John Fox wants more impact players for the Denver Broncos.
The NFL draft is finally here! The Denver Broncos entered the playoffs last year as the top seed in the AFC, yet they lost to Baltimore at home in the divisional round. Now the team is looking for additional weapons on both sides of the ball who can help the Broncos get to and win the Super Bowl.
Many think they're looking for additional defensive help after adding talent to the offensive side in free agency. The draft is constantly in motion, and the Broncos will be fluid with their selections as they are a team that doesn't need to reach for a player at any position.
The Broncos surprise some here with the selection of Jamar Taylor. If cornerbacks like Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) and Desmond Trufant (Washington) are already off the board, then Taylor is the next best fit.
Taylor is an aggressive player who has a nose for the football and doesn't back down from any matchup. He has good athleticism, fluid hips and good closing burst to the ball. Taylor times his jumps well and can make plays on passes that are out of reach for others. He has the upper-body strength to rip contested passes away from would-be receivers. Support in the ground game is also a hallmark of his game. Taylor is a sound tackler with good technique in the open field.
Denver needs a young corner to groom behind future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey. Taylor will start the season fourth on the depth chart behind Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris. However, he could develop quickly and make a bigger impact than some think.
The Broncos are full of surprises in the first two rounds of the draft! Some think Marcus Lattimore will last until the third round, but with the Broncos picking at the end of each round, they have to take him here.
I would have given Lattimore a top-15 grade in this year's draft had he not suffered his second knee injury in two years. If healthy, Lattimore reminds me of Arian Foster (Texans) because of his size, ability to run through arm tackles and gliding style. Lattimore is a natural runner with the ability to make defenders miss in the open field and the power to run them over if need be. His footwork is excellent, and he can create his own space regardless of how the play is blocked in front of him.
The Broncos are in the market for a big running back, and Lattimore fits the bill. Lattimore is currently rehabbing his knee injury and feels that he will be ready for the start of the regular season. Even if he's not ready at that time, the team could put him on the physically unable to perform list to start the season. The current starter, Willis McGahee, missed his entire rookie season for the Bills in 2003 because of a similar injury.
The Broncos allowed the fewest rush yards per carry (3.5) between the tackles last year and get more strength in the middle of the defensive line here. John Jenkins is a mountain of a man whom some in the scouting community compare to Vince Wilfork (Patriots).
I saw Jenkins up close from the sidelines earlier this year at the Senior Bowl and came away impressed. Jenkins drew some "oohs" from the crowd at the weigh-in because he tipped the scales at 359 pounds. Seth Emerson, from Macon.com, reports that Jenkins was actually checking in at 370 pounds last year. Now Jenkins is down to 332 pounds in the pre-draft process.
No matter his size Jenkins, is a disruptive player who can create middle pressure and get after the quarterback. Jenkins has phone-booth quickness and can get to ball-carriers quickly. He has a strong base and can eat up double-teams, which frees up the pass-rushers around him.
The Broncos could add Jenkins and start him in the middle next to veteran Kevin Vickerson. This move would allow the team to use second-year defensive tackle Derek Wolfe on the outside at end.
The Broncos go back-to-back picks on the defensive line here. Michael Buchanan is an underrated prospect but one who has the eye of scouts around the league.
He’s tall (6'6") and has a large wingspan to bat down passes, which makes him a great fit for the Jack Del Rio defense. Buchanan has a devastating spin move that he uses to surprise blockers, as he can execute it at full speed. He needs to develop more pass-rushing moves in order to play up to his full potential. Playing opposite Von Miller should help ignite his creativity.
Denver would use Buchanan as a part-time player and a situational pass-rusher to start his career. When he adds more strength and a wider array of pass-rush moves, his playing time will increase.
Some say this is a luxury pick given the Broncos' deep wide receiving corps. In the fifth round, this move just makes too much sense, and adding Hamilton in a value slot is too good to pass up.
Cobi Hamilton became quarterback Tyler Wilson's go-to guy in 2012 after the Razorbacks lost three wide receivers (Greg Childs, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright) to the NFL. He has good body control, sideline awareness and can make difficult catches seem routine. Hamilton needs to improve as a route-runner and stop wasting motion in and out of his breaks.
The Broncos have a fantastic starting trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and the newly added Wes Welker. However, Decker is a free agent after this season, and the Broncos need to have a plan in place in case he moves on in 2014. That plan could be drafting and developing a talent like Hamilton.
The Broncos traded away this year's sixth-round pick in 2011 to the Eagles in order to secure the services of Broderick Bunkley. That leaves them with one less pick, so they decide to go with a developmental quarterback.
Ryan Griffin is your classic pocket passer. He's tall (6'4") and sees the field well when going through his progressions. While he doesn't have a rocket arm, Griffin can make all the throws required in the NFL. I saw Griffin up close from the sidelines at the Texas vs. the Nation game earlier this year and came away impressed with his decisiveness and velocity. Griffin needs to work on making his mechanics more consistent, and improved footwork should help his overall accuracy.
The Broncos brought both Matt Scott (Arizona) and Zac Dysert (Miami, Ohio) to Dove Valley for a private workout. Both have seen their draft stock elevate in recent weeks, and they'll be off the board before the Broncos are ready to commit to a third-string quarterback. Griffin is perfect for this pick and will get to learn behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.