The Broncos are looking for a few positions early in the draft. Those positions (in no particular order) should be middle linebacker, cornerback, offensive guard and wide receiver.
Some may be surprised by their interest in a wide receiver, but further investigation does expose a need at the position.
The Broncos added Emmanuel Sanders in free agency earlier this year. He should take the place of Eric Decker (Jets), and his speed will give the team another wrinkle on offense. Sanders is not the biggest receiver, and earlier in his pro career foot injuries kept him from playing up to his potential.
Wes Welker was added last year in free agency, and he’s set to start in the slot once again this season. Welker played in only 13 games last year as he missed time recovering from two concussions. With his playing style, the Broncos have to be ready in case he misses more time in 2014.
These concerns for both Sanders and Welker mean the team should look at adding a wide receiver within the first three rounds of the draft.
If they go with a wide receiver in the first round, then Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) could be an option.
Cooks plays a lot like a younger version of former Panthers receiver Steve Smith. John Fox was the head coach of the Panthers for nine seasons with Smith as one of his main weapons on offense.
Like Smith, Cooks is a smaller receiver who plays bigger than his size because of a feisty attitude, strength and ability to rip away contested passes. Cooks has the speed to stretch the field and can fly by defenders after the catch.
He has never missed a game at any level of football, so those bringing up durability concerns because of his small stature (5’10” 186 pounds) are sorely mistaken.
Cooks has the ability to be a starter in the NFL. He can make an impact immediately for another team, but with the Broncos he’d likely have to wait for that opportunity.
In addition to helping out at wide receiver and giving them a star-in the-waiting at the position, Cooks can also contribute as a punt returner.
Odds: 25 percent
Note: All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos. Transaction history provided by ProSportsTransactions.com. Contract information provided by Spotrac.com. Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.