Denver Broncos 2014 Mock Draft: Who Is the Ideal Pick in Every Round?
The 2014 NFL draft will be held May 8-10, and it is never too early for teams to start making preparations.
Because of their strong 2013 season, the Broncos will be drafting toward the end of every round. Depending on how the rest of the playoffs go, they will draft anywhere between picks 29 and 32.
Here is a first look at some of the players the Broncos could target in this year's draft.
First Round: Jason Verrett, Cornerback, TCU
The Broncos chose to take a defensive tackle in the first round of the 2013 draft even though cornerback was arguably a bigger need.
As this season has progressed, it's become painfully obvious how much the team needs to upgrade its secondary.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been solid, but between injuries and inconsistent play, the team finished the season ranked No. 27 against the pass.
Champ Bailey will be 36 years old in June, and he played in just five regular-season games.
Jason Verrett from TCU would be an excellent selection in the first round.
Verrett possesses great coverage and ball-hawking skills to go along with the fact that he is a solid tackler who is great in run support.
Pairing Verrett with Rogders-Cromartie next season would make for a very good combination. If he is still available in the late first round, Verrett is the pick to make.
Second Round: Deone Bucannon, Safety, Washington State
Remember the days when Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith roamed around the backfield for the Broncos? They've long needed that enforcer-type player in the secondary, and Deone Bucannon could be it.
Bucannon led the Pac-12 in tackles this past season and is known for his hard-hitting style.
The Broncos have Rahim Moore and Duke Ihenacho, but both experienced injuries this season. Quinton Carter had a good rookie season but has played in just three games the last two seasons.
The Broncos could use Bucannon to create more of a physical attitude on defense.
Third Round: Kareem Martin, Defensive End, North Carolina
Kareem Martin racked up 11.5 sacks during his senior year at North Carolina, and he will come into this year's draft as one of the best pass-rushing defensive ends available.
At 6'6", Martin is very quick and athletic for his size. He has a good first move and possesses the skills necessary to get to the quarterback.
Initially, Martin would be more of a developmental prospect, but the talent is there. On obvious passing downs, he could come into the game and make a big play right away.
The Broncos had 11 fewer sacks this season than they did in 2012, but the players they have at the defensive end position have complemented each other well. Martin would fit in nicely.
The Broncos would be fortunate to see Martin slide to the late third round, but he'd be a steal for them if that were to happen.
Fourth Round: Tyler Lockett, Wide Receiver, Kansas State
Tyler Lockett has yet to declare for the draft and could easily return to Kansas State for his senior season. Should he come out early, he will make a great addition to the team that drafts him.
Lockett is coming off a stellar junior season, catching 81 passes for 1,262 yards and a touchdown. In a 31-14 victory over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Lockett caught three touchdown passes.
One of the biggest stories of the offseason will be whether the Broncos are able to re-sign Eric Decker. If not, they will have Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Andre Caldwell as the only receivers on the active roster.
Lockett would be a great replacement for Decker, and he would add excellent depth to the position if they kept him.
Fifth Round: Deion Belue, Cornerback, Alabama
Not satisfied with just one cornerback, the Broncos will see Deion Belue sitting there in the fifth round and make the move.
Belue has good coverage skills but would need to improve his ability as a tackler in order to earn playing time.
Playing at Alabama, Belue faced strong competition in the SEC. He could be a good rotational player in the secondary and could be used as a return specialist as well.
Sixth Round: Gabe Ikard, Center, Oklahoma
Manny Ramirez has had a good year playing center in a relief role this year, but whether Denver wants to keep him in that role going forward remains to be seen.
Regardless, the Broncos need another center on the roster after parting ways with J.D. Walton. The team could select Gabe Ikard with a late-round pick and bring him in as the potential center of the future.
Ikard is a very athletic player who can be very effective blocking in space. He'll need to develop the ability to win at the point of attack consistently, but his athleticism makes him a valuable asset, especially if he can line up at the guard position if needed.
Seventh Round: Matt Patchan, Tackle, Boston College
Looking to bolster the depth of their offensive line even further, the Broncos round out their draft by taking Matt Patchan out of Boston College.
Patchan began his college playing days at the University of Florida before transferring to Boston College. There, he was part of an offensive line that helped lead one of the best rushing attacks in the country, averaging 218 yards per game.
The Broncos lost two starters on their offensive line to season-ending injuries this season and had to bring in veteran players like Steve Vallos and Winston Justice off the street just to provide depth to the line.
The Broncos will want as many young offensive linemen with some upside as they can get, and Patchan fits the bill.