Just like my previous mock draft, a simulator was used to make the other 31 teams' selections, while I made picks based off of my board and research for the Denver Broncos. Also, the Broncos will have ten selections in this mock, due to the projected four compensatory picks headed their way. Compensatory picks will be officially revealed in a week or two.
One major difference between this mock and the last is that I ran through the simulation multiple times, so each selection will be followed by other options who are also likely to be avaliable at that spot.
1.28: D.J. Humphries
Offensive Tackle, Florida. 6-foot-5, 305 pounds
This Florida offensive linemen is rapidly rising up draft boards, which is helped by how well he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine. Humphries has potential to start at left tackle from day one in the NFL, as long as it is in the right scheme.
However, he may be better suited starting out at right tackle for a few years before being moved to left tackle. He has good size and moves really well. He has the athleticism, footwork and technique to excel in a zone blocking scheme. Denver making this pick would go a long way toward cementing their O-line for years to come.
Other options: Jake Fisher, offensive tackle, Oregon. Tall, long and athletic, Fisher has played in a zone blocking scheme in Oregon with great success. He would start out as a right tackle in Denver, but could eventually kick to left tackle, depending on what happens with Ryan Clady.
Arik Armstead, defensive linemen, Oregon. Armstead is a long athlete who is technically raw. At Oregon, Armstead played all over in their 3-4 defensive front. In Denver, he would provide depth at defensive end and even nose tackle in the one gap system. With Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe both set to hit the free agent market next year, Armstead also gives Denver options if either walk.
Nate Orchard, defensive end/linebacker, Utah. Orchard is a gifted athlete, with a solid technical base in his game. Orchard is a pass rusher who has struggled in defending the run, but he showed growth from 2013 to 2014. In Denver’s 3-4 defensive front, Orchard would stand up as an outside rush linebacker.
2.59: Hroniss Grasu
Center, Oregon. 6-foot-3, 297 pounds.
The center from Oregon is a smart, athletic player, who would fit excellently in a zone blocking offense. When it comes to technique, Grasu is raw, but a foundation is there that NFL coaches can take and use to help him grow. With Denver switching to a zone blocking scheme, Grasu fits like a glove.
Right now, center is still a concern with the Broncos as only Matt Paradis, a sixth round pick from the 2014 draft, is the only pure center on-roster. When it came to this selection, Grasu was the best player left on the board and filled a position of need, which made the selection an easy one.
Other options: Reese Dismukes, center, Auburn. Dismukes is a strong and athletic center, who should do well in any scheme. Like Grasu, Dismukes would provide a solid fit that could solidify the center position for years.
Preston Smith, defensive linemen, Mississippi State. While at Mississippi State, Smith was used all over the front seven. He lined up at every defensive linemen spot in a 3-4 and 4-3 front. He also saw snaps, though few, at every linebacker position in both fronts. He is as versatile as the come.
Ali Marpet, offensive linemen, Hobart. In college, Marpet played offensive tackle, but in the NFL he projects as an interior offensive linemen, capable of play guard or center. Marpet is athletically gifted and one of the most technically sound offensive linemen I have seen coming out of the draft in the last few years.
3.92: Grady Jarrett
Defensive Linemen, Clemson. 6-foot-1, 304 pounds.
At Clemson, Jarrett played nose tackle in a primarily one-gap 3-4 front, which is what Denver will run under Wade Phillips. Jarrett was successful in college and has the tools to be successful in the NFL. He has the quick first step and burst of the snap necessary to shoot the gap in the scheme. Denver does have Sylvester Williams and Marvin Austin to man the nose tackle position, but Jarrett adds depth there as well as a 5-tech defensive end.
Other options: Garrett Grayson, quarterback, Colorado State. The CSU quarterback has all the pieces, but he just needs coaching to put them together. He would battle with Brock Osweiler for the backup quarterback position and for the future starting gig, if Brock is re-signed after this year.
Benardrick McKinney, linebacker, Mississippi State. The Mississippi State linebacker is a big, tall and long linebacker who play with power against the run. However, he struggles in pass coverage, so he would be limited to a two-down run stopper with the Broncos. He would add size and depth behind Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall.
Cedric Ogbuehi, offensive tackle, Texas A&M. Ogbuehi is a tall, long and athletic offensive tackle, but has dealt with some injuries that didn’t help his draft stock. With the tools he has, he should fit in perfectly in a zone block offense, but will need coaching to help his pass protection.
4.Compensatory: Davis Tull
Linebacker, Tennessee-Chattanooga. 6-foot-2, 246 pounds.
