Broncos Employing "Short Board" Approach

Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post has an excellent look at the "short board" draft philosophy the New England Patriots have used under Bill Belichick, and that Josh McDaniels has instituted with the Denver Broncos.

Scott Pioli has brought the philosophy to the Kansas City Chiefs, as well.

"It's a process Belichick has used to build a three-time Super Bowl champion. Some who have worked with Belichick said there were years when the Patriots had as few as 25 names on their draft board.

The trick, as Belichick said, is to 'get the right players in the right spot.'
It's a highly disciplined approach. McDaniels tried to replicate it last spring in his first draft as Broncos coach, with mixed results."

To be fair to McDaniels--yes, I'm capable of being fair to the man I refer to as "Mini-Mangini"--it's far too early to make any judgments of the Broncos' 2009 draft class. If Darcel McBath and Alphonso Smith are full-time starters in 2011, and Robert Ayers steps up his game in 2010, they'll have hit on their most important draft picks from McDaniels and Brian Xanders' first draft class.

The Patriots' draft classes haven't always been stellar (2006-07, for example), but what the Patriots have done in recent years that may take time for teams like Kansas City and Denver to replicate is stockpiling high-round draft picks in future drafts. Belichick has been able to trade expendable veterans with limited futures in New England to give the Patriots remarkable flexibility in future drafts.

Yes, Denver acquired multiple picks for Jay Cutler, and appear headed towards adding a second-round pick for Brandon Marshall, but those are Pro Bowl-caliber building blocks McDaniels is swapping for unknowns.

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