Denver Broncos' Mock Draft Roundup
All across the Internet there are several experts who have put together plans for the Broncos via mock drafts. These plans are crafted after closely studying the talent in the draft and the needs for every team.
The Broncos made huge splashes in free agency at multiple positions. However, they still have spots that need to be filled on the roster. We’ll see if they can make waves during the draft as well .
Here are the players whom the experts believe the Broncos will select in each round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Mel Kiper, ESPN (subscription required)—Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com—Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com—Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com—Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
There’s a bit of mixed opinion here from the experts in the first round.
Kiper is the only one to have the Broncos selecting a cornerback in Round 1. Even with the addition of Aqib Talib in free agency, the Broncos need to add more depth at the position. Talib has never played a full 16-game season and their other starter, Chris Harris Jr., is coming off a partially torn ACL injury he suffered in the playoff win over the San Diego Chargers.
Verrett is on the small side, measuring in at 5’10”, 175 pounds. He makes up for his lack of size with a ferocious attitude. Verrett is best playing off his man at the snap, but he has the closing burst to arrive as passes are coming in.
Rang is the only expert who has the Broncos addressing the offensive line in the first round. With Zane Beadles (Jacksonville Jaguars) moving on in free agency, the Broncos have a huge hole they need to fill at left guard. Su’a-Filo is an experienced blocker who is tough to move. He anchors well as a pass-blocker, and he is not fooled by twists and stunts.
Brugler believes the Broncos will add a pass-rusher in the first. Ford is an amazing player with plenty of speed and quickness to get around the edge. He plays a lot like former Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Ford doesn’t add much as a run-defender, but he can constantly create pressure on an opposing quarterback.
Both Miller and Jeremiah predict the Broncos will add talent to the linebacker corps.
Miller is going for the home run pick in Mosley. He might be the player on top of the Broncos board. Mosley is arguably the only three-down inside linebacker in this draft class. He can close quickly on the run, plus he can also turn to cover in the open field. Adding Mosley would be a dream-come-true for many Broncos fans.
Jeremiah goes with an outside linebacker in Shazier, but it’s likely with the expectation that the Broncos will move him to the inside. Shazier is incredibly athletic and attacks the ball on each snap. His speed and instincts help him beat blockers to the point of the play. Shazier is always around the ball, and he can also be relied on as a blitzer to create middle pressure.
My pick: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
I’m on the same page as Kiper here—the Broncos should take a cornerback in the first round. However, I have Fuller instead of Verrett. The reason is simple—size.
Fuller is bigger than Verrett, and he can play press-man coverage because of it. This allows him to harass opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage and break up the timing of the play right at the snap.
Once a receiver gets into his route, Fuller has the speed to stick with his man. He also has the wingspan to knock away contested passes. This will make him a better player than Verrett in the red zone.
Mel Kiper, ESPN (subscription required)—David Yankey, OG, Stanford
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com—Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Kiper and Miller have the Broncos adding to the offensive line here. Yankey is a converted left tackle who plays with a mean streak. Jackson is a freakish prospect because of his amazing size, length and athleticism. Both could be quality starters for 10 years inside at guard.
Rang and Brugler are on the same page, and they both feel the Broncos will look for a wide receiver in this round. Adams has exceptional quickness for a big receiver. He has a nose for the end zone and will consistently win at the point of the catch.
Ellington is raw as a route-runner, but he has the willingness to catch passes over the middle in traffic. After the catch, he’s tough to bring down in the open field because of his moves and quickness.
My pick: Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
With no inside linebacker added on the first day of the draft, the Broncos need to fill the need at the position in Round 2.
Borland is a two-down thumper who can help as a quality run-defender. He has a nose for the ball, and he arrives at the play with a violent force. Borland will have to prove himself in coverage if he wants to be more than a part-time player with the Broncos.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
Miller has the Broncos taking a cornerback in the third round here. The need for cornerback is evident, and Gaines would give the defense more attitude.
Gaines has the size to excel in press coverage, but he also has the quickness to play off-man coverage at the snap. He’s a smart player who does a good job of anticipating route combinations, and this helps him break up passes as they arrive at the receiver.
In addition to pass defense, Gaines is a reliable open-field tackler who can help against the run. He also has the quickness and lateral agility to work well as a blitzer off the edge.
