The Denver Broncos have a lot of talent, but they do have multiple roster holes. I will assume the role of GM for a day, and my analysis will be written after-the-fact. As GM for a day, most of those roster holes were filled.
Denver brought in three offensive linemen via free agency, giving them a legit starting five. They brought in two defensive linemen, fixing their issues there and also a linebacker to add to the competition for the spot next to Brandon Marshall. The big addition was a veteran quarterback to potentially start and mentor 2016 first round pick Paxton Lynch.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... The Broncos had ten picks to start with in this draft, which gives them a lot of potential to fill out the roster with some cheap, young players. Four of their picks are awarded as compensatory selections, with two third round picks for Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson, respectively, a fourth rounder for Danny Trevathan and a seventh for other losses.
This would give the Broncos a 1st, 2nd, two 3rds, two 4ths, a 6th and two 7th round picks. They possess no 5th round pick due to a previous trade.
Writer’s note: This mock does include draft day trades. All picks for other teams were made by computer simulation. This also takes into account the free agent acquisitions made in the first part of the series. All picks were made based on my personal big board.
First Round: Trade Down
With Denver sitting at pick 20, there were many ways they could go. There were about 25 players that were closely graded on my board, so I traded down.
In the simulation, the Cleveland Browns were trading up for a quarterback and offered up four total picks (round 2 picks 1 and 20, round 3 pick 1 and round 4 pick 1). This was a trade that was very much in Denver’s favor, so I accepted it.
With no “grab me now” players available, I was able to clear up the board some and acquire some extra picks. At pick one in round two, the Baltimore Ravens were trading up, and they offered the 15th pick in round two, 14th in round three and 16th in round four. Again I found myself trading down.
Second Round, Pick 15, Denver Broncos Select: Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida Gators
As GM, one area I didn’t address in free agency was inside linebacker. Davis is one of the top inside linebackers in the draft, and carries a late first round grade from me.
However, there are concerns among NFL scouts that could see him fall. Being able to pick him up in the second round was excellent value and he fit perfectly next to Brandon Marshall for the linebacker corps.
Second Round, Pick 19, Denver Broncos select: Antonio Garcia, Offensive Tackle, Troy Trojans
Even though I brought in two offensive tackles via free agency, drafting a young guy to come in and compete would still be smart. There are concerns with Garcia as a run blocker, but he is still my top tackle in the draft.
He is mean and nasty with a desire to finish. Denver finally has an offensive line coach that is trusted to grow young players, something a few sources I talked with said was missing for the past few years. Pairing Garcia with the coaching staff gives Denver plenty of options moving forward.
Second Round, Pick 20, Denver Broncos select: Christian McCaffrey, Offensive Weapon, Stanford Cardinal
Don’t let anyone fool you. McCaffrey is not a first round prospect. Not to me, nor to the many NFL scouts I have talked to.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player. He brings a lot to the table, but also relied a lot on what was around him at Stanford.
When they didn’t perform, he struggled. Denver gets a guy they can use in many ways on offense, and as a returner.
Third Round, Pick 1, Denver Broncos select: Elijah Qualls, Defensive Line, Washington Huskies
So far, I have ran four defensive prospects through my grading system. Three of them are my top three defenders and graded with a 95.7, 95.6 and 95.3.
Qualls was my fourth and graded with a 92.1. He is an athletic freak are 320-plus pounds, and the type of player I can see John Elway falling in love with for the defensive line.
Even at his size, Qualls isn’t stuck as the nose tackle. He was rushing the edge against Utah, taking on one of the top tackles in Garett Bolles.
Qualls beat up on Bolles and showed a freaky spin move for his size. Adding him to the defensive line gives Bill Kollar another defensive lineman to work with, and he is widely considered the best DL coach in the NFL.
Third Round, Pick 14, Denver Broncos select: Dorian Johnson, Offensive Guard, Pittsburgh Panthers
With many issues in pass protection, Johnson falls down somewhat in the draft from his initial second round grade. As a run blocker, he is a mauler.
He is perfect for the new scheme coming to Denver, but will need coached up as a pass blocker. Adding Garcia and Johnson immediately helps out the depth situation in Denver, especially if they both get coached up and grow as players.
