NFL Nation: Jeremy Beal

Denver Broncos cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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Most significant move: It was a tough couple days for some of the Broncos' younger players. After retaining the bulk of their draft classes in the first two years on the job for John Elway and John Fox, the Broncos waived four former draft picks Saturday. Three were from the two Elway/Fox classes, when they trimmed the roster to 53 players.

Center/guard Philip Blake (fourth round in 2012), Jeremy Beal (seventh round in ’11), wide receiver Tavarres King (fifth round in ’13) and tackle Vinston Painter (sixth round in ’13) were all let go. King, who spent much of training camp and the preseason working with the second-team offense, likely lost his spot when the Broncos kept 11 defensive backs and three quarterbacks, including rookie Zac Dysert.

King and Painter are practice squad possibilities if they clear waivers.

“As you get better -- you never want to release anybody -- but as you get better, you have fewer slots,’’ Elway said. “That’s the situation that we’re running into.’’

Eleven's a crowd: In 2011, the first year of Elway’s tenure as the Broncos’ top football decision-maker, the Broncos kept nine defensive backs when they cut the roster to 53. Last year they kept 10 -- five cornerbacks, five safeties.

This year, with needs on special teams carrying the day, they kept 11 defensive backs, six cornerbacks and five safeties. The Broncos, like many teams in the league, have gone to more defensive backs on special teams, taking several jobs in coverage units that used to go to linebackers.

"You have to look at special teams too, what guys do on special teams," Elway said. "… So, those are the type things that a lot of people don’t think comes into the equation but what you do on fourth down is part of it."

As a result the Broncos are little light at wide receiver, with just five including returner Trindon Holliday. Holliday played just seven snaps on offense last season after joining the Broncos in October. They team will likely to expand his role slightly this season.

What's next: They are reasonably healthy after an offseason filled with drama, but it remains to be seen if they can consistently generate a pass rush without Miller and if they can consistently protect quarterback Peyton Manning when they play their preferred three-wide receiver look on offense.

But Elway likes the choices they made.

“The bottom line is we kept the best 53,’’ Elway said. “Everyone says you want to win now, and I say we want to win now on.’’

Broncos cuts/moves: RB Lance Ball, C/G C.J. Davis, RB Jeremiah Johnson, C/G Ryan Lilja, TE Jake O’Connell, DE Jeremy Beal, C/G Philip Blake, T Paul Cornick, DT Romney Fuga, DT Ben Garland, CB Aaron Hester, LB Damien Holmes, WR Tavarres King, T Vinston Painter, S Ross Rasner, WR Gerell Robinson, WR Lamaar Thomas, DE John Youboty. DE Quanterus Smith, LB Stewart Bradley, LB Lerentee McCray were placed on injured reserve. LB Von Miller was placed on reserve/suspended.

