Denver Broncos Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
All of the wait and speculation is finally over. The 2015 NFL draft is upon us.
No more guesswork or mock drafts. The picks that count are about to be made, and this is the place to be for all of the coverage.
The Broncos currently hold the No. 28 pick in the first round. Will they look to bolster the offensive line or will John Elway use his first pick on the defensive side of the ball for the fifth year in a row?
All in all, the Broncos will be a very busy team in this draft, with 10 picks at their disposal. That makes Denver a likely team to look to trade up in this draft, perhaps sacrificing some of those picks for a player the team really likes.
Other things to look for in Denver's draft strategy will be adding help at the inside linebacker position and finding a young tight end to groom in Gary Kubiak's offense. Don't forget that the team may select a pass-rusher or two, especially if Denver finds a perfect fit for its 3-4 defensive scheme.
As a team whose championship window could be closing, this is an important draft for the Broncos. Elway needs to find players who can come in and contribute right away.
As you follow the draft, check back here often as instant grades and analysis will be provided for each pick the Broncos make. To whet your appetite as you wait, make sure to check out my seven-round mock draft as well as my big board of prospects.
Enjoy the draft!
Denver Broncos Draft Pick Tracker
Here is Bleacher Report's draft board for the Denver Broncos. When picks are made, this board will automatically update, allowing you to see whom the team has selected and where.
More analysis will be provided on each player who is chosen once selections have been made.
Round 1, No. 23 Overall: Shane Ray, Defensive End, Missouri
The Denver Broncos were sitting at No. 28 in the first round. They didn't feel like waiting to see if Shane Ray would last that long.
Denver contacted the Detroit Lions, trading up to the No. 23 position. In the process, the Broncos gave up their first-round pick along with fifth-round choices in this draft and in 2016. The Lions also acquired offensive lineman Manny Ramirez as part of the deal.
Many thought the Broncos needed to upgrade the offensive line early in this draft, but John Elway obviously felt that Ray was too good to pass up. That move won't come without scrutiny, however, considering Ray was cited for possession of marijuana earlier this week.
In addition, Ray may have to address a nagging foot injury that could require surgery.
The potential as a fierce, disruptive pass-rusher exists, and the Broncos will have to hope that he can be that player in order to justify taking a chance on him.
Weight: 245 lbs
Arm Length: 33 1/8"
Hand Measurement: 9"
Note: Did not participate in scouting combine
2012: 16 tackles, 0 sacks
2013: 39 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles
2014: 65 tackles, 14.5 sacks, three forced fumbles
Round 2, No. 59 Overall: Ty Sambrailo, Offensive Tackle, Colorado State
In the second round, the Broncos waited it out rather than looking to trade, as they did in Round 1. They ended up with the offensive tackle many thought they should have gotten in the first round.
Ty Sambrailo of Colorado State comes to the Broncos and will be in the mix to start at right tackle this season, and stay there for many years to come.
The Broncos came into this draft needing to upgrade the offensive line and after taking a chance on Ray in the first round in a move that may prove to be one of the best of this draft, Elway decided to grab the player he felt was the best tackle on the board.
In doing so, he passed up on T.J. Clemmings, who was still on the board.
Sambrailo will need to address his strength and conditioning in order to be ready for the jump to the NFL, and his deficiency in that area could be a major concern.
Still, he displays a high football IQ and great athleticism to go with his overall toughness. He could be developed into an outstanding player.
Round 3, No. 92 Overall: Jeff Heuerman, Tight End, Ohio State
In the third round, the Broncos decided to take a player from the Ohio State Buckeyes, the defending national champions.
Jeff Heuerman comes to the Broncos, joining the tight end ranks that already include Owen Daniels, Virgil Green and James Casey.
The Broncos were expected to take a tight end that they could groom in their system, and Heuerman has the tools to become a long-term starter at some point in his career. It doesn't hurt that he'll get some time with Peyton Manning either.
Heuerman's stats won't jump off the page—he caught just 52 passes in his college career—but he does the things that don't get noticed very well, particularly blocking.
Heuerman didn't take up football until high school and has turned into a solid tight end. Denver clearly felt the upside was too good to pass up.
The Broncos are filling needs as the draft goes after making the move for Ray in the first round. They are set up well to make this a very successful draft.
Scouting Combine Stats:
Bench Press Reps (225 lbs): 26
Note: Only participated in bench press at combine due to right ankle injury
Round 4, No. 133 Overall: Max Garcia, Center, Florida
Max Garcia, a center from Florida, is Denver's choice in the fourth round. He is versatile enough to play guard, so he gives the team flexibility.
