Omar Bolden

Draft Grades: Denver Broncos

By signing Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos gave themselves a three-year window in which they can make a serious run at the Super Bowl. But their selections in this draft class raise some questions about the direction this franchise is headed.

Derek Wolfe was a reach in the early 2nd round. John Fox was clearly looking for a penetrating three-technique tackle but, while Wolfe is a decent athlete for his size, he lacks the consistency to warrant such a high pick. He’ll be plugged into a starting role immediately, but I question his ability to be effective. There were better options, such as Kendall Reyes, on the board.

The Brock Osweiler selection baffles me. For starters, it’s a reach in the 2nd round. He is a purely developmental prospect who needs significant work on this motion and his decision making ability. But what really concerns me is that fact that the Broncos used an early pick on Manning’s replacement when they could have added a playmaker to help Manning in his pursuit of of Super Bowl title.

The selection of Ronnie Hillman has drawn criticism from some, but I’m on board with the pick. Yes, there were better running backs still on the board, but the Broncos weren’t looking for starter here. They’re comfortable with another season of Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, meaning Hillman will be relied upon as a change-of-pace back, and he’s more than capable of filling that role.

Omar Bolden is an injury risk, but I like the gamble in the 4th round. If healthy, he has an excellent chance to win the nickel corner job and could develop into a quality starter down the road.

Phillip Blake will be given an opportunity to compete with J.D. Walton for the starting job at center. And if Walton’s performance from 2011 continues, Blake will have an excellent chance to win the job. He could prove to be a steal in the 4th round.

Malik Jackson is another prospect who could prove to be a late-round steal. I only had him rated slightly lower than Derek Wolfe, and two prospects are similar in many ways. He primarily played both tackle and end at Tennessee, but is better suited to stay inside in Denver’s 4-3 defense.

Danny Trevathan was a playmaker at Kentucky and an extremely productive collegiate linebacker. However, he’s undersized and lacks the athleticism to make up for it. His upside is limited, but he has a decent chance to make the Broncos roster based on his potential to contribute on special teams.

Overall, this was a disappointing haul for the Broncos. They didn’t make too many extreme reaches, but they also failed to add immediate help for Manning. Even if Osweiler proves to be the heir apparent to Manning, if they won’t win during the Manning era, we’ll have to wonder if they missed an opportunity to upgrade the talent around him with that selection.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012 2 Comments

Omar Bolden scouting report

Omar Bolden CB Arizona State #3
Ht: 5’10″

Wt: 202

Good overall build; fairly strong and can hold his own in press coverage. A solid all-around athlete.  Looks very fluid in his backpedal. Smooth hips to turn and run with receivers. Does a nice job turning to track the ball in the air. Shows the ability to read the quarterback and anticipate in zone coverage – good sign for his potential move to safety later in career. Willing to play the run. Fairly reliable tackler; shows good technique in most situations. Experienced returning kicks. Team leader on and off the field with plenty of experience against top competition.
Suffered a torn ACL in 2009 and again in 2011. Speed is average at best; may eventually need to switch to free safety as he slows down with age. Trusts his athleticism too much and will get sloppy at times. Below-average ball skillls; does a nice job turning his head to play the ball, but struggles to put himself in position to make plays and doesn’t come down with many interceptions that aren’t gift wrapped. Probably won’t return kicks at next level due to injury concerns and lack of speed. Does well tackling in tight spaces, but doesn’t make many plays in the open field.
If not for the knee injuries, Bolden would probably be considered a 2nd or 3rd-round prospect. However, given his modest speed and the fact that he’s returning from a knee injury which caused him to miss the entire 2011 seasons, it’s tough to justify taking him before Day 3 of the draft. There’s a lot to like about his game when healthy, but the knee injuries raise some serious concerns about his ability to play at the next level. If he can stay healthy, however, he could make a solid nickel corner. He lacks elite speed, but he’s quick and smart and should be able to handle receivers in the slot, especially against west coast offenses.
2010 vs California
2010 vs Oregon 


Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

Patriots showing interest in cornerbacks

The New England Patriots lack of depth in the secondary forced them to turn to a couple of receivers to play on the defensive side of the ball this past season, so it should come as no surprise that the team is doing its homework on some cornerback prospects for the upcoming draft.

The Patriots may be willing to roll the dice on the injury-plagued Bolden.

Most mock drafts have linked the Patriots to a cornerback (or two) with their four 1st and 2nd round picks. But since they’re looking for depth more than just one playmaker, they don’t necessarily need to spend a high pick on the position.

The Patriots have reportedly scheduled pre-draft visits with LSU cornerback Ron Brooks and Omar Bolden of Arizona State.

Both prospects should come off the board no earlier than the 3rd round, but could each compete for playing time immediately in the Patriots secondary.

Bolden could be of particular interest to the Patriots, who aren’t afraid to gamble on prospects with high upside. Bolden’s stock has fallen considerably after missing most of the 2008 and all of the 2011 season with injuries. But when healthy, Bolden, who was a starter since his freshman year at Arizona State, has shown legitimate starter potential.

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Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Patriots Comments Off