We are only one week away from the 2012 NFL draft and it feels like it couldn't come soon enough.
The Broncos are looking to fill lots of holes all over the field, from defensive tackle to linebacker to running back, and even maybe a quarterback of the future.
Check out my latest mock draft covering all seven rounds for the Denver Broncos.
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 299 pounds.
40 Time: 4.79 seconds.
Bench: 36 repetitions.
Vertical: 34.5”. Broad: 9’5”.
Arm: 33.25”. Hand: 9.5”.
Most believe that defensive tackle is the Broncos' biggest draft need. Defensive tackle is also the hardest position to predict whether the player will be a difference maker or not. Of the first- and second-round choices at DT, Reyes looks to be a good bet. He is a complete player with lots of upside.
Kendall Reyes greatly improved his draft status at this year’s combine. He also had an impressive Senior Bowl, where he routinely beat offensive linemen in one-on-one drills using a powerful bull rush to complement his lightning-quick speed.
Most project him to be a three-technique pass-rushing DT who can use that speed to pressure the quarterback in the NFL. However, scouts appreciate his ability to stop the run at this point more than his potential as a pass-rusher.
In his senior year, Reyes notched 46 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He has the potential and ability to be an immediate starter for the Broncos with his size, speed and proven ability.
He looks like the complete package and would be a steal for the Broncos.
Height: 6'3". Weight: 311 pounds.
40 Time: 5.25 seconds.
10-Yd Split: 1.76 seconds.
Bench: 22 repetitions.
Arm: 33". Hand: 9.75".
When you acquire a superstar quarterback like Peyton Manning in free agency and your hopes at Super Bowl glory hinge on keeping him healthy, you must use your draft resources to keeping him upright.
That’s why I believe you use your second-round pick on Phillip Blake, center from Baylor University.
Blake was an excellent pass protector for projected No. 2 overall draft pick, Robert Griffin III. He also took on the role of opening up holes in the ground game for running back Terrance Ganaway, a sleeper pick in this NFL draft.
Blake is a good athlete for his size. He has the strength to push tackles aside and surprising quickness to hit blocks on linebackers. For the past two years, Blake was the starter at center, but he began his collegiate career at tackle. That type of versatility makes him another hot commodity, since he could also switch to guard if needed.
Height: 6'7". Weight: 242 pounds.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70 seconds.
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest players to play the game. He has maybe two to three seasons left to try and win a Super Bowl in Denver. The Broncos have to look ahead to life after Peyton, even though it hasn’t even started yet.
That’s where Brock Osweiler comes in.
Denver brought Osweiler in for a workout last week to work with Hall of Fame quarterback and VP of Football Operations John Elway, to see what he has to offer. Osweiler has a huge arm and operates a similar style of play to Elway. He is a pocket passer who has shown surprising mobility for a 6’7” QB.
His talent is raw, since he was only the starting QB at ASU for one full season as a junior. He has some room for improvement, but it looks like his ceiling is unlimited.
If Osweiler gets a few seasons to watch and learn under Manning, he could come in as the starting QB for the Broncos in 2015.
Height: 5’10”. Weight: 222 pounds.
40 Time: 4.44 seconds.
Bench: 28 repetitions.
Vertical: 36”. Broad: 10’2”.
The 30-year-old Willis McGahee is reaching the end of his career. He may have one or two more good years left, but the Broncos need to find his replacement in this draft or the next. With the many needs the Broncos have all over the field, using a later-round pick on a running back is a smart move.
Adding Robert Turbin, a sleeper pick in the fourth round, would make Elway, Fox and company look like geniuses if he pans out.
At Utah State, Robert Turbin produced huge numbers. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry as a junior in 2011. He totaled 1,517 yards on the ground and scored 19 touchdowns. He showed some skills in the passing game also, catching 17 passes for 171 yards with four scores. He earned the WAC Offensive Player of the Year for his efforts.
Turbin would be a pick that would hearken back to the days of old when former Head Coach Mike Shanahan selected late-round picks and turned them into 1,000-plus-yard rushers. He has great hands, he is elusive and he will surprise in the pros.
Height: 5'10". Weight: 183 pounds.
40 Time: 4.46 seconds.
Bench: 7 repetitions.
Chase Minnifield’s draft stock has tumbled due to a knee injury requiring minor surgery and smaller measurements than expected when he checked in at the NFL combine at the end of February.
When healthy, though, Minnifield is a playmaker.
Teams threw away from Minnifield last year. However, he still managed three interceptions with 50 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and eight passes broken up in 2011.
He has a knack for finding the ball and plays solid coverage in both man and zone defenses. He also has punt-returning skills that the Broncos will be looking for since the departure of Eddie Royal this offseason.
Height: 6’4”. Weight: 246 pounds.
40 Time: 4.72 seconds.
Bench: 19 repetitions.
Vertical: 35”. Broad: 9’6”.
Arm: 32.75”. Hand: 10”.
Audie Cole out of North Carolina State had a solid senior season in the ACC. He recorded 108 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes broken up.
Cole has good instincts and a nose for the ball. He fights off blocks inside and is a solid tackler. He can play either inside or outside linebacker, as he started as an outside linebacker at NC State as a freshman and was moved to middle linebacker as a senior.
Year after year, he led the team in tackles wherever he played. He looks to be another late-round gem that could be a difference maker for the Broncos defense as early as this season.
Height: 6'2". Weight: 309 pounds.
40 Time: 5.28 seconds.
Bench: 29 repetitions.
Vertical: 28.5". Broad: 8'3".
Arm: 32.5". Hand: 9.875".
The Broncos need to continue to add depth at DT for 2012. Marcus Thomas will not be back for the Broncos after a one-year tender was refused. As far as depth at DT late in the draft, I like Tydreke Powell from North Carolina.
Powell has done a decent job against the run-clogging holes and generating some push when he bull-rushes. In 2011, he notched 46 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and two passes broken up. All season, Powell drew favorable matchups due to the presence of teammates Quinton Coples and Kareem Martin.
He will be a sound addition for the Broncos to bolster depth in 2012.