Consistency will be key for Garcia, something he was never able to establish at Florida after transferring from Maryland. He does possess adequate blocking skills and can hold up in the passing game.
If the Broncos choose to use him at center, he could come in and battle Gino Gradkowski and Matt Paradis for the starting spot right away.
Garcia is an athlete. He has quick feet, and he has no problem getting to the second level. That could give him an advantage over Gradkowski and Paradis. Still, the fourth round seemed a little early for this pick, considering the Broncos probably could have selected him in the fifth, and possibly even the sixth, round.
Round 5, No. 164 Overall: Lorenzo Doss, Cornerback, Tulane
Lorenzo Doss is the newest member of the Denver Broncos, chosen in the fifth round of the draft. Though cornerback was not a glaring need coming in, Elway must have seen something he couldn't live without.
Doss ranks second on the all-time list in career interceptions at Tulane with 15. He shows good hand-eye coordination and solid ball skills. He is able to undercut routes to make plays on the ball.
But perhaps the main reason the Broncos drafted him was his ability to come up and make plays in the running game. He'll fit in well with the defensive backs already on the team with that trait.
With Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby already on the roster, and capable backups in Tony Carter and Kayvon Webster, the choice of Doss is a curious one. Finding another free safety is a much more pressing need.
In today's NFL, productive defensive backs come at a premium. Elway has to hope he's found another one here. The pick isn't a bad one, it just didn't really address a need.
Round 6, No. 203 Overall: Darius Kilgo, Defensive Tackle, Maryland
In the sixth round, Denver chooses to finally add a defensive tackle, taking Darius Kilgo out of Maryland.
A well-coached player in college, Kilgo is solid against the run but has little to no ability as a pass-rusher. This makes him a two-down nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive scheme.
It appears the Broncos may have felt compelled to choose a defensive tackle with Sylvester Williams and Marvin Austin being really the only players on the roster at that position. This pick feels like a huge reach, though, as Denver likely could have found Kilgo at the end of the seventh round, and there is a good chance he could have been added as an undrafted free agent.
To earn a spot on the roster, Kilgo must improve his lateral movement and get more aggressive with his hands.
If you're scratching your head over this pick, you're probably not alone.
Round 7, No. 250 Overall: Trevor Siemian, Quarterback, Northwestern
In the seventh round, the Broncos added another arm to the roster, choosing Northwestern's Trevor Siemian and passing up on 6'7" prospect Chris Bonner, a player many thought would end up in Denver.
Siemian, who suffered a torn ACL against Purdue in November, accounted for nearly 6,000 yards at Northwestern. However, the injury left his playing career very much in doubt. Not only is he still in the rehab process, he missed all of the offseason all-star games and the combine.
Because of that, it's hard to judge his career going forward.
Have the Broncos just drafted the proverbial "camp arm," or do they actually see a situation in which Siemian could make the team. He'll likely battle Zac Dysert for the third-string quarterback spot or a spot on the practice squad.
It's tough to be harsh on a seventh-round pick, so we'll give this pick a slightly higher grade than it probably deserves.
Round 7, No. 251 Overall: Taurean Nixon, Cornerback, Tulane
Taurean Nixon is a speedy cornerback who began his college playing career at Memphis before transferring to Tulane. He will now join his Green Wave teammate, Lorenzo Doss, as a member of the Denver Broncos.
On top of being a member of the football team, Nixon also participated on the Tulane track team, competing in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay.
He will come to Denver looking to find a home in the secondary, but his best bet to make the team may very well be special teams. Due to his speed, he could be an effective gunner on punting situations. He could also help the team as a kick returner.
He had 44 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed in two years at Tulane. CBSSports.com had him listed as the No. 438 prospect in its rankings.
Round 7, No. 252 Overall: Josh Furman, Linebacker, Oklahoma State
Denver used its final pick of the draft to select Josh Furman out of Oklahoma State.
Furman is a player who can line up at inside linebacker or safety, and he makes a lot of tackles in space. After beginning his college career at Michigan, he transferred to Oklahoma State and enjoyed much more success.
In Denver, Furman will come in and try to earn a spot as a linebacker, but he could also line up as a hybrid safety-linebacker. His versatility will give him a chance to make the final roster.
This was Denver's best pick in the seventh round, although that probably isn't saying much.