Denver Bronocs' 2011 Draft Recap
Bucky Brooks over at NFL.com, recently did a series of grades for the 2011 Draft. Our beloved Detroit Lions received a D (no surprise), whereas the Broncos earned an A, bagging studs like Von Miller, Julius Thomas and Orlando Franklin along with solid players like Nate Irving. By Mayhew's standards this Draft would be a success with three starters and a serviceable backup. Other players like Quinton Carter (when healthy) serve as good rotational players and overall the Broncos had an excellent Draft.
Brian Xanders has earned a cult following around POD and the internet as a whole. His timely arrival coincides with one of the best Lions' Drafts in recent history along with Ziggy Ansah, Larry Warford, Devin Taylor, LaAdrian Waddle, and my favorite player Joe Fauria. Considering that Mayhew in previous drafts totally missed on 1st Round picks let alone entire drafts, it's no wonder why some folks want to crown Xanders and heap praise onto him. However this is problematic for several reasons, and deserves some thought. For one thing, Brooks' entire summary never ONCE mentions Xanders as GM or the primary facilitator of this Draft. This coincides with other accounts I've read which ask the question "What exactly does Xanders do?". The answer is always "nobody knows". It's clear that he does not sign off on Draft picks, or offseason moves. That's Elway's job, and he's clearly the brains behind the operation. I've even heard that McDaniels dictated what he wanted while HC, and that Xanders had little actual power. The Denver Broncos got better the longer Xanders was there, especially in Drafting, and some of the best players currently and formerly on the Broncos were drafted under Xanders such as Eric Decker, Zane Beadles, Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller, Julius Thomas, Derek Wolfe (when healthy) Orlando Franklin among others.
My conclusion with Brian Xanders as GM of the Denver Broncos is I simply don't know. I certainly like Brian Xanders, probably more than most regular commenters here on POD. I do think it's more than coincidence that wherever he goes the team improves it's Drafting, especially in the later rounds, but I have nothing to back this up, as he never has the final say. The Broncos 2011 Draft was very good, and they have improved drastically since Xanders was promoted to GM in 2009. Would love to hear from each of you, your opinions and thoughts.