Having receiving a fourth round compensatory pick, the Broncos pick up help in their edge rusher and inside linebacker corps. In college, Tull played as a defensive end in a 4-3 front, but in a 3-4 or 4-3 front, Tull projects as a linebacker. With Denver being a 3-4 front, he could help as an edge rusher, but also help inside when defending the run. He also has shown a high ceiling in coverage, which would help his draft stock.
Other options: Andy Gallik, center, Boston College. Like the other centers, Gallik would provide immediate help for now, and from now on.
Jalston Fowler, fullback, Alabama. Gary Kubiak runs an offense that utilizes a fullback often. The Broncos have options on-roster, but they are hybrid players. Fowler is a full-time fullback, which the Broncos may end up wanting, instead of a hybrid.
Markus Golden, linebacker, Missouri. The Broncos have depth at edge rusher more than many realize, but they are all question marks, which a rookie would be as well. Golden would provide another piece to compete for a backup rush linebacker position.
5 via Chicago: Tyler Kroft
Tight End, Rutgers. 6-foot-5, 246 pounds.
Being one of the more well-rounded tight ends in the class, Kroft’s draft stock will be on the rise. He is a tall and athletic player, and he shows it in the receiving game, to go along with good technique. He also works hard as a blocker and is effective. He has a solid foundation that just needs refinement.
In Kubiak’s offense, tight ends are key and Denver currently has four under contract for next year, but one of them is reportedly going to get looked at as a fullback. Adding another young tight end adds to their options now and provides an option for the future, once Owen Daniels' time in Denver is done.
Other options: Charles Gaines, cornerback, Louisville. Gaines is a tall and long corner who plays the run aggressively. His play style is similar to that of Aqib Talib, so adding Gaines for depth and for the opportunity to learn from Talib, would make sense for the future.
Laurence Gipson, offensive tackle, Virginia Tech. Gipson has all the tools needed of an offensive tackle in a zone block scheme, but he is a bit raw. Would take a year or two of coaching before getting a shot to start. If he adds a bit more strength, he could also play guard in a ZBS.
Robert Myers, offensive guard, Tennessee State. Myers is a technically gifted player, with athleticism to boot. Myers has the tools of being capable in any scheme as an offensive guard. He would add an option to solidify the offensive line for years, as well as competition for a starting spot next season.
5.164: Chris Conley
Wide Receiver, Georgia. 6-foot-2, 213 pounds.
A tall and long receiver, Conley gets separation with acceleration, but he does not have blazing speed. He can help an offense on the outside or inside from the slot. Conley has a high ceiling and can be a good contributor in an offense, but his floor isn’t that low. At worst, he is a solid fourth or fifth wide receiver option and special teams contributor.
With Denver, Conley would be the fourth or fifth receiver, but can be a big contributor down the road. Him being lower on the depth chart would help him out in the long run, as he can focus on improving what he needs to, without seeing much game time, until he is closer to being ready down the road.
Other options: Nick Boyle, tight end, Delaware. Boyle looks like Tarzan, but he plays like Jane. In the NFL he would need to toughen up and stick close to his coaches and soak up everything they say. Would be a solid depth option at both tight end and fullback.
Marten Ifedi, defensive linemen, Memphis. Ifedi would add to the Broncos 5-tech depth for their 3-4 scheme and can even contribute as a nose tackle on occasion. He is a run defender first and foremost, and would need coaching to improve his pass rush.
Henry Anderson, defensive linemen, Stanford. Like Ifedi, Anderson would provide depth on the defensive line, both as an end and nose tackle. He has a solid base in technique, but needs proper coaching to take it to the next level.
6.202: Adrian Amos
Safety, Penn State. 6-foot-0, 218 pounds.
Amos has the skill-set of an NFL free safety, but the size of a strong safety. He weighs in at 215+ pounds, but doesn’t move like it. Denver signed Darian Stewart, and Amos has a similar build, though the skill-set is a little different. Amos can handle coverage responsibilities, but doesn’t have the centerfielder style that is becoming the thing in the NFL.
He will stay in his zone, or stick with his man in coverage, depending on what he is asked to do. When it comes down to defending the run, he isn’t afraid of coming down and making contact. However, when asked to play in the box, Amos tends to disappear, as he gets swallowed up by blockers.
Other options: Ladarius Gunter, defensive back, Miami (FL). Gunter played cornerback in college, but he looks like an NFL safety with how he plays. His technique is raw, even for what college corners are taught today. Gunter could handle cornerback in the NFL, but likely projects better as a safety. His dual--style capabilities allows a defensive coordinator to leave him on the field.
