In NFL cities across the nation, people are waking up to newspaper, Internet and radio analysis suggesting that there’s a lesson for teams in Denver’s overwhelming Super Bowl 50 victory:
Make sure you draft phenomenally good defensive players.
Thanks for that.
The real lesson in the Broncos’ 24-10 demolition of the Panthers is that there isn’t a lesson. Of course it’s important to grow your team through the draft. But it’s vital to pick great players. That’s the challenge for general managers, including the Bears’ Ryan Pace. To build a dominant team, they have be good enough and lucky enough to hit a lot of home runs, to borrow from baseball.
Or, to keep the hardball imagery going, they can’t whiff by drafting Shea McClellin, Jon Bostic, Major Wright and Chris Conte.
You might think that calling out the Bears’ McClellin, et al, is unduly harsh, but it’s only so if you fail to understand that the NFL, by definition, is unduly harsh. It’s a business built around winning games. Everything else is packaging.
Look at Denver’s recent draft history on defense:
— Von Miller, Super Bowl 50’s MVP, was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft.
— In 2012, the Broncos took defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson in the second and fifth rounds, respectively, and found linebacker Danny Trevathan in the sixth round.
— Nose tackle Sylvester Williams was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2013.
They also signed cornerback Chris Harris as a rookie free agent in 2011.
Oh, here’s another suggestion: If you can sign a future Hall of Famer like DeMarcus Ware through free agency, do so. He had two sacks, four quarterback hits and two tackles for loss Sunday.
That’s not a template. That’s a Dream Team. It’s why the Broncos’ defensive performance throughout the playoffs is being compared favorably to the 1985 Bears’ pillaging of the postseason. Denver was that good. Ask the aching bodies of Cam Newton and Tom Brady.
How do you build a Super Bowl defense? Draft Von Miller. Add some other great players. Stir.