2014 NFL Draft: 4 Prospects the Denver Broncos Should Avoid in the 1st Round
That means Denver can’t waste picks on poor prospects or spend picks on players at a stacked position. There are many talented players in this draft class, and Denver can find one at all kinds of positions in any round.
In other words, the Broncos must not reach.
But who should be avoided in the first round?
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Last year, the Broncos lost their left tackle. However, they still gave up just 20 sacks.
Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin were, for the most part, extraordinary. They held their ground against elite pass-rushers, such as DeMarcus Ware, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Robert Mathis.
With Ryan Clady back, it doesn’t make much sense to bring another tackle into the fold. However, there has still been talk about the Broncos upgrading their offensive line.
Cyrus Kouandjio could be an option if this is what the Broncos are trying to do. He has been plagued by knee issues, but if the Broncos ignore those concerns, they could choose him.
But if they’re smart, they won’t.
Even if Franklin moves to guard, in the case of an injury, he could always move back. It’s not like he’s a poor tackle; in fact, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report ranked him as the fifth-best right tackle in the game after last season.
Plus, the Broncos have Winston Justice, a very capable backup, and Vinston Painter, a potent sixth-round pick, waiting in the wings.
It wouldn't make sense to pick a surefire starter at this position, let alone a tackle with injury concerns.
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
When the Denver Broncos signed DeMarcus Ware, it seemed to temporarily end all talk regarding improving the pass rush.
However, with their lack of holes, it wouldn't be surprising to see them pick another rusher at some point.
The first round, however, wouldn't be a good time to make that pick. Unless a top prospect like Kony Ealy falls to Denver, it shouldn't add to the overcrowded defensive line.
For instance, the Broncos shouldn't reach for Scott Crichton in the first round. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Denver has met with Crichton. We can’t accurately gauge how much interest Denver has, but we know it has some.
If the team does want the best player available, though, it should avoid Crichton. He is thought of by most as a second-round prospect, and he isn’t dominant.
The Broncos already have a guy who is similar to Crichton in terms of versatility, motor and production in Derek Wolfe. Either Wolfe or Malik Jackson is likely to start opposite Ware, so adding Crichton wouldn't do much.
If Crichton falls to the end of the second round, he would be a nice value pick. But in the first round, it would be difficult to justify selecting him.
Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
If you can likely pick someone in the second round, it doesn’t make sense to pick him in the first round.
This is the case with Chris Borland. He has been linked to the Broncos due to Denver’s need for a middle linebacker, and some think he could be picked in the first round. Andrew Mason of the Broncos’ official website had Borland going to Denver in the first round in three of his five mock drafts.
While Borland would fill a need, he’s not worth a first-round pick. His deficiencies in pass coverage and small stature are hard to ignore, especially considering that the Broncos would benefit more from a coverage linebacker.
His motor is solid, and he’s a player the Broncos could benefit from with a late-round pick. However, he’s not worth a first-round selection.
First of all, there are better options, such as Ryan Shazier and C.J. Mosley, who could be available for the Broncos. In fact, talented linebackers, such as Max Bullough, Shayne Skov and Yawin Smallwood, will be available in the later rounds.
Also, Denver has done fine without solid production at middle linebacker. It won 26 combined regular-season games with Keith Brooking in 2012 and Paris Lenon in 2013. The Broncos will be fine with Nate Irving.
Unless a game-changing player like Shazier or Mosley falls to the Broncos, they can wait on the position. Borland is solid, but he’s not worth a first-round pick.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB
If the Broncos want to draft the best player available, Teddy Bridgewater could end up in Denver.
Bridgewater, who was viewed as a can’t-miss prospect at the conclusion of his college season, has recently seen his stock plummet. Now, he might not even be picked in the first round.
According to NFL.com, draft expert Mike Mayock doesn't view Bridgewater as a first-round talent. If teams feel the same way, he could be available when Denver picks.
His college production indicates that he could be stellar in the NFL, and many think the criticism is unwarranted. However, the Broncos should resist the urge to sacrifice the present for the future.
One reason is because Brock Osweiler is on the roster. He has done well in preseason showings, and his development could lead to a successful career down the road.
It’s not worth trading or knocking him down the depth chart just to add another option, especially in this talented draft. A player like Ryan Shazier, C.J. Mosley or Kyle Fuller could help Denver win now, which is what Denver needs to do.
After all, Peyton Manning isn’t getting any younger.
Conversely, Bridgewater wouldn’t contribute in 2014 barring an injury. And he might not even help the Broncos in the future.
Denver wants to win a championship with Manning, and its first-round draft pick needs to reflect that. In other words, making a pick for the future in one of the most talented draft classes ever would not be a smart decision.