John Fox is all smiles at Dove Valley as the Broncos continue to add talent in the 2013 NFL draft.
Day 3 of the NFL draft is here and the Broncos want to add more quality talent to a team that could make a Super Bowl run in 2013. Denver addressed the need at running back and cornerback on Friday, but on Saturday they may be trying to find depth at the pass-rushing position.
Vice President of Football Operations John Elway commented (via denverbroncos.com) in a recent press conference about finding another pass-rusher on the final day of the draft and said:
Well we are always looking for those pass-rushers. Unless you find a great pass-rusher like we did two years ago in [LB] Von Miller—you find those guys at the second pick, as refined as he is, coming in. So, to find a great pass-rusher you have to find that needle in a haystack tomorrow and coach them well, and if you find somebody that has the athletic ability side to where we can coach them into it—hopefully tomorrow there are a couple nuggets there to where we can find one.
I expect the Broncos will have their eye on key additions at defensive end, quarterback and perhaps even a wide receiver this Saturday.
This draft has not gone as planned for some prospects, and there's plenty of value to be had. Most expected William Gholston to be an early Day 3 pick, but the Broncos add another big defensive end here. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio loves to have a "big seven" up front on his defense, and Gholston fits the bill.
He measures in at 6'6", 281 pounds and has a large wingspan which helps him bat down passes and drag down ball-carriers. Mobile quarterbacks are the hot trend in the NFL, and Gholston has the natural ability to be problematic for those quarterbacks who run.
His closing burst is very good, and he can get to the quarterback consistently because of his hustle and intensity. A high-effort player who would fit right in on the Broncos defense, Gholston is known as a disruptive player.
He does need to work on his play recognition as sometimes he's slow to react. Gholston can chase down plays that go away from him, but sometimes has problems anchoring when plays are run right at him.
The Broncos lost defensive end Elvis Dumervil in free agency and need to replace his production. Gholston wouldn't match the 2012 numbers from Dumervil (11 sacks), but he could get around four or five sacks as a rotational player on the defensive line.
The fit with the Broncos is perfect for Bakhtiari. He played in college for the Colorado Buffaloes not too far from Denver in beautiful Boulder, Co. The Broncos' director of player personnel is Matt Russell, former star linebacker for the Buffs. He knows Bakhtiari's game better than most and knows the Broncos could use a versatile player on the offensive line.
Bakhtiari can potentially play all five positions on the line but has played mostly outside at tackle. He lined up at right tackle when the Buffs featured Nate Solder on the left side. When Solder was drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, Bakhtiari was ready to take over.
He's one of the quickest players off the snap and does a good job of setting up quickly when facing edge-rushers. Bakhtiari plays with a nasty edge to his game and is known as a bully on the line.
His effort is outstanding and he's known as a hard worker and favorite of the coaching staff. Bakhtiari's older brother Eric played defensive end at the University of San Diego in college and with the 49ers at the pro level.
The Broncos could certainly use a multidimensional player like Bakhtiari on the offensive line. They could groom him this year for depth, but he could play an important role in the near future.
Left guard Zane Beadles is in the final year of his contract, and the Broncos may not be able to keep him around in 2014. If his game develops, then Bakhtiari could potentially be an option to start inside at guard if Beadles moves on in free agency.
Denver needs to think about the future of their wide-receiving corps. They're stacked at the position right now with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker.
However, 2012 was the first season both Decker and Thomas played a full 16-game season. The Broncos also have to be ready if Decker moves on in free agency after this season. Enter, seventh-round pick Marcus Davis.
I watched Davis up close from the sidelines during the week of practice for the 2013 Shrine Game earlier this year in Tampa, Fl. I came away impressed by his physical skill set and strong physique.
Davis is a tough player who can push around would be defenders and get open. He's tremendously athletic for a big man and can be a factor in the red zone because of his large frame which allows him to box out defenders. Davis needs to become more fundamentally consistent if he ever wants to play up to his potential.
Davis reminds some in the scouting community of a poor man's version of Dez Bryant (Cowboys) because of his natural pass-catching skills. If he can refine his game and show a desire to be great, then he could develop into a quality starter in the NFL.
After the draft many teams will be scrambling to add priority free agents to the roster. The Broncos should have an idea of who they'd like to bring out to Dove Valley on a rookie contract.
A player like quarterback Sean Renfree (Duke) would be an option if Denver wants a developmental player with upside. He's a smart player who sees the field well and does a good job of spreading passes around. It's also important to note that Peyton Manning spends time in the offseason working out at the Duke football facility under the guidance of head coach David Cutcliffe.
Denver is set at the backup quarterback spot with last year's second-round pick Brock Osweiler. He is developing under the guidance of Manning and new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Broncos could bring in a guy like Renfree to fill the third quarterback spot.