very solid player who is a strong anchor to the offensive line. He is the long-term answer for San Diego at a key spot. San Diego is getting a lot of value for the No. 50 overall pick in 2006.

Worst choice: Buster Davis, wide receiver. The Chargers haven’t whiffed badly on a lot of picks in the past five years. But it looks as if Davis may not ever pan out as a Charger. He was the team’s first-round pick in 2007, No. 30 overall. His biggest issue has been staying healthy. He finally showed some promise last year, but he missed the final nine games with an injury. He has played only 26 games in four seasons.

On the bubble: Larry English, linebacker. English is the fourth 2009 first-round pick to make this list. Like the other three players, it’s time for English to show he can help his team. The Chargers took the Northern Illinois linebacker at No. 16 because of his high motor and ability to rush the passer. English, who already is 25, has only five sacks in two NFL seasons. He missed eight games because of injury in 2010. The Chargers probably will draft a pass-rusher in the first round, so English will have to fight for playing time in 2011.

Camp Confidential: Denver Broncos

August, 11, 2010
AM ET NFL Power Ranking (pre-camp): 23

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After he watched one key player after another limp to the training room this summer, Josh McDaniels came to a conclusion: The Denver Broncos are going to find a way to get better as a result.

Call it medical motivation.

“Sometimes, when everybody around you thinks the sky is falling because of injuries, it could rally a team,” the second-year Denver coach said. “That’s what we are doing. We are going to be motivated to show we can withstand what has happened to us. We’re not sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves.”

McDaniels swears Denver is having a productive training camp despite being the most injured team in the NFL. The biggest hit was the loss of star linebacker Elvis Dumervil. He is likely out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Other players who have been lost during camp include running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, safety Brian Dawkins and linebackers D.J. Williams and Jarvis Moss. Don’t forget that left tackle Ryan Clady is out until sometime in September after hurting his knee in the offseason.

Still, McDaniels said it’s not a time of despair, because everyone but Dumervil is expected back in the near future.

“It hurts to lose Elvis, but maybe the other injuries are good that they happened now,” McDaniels said. “We are not worrying about who is not here. We trust our depth and we’re dealing with it.”


[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Jack DempseyTim Tebow got a new haircut on Tuesday, replacing the monk haircut from earlier in the week.
1. How will the Tebow factor affect the team? There is not a rookie in the NFL who is getting the attention that Tim Tebow is receiving. From special Nike shoes to a hideous training-camp haircut to operating in short yardage situations, the Tebow Watch is in full force.

The question is how his work in camp will affect the team on the field. The former Florida star quarterback has operated in short-yardage situations and he will likely be used in the Wildcat formation and in the red zone. That likely means Denver will keep quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tebow on the 45-man roster on game days. In June, McDaniels said he was leaning away from that.

But it is clear that Tebow is being groomed to be active as a rookie. Unless Tebow completely leapfrogs Quinn in training camp and in the preseason, Denver could be using three quarterbacks on game days, which will take away from another position.

2. Can this team forget the final 10 games of 2009? Denver was the most perplexing team in the NFL in 2009. It shocked the league by starting 6-0. However, it suddenly fell apart and lost eight of its final 10 games.

Which team will we see in 2010? McDaniels, of course, won’t guarantee anything, but he believes Denver is heading in the right direction because of a strong training camp.

He said the team is making big strides this year because his program is established after 14 years under Mike Shanahan. McDaniels pointed out how much smoother and productive Denver was in its team scrimmage last weekend compared to last year’s scrimmage.

“It’s night and day,” McDaniels said. “Everybody knows the system now and that has helped camp.”

[+] EnlargeKnowshon Moreno
Ron Chenoy/US PresswireKnowshon Moreno, the team's leading rusher last season, is out with a hamstring injury.
3. Can the running backs stay healthy? Moreno (hamstring) and Buckhalter (back) are supposed to be ready this month. But seeing the top two running backs go down on the first full day of camp had to be scary for Denver. The team has big plans for Moreno and Buckhalter.

Denver brought in veteran LenDale White to help in camp and perhaps as a short-yardage runner once he serves a four-game NFL suspension. The team is discussing signing former Oakland tailback Justin Fargas, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

This is still the Moreno and Buckhalter show, but the Broncos have been forced to look at other options. Expect Moreno and Buckhalter to be handled very gingerly for the rest of camp and in the preseason in an attempt to ensure their health for the start of the regular season.


The Broncos are excited about their receivers.

Brandon Lloyd and Matthew Willis have been outstanding. Eddie Royal is playing well in camp and the team hopes he can bounce back from a poor first season under McDaniels. After catching 91 passes as a rookie, Royal had just 37 catches last season.

Add rookies Thomas and Decker and Denver could have a decent receiving crew. That looked shaky after the team sent talented but troubled Brandon Marshall to Miami in April.


How can it be anything other than the injury to Dumervil? He is arguably Denver’s best player and he just signed a huge, new contract. Denver was looking for him to have a dominant season. Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks last season.

