First Round: Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis Tigers
Lynch is a tall (6-foot-7) quarterback with a skill-set that fits with the Denver Broncos offense. There are many who want to point out his inability to accurately read the whole field. However, one of the key aspects in the Gary Kubiak West Coast Offense variant is that it cuts the field in half quite often.
It gives the quarterback two or three receivers on one half the field for the quarterback to read (the number of receivers varies). The other receivers on the field often work as decoys, or emergency options if the main targets are covered. Cutting the field in half is often achieved through roll-outs or bootlegs, which requires adequate athleticism, which Lynch possesses.
Another concern with Lynch’s game is that too often he isn’t quick through his reads. Well, through my many hours of scouting Lynch, on nearly every throw he was progressing through his reads on-par with many other college and NFL quarterbacks. Of course there is a difference between college and NFL, but Lynch has the brain to get the work done to be able to read NFL defenses and make his reads at a similar speed.
There is a ridiculously high ceiling with Lynch, but it is going to take a lot of work and effort to get him there. While I don’t think he will be the starter to begin the season, there is a chance he beats out Mark Sanchez to take it. If not, then he likely will get the nod at some point during the season if Sanchez struggles.
Second Round: Adam Gotsis, Defensive End, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
There are many who will tell you that Gotsis was a big reach. However, many NFL teams will disagree. Not only were some teams in the early third looking his way, there were teams who picked before Denver in the second that considered him before passing and teams in middle of the third round looking to trade up for Gotsis. He was a lot higher on boards in the NFL circle than he was in the public’s boards, including my own.
With Gotsis, there is a lot of big time flashes on his tape, but no consistency. Consistency is lacking in both his run defense and pass rush, not just in effectiveness but in technique. There were multiple times in his tape where he uses excellent technique to split a double team, or beat his block to make a play in some way. However, those plays were often followed by Gotsis being swallowed up by blockers and taken out of the play. He is raw with a high ceiling.
His injury makes it an unknown as to when he will start seeing the field. There are many conflicting reports, but the team hopes it is some time in August. If he is ready to go and gets the system installed, I fully expect him to be the ‘starter’ opposite of Wolfe, but split the time with Jared Crick and Vance Walker, both of whom have NFL experience in the scheme.
As I said before, Gotsis is raw but has a high ceiling, so putting him under the tutelage of Bill Kollar and Wade Phillips is probably the best-case scenario for him. It helps when Kollar was pounding the table, and the doors, and the windows, and everything else for the Broncos to draft Gotsis for over a month.
Third Round: Justin Simmons, Safety, Boston College Eagles
Simmons was a player many thought would go earlier than he did, and has gotten the label of a ‘steal’ for the Broncos. With his instincts, ball skills and tackling ability, he very well could be a steal. There is a lot more that Simmons brings to a defense, like his coverage and versatility. There are a lot of things that need work with Simmons, but it is all refining the tools he already has in place.
As a rookie, look for Simmons to have his impact felt as the No. 3 safety behind T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart, effectively replacing what was lost when David Bruton caught a plane out of town. But, there is more behind the pick, as there is with every pick, than just the rookie year. Stewart is set to hit the open market after the upcoming season. Look for Simmons to get the nod to replace Stewart if the Broncos can’t bring him back, or don’t even try to bring him back.
Fourth Round: Devontae Booker, Running Back, Utah Utes
The running back has gotten the label of a steal as well. Many draftniks in and around the NFL all had Booker in their top-75 players, and he got selected with the 136th overall pick. There is a reason why he fell, and part of that is due to his recovering from a knee injury. Fumbling issues and the devaluing of the running back posistion also had a part to play in his fall down the draft. It will be a while before Booker is full go for the Broncos, but he has been doing limited work in the rookie mini-camp.
Going into his rookie year, look for Booker to compete for the backup job behind C.J. Anderson. Booker will find himself competing with Ronnie Hillman, Juwan Thompson, Kapri Bibbs and Cyrus Gray. Booker isn’t the type of player any of those four are, which is going to make the competition fun to watch. If Booker ends up as the primary backup, look for him to get 10-15 touches per game.
Fifth Round: Connor McGovern, Offensive Guard, Missouri Tigers
The big, strong guard from Missouri was quietly one of the better picks of the Broncos draft. He has all the tools to start in the scheme from day one, and the strength to boot. He is going to step in and compete for a starting guard spot right away, and if he wins or loses, it drastically helps the depth of the interior offensive line.
Sixth Round: Andy Janovich, Fullback, Nebraska Cornhuskers
When the Broncos picked Janovich, there were better fullbacks left on the board. They all could do what Janovich does, and do most of it better, including special teams play. This was a very questionable pick, as to what they saw in Janovich over the others. But the Broncos got themselves a fullback. Look for Janovich to be the Broncos top fullback for the season.
Sixth Round: Will Parks, Safety, Arizona Wildcats
The Broncos lost some key special teams players and Parks was selected for his ability on special teams to replace that. On the defensive side of the ball, Parks has tremendous upside. I would expect his time on defense to be limited, provided everyone ahead of him stays healthy, but he should have his impact on special teams, if he makes the roster over the other young safeties the Broncos have fighting for a spot.
Seventh Round: Riley Dixon, Punter, Syracuse Orangemen
The Broncos really liked Dixon enough to draft him and not risk losing him in the undrafted free agent frenzy. Dixon immediately adds competition for Britton Colquitt, who is older and much more expensive. If Dixon can be consistent and good enough, he should win the job easily, especially with money factored into the equation.
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