|Shanahan provides rare glimpse into pre-draft thinking|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 27 April 2007 14:58|
DENVER (AP) -The Denver Broncos always prided themselves on how secretive they were in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft. They wouldn't talk to anybody, not even some of the players they planned to pick and certainly not to the reporters looking for insight into whom the team had its eyes on.|
This year, the league said all teams had to talk before the draft, so there was coach Mike Shanahan before the cameras and microphones Friday.
``I like it,'' Shanahan said when asked about the new media policy. ``You're trying to get me in trouble already.''
Question No. 1: Who are you going to draft?
``OK, that will be it,'' Shanahan cracked. ``Any other questions?''
Although he didn't share any trade secrets, Shanahan provided a rare glimpse into the thinking behind his offseason moves and draft plans.
He even acknowledged that the Broncos had a deal in place after the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February to obtain Detroit's No. 2 selection - and a shot at Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, widely regarded as the most talented player in the draft - but the Lions scuttled the deal after taking a night to sleep on it.
Shanahan said the Broncos, who own the 21st selection, will see what happens Saturday before deciding to stay put or move up or down in the draft. The Broncos have four of the top 86 picks in rounds 1-3, and on Sunday they own two sixth-rounders and a seventh, but nothing - yet - in the fourth and fifth rounds.
``I think you always need quality. If you can get both quality and quantity, I think you really have a great draft,'' Shanahan said. ``I think we got both last year, quality and quantity. You're hoping that you can do that this year.
``And every time you draft people, everybody talks about position needs. Specifics. But what you need is people to make your 45-man roster.''
Shanahan said he anticipates D.J. Williams moving over from outside linebacker to replace perennial Pro Bowler and captain Al Wilson, who was waived this month because of his big salary and neck injury that could end his career. Nate Webster is a leading candidate to take over for Williams on the outside, although nothing is settled.
``We've got nine guys right now and what we're going to try to do is find out who the best three are,'' Shanahan said. ``We've got a little bit different type system with our linebackers this year than we've had in the past, a little bit more man-coverage type scheme than we've had in the past, so it will be interesting to see who really steps up and earns a position.''
Shanahan said it was difficult to part with Wilson and he has no inkling about whether he'll play again.
``I really don't know. I don't think Al knows right now, after I had a talk with Al and I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about it, but I'm hoping he's all right,'' Shanahan said.
Shanahan also said:
-He thought this year's schedule wasn't as tough as last year's.
-He sees a lot of quality return men in the draft although there's plenty on his roster already, including Domenik Hixon, who missed all of last season with a leg injury, Brandon Marshall and Dre' Bly.
-He sees a deep talent pool at defensive line and safety, two of his team's biggest needs, and at wide receiver.
-Javon Walker is working hard in the offseason program although he's still struggling with the slaying of Darrent Williams, who died in his arms in a limousine after they left a New Year's Eve party.
-He thinks the Broncos addressed some pressing offseason needs already with the signings of cornerback Bly, tight end Daniel Graham, running back Travis Henry, quarterback Patrick Ramsey and guard Montrae Holland.
-He's glad former San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer is no longer in the AFC West.
-He's excited about his five-year contract extension but feels job security is reserved for those who win championships.
-Marshall's recent domestic dispute case didn't hurt him in the organization's eyes but that Shanahan spoke with the second-year wide receiver about ``how you have to handle yourself.''
-He trusted that Henry and punter Todd Sauerbrun, who have both run afoul of the league's drug policy, would stay out of further trouble.
Shanahan downplayed rumors that he's talking with the Houston Texans about moving up to 10th in the draft Saturday, but acknowledged he had tried to move up to No. 2.
``The last time we talked to Detroit was one week after the combine, so with all the rumors and speculation that goes on, you can see how once that snowball starts going, it just starts going,'' Shanahan said.
``It's amazing to me what people find out. We were trying to move up. We talked to Detroit, and actually had the deal done and the next day they decided they didn't want to do it,'' Shanahan said. ``Those types of things do happen, and I think it's great for TV. People are interested in who you're going to draft, and if you do move up or move back. I'm not really sure how it hits the press. Obviously it leaked from someplace. It didn't come from our organization, but those things do happen, and when they happen, hey, you address it.''
Now that he's talking before the draft, that is.
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