Denver Broncos Mock Draft: 7-Round Projections, Post-Scouting Combine
With the disappointment of a divisional round playoff loss still fresh in their minds, the Denver Broncos now move towards the draft looking for the pieces that will complete their championship puzzle.
With that said and the results of the combine tallied, here is the Broncos' latest mock draft.
1st Round: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Broncos know they need to upgrade the secondary after what happened in the divisional playoff against Baltimore, and they would love to get their hands on this guy.
Behind Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes is arguably the next-best cornerback in this year's draft class.
Rhodes is a big corner (6'1", 210 pounds) with speed who has excellent coverage skills. He plays the ball very well and can come up and make punishing tackles.
He ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash and had 14 reps on the bench press at the combine. Most impressive was his 40.5" vertical leap, which was as high as any defensive back.
If the team were to select Rhodes, it might allow Champ Bailey to make a transition to safety next season with Chris Harris developing into a solid cornerback himself.
The Broncos have needs on both sides of the ball, but if Rhodes is still available at No. 28, the team must strongly consider drafting him. It wouldn't even be surprising to see the team move up via trade to secure him.
2nd Round: Dallas Thomas, Tackle, Tennessee
The Broncos had a good offensive line over the course of the 2012 season, but one idea that has been talked about is moving Orlando Franklin to guard (via The Denver Post), where he would likely be a much better asset.
Dallas Thomas would be a solid replacement if the Broncos were to go that route. He is a versatile player as well, so if the Broncos decided to keep Franklin at tackle, Thomas could slide into a guard spot. With Chris Kuper missing more than half the season last year, they need a solid backup there as well.
His pass-blocking skills are top-notch and in a system led by Peyton Manning, that is a must.
At 6'5" and 306 pounds, he possesses solid size to go along with very good athletic ability.
Thomas did not work out at the scouting combine, but he does have his pro day coming up on March 20th and the Broncos should have a close eye on that.
3rd Round: Jon Bostic, LB, Florida
The Broncos biggest need is at the middle linebacker position, but unless a guy like Alec Ogletree, Arthur Brown or Kevin Minter falls to them in the first round, they will likely wait to make a selection.
If they wait, Jon Bostic is a great choice out of Florida. After running a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine, he is a player whose stock is likely rising.
To go with that, he had 22 reps on the bench press, a 32.5" vertical leap and he ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.24 seconds. All in all, a solid workout for the former Florida Gator.
Bostic would provide a physical force in the middle of the defense and is a solid tackler. He would have to prove he could cover the tight end in order to stay on the field, but with Keith Brooking turning 38 in October and Joe Mays coming off a severe leg injury, Bostic would be an instant upgrade.
4th Round: Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
The Broncos' running back situation heading into next season looks murky at best. Will Knowshon Moreno or Willis McGahee be the starter? Will either guy even be on the team?
Recent reports (via NFL.com) have connected the Broncos to having interest in free agent running back Shonn Greene of the New York Jets, but the team needs a young prospect even if they sign a guy like Greene.
Christine Michael could be one of those mid-round gems. He had an excellent combine, showing a combination of speed, power and athletic ability.
Michael ran a 4.54 40-yard dash while putting up 27 reps on the bench press. He also had great times in the three-cone drill (6.69 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.02 seconds). Aside from that, Michael tallied a 125" broad jump to go along with a very impressive 43" vertical leap.
He is a very strong, straight-ahead runner who is able to get tough yards, but is also deceptively quick. To go along with that, he is an above-average pass-blocker.
The only knock on Michael is his durability, but if he is able to stay on the field, Denver couldn't go wrong with this selection.
5th Round: Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
Quick, who is the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards in the ACC? Would you believe it's Conner Vernon?
He may not be the flashiest player on the board, but Vernon could become a very solid player in the Denver offense.
Vernon is 6'0" and 196 pounds and would make for an excellent target in the slot for the Broncos, especially if Brandon Stokley doesn't come back. If Stokley is around, he would make a great mentor for Vernon.
Vernon ran a 4.68 40-yard dash to go along with a 4.22 20-yard shuttle.
He isn't the fastest or most athletic player on the field, but he makes up for that with excellent hands, snaring most everything thrown his way.
Plus, David Cutcliffe, someone Manning is quite familiar with, was his college head coach.
6th Round: Josh Boyd, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State
Even if the team is able to retain both Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan, who are both free agents, they still need to explore other options.
Signing a guy like Randy Starks or Terrance Knighton through free agency would be great. Fortunately for the Broncos, this is a deep draft for defensive linemen.
At the combine, Boyd ran a 5.14 40-yard dash to go with 32 reps on the bench press.
Boyd is on the smallish sign for a defensive lineman (6'3") and that will likely push him down the draft board. But his non-stop motor and ability to get into the opposing backfield should land him somewhere.
He'll need to prove he can play the three-technique in order to see more of the field, but he's worth a late-round selection.
7th Round: Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State
Adding another receiving option at the tight end position may not be a bad idea, especially in the seventh round.
Jake Stoneburner would bring a good combination of receiving and blocking to the team and if he is still there in the seventh round, he'd be a value pick. This is a deep draft for the tight end position.
Stoneburner ran a very quick 4.65 40-yard dash at the combine and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle, running it in 4.27 seconds.
He wasn't a huge part of the offense at Ohio State due to their scheme, but when given the opportunity, he came through.