2012 NFL Draft: Denver Broncos Round-by-Round Predictions
After bringing in prized free agent Peyton Manning, the Broncos have one of their most important drafts in years in front of them. Adding Manning was a big statement, one that says this team wants to win a Super Bowl and soon. In order for that to happen, it's important to surround the 36-year-old quarterback with the proper weapons.
There is no room for bad picks, so John Elway, John Fox and company will have to choose wisely. They added a few other pieces in free agency, but they still have some slots to fill.
Here is a look at seven players the Broncos should consider to fill team needs and work on the ultimate goal of holding up another Lombardi trophy.
Round 1, No. 25 Overall: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
I could see the Broncos looking at a cornerback in the first round after the Asante Samuel trade rumors. But Stephon Gilmore will be gone by the time they make this pick, so they can't pass up on their biggest need, even if it's not the flashiest position, which is at defensive tackle.
They need to replace Broderick Bunkley, who left via free agency. Jerel Worthy, a 6'2", 310-pounder from Michigan State is a good way to do that. Worthy would help shore up the run defense, something the Broncos have been weak against for years.
Round 2, No. 57 Overall: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Chris Polk would be a perfect change of pace to the running style of Willis McGahee, and with the uncertainty surrounding Knowshon Moreno, this is a good choice for the orange and blue.
Polk is a very good inside runner and catches the ball out of the backfield better than most. His straight-ahead running style fits what John Fox likes to do, and he protects the ball very well. He ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 12 TDs his senior season in Washington.
Round 3, No. 87 Overall: Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
At 6'7", Brock Osweiler will be one of the tallest men to ever play QB in the NFL. He'd also be the perfect understudy to Peyton Manning. As stated before, at 36 years old, Manning won't be around forever, so the Broncos need to put a successor in place, someone who can take the reigns when the legendary signal caller decides to call it quits.
Osweiler is a natural athlete who has a strong arm and is accurate, particularly on the shorter routes, which this new offense may be predicated on.
Osweiler is very much a work in progress, but because of his incredibly high potential, is there a better guy to learn under Manning than Osweiler?
Round 4, No. 108 Overall: Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State
Omar Bolden is another Arizona State Sun Devil and another guy with a ton of potential. The Broncos released Andre Goodman, so they need to shore up the cornerback position. Bolden missed his entire senior season after tearing his left ACL. However, because of his ability, a team will use a middle-round pick on him. Bolden is great in man-to-man coverage and has impressive closing speed. He would make a solid addition to the Broncos' secondary.
Round 4, No. 120 Overall: Brandon Hardin, FS, Oregon State
Due to the recent retirement of stellar safety Brain Dawkins, the Broncos should select their second defensive back in the fourth round by drafting Hardin out of Oregon State.
Hardin combines great speed with incredible explosiveness, and he is a very versatile player. He may not be available this late, but if he is, the Broncos should take a long look.
Hardin would provide a toughness that the team needs, and he is a very sure tackler that can run with most guys.
Round 5, No. 137 Overall: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
The Broncos have already brought in many targets for Peyton Manning, such as Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, but another wide receiver wouldn't hurt. T.Y. Hilton would be a great value pick.
Playing at tiny FIU, many people may never have seen him play, but he can get the job done. He has blazing speed to go along with very good hands, and he's not afraid to take a hit. With Manning throwing him the ball, he could be flat-out dangerous. The only question mark may be his stature (5'10", 183 pounds), but the Broncos shouldn't shy away from him if he is available when this pick comes up.
Round 6, No. 188 0verall: Quinton Saulsberry, C, Mississippi State
The Broncos could go a lot of ways with their final pick, but I'll say they improve their depth at the center position. They still have J.D. Walton on the roster, but Saulsberry would be a good pick due to his sheer athleticism for his size. He moves very well for a 300-pounder and understands the position quite well. He's known to be a very aggressive player who can also line up at both guard positions.