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Pre-Draft Crumbs

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Pryce Drop The Denver Post reports Sunday that the Broncos still hope to find a taker for DE Trevor Pryce. The paper suggested that the Broncos will release him if a partner is not found. Denver is concerned that division rivals San Diego, Oakland and Kansas City will pursue Pryce if he is released. It wants to keep Pryce out of its division. A trade seems unlikely to me, even if the Broncos dropped their trade demands to a low second day pick. Pryce has a cap number of $10 million this year. Any team trading for him would have to take on this huge deal. All interested teams are probably waiting for Pryce to become a free agent, so that they can start negotiations cleanly.

Some posters on this group have wondered if Denver "knows something" about Pryce's condition, since they seem willing to swap him for Ebenezer Ekuban, Courtney Brown and Mike Myers. None of these players have come close to Pryce's career production. Consider the flip side of the deal that brought Ekuban and Myers to Denver; the Broncos sent productive RB Rueben Droughns to the Browns for them. His place in the Denver backfield was filled when the Broncos signed Ron Dayne this week. Now, Broncos officials swear Dayne is there for depth, and will start his Broncos career behind RBs Tatum Bell and Quentin Griffin. Nevertheless, he seems like a downgrade from Droughns, in the same way Ekuban is a downgrade from Pryce.

If Pryce's back injury was terminal, would Denver be trying so hard to keep its three division rivals from getting him? And if the Broncos front office was sane, would it be making deals like this?

Draft hint? Texas LB Derrick Johnson is one of the more intriguing players on the draft board. The top rated LB and the top rated defensive player on some draft service lists, he could go anywhere from Cleveland at pick 3 to New Orleans at pick 16. Charean Williams of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram reports that Johnson has scheduled pre-draft visits with the Texans, Panthers and Chiefs, the teams with the 13th, 14th and 15th picks respectively. Linebacker is a position that tends to fall on draft day. Are these visits a hint of an emerging league consensus on Johnson, that he's a player slotted for the 10-15 range, rather than the 5-10? Or is this simply a case of teams doing their due diligence, in the case they get lucky and have Johnson drop to them?

Perhaps there is a third explanation: is this a sign of three teams all interested in the same guy, which means one or more of them might be interested in trading up to get Johnson?