In 2011, the Denver Broncos drafted Virgil Green in the seventh round. Green would go on to perform well for the Broncos throughout the year.
The NFL draft works in mysterious ways—some players in the first round bust, and some great players are always overlooked.
This year's draft class is loaded with talent even in the later rounds. There are some late-round prospects that could turn out to be steals.
Here are four underrated offensive players that the Denver Broncos could target in the later rounds of the 2012 NFL draft.
Marc Tyler is projected to go somewhere in the fifth to seventh round of the NFL draft. I would be surprised if Denver doesn't take a long, hard look at this kid.
Tyler is a big, bruising tailback. He stands at 5'11" and weighs in around 230 pounds. What is most impressive about him is his speed compared to his body weight; Tyler is expected to run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
This pick has John Fox written all over it. We saw Fox target a bigger back in Willis McGahee this offseason, which ended up being a great acquisition.
Tyler could come in and take some carries away from McGahee right away. With proper coaching and some time, Tyler could turn into a feature back.
Stephen Hill is one of the higher-rated prospects on this list. Hill is projected to go in the middle rounds, somewhere between Round 3 and Round 5.
There is just something about those Georgia Tech wide receivers. Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill all went to Georgia Tech and they all have three things in common: They are big, they are athletic and they were underutilized in college.
Hill is extremely raw and will be a project in the NFL. That being said, he has an extremely high ceiling.
Some draft pundits have an issue with the fact that he only caught 28 passes this year, but those 28 passes went for 820 yards—not a bad YPC.
Due to Georgia Tech's inept passing attack, Hill's route tree is lacking, but that is fixable. Hill could be an interesting pick for Denver in the middle rounds of the draft.
Big, athletic tight ends are becoming a staple of the NFL game. Egnew could potentially fall into this category. Egnew is projected to be drafted somewhere around the fourth round, and the Broncos have already met with him.
Egnew is a big target (6'5", 250 lbs) who can block. What makes Egnew an interesting prospect though is the spread passing attack that he played in in college. His numbers over the past two years (140 receptions 8 touchdowns) show that he can be an effective pass-catcher.
The one knock on Egnew is his speed. There are rumors that he may run poorly in the 40. If he runs around a 4.6 his stock may rise, but most reports expect this big tight end to run somewhere near a 4.8.
The secret to a being a backup quarterback in the NFL is being able to run the same offense as the starting quarterback in a time of need. Darron Thomas would fall under this category for the Denver Broncos.
Thomas took over the Ducks offense two years ago when Jeremiah Masoli was kicked off the team. Thomas ran the spread option for Oregon and was an effective passer as well. His experience in the read option makes him a prime target for the Denver Broncos.
Thomas is considered too small to play in the NFL by many experts, but he may be able to overcome that by being smart with his decisions. I don't expect this pick to happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @AustinQuickBR for daily insight into the Denver Broncos and the 2012 NFL draft.