Denver will have to find a pass rush elsewhere. A top candidate is 2009 first-round pick Robert Ayers. He struggled as a rookie. But he has been good in camp. Ayers will get every chance to turn it on and help make this bad situation workable.


  • [+] EnlargeKyle Orton
    Jeff Fishbein/Icon SMIKyle Orton passed for 3,802 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for the Broncos last season.
    Orton has quietly been a star in camp. He had a strong offseason and is, by far, the most accurate of three quarterbacks. While the future is Tebow’s in Denver, Orton is going to do everything he can to make 2010 special before he hits the free-agency market in 2011.
  • Quinn, the current No. 2 quarterback in Denver, has been inaccurate often. The Broncos still like Quinn, who was acquired from Cleveland in March. However, with Orton being the immediate starter and Tebow being the future starter, he has his work cut out for him to find a spot in Denver.
  • Keep an eye out for fifth-round pick Perrish Cox. He’s been outstanding in camp. “Every day, I look up and Perrish is making another big play,” Royal said. Cox is second at left cornerback behind star Champ Bailey. Cox will likely be the nickel cornerback. He is also dynamic as a return man.
  • While Cox is ascending, second-year cornerback Alphonso Smith is still not progressing. Smith was the No. 37 overall pick in 2009. Denver gave up its first-round pick for Smith in 2010 (which was No. 14). He floundered as a rookie and he is not showing much improvement in camp as Cox is stealing the show.
  • Richard Quinn, a second-round pick in 2009, is blocking very well in camp. He still must improve as a receiver, but Denver should feel comfortable with him in double tight-end sets with starter Daniel Graham.
  • So far, defensive end Ryan McBean is holding off free-agent pickup Jarvis Green. However, the team likes Green and he is very versatile.
  • Denver likes what it sees in former San Diego defensive tackle Jamal Williams in the early stages. With Dumervil out, a lot of Denver’s defensive burst must start from him at nose tackle. That may mean Williams may be on the field more than Denver likes. But he is showing, even at 34 and after missing all but one game in San Diego last year, he could still be a force.
  • Denver knows it won’t all be roses, but it is at terms with rookies J.D. Walton (center) and Zane Beadles (guard) starting. Both players have showed intelligence and toughness in camp. Most importantly, they are big and strong and they are well suited for the power-blocking scheme McDaniels is adopting. Denver is scrapping the zone-blocking scheme used during the Shanahan era. One of the reasons is McDaniels wants a bigger offensive line that can stay fresh throughout the season.
  • D’Anthony Batiste is doing well at left tackle. The Broncos think he will be a valuable backup when Clady returns from a knee injury in September.
  • Inside linebacker Joe Mays, acquired from Philadelphia for running back J.J. Arrington less than two weeks ago, is impressing. He has worked some with the first team. He is likely to be a key backup and a special teamer.
  • Veteran defensive lineman Marcus Thomas is buried on the depth chart. If he doesn’t pick up the rest of camp, he could be a candidate to be cut.
  • Punter Britton Colquitt, the younger brother of Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt, is doing well and he will likely win the job. He is going unchallenged, but if he falters, Denver could scour the waiver wire. So far, he is showing that may not be necessary.
The Denver Post is reporting Denver Broncos star linebacker Elvis Dumervil is going to have the surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The surgery will very likely will mean Dumervil will miss the entire season.

Dumervil was injured Wednesday and the team initially hoped Dumervil would be back for a few games. Yet, that seemed like a long shot. Dumervil likely will not play in 2010. Denver had been operating under that assumption the past few days. Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks last season.

He will be replaced by Jarvis Moss and Robert Ayers, who are both former No.1 pick who have yet to develop. Moss broke his hand the day after Dumervil was hurt and he will miss two weeks.

Draft Watch: AFC West

February, 24, 2010
» NFC Busts/Gems: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

» Draft Watch: Biggest needs (2/17) | Busts/gems (2/24) | Schemes, themes (3/3) | Recent history (3/10) | Needs revisited (3/17) | Under-the-radar needs (3/26) | History in that spot (3/31) | Draft approach (4/7) | Decision-makers (4/14) | Dream scenario/Plan B (4/21)

Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: Busts and late-round gems.

Denver Broncos

Denver’s drafting has improved in recent years after it struggled mightily in the first several years of the 2000s. Denver’s draft fortune turned around some in 2006. The team had three picks in the fourth round. Two of the picks were receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive end Elvis Dumervil. They are two of the best players in their positions in the NFL. Starting guard Chris Kuper was taken in the fifth-round that year. However, there have been some poor picks in Denver in recent years. In 2007, Denver traded up to take defensive end Jarvis Moss at No. 17. He has been terrible in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 defenses under two regimes in Denver. He has started one game in three NFL seasons and has only 3.5 career sacks. He could soon be cut. After taking Moss, Denver took defensive end Tim Crowder in the second round in 2007. He was cut last year.

