My full seven-round mock draft can be seen here.
Round 1, Pick No. 31: Jason Verrett
The Broncos may move up or down in the first round. If they stay at No. 31, then Verrett is a fine pick.
While not the biggest cornerback (5’9”, 190 pounds), Verrett plays bigger than his size. He’s feisty on the outside or in the slot where he will harass opposing receivers after they make a break on their route.
Verrett isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty as a run defender, but he’s best in coverage throughout the entire route tree.
Round 2, Pick No. 63: Chris Borland
If the team can’t move up for either C.J. Mosley (Alabama) or Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), then Chris Borland is a great option at the end of the second round.
He’s a classic two-down thumper who arrives at the ball with natural violence. Borland is known as a smart player who quickly diagnoses plays as they unfold in front of him.
Borland impressed scouts at the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl earlier this year. He looked good in coverage drills, but on film he appeared to struggle with lateral, sideline-to-sideline agility.
Round 3, Pick No. 95: Paul Richardson
The Broncos added speedy wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency earlier this year. They could add more speed to the mix by acquiring Paul Richardson in the draft.
He can take the top off the defense in the blink of an eye. Richardson has an extra gear with the ball in his hands, and he can easily pull away from defenders giving chase. His big-play ability could also help the Broncos on special teams as a return man.
Round 4, Pick No. 131: David Yankey
The Broncos need more help on the interior of the offensive line. They have a tackle-heavy roster at this time, but the Broncos need more talent in the middle at guard or center.
Yankey was thought of as a late first-round pick earlier this year. His draft stock has fallen in recent weeks, and he may be available this late in the draft. He’s not the most athletic player at guard, but Yankey has the desire and technique to develop into a decent pro.
Round 5, Pick No. 171: Isaiah Crowell
The Broncos know that 2014 is Montee Ball’s time to shine. He should win the starting job for the Broncos this year after last year’s starter Knowshon Moreno moved on to the Miami Dolphins in free agency.
Losing Moreno creates a hole on the depth chart at running back. Adding a player like Crowell would fill that spot with a player who has the upside to be a quality starter as a pro. He has the size-speed combination that scouts love, and Crowell can also make plays as a receiver out of the backfield.
He’s arguably the most naturally talented back in this draft class. Crowell is likely to fall to the final day of the draft because of weapons charges (later dropped) that got him booted off the Georgia Bulldogs.
Round 6, Pick No. 207: Brett Smith
The Broncos are looking for a developmental quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler. They selected Zac Dysert in the seventh round last year, but the team could add more competition for that third spot this year.
Brett Smith is an athletic prospect who can keep plays alive with his feet while keeping his eyes downfield. He’s fast enough to be a threat as a scrambler, and he has the arm strength required to make every throw (with proper velocity) in the NFL.
Smith was a highly-touted local prospect, and the Broncos may want to add him to the roster to push Dysert.
Round 7, Pick No. 246: Jonathan Dowling
Versatile players with size in the secondary are a hot commodity in the NFL. Jonathan Dowling could be a late-round pick because of attitude issues that got him booted off the Florida Gators.
He transferred to Western Kentucky and was a standout player at cornerback and safety.
Dowling has the size to be a disruptive player in the red zone. Dowling can roam the field, playing close to the line of scrimmage to stuff the run. He has the speed to keep up with receivers on downfield routes.
All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos. All draft grades provided by NFLDraftScout.com.
Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.