Denver Broncos Mock Draft: Latest 7-Round Predictions Heading into Bowl Season
So you want to be the general manager of your favorite NFL team? You want to be in charge of finding the top players to make your team a contender?
Well, you better start scouring the college ranks. The draft will be here before you know it.
And you better start looking at your team's needs. Where is it struggling? Whose contracts are coming up?
The 2012 Denver Broncos have already won the AFC West and will be in the playoffs. But your job is just beginning.
The college bowl games are coming up. You better have an idea what you are looking for.
Denver has some needs that it will be addressing in the offseason.The injury to Willis McGahee has revealed that the Broncos may need to add a running back. The defensive line has a number of expiring contracts.
So which players should the Broncos be looking at in the bowl games? Who should they have their eye on?
7th Round: Chad Bumphis, Wide Receiver, Mississippi State
Chad Bumphis is a wide receiver who has a nose for the end zone. He has caught 12 touchdown passes in his senior season and averaged more than 16 yards per catch.
A receiver like him with 4.49-second speed in the 40-yard dash is what the Broncos need to stretch the field.
Bumphis has caught 24 touchdown passes at Mississippi State despite not working with great quarterbacks.
He doesn't stand out physically. Bumphis is just 5'10" and 200 pounds, but that may actually allow Denver to grab him in a later round.
Want to watch Bumphis in action? Mississippi State plays Northwestern in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day morning.
Check him out.
6th Round: Tanner Hawkinson, OL, Kansas
The Denver Broncos offensive line has been solid in 2012. Peyton Manning has been sacked just 16 times through 12 games.
So it isn't like they need much help in the draft. But they do need depth and Tanner Hawkinson would provide that.
Hawkinson is 6'6" and 300 pounds and very athletic. He has played both tackle positions and could provide needed versatility. He has quick feet and will continue to get stronger.
He was named to the All Big-12 first team in 2010.
The Jayhawks have moved him around a lot, which may lower his draft stock. That will fit the Broncos' needs as well. They can snag him with a later choice and he will pay off for them in the future.
Kansas did not qualify for a bowl game, so look for Hawkinson in one of the many all-star games that will be upcoming.
5th Round: Joe Vellano, Defensive Tackle, Maryland
The Broncos used their first selection in the 2012 draft on defensive tackle Derek Wolfe of Cincinnati. He has played well as a rookie, recording 32 tackles and three sacks.
The only problem is that he isn't a tackle. He has played defensive end all season. So the Broncos still need tackles.
Joe Valleno has been a great run defender and is showing major improvement disrupting the pass as well.
Like Wolfe, Valleno is known for having a high motor and working very hard. He has started the last 25 games for Maryland and has 7.5 sacks in his career.
Maryland is another team that won't be in a bowl game, so expect Valleno to raise his stock through the all-star games and combine.
4th Round: Jonathan Bostic, Inside Linebacker, Florida
The Broncos have a nice young corps of linebackers. However, they do still need an inside linebacker to anchor the group. Joe Mayes struggled this season and was eventually replaced by 15-year veteran Keith Brooking.
Jon Bostic is an excellent candidate to be that middle linebacker.
He has been a tackling machine at Florida, making 224 tackles in his 19 career starts. He also has 4.5 sacks and three interceptions.
Bostic, who graduated from high school a year early, is an excellent student and has the smarts you want in a middle linebacker.
Take a look at Bostic roaming the middle in the Sugar Bowl when Florida plays Louisville on January 2.
3rd Round: Montee Ball, Running Back, Wisconsin
The Willis McGahee injury has me concerned about the depth behind him.
Ronnie Hillman doesn't seem to be an every-down back, and Knowshon Moreno always seems to underachieve.
It's time to go get our next running back. And we don't even have to use a top pick to do it.
Montee Ball should easily fall to us in the third round and should plug right in and go in Denver.
He is 5'11" and 200 pounds. He doesn't have breakaway speed, but he will get the tough yards when you need them.
Ball ran for more than 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns his senior year despite playing with a new quarterback and a mostly new offensive line.
Everyone in the stadium knew he was going to get the rock. And he got it and still produced.
He was at his best down the stretch when the Badgers needed him the most.
Watch Montee Ball on New Year's Day. He will be facing a very stout Stanford defense in the Rose Bowl in what should be a very revealing game.
2nd Round: Duke Williams, Safety, Nevada
Mike Adams has made big plays for the Broncos this season, but he is clearly not the long-term answer at safety.
Rahim Moore is starting to show signs that he may live up to his potential at the position. So let's pair him up with Duke Williams of Nevada. He is a ball hawk who has broken up eight passes and made 100 tackles this season, including three games in which he's had 13 tackles.
A physical player who also runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, Williams can be solid player in the NFL for a long time.
1st Round: Jonathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia
Another defensive tackle? Yeah, I'm afraid so. The interior of the defensive line needs a bit of a makeover.
For starters, it needs more production. Justin Bannan is the leading tackler with 37 tackles, no sacks and no tackles for loss.
Also, Bannan, Sealver Siliga, Mitch Unrein and Kevin Vickerson all become free agents following this season.
So you better have a plan.
Jonathan Jenkins is a plan that will help your team.
At 6'3" and 358 pounds, Jenkins will undoubtedly clog up the middle. He can crush your running game and collapse your quarterback's pocket.
He had 50 tackles and a sack as a senior at Georgia.
He was voted a co-captain and led Georgia to the SEC Championship Game in his final year.
Watch Jenkins in his last game as a Bulldog in the Capital One Bowl against Nebraska on January 1.