2012 NFL Draft: Predicting Denver Broncos' Full Draft
Denver struck gold when they drafted Von Miller with the second pick in the 2011 draft. Orlando Franklin was picked in the second round and did a great job protecting Tim Tebow's blind side at right tackle. Denver might have also found a steal in safety Quinton Carter in the fourth round.
Denver's other second round pick, Rahim Moore, looked very shaky in his rookie season, and Denver's third round pick, Nate Irving, has yet to see much playing time at middle linebacker.
The Broncos have five picks in the first 120 picks which puts them in pretty good shape. Denver will look to improve at a couple positions on defense as well as add some weapons for Peyton Manning on offense.
Round 1 Pick 25: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
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The Broncos desperately need a defensive tackle of Cox's caliber. Denver was already thin at DT before it lost a very underrated player in Broderick Bunkley in free agency. Ryan McBean also faces a six game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Luckily for the Broncos, the draft is very deep at the defensive tackle position. Dontario Poe's impressive performance at the combine will likely make him the first DT selected.
After that things get interesting.
Michael Brockers out of LSU is filled with potential but is very raw. Cox is a little bit more defined but has a lower ceiling than Brockers. Jerel Worthy will also factor into the mix but many scouts are questioning his consistency.
Denver needs inside penetration, and Cox's motor is the reason why he will likely be picked in the first round. It isn't certain that Cox will still be on the board by the time the 25th pick rolls around. But if he is, it would be hard for the Broncos to resist nabbing him.
Round 2 Pick 57: Brandon Boykins, CB, Georgia
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Champ Bailey will turn 34 in July, and while the Broncos recently signed Tracy Porter and still have Andre Goodman, Denver still needs a quality corner for the future.
Again, luckily for the Broncos the draft is filled with good corners.
Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick and Stephon Gilmore are likely to be taken in the first round and Janoris Jenkins, Chase Minnifield and Alonzo Dennard will likely follow quickly in the second round.
Boykins is one of the most experienced corners in the draft. The senior has been a full-time starter for the Bulldogs since his sophomore year and has gone against the likes of Julio Jones, AJ Green and Alshon Jeffery.
Boykins has good speed, adequate size and can be very effective in the return game. If Dennard or Minnifield are still around when Denver picks, they might go that route. But the most likely option is Boykins.
Denver might also go with a running back this round. Especially if David Wilson or Lamar Miller are available.
Round 3 Pick 87: Isaiah Pead RB, Cincinatti
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John Fox loves utilizing multiple running backs. Willis McGahee is expected to get the majority of the carries next year, but Denver will probably look for a nice compliment to him in the draft.
Denver drafted Knowshon Moreno in 2009 with the 12th overall pick. Moreno has been hampered by injuries and some off-the-field issues as well. So his status is up in the air for next season.
Pead would be a perfect fit in Denver because he is known for his elusiveness and speed. He is also a great pass catcher out of the backfield which is something Peyton Manning loves. Pead's stats aren't going to wow you, but he was running behind a sub-par offensive line and should be a good change-of-pace back in the NFL.
Round 4 Pick 108 (Via NYJ): Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
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Denver is set with their outside receivers. Demaryius Thomas proved that when healthy, he is a force to reckoned with, and Eric Decker was enjoying a breakout year before Tebow took the reins and the offense became run-heavy.
However, Denver lost Eddie Royal to the Chargers in free agency, and Wright has that same type of explosiveness that Royal brought to the Broncos for four years. Wright has drawn comparisons to former SEC standout, Randall Cobb.
Wright enjoyed a very productive year for the Razorbacks. Wright had 66 receptions for 1117 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior year. I don't know if Peyton Manning has ever had a weapon like Wright, but it would be a scary thought if those two were paired together.
Denver might go for a little more polished receiver in Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma as well.
Round 4 Pick 120: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
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Tebow is gone, and Denver will be looking for a quarterback to eventually replace Peyton Manning. They probably won't start to look for one until the third or fourth round if they even look for one in this draft at all.
Wilson is a very interesting prospect because his stats are first or second round worthy, but his height is really bringing him down (no pun intended).
Russell is listed at 5"11 which is a couple inches shorter than what many call the ideal range for NFL quarterbacks. However, Wilson completed almost 73 percent of his passes for the Badgers and threw for 3,125 yards last year. What perhaps is the most impressive is that he threw for 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Wilson is a terrific athlete which should make up a little for his lack of size. There is no doubt that shorter quarterbacks are at a disadvantage. But it isn't impossible. Just ask Jeff Garcia and Drew Brees.
Round 5 Pick 137 (Via STL): David Molk, C, Michigan
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J.D. Walton has struggled at times so Denver might look to draft another center in case Walton isn't able to adjust to Peyton Manning's offensive style.
Molk is an undersized center but an intelligent player and winner of the Remington award last season. Mold was a four year starter at Michigan, so he has plenty of experience under his belt. Jeff Saturday wasn't a very big center either and look how well that turned out for the Colts.
Round 6 Pick 188: Ryan Van Bergen, DE/DT, Michigan
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It's hard to say what Denver will do this late in the draft. They still need help on the defensive line, and Van Bergen is pretty versatile
Van Bergen is a high character guy who was a captain for the Wolverines and led the team in sacks and tackles for loss. Van Bergen suffered an injury in the 2012 Sugar Bowl and wasn't invited to the combine.
However, Van Bergen had an impressive pro day. He posted a 30 inch vertical, benched 225 pounds 31 times and ran a 4.9 40. Those numbers aren't bad at all, and it should earn him a look in the final rounds.
Predicting sixth and seventh round picks are basically a shot in the dark, but Denver fans should be satisfied if Van Bergen is drafted by the Broncos.