McDaniels Having No Luck With Draft Picks

robert ethanCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Wide receiver Eric Decker of Minnesota watches drills after deciding not to participate  during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Josh McDaniels didn't get much out of his first draft as an NFL head coach,mainly due to a lack of performance on the part of virtually all of his 2009 class. The one player who did contribute as a rookie, Knowshon Moreno, is now out with injury as he prepares for his second season in the league. The other 2009 first rounder, Robert Ayers, has been up and down in camp so far. High second round pick a year ago, Alphonso Smith, (who came at the cost of the #14 overall pick in this year's draft) shows no signs of being anything other than a very expensive mistake. Same case for another expensive acquisition in the 2009 draft, Richard Quinn. The jury is still out on Ayers, but Smith and Quinn show no signs of being anything other than mediocre depth players.

Josh famously went out on a limb in 2010 with most of his early round picks. Top pick DeMaryius Thomas was on crutches with a broken left foot at the time of the draft. Which is pretty much where he is today. Same foot. Tim Tebow was taken as a longer term project, and that is what he remains. Third on the depth chart and likely to remain there for the foreseeable future. Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton are seeing front line duty, but out of necessity, not through any exceptional play on their part. If those two are starting on opening night, the team is in trouble on the offensive side of the ball. Hopefully they won't be needed much longer as injured vets return. Eric Decker's career looks to be in jeopardy at this point in time. Not only has he re-injured the slow healing Lisfranc fracture of his left foot, but an MRI revealed a long term high ankle sprain as well. Look for Eric in next year's training camp, but not before that. But again, Decker was in that situation when the Broncos drafted him. Healthy he is an asset to the team, otherwise, it's another third round pick down the toilet.

Many people seem to think that McDaniel's success and career potential rides on Tim Tebow, but I think much more so, it probably rides on the health of Thomas and Decker. If their pre-existing injuries prove to be chronic and debilitating, it will be very difficult for McDaniels to retain credibility. At the very least it becomes the second strike after a wasteful 2009 draft.