Mile High Mailbag: NFL Combine Edition

In the latest edition of the Mile High Mailbag, MHH Lead Analyst Chad Jensen answers questions regarding the Broncos approach in the NFL draft.

Indianapolis, IN--Welcome to the Mile High Mailbag, where we answer your burning Denver Broncos questions via social media. If you have a question, make sure you're following MHH on these various social media sites--just hit us up.

Our first question comes from Chance V. via our Facebook page. Q: Do you believe the Broncos will trade up, down or stay with their first round pick in the draft?

The answer to this questions depends entirely on the flow of the first round and how the picks fall. However, in the four drafts General Manager John Elway has under his belt, he traded out of the first round entirely in one of them.

In 2012, he traded the No. 25 pick to the New England Patriots for the No. 31, in exchange for their No. 126 overall pick. From there, the Broncos traded out of the first round altogether, acquiring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 36 and No. 101 overall picks, in exchange for the Broncos No. 31 and No. 126 picks.

The Broncos were willing to wheel and deal because the guy they wanted, Derek Wolfe, they fully believed would be there at pick No. 36. And he was. Elway ultimately acquired the player he wanted, plus an additional draft pick along the way, which they used to select cornerback Omar Bolden (101). NFL Combine Coverage
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The Broncos currently hold the No. 28 pick in the first round. They are in a position where they need help on the offensive line, at safety, tight end and inside linebacker. This draft class is replete with talented first-round quality offensive tackles.

I don't think they'll have to trade up to acquire a player who could immediately start at right tackle, or even center or left guard. Possible picks at No. 28 could be T.J. Clemmings (Pitt), Ty Sambrailo (CSU), Cameron Erving (FSU), Cedric Ogbuehi (TA & M), Reese Dismukes (AUB) or even Laken Tomlinson (Duke).

If several of these guys are still on the board at No. 28, the Broncos could choose to trade back, provided there are offers on the table. I don't see any reason for the Broncos to trade up though, based on their needs and the quality of depth in this class. Trading down is definitely a possibility, but ultimately, I see the Broncos standing pat at pick No. 28.

The next question comes from Nick W. via our Facebook page. Q: Will the Broncos select a tight end with their first pick or will they go for a OL?

To be frank, I don't see the Broncos drafting a tight end in the first round. Maxx Williams is a phenomenal athlete and a weapon in the passing game, but the Broncos are looking for tight ends who can do more than that.


Williams is the only TE I can see going in the first round but he's a below average blocker, and with the Broncos switch to Gary Kubiak's zone blocking scheme, they will have a new commitment to running the ball. The Broncos need tight ends who can block and catch, but all things being equal, they'll lean more towards capable blockers.

Even if the Broncos were high on Williams, it's unlikely he'll be available at pick No. 28. I see him going somewhere between the No. 15 pick to the early 20s. The Broncos biggest need is on the offensive line. I would be shocked if they didn't go OL in the first round.

Our last question comes from Drew M. via our Facebook page. Q: With Kubiak saying the offense will use a fullback, do you see Juwan Thompson possibly moving there, or targeting one in the draft/free agency?

Thompson can play fullback in a pinch, but not in the way that Kubiak prefers. I'm sure they'll acquire a rookie fullback, but not in the draft. A guy like Alabama's Jalston Fowler projects well as a NFL FB, but there's no need to expend a draft pick on him.

More likely, the Broncos will sign an undrafted rookie free agent to come in and compete with a player signed via free agency. Jerome Felton and Henry Hynoski are both unrestricted free agents, but the guy the Broncos should target is "the Terminator" John Connor. And he can be had on a very team-friendly deal.

Chad Jensen is the Publisher and Lead Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen and on Google+.

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