Finding Broncos: 5 Sleeper Prospects For Denver To Consider In The First Round Of The Draft

MHH Senior Draft Analyst Erick Trickel is back to take a look at five players who might be flying under the radar that Denver should consider in the first round. This comes after looking at five they should avoid.

Just as there are players who receive too much hype but still are reached for in the first round every year, there always tends to be players not getting the recognition they deserve pre-draft but still go in the first round.

This year should be no different. The following five prospects aren't getting the hype they should and they're all players the Broncos should consider in the first round — either at pick 20, or after possibly trading down lower in the first round.

Forrest Lamp, Offensive Linemen, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

There is a good case for Lamp being the best offensive linemen in the Draft. He is the dream prospect for coaches and scouts.

His ability could see him play four of the five positions on the O-line, which front office people covet. Watching him is such a treat. He also doesn’t find himself limited by schemes or concepts.

Athleticism, power, technique, smarts, experience, motor, character, I can go on and on about his positives, while his negatives are limited to his physical dimensions. His short arms will be the focus for many, but he is a football player.

It seems that more and more excellent offensive line prospects fall because of their arm length, only to be excellent in the NFL. Lamp should not get overlooked due to his arm length.

Some will want to use the level of competition against him as well, though his outstanding game vs Alabama — one of the best defensive fronts in the country — shuts that argument down. Honestly, a coach could probably even teach Lamp to be able to play anywhere on the offensive line.

That is the ability he has. Lamp will give 200 percent on and off the field, and has no character concerns to be worried about, that I am aware of at least. This is a guy Vance Joseph, Mike McCoy and Jeff Davidson should pound the table for at pick 20.

John Ross III, Wide Receiver, Washington Huskies

With Ross, there is no question he is a first round player. Yet, he isn’t getting the attention he deserves.

He very well may be the second best receiver in the draft and a top-five offensive player in the Draft. He is an offensive threat in a variety of ways, and would fit nicely with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, giving the Broncos a legit third threat at receiver.

There are a few other ways that Ross can help a team, like kick returns, but his main use is as a mismatch on offense. He has speed that can take the top off a defense, or quickness to get immediate separation on quicker throws.

Putting him in Mike McCoy’s offense would be a match made in heaven. However, there are some serious concerns about his knees and length of his career. His upside is just tremendous and worth the gamble for his knees. Nobody is worried that Ross won't reach a second contract. The question is where he will be for his third contract.

By that time he will be roughly 30 years old with say eight years in the NFL. Enough time to prove the worth of using a first round pick.

Ross is another player that some offensive coaches should pound the table for. Giving that offense a third threat at receiver and a mismatch nightmare could take the passing game to the next level.

This would be a huge best player available pickup, which is how the Broncos should draft, given their history of need picks vs BPA picks.

Sidney Jones, Cornerback, Washington Huskies

There was so much talent on the 2016 Huskies defense — it is ridiculous. Jones is just one of many and definitely worth a first round pick.

He seems to be getting slept on some due to the strength of the cornerback class. Jones has so much talent and often sees himself compared to former teammate Marcus Peters, and for good reason.

Jones' game isn’t perfect, and there is a lot for him to work on. Coaches will want to see him add some weight to his frame, though there isn’t much room to add to it.

There is also a lot of work for coaches when they have Jones play press. They would have to be smart with how they use him, as playing press against bigger receivers will see him get tossed around. His football IQ, competitiveness, and quickness is constantly on display.

Denver doesn’t have a need for a cornerback, but when you look to BPA mindset for drafting, Jones has to be in consideration at 20. He won’t be under immediate pressure to play at a high level, will be awarded time to grow as a player and will work with two of the best corners in the NFL.

With the future up in the air for Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby, adding another corner to get ready for a year or two from now, while being able to contribute now if need be, isn’t a bad idea at all.

Jourdan Lewis, Cornerback, Michigan Wolverines

Lewis is a cornerback who is flying far under the radar. He is a technician, and has the foot quickness and the athleticism to be excellent in the NFL.

What’s holding him back? His size.

Lewis is only 5-foot-10. Not the ideal size for a cornerback. That isn’t his only issue though, as he tends to be grabby and gets called for his fair share of penalties.

Even though he doesn’t have the ideal size, Lewis makes up for that in a variety of ways, often with his aggressiveness in attacking the receiver in the process of making the catch.

This is backed by 42 passes defensed in three years, including six interceptions. During this time he allowed only two touchdowns. Lewis has it all, and if he were two inches taller, you’d be hearing about him in the first round a lot more.

One scout for the Broncos described him by saying, “He has the body and frame of Chris Harris, Jr., the attitude of Aqib Talib and the technique and smarts comparable to Champ Bailey.”

That is high praise for the 21-year-old. Lewis is a tough football player that can be a great corner in the NFL. He also brings experience as a gunner on special teams, which may be needed in Denver if they can’t get a deal done to retain Kayvon Webster.

Again, not a need pick but Lewis should be in discussion. In terms of talent, he is a first round player and size often ends up as a bigger issue than it should be. Denver probably could trade back and pick up Lewis later on, if not pick him up with their second round pick even. Now that would be tremendous value.

Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple Owls

Reddick doesn’t have ideal size to play where he is probably best suited. He is best suited to be a linebacker in a 3-4 front, but he will need to add 10-20 pounds to his frame. The concern is, can he do that without losing the explosiveness that makes him stand out?

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He can play inside linebacker, as well, and has some good cover skills. Add in his ability to rush the passer, and defend the run and you have a fun, well-rounded athlete that can be used in so many different ways.

Reddick does a good job at taking on blocks and shedding them to work really well next to Brandon Marshall. In certain situations, you can have Reddick rush with Shane Ray and Von Miller. You can have him cover running backs or tight ends. While he is limited in certain ways, he can do whatever is needed.

Reddick jumped out at the Senior Bowl, both in practices and during the game. Time and time again he showed how versatile he could be.

He showcased his plus athleticism, plus explosiveness and his plus football IQ. Adding him to the Broncos linebacker corps not only fills a need for someone next to Marshall, but would also be an interesting piece to play with for new defensive coordinator Joe Woods.

Erick Trickel is the Senior Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ErickTrickel.

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