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Old 01-29-2008   #1
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Default Mile High report:NPLB Day 1 Difference Makers: DT

http://www.milehighreport.com/story/2008/1/29/187/28847

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I asked them, "What's the verdict on recent first day projections coming into the league and making a difference for their teams in just their first or second years?" Well, this reduced the information load significantly, but it was still intimidating. I pressed the analysts further: "Let's only consider certain positions, at this point. Like positions that seem likely to be targeted by Denver. And lets not worry about looking back too far...2005 would give us essentially two classes to reference, and a third to half-reference." ...xx shuffle, shuffle xx... Ahh, that's better. Several small, manageable piles of data. I herded the NPLB analysts back under the stairs and gave them an extra cookie for their hard work, then sat down to make some sense of their endeavors.

This is not an attempt to grade past draft classes. This is an attempt to reasonably assess the potential of certain prospects to have a decisive impact within their first two years. The following is a look at what some of 2008's top prospects have in common with recent first day prospects and picks at various positions, starting at DT. With any luck, perhaps Denver will be able to land one or more of these "Difference Makers."
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Overview

Travis Johnson was considered the best prospect in 2005 going away, and Houston seemed to agree, taking him at #16, a full 12 picks before another DT was selected. Ngata was considered tops in 2006, but leading up to the combine, and then as the draft neared, the quiet, unassuming Bunkley began to move up people's boards. By the time draft day rolled around he had displaced Ngata at the top of most people's lists. That didn't stop the Ravens from taking Ngata at #12, followed two picks later by Bunkley going to the Eagles. Amobi Okoye, formerly a teammate of DOOM's at Louisville, found himself trying to overcome many of the same obstacles that DOOM had to, namely being undersized at his position. Despite this, he actually drew comparisons to the incomparable Reggie White, for "fire and energy'. Indeed. Good enough for the Texans, who selected the 'youngest ever at anything' Okoye 10th overall and six picks ahead of the next closest DT.

Impact!

Back-to-back-to-back picks spent on D-line HAD to have an impact for the Texans, who also selected DE Mario Williams #1 overall in 2006. But in terms of impact, it was Okoye in 2007 that truly was a great rookie impact, starting every game last year for the Texans and breaking Mario's one year old rookie sack record with 5.5 sacks. Travis Johnson, while solid, has not had the same level of impact with them.

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Old 01-29-2008   #2
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Default Re: Mile High report:NPLB Day 1 Difference Makers: DT

The way it is written you'd think that this guy thought Amobi Okoye was the second coming of <great defensive tackle>.

In all honesty, I think Amobi could really be a scary pass-rushing DT but I don't know if he'll ever be any kind of "stout" against the run.
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Old 01-30-2008   #3
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Default Re: Mile High report:NPLB Day 1 Difference Makers: DT

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
The way it is written you'd think that this guy thought Amobi Okoye was the second coming of <great defensive tackle>.

In all honesty, I think Amobi could really be a scary pass-rushing DT but I don't know if he'll ever be any kind of "stout" against the run.
The coaching staff had nice things to say about his run stuffing performance early in the year after looking at coaches tape.

Hard to say how much Okoye's neck bothered him in the second part of the year. They didn't talk about it.
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Old 01-30-2008   #4
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Default Re: Mile High report:NPLB Day 1 Difference Makers: DT

TJ made tremendous improvement after Kubes had a private talk with him. Mario, healthy, had an awesome sophomore year and no reason to think Okoye won't improve in a like manner. We have strong safety and LBs to slow the run and we as fans constantly harp on disrupting the QB. If we re-sign Demps and have him as starter for game one and then thrown in Bennett from game one with his new confidence, our D has to be better. I think a CB will be added to replace DR one way or another. I could also see a FA OLB added to the mix.
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