Most mock drafts nowadays seem to have Denver taking Rolando McClain and it is certainly realistic. McClain seems like the most logical intersection of value and need at the #11 spot in most mocks for the Broncos. Nonetheless, its less obvious that Denver will end up taking McClain than the mocks would suggest, for a few reasons:
-They already have DJ Williams. Yes, Denver runs a 3-4, but not all 3-4 defenses need to have 2 high-end ILBs. Some 3-4 variants prefer to use the 2nd MLB (the Ted) in more of a DT-like role, soaking up blockers while the Mike collects the tackles. If Denver prefers that setup they won't bother to waste a high Round 1 pick on McClain, particularly because:
-There are trades in the real draft. In reality, if Denver doesn't want McClain and doesn't like the mix of players available in that spot, McDaniels will just trade down. Of course, that seems unlikely, given that McDaniels' first draft demonstrated that:
-He has a weird taste in players - the mock draft consensus did an awful job of predicting who Denver took last year. Knowshon Moreno at #12 for a teams with innumerable holes on defense? Robert Ayers at #18, which was probably 10 spots higher than most mocks had him going? Alphonso Smith in Round 2 might have been a consensus choice, but trading his 2010 first round pick for Smith was a very surprising move. (#11 came to them from Chicago in the Cutler trade). More than anything, the Smith trade is proof that:
-McDaniels falls in love with players and does what it takes to get them. Its entirely possible that he has fallen in love with McClain and is taking him - I honestly have no idea. But I say that Denver is one of the most unpredictable teams in the draft. Its not even a 50-50 chance in my eyes that they take McClain if he is on the board, perceived "value" and perceived "need" be damned.
(No, this really isn't pure optimism, I think....)