The second day of the NFL Scouting Combine had the offensive skill positions hit the field--the wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks. Not everyone invited to the Combine participated in the on-field workouts, so I will just be looking at the ones who did. Just like with the notebook from day one, I will look at who had good or bad days, how it could affect their draft stock, and how that affects the Broncos.
First up are the top three wide receivers, Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker. All three had great workouts, and checked off all the boxes from their tape. Before the Combine, I projected that all three would be gone before the Broncos pick at No. 28. Afterwards, there is no doubt that they will be gone by then.
Small school receiver Tre McBride answered a lot of concerns at the Senior Bowl, and he continued that trend at the Combine. On film, he doesn’t look to possess top end speed, but his 4.41 40-yard dash time says otherwise. In my Broncos mock, I had them taking McBride in the middle rounds to contribute as a returner right away. With his Combine showing, his draft stock may have risen some, but he's still a mid-round pick and one the Broncos should look at.
Big-bodied Georgia Tech receiver Darren Waller had a great Combine, and it was reported that the Broncos met with him and talked to him about moving to tight end. Waller is a late round pick after his Combine showing.
A player similar to Waller in being a big-bodied receiver getting looked at to move to tight end is Devin Funchess. Funchess is an athletic freak, and it showed during the drills. However, on tape, he had issues catching the easy passes but had no problem making the more difficult grabs.
While there were no difficult passes to catch, Funchess dropped some of the easy ones. He has a second round grade from me, but probably will go in the first round. If he is there at No. 28, he may be an option for the Broncos, with the intent of moving him to tight end.
Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett showcased his speed, athleticism and quickness at the Combine. He started by running a 4.33 40-yard dash, and continued having a good showing as the day went on.
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One major concern with Dorsett are his hands. He did not drop many last Saturday, but he did have a few throughout the day, which goes with his inconsistent hands on tape. Dorsett is a small slot receiver who can also have an impact on special teams as a returner. His stock is on the rise, and may go before the Broncos are looking to take a receiver.
Probably the most physically gifted receiver in the draft is Dorial Green-Beckham, but he comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage. Dorial had an excellent showing at the Combine, one that would solidify him as one of the top receivers, but the off-the-field issues will cause him to fall. He may be there at No. 28 for the Broncos, but he's unlikely to be an option, unless something falls apart and the Broncos do not end up using the franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas. Even then, the off-the-field issues probably keep him off of their board.
A few of the receivers had a case of the dropsies during drills. Sammie Coates is another physically gifted receiver, but struggles to consistently catch the ball. It showed on tape and, while he ran a perfect gauntlet, he dropped easy passes in other drills. Vince Mayle struggled to catch passes consistently in every drill, including two or three drops on each of his two gauntlet runs. The drops will hurt their draft stock, and likely lower them farther down the Broncos draft board.
A couple of under-the-radar receivers, Chris Conley and Kenny Bell, both had really good showings at the Combine. Conley tested out remarkably well in the athleticism evals, and showed great in the position drills. Conley exhibits the traits of being a possession receiver at the NFL level.
Bell tested out more balanced than Conley did. He did great on the athleticism tests and position drills. Right now, Bell is just a deep threat at the NFL level, who has a lot to work on to be anything more. Both prospects may be on the Broncos radar as a receiver in the mid-late rounds.
That really wraps up the receivers. They were a well-balanced group in their workouts, with few really separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Also, the Broncos are good at receiver, as long as Demaryius Thomas is brought back.
Next up are the quarterbacks. This is a bad year to be needing a quarterback, and thankfully for the Broncos, they don’t have a need to draft one this year, if Peyton Manning ends up coming back. The Broncos have Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert as the backups, both of whom are unknown quantities if they end up needing to start. But a rookie quarterback would be no different.
Only two quarterbacks had a noteworthy day, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. The rest were a mixed bag, showing that they were collectively raw NFL projects. If the Broncos were to look at drafting a quarterback, someone like Brandon Bridge, or Jerry Lovelocke in the late rounds would fit. Both are projects, but the Broncos can afford to spend at least one year working with them, while they are on the practice squad.
Bryce Petty out of Baylor is one that many draftniks like a lot. His showing at the Combine was exactly what I saw on tape and why I have him lower on my draft board. He was inconsistent from throw to throw. Not just with accuracy, but with footwork and throwing motion. Some have him as a third or fourth round pick, I have him as a late fifth round pick.
If the Broncos are looking to take a quarterback, Petty might be an option. At the Senior Bowl, it was reported that the Broncos had interest in the Baylor quarterback. One other thing with Petty is the condition of his back. There are some medical red flags with it, but teams are aware of them.
The running back position is another one the Broncos are pretty much set at. C.J. Anderson really broke onto the scene in 2014, earning a Pro Bowl berth. Montee Ball, who battled a groin injury in 2014, is still unknown but he ended the 2013 season playing well.
The offense is returning to a zone running scheme, which Ball spent his entire college career in, as well as the 2013 season. Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson round out the top-four for Denver, but they also have Jeremy Stewart and Kapri Bibbs.
One running back I was excited to watch was David Cobb out of Minnesota, but when finishing up his first 40-yard dash run, he got hurt and was unable to complete the rest of the drills. He was carrying a third round grade from me, due to tape, and likely won’t fall because of the hamstring, unless it is more severe than believed. Unless that fall does happen, it is unlikely the Broncos take him, even though he would be a good fit in the offense.
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah had a disappointing day. He ran a slower 40-time than was expected and did not look as quick during the position drills, as he does on tape. This caused me to go back and look at the film. He still carries a second round grade, despite not testing well. He will likely be gone before the Broncos are willing to take a running back.
Out of the top two running backs in the class, only Melvin Gordon worked out. Todd Gurley did not, due to injury. Gordon had a good day, but might even be gone before Denver picks in the first round. If not, its hard to see Denver taking a running back that early. As for Gurley, even though he is hurt, he still will go high in the draft. He is right there with Gordon, in terms of Denver selecting him.
The fullbacks are where I paid really close attention, and Jalston Fowler looked the best of a good group. He was surprisingly nimble in the position drills, but when I learned he played running back, it made sense. He showed solid hands at the Combine, and it showed on tape as well. He is the highest rated fullback and carries a fourth round grade. With the Broncos needing a fullback, he will be one to watch around that point in the draft.
Another player that makes some sense is Zach Zenner. Zenner had a great showing at the Combine and looked great in the position drills. However, Zenner is a running back/fullback hybrid, who can play either position, depending on the situation. The Broncos need a true fullback, and they have a hybrid already in Juwan Thompson.
Even though he had disappointing hands, Joey Iosefa, out of Hawaii, had a solid day at the Combine. His tape shows that he can catch the ball, but that wasn’t showcased at the Combine. Iosefa is the prototypical fullback, unathletic, but plays with strength and power. He best attribute is his blocking. He carries a late round/priority free agent grade, which makes him a value to the Broncos in that range.