10 Draft Prospects Every Denver Broncos Fan Should Know About
The annual NFL scouting combine is set to kick off in less than a week's time and members of the Denver Broncos coaching staff and front office will be amongst those anxiously watching prospects run the 40-yard dash and perform broad jumps.
There is a wealth of talent to be had in April's draft and the Broncos will be looking to fill needs to fuel another run at the Super Bowl.
Currently, they hold the No. 28 pick in the first round, so they won't have the chance to select many players they would like to have in the first round, but there are several excellent players that will be on the board in later rounds, players the Broncos will need to take a close look at.
With all of that being said, let's take a look at 10 players who could be in a Denver uniform next season.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Perhaps the biggest weakness heading into the offseason for Denver is the middle of the defensive line. Kevin Vickerson, Justin Bannan and Mitch Unrein are all free agents and even if all three are signed, the Broncos could use an upgrade. Kawann Short would be just that.
Short is a solid run defender, but what makes him very attractive for the Broncos is his ability to get to the quarterback. How much better would the defense be if opponents had to worry about a fierce pass rush coming from up the middle as well as off the edge with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil?
This is a player the Broncos could get with their first-round pick, and they could feel very good about it. A defensive line featuring Dumervil and Derek Wolfe on the ends with Short and either Bannan or Vickerson in the middle would be very formidable.
Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Middle linebacker is an obvious need for the Broncos and Kevin Minter makes a lot of sense as the player to hold down that position for years to come.
Minter is a hard-hitting, physical player who is stout against the run. He meets runners at the line of scrimmage and is a sure tackler. Teams like to have that enforcer type player at the middle linebacker position and Minter fits that bill.
Remember how the Broncos were abused by opposing tight ends last season? That is something that must change. While Minter is probably a better pass defender than Keith Brooking or Joe Mays, it's an area he can improve in. Therefore, he may have to share the position initially, forcing the Broncos to re-sign a guy like Brooking.
Nevertheless, if Minter is still on the board at No. 28, the Broncos would do themselves a favor by selecting him.
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Broncos would likely have to do some maneuvering in order to select Arthur Brown as he is looking at being a high second-round selection.
Brown is a very athletic player who covers a lot of ground on the field. He is a player who will likely see his stock continue to rise as the draft gets closer.
Brown brings all the tools of a great linebacker to go along with being a great tackler, but what may interest the Broncos the most is his ability to play the pass. He can handle running backs coming out of the backfield as well as a tight end. But during his time in college, he even showed the athleticism to stick with wide receivers running across the middle of the field.
The Broncos could line him up as a middle linebacker and if they felt confident about that, he would be an excellent pick. Get familiar with this name. You'll hear it a lot in the coming months.
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
Conner Vernon will be selected on the second day of the NFL draft, but he could be a great find if he goes to the right team.
Playing at Duke, Vernon had 283 catches and 20 touchdowns in his NCAA career while playing for David Cutcliffe, the former head coach of Peyton Manning.
Vernon would make for an ideal slot receiver, especially if the Broncos elect not to re-sign Brandon Stokley or should he choose to retire.
Vernon isn't a flashy receiver and doesn't make a lot of highlight-reel catches, but he does a lot of things well and would excel with Manning throwing to him.
Bacarri Rambo, Safety, Georgia
If Quinton Carter is able to make a full recovery from knee surgery, the Broncos should be in good shape at the safety position, despite many fans likely still being upset with Rahim Moore. However, should Bacarri Rambo be on the board in the third round, he would be an enticing pick.
Rambo is an excellent safety who could fly up draft boards due to his abilities. At Georgia, he lined up all over the field and made plays in both the run and pass game. He has excellent pass coverage skills, so good that he would be very hard to pass up.
Rambo has linebacker size but cornerback quickness, a combination that would instantly make any secondary in the league a lot better.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Sharrif Floyd is a very likely first-round selection for the Broncos at defensive tackle and a player who will likely be selected higher than Short (mentioned in the first slide).
Floyd is an incredible athlete with a very quick burst off the line. Due to his ability to get into an opponent's backfield, the Broncos may be swayed to select the big man out of Florida.
Floyd was named to the all defensive first team in the SEC conference last season and is a player who, if still on the board at No. 28 in the first round, would almost certainly be selected by the Broncos.
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Having Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno in their stable of running backs, the Broncos know they have a lot of talent... and a lot of question marks, specifically concerning their durability.
Christine Michael is a player who would be an excellent complement coming off the bench. Michael is a physical, straight ahead runner who has the ability to make defenders miss. He can catch passes out of the backfield and would be able to stay on the field in passing downs to pick up a blitzing linebacker or defensive back, something Ronnie Hillman needs to get a lot better at.
Michael wouldn't be a feature back, but he wouldn't need to be. He comes with injury concerns of his own, having missed several games in college. However, he would be a great fit in a committee approach and bringing him in fresh off the bench is something opposing defenses would not enjoy seeing.
Jon Bostic, Linebacker, Florida
Should the Broncos hold off on drafting a linebacker, Jon Bostic is a very good one they could get in the middle rounds.
Bostic was named to the All-SEC second team on defense last season and played very well for a good Florida Gators defense. Bostic is a versatile player who has good pass coverage skills and finished his Gators career with 237 tackles.
He wouldn't be an every down player right away, but he would fit the team as a good situational guy to come out of the rotation, especially on passing downs.
Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech
This is one of those draft gems. At 6'2" with blazing speed, Corey Fuller is a very intriguing player. He spent 2009 at Kansas on its track team before transferring to Virginia Tech to play football.
He played his first season in 2011 after sitting out a year due to the NCAA's transfer rules and caught just two passes. Undeterred, Fuller reeled in 43 balls for 815 yards and six touchdowns last season, good for a 19.0 yard average.
Fuller has great hands and is loaded with explosiveness. Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert would have a bit of a project on his hands, but one he could mold into an excellent player.
With his ability to create separation, watching Fuller run after the catch would be a very pretty sight.
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Champ Bailey can't play cornerback forever and while it probably won't happen in the 2013 season, we could see an eventual move to safety for him. Soon, the team will need to think about finding another solid corner to put on the field opposite Chris Harris, a budding star.
That player could be David Amerson. He is an instinctive player who shows amazing ball skills. Best of all, he is very good in making plays in the run game on defense.
If the Broncos were able to land a player like this, it might make the decision easier to move Bailey to safety at some point, allowing all three players to be on the field at the same time, giving them one of the more impressive secondaries in the league.
Amerson should be a second-round pick, unless he impresses scouts before the draft and moves into the first.