Kansas City Chiefs

The focus of a look-back at Kansas City’s recent draft picks has to be the slow starts of its past three No. 1 picks. In 2009, Kansas City used the No. 4 overall pick on defensive lineman Tyson Jackson. In 2008, Kansas City, which had two first-round picks as a result of the Jared Allen trade with Minnesota, took defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey at No. 5 and tackle Branden Albert at No. 15. None of the three players made the impact expected from players taken at those draft slots. All three have time to develop, but there is some concern there. Kansas City has gotten some production from late-round picks recently. In 2009, the Chiefs took kicker Ryan Succop with the final pick of the draft. He was Kansas City’s best rookie last season. He has a big leg and is reliable. He could be around for several years. In 2008, Kansas City took cornerback Brandon Carr in the fifth round. He has started every NFL game of his career and he and 2008 second-round pick Brandon Flowers are bright spots on Kansas City’s defense.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have had their share of both busts and gems in recent years. But the busts have been devastating to the program. The bust talk in Oakland starts with quarterback JaMarcus Russell. The No. 1 overall pick in 2007 has been awful and now he has to fight to try to regain his starting job. The Raiders’ next two top picks -- running back Darren McFadden (No. 4 in 2008) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 7 in 2009) --- have also resembled busts in the early stages of their careers. McFadden has had one good game and he has been injury prone. He has been nothing like the explosive star he was at Arkansas. It’s early, but McFadden has to show something soon. Heyward-Bey came into the league with major questions about his NFL readiness and hands. Those questions remain after he had only nine catches in 11 starts. Oakland has done decently in the latter rounds recently. Running back Michael Bush was taken in the fourth round in 2007 and he may be the team’s best running back. Receiver Chaz Schilens was a seventh-rounder in 2008. He has potential to be a solid No. 1 receiver. Linebacker Trevor Scott was taken a round ahead of Schilens and he has nice pass-rushing skills. Safety Tyvon Branch was taken in the fourth round in 2008 and he had a fine season in 2009. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy and receiver Louis Murphy were taken in the fourth round last year. They both were solid contributors as rookies. Oakland has some good young talent, it’s just not the young talent it is paying a lot of money to that is producing.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers’ recent draft classes have been neither wonderful nor horrible. The team has gotten some good production out of the classes and it hasn’t struck out much. The only top pick not to do much is 2007 No. 1 pick Craig Davis. Nicknamed “Buster,” Davis looks like he may be a bust. The No. 30 overall pick just can’t stay healthy. The team has done well with finding some late-round gems. Starting right tackle Jeromey Clary was a sixth-rounder in 2006. Linebacker Brandon Siler was a seventh-rounder in 2007. He has a chance to be a difference-maker. Receiver Legedu Naanee was a fifth-round pick in 2007 and he is a solid part of the offense. Safety Kevin Ellison, a sixth-round pick last season, looks like he could be a long-time starter.

AFC West odds and ends

April, 26, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

It was reported that both defensive end Jarvis Moss and tight end Tony Scheffler could be traded. Now that the draft is over, trades could be unlikely. Scheffler could stick with the team.

Moss, though, could have trouble making the team. Moss, the No. 17 overall draft pick two years ago, has been moved to outside linebacker from defensive end. He is currently a third-string linebacker.

The Chiefs were expected to try and parlay the second-round pick in 2010 obtained for Tony Gonzalez from Atlanta in a 2009 pick. Yet, the Chiefs still have that choice gained in the trade for one of their all-time best players.

ESPN's John Clayton reported the Raiders were shopping safety Michael Huff and running back Justin Fargas during the weekend. Neither is a surprise. Huff has been a disappointment since he was a No. 1 pick three years ago and Fargas may be lost in a deep running back crew in Oakland.

Don't expect running back Ryan Torain to remain in Denver for the regular season. The fifth-round draft pick, who suffered a torn ACL last season, is probably out of the mix with the addition of Knowshon Moreno.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels mentioned several times during the weekend about the importance of adding "good people." The Broncos introduced their first five draft picks Sunday and all five were impressive and well spoken.

The Raiders drafted three defensive ends. It will not be a surprise if end Derrick Burgess is traded or cut.

The word is tight end Brandon Myers, who Oakland picked in the seventh round, could be a steal. He is an outstanding blocker.

The Chargers plan on using defensive lineman Vaughn Martin at defensive end. He was taken in the fourth round out of Western Ontario in Canada. He was considered a surprise pick. He is huge and strong and looks like a typical San Diego defensive lineman even though his selection was unexpected.

The Raiders added a player with an interesting life story as a free agent.

AFC West news and notes

February, 20, 2009
Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Denver will move former first-round pick Jarvis Moss from defensive end to linebacker. The move had been anticipated with Denver switching to a 3-4 defense. Moss, entering his third season, is a good natural pass-rusher and this move gives him a chance to salvage his career.

  • Brian Xanders' old boss didn't give him a ringing endorsement as he begins his tenure as Denver's general manager.
  • The Oakland Tribune reports that the Raiders saved $6.2 million by cutting three players Friday.
  • The Kansas City Star reports Ball State quarterback Nate Davis met with the Chiefs at the combine. He could be a possibility in the second round. Still, Davis is a similar player to Tyler Thigpen so it would be a curious choice.
  • So much for the Chargers going after Miami tackle Vernon Carey. He re-signed with the Dolphins on Friday.