Personnel File: Denver Broncos


Personnel leader – John Elway and head coach John Fox. Elway re-joined the organization earlier this year and his position is far more than ceremonial. He’s involved with personnel and evaluation and was a big force during the 2011 NFL Draft. Fox has a big say so in what goes down with the roster and Elway has differed to his head coach’s thoughts and recommendations more often than not.

Key aides – General manager Brian Xanders (18 seasons in NFL), director of college scouting Matt Russell (10), director of pro personnel Keith Kidd (17).

Personnel department – 15 people, with one person identified as a national scout and seven area scouts.

Personnel philosophy – Before the current setup, with Elway and Fox, the Broncos were all over the place in what they were trying to do in building their roster. Most recent head coach Josh McDaniels came in with Xanders and they spent a lot of money and time on unrestricted free agents, while struggling to produce contributing draft classes. In his final seasons, Mike Shanahan made a host of personnel mistakes, especially in the draft.

Salary cup status – As of the middle of October, the Broncos had more than $24 million available under the salary cap for the 2011 season.

Big money contracts – DE Elvis Dumervil, 6-year, $61.5 million; CB Champ Bailey, 4-year, $43 million; LB D.J. Williams, 6-year, $32 million; LB Von Miller, 4-year, $21 million.

Soon to be available/starters & key performers without 2012 contracts – QBs Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, WR Eddie Royal, LB Joe Mays, FB Spencer Larsen, P Britton Colquitt, DT Broderick Bunkley.

ROSTER THIS WEEK (starters in bold)

Draft choices (22)

1st-round (7) – OLB D.J. Williams (2004), LT Ryan Clady (2008), DE Robert Ayers (2009), RB Knowshon Moreno (2009), QB Tim Tebow (2010), WR Demaryius Thomas (2010), OLB Von Miller (2011).

2nd-round (4)WR Eddie Royal (2008), LG Zane Beadles (2010), RT Orlando Franklin (2011), FS Rahim Moore (2011).

3rd-round (3)WR Eric Decker (2010), C J.D. Walton (2010), MLB Nate Irving (2011).

4th-round (5)DE Elvis Dumervil (2006), DT Marcus Thomas (2007), SS David Bruton (2009), FS Quinton Carter (2011), TE Julius Thomas (2011).

5th-round (1)RG Chris Kuper (2006).

6th-round (1)FB Spencer Larsen (2008).

7th-round (1) – TE Virgil Green (2011).

Draft overview – There has not been any consistency in the Broncos drafting over the last eight years. The 2003 draft class produced little in the way of long term contributions. The next year brought LB D.J. Williams. In the 2005 draft, Shanahan got CB Darrent Williams, who was tragically murdered on New Year’s Eve 2007. In the 2006 Draft, the Broncos bounced back with Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil as their first four choices. Only Dumervil remains with the Broncos; the other three were traded away. The 2007 draft class produced only DT Marcus Thomas, but in 2008 in his last draft, Shanahan was able to capture LT Ryan Clady, WR Eddie Royal, plus FB Spencer Larsen. They also drafted Peyton Hillis who was later dealt to Cleveland. In two drafts, McDaniels landed Moreno and Ayers in 2009 and then Tebow, Beadles, Walton and Decker in the 2010 Draft. The Broncos have struggled to get anything of rounds No. 5 through 7, just three players on the roster from the bottom of the draft order.

Trades (6)

CB Champ Bailey (2004), QB Kyle Orton (2009), G Russ Hochstein (2009), QB Brady Quinn (2010), MLB Joe Mays (2010), NT Brodrick Bunkley (2011)

Trade overview – Shanahan dealt RB Clinton Portis for Bailey, in a move that benefitted both teams. Orton was part of the deal that sent Cutler to the Bears. They traded Hillis for Quinn, who has produced nothing since he landed in Denver. For Marshall and Scheffler in separate deals, Denver got a pair of second-round picks and a fifth rounder.

Unrestricted free agents (3)

SS Brian Dawkins (2009), CB Andre Goodman (2009), LS Lonnie Paxton (2009).

College free agents (4)

LB Wesley Woodyard (2008), P Britton Colquitt (2009), CB Cassius Vaughn (2010), CB Chris Harris (2011).

Street free agents (16)

K Matt Prater (2007), LB Mario Hagan (2008), DT Ryan McBean (2008), WR Matthew Willis (2008), DT Mitch Unrein (2010), DE Jason Hunter (2010), RB Lance Ball (2010), WR Quan Cosby (2011), TE Dante Rosario (2011), DE Derrick Harvey (2011), CB Jonathan Wilhite (2011), RB Willis McGahee (2011), TE Daniel Fells (2011), OL Manny Ramirez (2011), OT Tony Hills (2011), SS Rafael Bush (2011).

Free-agent overview – They signed 14 UFAs in the 2009 off-season and the only ones remaining are Dawkins, Goodman and Paxton. They’ve had limited luck with street free agents, before 2011. They have nine SFAs that were signed this year, including a pair of starters in McGahee and Fells. They’ve had limited luck developing undrafted college players.

Waivers (2)

OT Chris Clark (2010), FB Quinn Johnson (2011).

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