As the 2013 NFL Draft draws ever nearer, I have finalized my annual 7-Round Denver Broncos Mock Draft. This mock draft has undergone several revisions, largely based on the Broncos' offseason moves.
This season, unlike many in recent history, the Broncos find themselves with the strange but satisfying luxury of having no true "position of need." Certainly, many will point to DE—with the Dumervil snafu this offseason—as the Broncos biggest need. However, even there, as with every other position, the Broncos still have very capable players, with the emergence of Derek Wolfe, and veteran Robert Ayers.
At every position on the field, the Broncos are strictly drafting for depth and competition, having addressed all of their "needs" (with the exception of the Dumervil gaff) through free agency. The Broncos can literally sit back and take the best player on the board, at any position, every round—which is exceptional, and speaks to the caliber of team that John Elway and Co. have crafted in a few short years.
Therefore, this mock has been created straight up, assuming no trades or other movement. Although, given Elway's drafting history, it would not surprise me to see the Broncos trade back out of the first round and accumulate more players, especially if the player they want in the first is no longer available, or if they feel they can fall back to the second, and still get their man.
With no further ado, here is my 2013 full Denver Broncos Mock Draft, for your consideration:
Desmond Trufant was not my first choice here. I really wanted this to be Xavier Rhodes. But by almost all accounts, Rhodes will be gone in the top 20 picks, and some have him going as high as 12th. The Broncos lack the capital, and the need, really, to move up to take Rhodes, especially when they can wait, and still get a very similar player in Trufant late in the first round.
To pick up a talent like Trufant at No. 28 would be a steal. At 6'0", 195 lbs, Trufant is big, strong and incredibly fast, posting a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He's an aggressive, fluid player, with excessive speed and plus ball skills. What's more, Trufant, whose two older brothers Marcus and Isaiah are current NFL cornerbacks, will fit nicely into the Broncos All-Heritage secondary, along with Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Under their veteran tutelage, Trufant could easily be groomed to become an imposing outside presence for many years into the future.
This 2013 Draft is deep on the defensive side of the ball, especially at CB and D-line, and the Broncos can afford to wait on drafting the lineman. Their first pick will be best spent on one of the elite cornerbacks, four to five of whom could come off the board in the first round.
Despite many doubting his ability and commitment, Knowshon Moreno filled in nicely last season in the absence of Willis McGahee. Still, both Moreno and McGahee have logged ample time at running back over the years, and both have sustained injuries that have caused each to miss substantial time. Although the Broncos selected change-of-pace back Ronnie Hillman in 2012, runningback is a position the Broncos could add more depth.
Enter: Montee Ball, the NCAA all-time leader in career TDs, who will likely be available at pick No. 58. Although Ball doesn't have eye-popping numbers at any one category, he is a complete back who does all things well. He has good footwork, above average speed in the open field, and deceptive power for a back of his size.
The Broncos could wait until the third round to address the defensive end position, and they should use the 90th pick to select William Gholston from Michigan State.
Standing 6'7", "Too Tall" Gholston is the one of the tallest DEs in this draft, and he plays very long with a lengthy wing span. Solid against the run as well as rushing the passer, Gholston could find open lanes to opposing quarterbacks playing opposite Von Miller. The two young defenders could also push each other to hone their sack-dances.
Also from good NFL stock, Gholston's cousin Vernon was a first round pick in 2008 with the New York Jets. The big knock on Gholston has been that he plays with a "violent chip on his shoulder", and at times struggles to control his emotions on the field. However, under the guidance of defensive gurus Jack Del Rio and John Fox, Gholston could likely continue his development and learn to funnel his emotions into a productive defensive force.
The Broncos should look to add more depth on the offensive line, especially with Ryan Clady coming off of surgery, and because protecting Peyton Manning is still the utmost priority. In the fourth round, the Broncos could find a hidden gem in OT Menelik Watson.
An interesting story, Watson hails from Manchester, England, and reminds people of boxer Lennox Lewis due to his size (6'5", 310 lbs), superior athleticism, British accent, and gold tooth. Incredibly athletic, Watson previously starred in basketball and boxing before switching to (American) football, and accepted a scholarship to Florida State. His versatility is a plus. He played right tackle for the 'Noles, but feels comfortable at either right or left tackle.
His stock has fallen slightly as he did not put up eye-popping numbers at the NFL Combine, which he was expected to do. However, he bounced back with an outstanding pro day, and his pure athleticism cannot be overlooked. Watson has great lateral movement, and would fit in nicely on Denver's agile offensive line.
The Broncos are basically set at starting linebacker, with Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard, and Joe Mays, but they could look to add depth after losing DJ Williams to free agency. In the fifth round, the Broncos would likely be able to select ILB Jelani Jenkins, a redshirt junior from Florida.
Jenkins injured his foot late last season, and the subsequent surgery cost him both the Sugar Bowl and his Combine workout. However, he turned heads at his pro day workout, and demonstrated an agility and aggressiveness that could make him a serviceable pro.
He reportedly possess the "ideal size" for a linebacker, and is especially adept at stopping the run, an area where the Broncos have historically struggled. If he can stay healthy, medical issues being the biggest knock against him, Jenkins could be a valuable piece in the defensive rotation.
The Broncos must wait until the seventh round to select again, as they have no sixth round pick. However, they could find Georgia's DT Kwame Geathers still available at pick no. 234, and if so they should select him.
Geathers is an enormous space eater (6'5", 342 lbs), but also has quickness and agility to match. He too, comes from a lineage of NFL talent, with his father, uncle, and two brothers all having played in the NFL.
The addition of Geathers, especially this late in the draft, could prove huge dividends, and work to turn the Denver defensive line, the team's Achilles’ heel in recent years, into one of its strengths.
While I feel rather confident with the haul of players from this mock draft, the one position not addressed that could also use additional depth is that of safety. Although I am hopeful that Rahim Moore can bounce back from his tremendous gaff in the AFC Divisional playoff, he could certainly use some stern competition. With Quinton Carter also facing off the field issues, the Broncos could stand to add depth in the secondary.
One possibility could be to sign Miami safety Ray Ray Armstrong, should he fall completely out of the draft. Armstrong was forced to miss the entire 2012 season, but if given the chance to return to the form he displayed as a ball-hawking junior, he could be a valuable commodity for the Broncos.
Ultimately, only one man knows exactly which way the Broncos will go in this year's draft, and as usual, he's keeping his cards close to his vest. I for one have supreme confidence in him, and will eagerly watch to see how my projections this season stack up with his.
In John We Trust!