Third Round (Compensatory), Pick 33, Denver Broncos select: Damontae Kazee, Cornerback, San Diego State Aztecs
Kazee is flying under the radar some. He is instinctive and has a lot of tools to work with.
Denver now has three defensive back coaches on their staff, so there should be no worry about getting him coached up. He can step in and improve the depth that is lost with Kayvon Webster walking in my GM for a day scenario.
Kazee also fits the scheme extremely well. He has a knack for finding the ball, breaking up 43 passes and intercepting 16 in the last three years. What I love about him, however, is his willingness to help in run support, which is necessary for a Broncos cornerback.
Third Round (Compensatory), Pick 37, Denver Broncos select: Jamaal Williams, Running Back, BYU Cougars
The Broncos have a lot of depth at running back with C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker, and added to it with the Christian McCaffrey pick. However, McCaffrey is viewed more as an offensive weapon than a pure running back.
With Williams, the Broncos get a young running back with excellent vision. Anderson has some injury concerns, and even when his touches were limited, couldn’t stay healthy and Booker didn’t give much confidence as a starter. Williams adds to the committee, while improving the depth.
Fourth Round, Pick 1, Denver Broncos select: Jake Butt, Tight End, Michigan Wolverines
If not for his late injury, Butt would be going a lot higher. While he isn’t the athlete some want at tight end, he is one heck of a football player.
He is reliable as a pass catcher and will help a team move the chains. Butt does need work as a blocker, but blocking has become a constant issue with all college tight ends.
Fourth Round, Pick 16, Denver Broncos select: Tedric Thompson, Safety, Colorado Buffaloes
While the Broncos do have T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons and Will Parks, but I couldn’t pass up on a good prospect in Tedric Thompson. Thompson is a local Buffalo prospect, and highly thought of in NFL circles.
Thompson would compete right away for the fourth/fifth safety spot and could be developed into starter or No. 3 safety, while bringing special teams help.
Fourth Round, Pick 20, Denver Broncos select: Taywan Taylor , Wide Receiver, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Taylor is the perfect slot receiver for the Broncos scheme. He can win with quickness and create separation.
There is a concern with drops, as there are with most receivers in this class. Other receivers were looked at due to their return ability, but with McCaffrey in the fold, the need is for a more pure slot receiver.
Fourth Round (Compensatory), Pick 40, Denver Broncos select: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Defensive Line, Villanova Wildcats
Tanoh picked up a lot of interest following his week at the Senior Bowl. He is a long defensive linemen, packed with muscle.
There's a lot of pass rush talent there, but he isn’t ever going to bend the edge. He can be stout against the run, or provide quarterback pressure from the 5-tech in a single-gap system.
What holds him back in evaluating him as a prospect is level of competition, and consistency.
Sixth Round, Pick 19, Denver Broncos select: Chase Roullier, Offensive Guard, Wyoming Cowboys
I picked up another offensive linemen for the Broncos, after acquiring three via free agency in this scenario, and now three in the draft.
Roullier is a mean and nasty offensive linemen that can stand to sit on the practice squad for a year or two. He is a guard/center and has potential to play either at the NFL level.
Seventh Round, Pick 20, Denver Broncos select: Larry Ogunjobi, Edge Defender, Charlotte 49ers
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Ogunjobi is probably going to go higher than this come the actual draft. He is being talked about a lot among the NFL scouts I have talked to.
His play style is very similar to Sheldon Rankins, who went in the first round to the Saints in the last draft. The Broncos were interested in Rankins, and they should be interested in Ogunjobi.
Seventh Round (Compensatory), Pick 36, Denver Broncos select: Jonnu Smith, Tight End, Florida International Golden Panthers
Jonnu Smith is a talented tight end, who probably will go higher than this and likely would have gone even higher had he finished last season. However, he was involved in a domestic violence case, where his girlfriend at the time poured boiling hot water on him.
Smith is a hidden gem who can catch and block. He will need to be coached up, of course, and his hands will need work. Had double-digit drops in two seasons and a lot of double receptions.
That sums up the Broncos 2017 offseason with me as GM. This mock draft, and free agency, were both done for fun as a way to share some of the buzz and information that I have gleaned out of Dove Valley. One thing is for sure, the Broncos will add offensive linemen and will add a veteran quarterback.
Erick Trickel is a Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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