Putting a bow on Day Three

April, 30, 2011
4/30/11
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver plans to bring back veteran safety Brian Dawkins at this point. He may need to take a pay cut. New Denver coach John Fox loves veterans and Dawkins’ presence should help rookie safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter.
  • Denver never took a defensive tackle, despite it being its greatest need. It’s no surprise Denver didn’t take a defensive tackle on Saturday. Once the second round passed, there weren’t many quality prospects available.
  • The rumor mill in Denver is already spinning a Kyle Orton-Albert Haynesworth trade. Washington needs a quarterback and Denver needs defensive tackle. Makes senses, would Denver want to pay Haynesworth?
  • Expect Denver’s starting linebacker crew to look this way: Von Miller at strongside linebacker, third-round pick Nate Irving in the middle and veteran D.J. Williams on the weakside.
  • Denver second-year quarterback Tim Tebow said he was pleased to hear Denver leader John Elway is behind him. Elway said Saturday that Denver will look at the top quarterbacks in every draft. Denver looked at the top eight quarterbacks this year without taking one. Fox, once again, said Orton is the starter as of now. Still, I expect Tebow to get the chance to play in 2011.
  • The Raiders took two receivers who played for former Oakland coach Lane Kiffin. They took Tennessee receiver Denarius Moore in the fifth round and USC receiver David Ausberry in the seventh round. Moore is fast, but he has issues with his hands. Ausberry is very big and he is an interesting prospect. Oakland has a lot of young receivers so these two players will have to work to make the team.
  • In his first draft, Elway took a player from Cal -- linebacker Mike Mohamed -- without taking a player from his alma mater. Mohamed, a candidate to play right away on special teams, said Elway noted that fact in a phone conversation Saturday.
  • Denver entered the draft wanting four immediate starters. It may have gotten five in Miller, Moore, Carter, Irving and right tackle Orlando Franklin.
  • Fox noted that Denver tight ends coach Clancy Barone was part of Antonio Gates’ development in San Diego. Barone is in charge of making fourth-round pick Julius Thomas an NFL player. He played one year of college football after playing college basketball. Gates played college basketball but not college football.
  • The Chiefs made an intriguing pick in the sixth round in defensive tackle Jerrell Powe of Mississippi. He fills a need for the Chiefs. He is the massive run plugger that the team has been seeking. He was considered a first-round possibility a year ago. He has stamina issues, but he could help in a limited role as a rookie.
  • Denver took Oklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal, who was productive in college even though he didn’t test well at the combine. He had 28.5 sacks and 53.5 tackles for losses in college. That’s a steal in the final round.

With Luck, Bills on clock for No. 1 pick in '10

April, 28, 2010
4/28/10
2:59
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Andrew Luck Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesWill quarterback Andrew Luck follow in Sam Bradford's shoes to become the next No. 1 overall pick?
I have good news and bad news for Buffalo Bills fans.

And I have good/bad news for everybody else.

First, for my Bills readers:

ESPN analyst Todd McShay put together a mock draft for 2011 and has the Bills taking Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck Insider. Problem is, the Bills select first overall, the spot reserved for the team with the league's worst 2010 record.

The good/bad news for everybody else: People already are putting together mock drafts for 2011.

McShay writes about Luck:
Only a third-year sophomore this fall but coach Jim Harbaugh has Luck on the fast track mechanically and mentally. Luck has prototypical size (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) and is an underrated athlete. More importantly, he has a smooth over-the-top delivery, a strong arm and great touch as a passer. Better decisions while gaining more game experience could put Luck in position to become the top player taken in the draft -- either in 2011 or 2012.

ESPN.com columnist Ivan Maisel takes a look at how Luck is emerging into a star college quarterback. Maisel writes, "Luck already is rated as the first pick of the 2011 draft. You don't need Todd McShay to tell you that. Any agent worth his platinum Rolex Yacht-Master can see it."

Let's not get too carried away, though, Bills fans. As inexact of a science as mock drafts are, they're virtually impossible to forecast a year out. McShay has to project who's stock will be hot, what positions NFL teams will need, which underclassmen will enter the draft or return for their senior seasons while hoping against a major injury or failed drug test.

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesBrian Brohm was tabbed as the top prospect in an early 2007 mock draft. He was drafted at No. 56 in 2008.
Also to keep in mind, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper projected in a preseason mock Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm would be the first overall selection in the 2008 draft. Brohm was the 56th pick and didn't make the Green Bay Packers' final roster. He was the Bills' third-string quarterback last year.

Still, mock drafts are fun to talk about, and I don't want you to go through withdrawal.

McShay used a draft order based on Scouts Inc. power rankings from Jeremy Green and Matt Williamson. It looks like a decent year for the AFC East.

McShay has the New England Patriots selecting Georgia receiver A.J. Green seventh overall with the pick they acquired from the Oakland Raiders for Richard Seymour. In the Patriots' assigned 22nd slot, they add Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas.

With the 18th pick, the Miami Dolphins select Oklahoma edge-rusher Jeremy Beal.

The New York Jets take Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick with the 29th pick, indicating they will reach the AFC Championship game again but won't punch their Super Bowl ticket.

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