Broncos leader creating draft buzz

When you come from Boise State, getting your name out to the masses isn't something that is necessary but making sure scouts know who you are is quite important. Cornerback Gabe Franklin has created some buzz despite not being invited to the Indianapolis Combine.

Gabe Franklin lists several teams that scouted him heavily during his time at the East-West Shrine game in January. Among those still resident in his memory were the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Two of those teams, Kansas City and Miami, he lists as teams who play his style of defense, the bump-and-run. He also listed Indy in "my top three."

The buzz began when Franklin picked off a Timmy Chang pass in the 69-3 drubbing that Boise State handed Hawaii. That was just one of 18 career interceptions for the cornerback, most for the Broncos in the Division I-A era.

It continued through the early offseason, but Franklin wasn't invited to the combines. Perhaps it was his 5-foot-10 frame that dissuaded him from being included.

"It's the same story for me every year," Franklin explains. "I mean, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't get a lot of respect out there and when I do play well, then I get the respect, but I've been going through it probably my whole career, being overlooked and that. It doesn't bother me as at this time of year. I look at it as a challenge and I'll have to work my hardest at my Pro Day and show them what I can do."

One player he has been getting advice from is tight end Jeb Putzier, a member of the Denver Broncos. Though there is no affiliation between the Bronco programs, Putzier still heads back to his alma mater when he can.

"' Just focus and do what I've been doing,'" Franklin said of their advice. "'Just keep working hard. Have fun.'"

Franklin was named second team All-WAC for the second straight year, after finishing fourth in the league in passes defended (16) and fifth on the team in tackles with 73. He also added one fumble recovery and three interceptions.

As a junior, Franklin finished fifth in the nation with eight interceptions, a stat that ranks fourth all-time in Boise State annals.

The Broncos played a hybrid defense, giving their corners a little freedom to press or play zone coverage. According to Franklin, that was a benefit.

"Our defense was kind of up in the air: if you want to play press, you press; if you want to play off, you play off," he explained. "Most of the time I probably pressed more than I played off so I could get my hands on the receivers, but other times I didn't press at all and I played well. I can do both, so it's not really an issue to me."

Playing close to the receiver wasn't always something with which Franklin was comfortable. But the addition of cornerbacks coach Marcel Yates also brought about an increase in strength for the Bronco corner.

Franklin added 60 pounds to his bench press throughout the year, showing a dedication to the game that Yates implemented.

"My strength has improved over the past couple of months tremendously," he admitted. "I'm in the weight room constantly, every day.

"Against the bigger receivers, I got my hands on them a little more. It's a confidence boost, really, when you know you can push a guy around and get him off his route. You can become more physical with the receivers."

One thing he is working on is his feet. Said to have fluid hips by scouts we polled, Franklin does not have top-end speed or an initial burst. It was something he called his biggest weakness.

What kind of player will an NFL team get when they tab Gabe Franklin?

"My leadership on and off the field. My character, and my winning attitude. My playing ability: I make plays. I make plays every time I get on the field. I go out there and play my hardest until the last down. I feel like they'll see that when they look at the film and talk to my coaches about me."

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