My pick: Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
I don’t know if he’ll last until the end of the third round, but if he does, the Broncos have a tremendous value pick in Herron. His game is all about blazing speed. This is something the team needs on offense even though they added speedy Emmanuel Sanders in free agency earlier this offseason.
Herron can release off the line of scrimmage in multiple ways. This makes him difficult to press at the snap. Once into his route, he can blaze by defenders. In the open field, Herron is dangerous after the catch. He can make moves without losing much, if any, speed.
He has the ability to play outside or in the slot. His versatility would be quite an asset for the Broncos offense.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Miller gives the Broncos move wide receiver help in the fourth round. Abbrederis has a skill set that is similar to former Broncos receiver Eric Decker.
Like Decker, Abbrederis is a crisp route-runner who gets separation on savvy moves that set up a cornerback. He’s not as big as Decker, but measuring in at 6’1”, Abbrederis can regularly pluck passes at the highest point. Abbrederis has good body control, and he can work sideline routes effectively.
He’s not an elite athlete, and Abbrederis won’t run away from any defensive back after the catch. However, in the Broncos offense he could be a good fit because of his ability to get open. Peyton Manning’s favorite receiver is always the open guy.
My pick: Chris Davis, CB, Auburn
The Broncos get more cornerback depth with this pick. Davis can work well as a sub-package corner during his rookie season. His big-play ability will be a great addition in nickel packages and dime packages. He can also compete for playing time as a dangerous return man.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
The Broncos let Knowshon Moreno move on to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, so the need to add another back is there. Miller’s pick of Grice could certainly happen in the fifth round.
Grice was a touchdown machine during his time with the Sun Devils. He’s a strong runner with good acceleration after he makes his cut. Grice can run through arm tackles at the second level of the defense, and he has a few moves to make opponents miss.
In addition to being a strong runner, Grice is a reliable pass-catcher. He’ll naturally look the ball into his hands when catching a swing or screen pass. Grice is also a willing (and capable) pass-blocker. This is a great attribute to have on an offense with Peyton Manning.
My pick: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State (Georgia Transfer)
I like the thought of adding a running back here. If he’s still on the board, then Crowell would be my pick. One can make the argument that he’s the most naturally talented back in the entire draft.
Crowell has the ability to be an impact player who can be a workhorse at the NFL level. He would give the Broncos incredible depth at the position with the upside to be a potential starter if pressed into duty.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—James White, RB, Wisconsin
Miller’s selection of White here is an interesting one. White was a college teammate of Montee Ball at Wisconsin. He would fit perfectly as a change-of-pace back.
He’s an efficient back who wastes little motion running the ball. White isn’t a hammer between the tackles, but he will lower his shoulders to run inside.
While lacking elite speed, White has enough speed to get to the outside at the second level of the defense. He’s quick enough in tight spaces to make defenders miss, and he can be used effectively as a receiver out of the backfield.
Ronnie Hillman has been a disappointment during his pro career. The Broncos could use White as a rotational player behind Ball instead of relying on Hillman in 2014.
My pick: Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky
The Broncos have to get more speed on defense, and that is the name of Williamson’s game. The team has a good history of adding Kentucky linebackers late or undrafted (see Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan). Williamson gives them a young player with speed who could develop into the three-down inside linebacker they’ve been looking for.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report—Stephen Morris, QB, Miami (Fla.)
Miller’s pick of Morris makes a lot of sense. The Broncos recently had Morris in for a private workout at Dove Valley, according to Mike Klis from The Denver Post.
Even though they added Zac Dysert in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft, the Broncos are still looking for help at the position. They could add a quarterback like Morris to push Dysert for his third-string job.
Morris is an athletic quarterback who can keep plays alive with his feet. He has a strong arm, and he can make every throw required in the NFL. His mechanics are sound when the pocket is clean. However, when forced to throw on the run his accuracy suffers.
It’s wise for a team to add a late-round quarterback every year. It gets an extra camp arm and a developmental prospect who could flourish with proper guidance. Morris is that guy for the Broncos here.
My pick: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
I believe he'll be off the board by this time. However, if he's there, the Broncos would be wise to make the pick. Smith has an athletic skill set and is a coachable player with strong leadership qualities. He has the arm strength to make all the throws in the NFL, and he can keep plays alive with his feet while keeping his eyes downfield.
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. Draft grades provided by NFLDraftScout.com. Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.