Lorenzo Doss, cornerback, Tulane. Doss is a physical cornerback who is capable in man or zone, but he needs to be playing press-coverage. If he plays off-coverage and gets beaten off the snap, he will struggle to recover, due to speed limitations.
Kyle Emanuel, linebacker, North Dakota State. In college, Emanuel played as an edge rusher, both defensive end and outside linebacker. In the NFL, he may project better as a situational edge rusher, but primarily as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 front. He is a hard worker and will do whatever is asked of him. While at the Combine, before he did the drills, he was behind the group practicing the drill and working with the coaches to try and improve.
6.Compensatory: Jeff Luc
Linebacker, Cincinnati. 6-foot-1, 256 pounds.
Luc is a big, physical linebacker who excels when coming downhill. He is limited in what he can do in space, which limits his NFL impact. If a team is needing size and aggression in a two-down thumper, Luc in the late rounds is great value. In Denver’s 3-4 front, Luc would be lower on the depth chart, but could possibly see his action as a run stopper. Even if he doesn’t, he can contribute on special team’s right way.
Other options: Zach Wagenmann, linebacker, Montana. While at Montana, Wagenmann played defensive end, but he doesn’t have the size of an NFL defensive end in a 4-3 front, let alone the 3-4 front that Denver runs. He would play outside rush linebacker and provide depth behind DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Like Emanuel and Tull, however, Wagenmann may be better suited as an inside linebacker, though he doesn’t move as well in space as the other two do. He would be limited to a run defender on run downs and a rusher in passing downs.
6.Compensatory (2): Chris Bonner
Quarterback, Colorado State-Pueblo. 6-foot-6, 237 pounds.
With a new coaching staff, they may look to bring in a quarterback to compete with Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert for the spots behind Peyton Manning. Bonner has great arm strength and moves in the pocket really well. He also has the athleticism to take off if need be, but he looks for a receiving outlet before taking off. To be quite honest, when watching film on Chris Bonner, his play style reminded me a lot of how John Elway used to play the game.
The laser passes, how he moves around the pocket, all of it was very similar to John Elway. He isn’t as refined as Elway was, obviously, and its unlikely he ever plays in the NFL at the level Elway did. However, the play style is similar, but that doesn’t mean they will have similar career paths. Bonner would be a low-risk late round pick, who can be groomed for the future. In Kubiak’s offense, Bonner looks like he would be a natural fit.
Other options: James Sample, safety, Louisville. Sample has barely played football during college and is a raw, but talented prospect. He is capable of playing either safety position, but there are concerns about his desire to play the game.
Edmond Robinson, linebacker, Newberry. Robinson is as raw as the come, but he is naturally gifted. He got by in college with those gifts, but that won’t cut it in the NFL. Tall and long, Robinson could be a very disruptive player if he takes well to coaching. If not, he will be stuck to special teams or out of the league. A low risk, high reward type selection.
Eric Tomlinson, tight end, Texas-El Paso. Tomlinson was a complete tight end in college, but in the NFL he may be better suited as a fullback. At either position, he fits excellently into Gary Kubiak’s offense.
Louis Trinca-Pasat, defensive linemen, Iowa. As a defensive linemen, Trinca-Pasat is capable of playing anywhere on the defensive line in either front, though a one-gap scheme plays to his strengths more than a two-gap scheme. With depth a concern with the Broncos for this year and beyond, Trinca-Pasat as a late round selection would make a solid pickup.
7.Compensatory: Hunter Joyer
Fullback, Florida. 5-foot-11, 232 pounds.
As mentioned earlier, the Broncos have options on-roster at fullback, but all of them are hybrid players, who also can play tight end or running back. If they want a pure fullback, a final selection of Joyner fits perfectly. He is a capable lead blocker, who has soft hands as a receiver. He won’t “wow” anyone with the ball in his hands, but he doesn’t have to. He also can contribute on special teams right away.
Other options: Blake Bell, tight end, Oklahoma. Bell is a former quarterback who is now a raw tight end. As a late round selection, he is a low risk, high reward pick, which Denver could possibly sneak onto the practice squad to help him grow.
Gerald Christian, tight end, Louisville. Christian is a move tight end, who struggles to block. He would provide a pure receiving option as a tight end primarily in the slot and redzone.
Titus Davis, wide receiver, Central Michigan. Davis can play inside out outside, but he primarily looks like an NFL slot receiver. He is quick and long, but not fast. He wins with precise routes, quickness and good hands.
Tavaris Barnes, defensive end, Clemson. Barnes relies on raw athleticism to win at the NFL level. He won’t be a great contributor on day one, but a year or two on the practice squad with great coaching could do him wonders. Adding a great technical base behind the athleticism would make Barnes a dangerous 5-tech.
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