With their last pick of the 2015 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos selected Josh Furman, a linebacker out of Oklahoma State. Unlike fellow seventh-round choices Trevor Siemian and Taurean Nixon, Furman may actually have a decent chance to make the roster.
The Broncos were intent on finding versatile athletes in this draft who can play multiple positions, and Furman can do that. In addition to playing linebacker, he also has experience at safety. This could give the Broncos multiple options with their new addition.
T.J. Ward is a hard-hitting safety that could line up at a linebacker position if he had to. Furman might have similar abilities, but a game that is far from refined.
Furman began his career at Michigan but ran into some trouble there off the field. He faced multiple charges, including one for domestic violence, which eventually led to a suspension from the team. He was found not guilty on all counts in April 2012.
Though Michigan reinstated him, he ended up transferring to Oklahoma State. That ended up being a great decision for Furman, as he found much more success there.
He went from having just 29 tackles and no sacks in three years at Michigan to 64 tackles and seven sacks in one season at Oklahoma State. He looked like a completely different player.
College Statistics (Michigan and Oklahoma State)
Tackles for Loss: 14
Passes Defensed: 4
Forced Fumbles: 1
Though Furman did not participate in the NFL scouting combine, his pro day obviously helped his draft stock, according to The Oklahoman. There, Furman posted a 4.47 40-yard dash to go along with a 38-inch vertical jump.
With the Broncos, Furman will look to earn playing time within a linebacker corps that includes Brandon Marshall, Danny Trevathan, Reggie Walker, Danny Mason, Lerentee McCray, Lamin Barrow, Steven Johnson, Corey Nelson and Todd Davis.
All of those names equate to long odds for Furman to earn a roster spot. However, at safety, things could be different.
Furman is better suited to play safety rather than linebacker in the NFL, based largely on his size. At 6'2" and 202 pounds, Furman is the ideal size for the safety position and that is an area the Broncos didn't otherwise address in this draft.
The Broncos have only Ward, Darian Stewart, David Bruton and Josh Bush as safeties on the roster. Players like Omar Bolden, Kayvon Webster and Bradley Roby could be tried in the free safety spot this season as well.
Furman could lend a hand in the secondary as well. His strong tackling ability wouldn't hurt and if he can develop his skills in coverage, he could stick around.
An athlete with plenty of upside, Furman would only help his chances by becoming a strong special teams player, as is the case with most seventh-round choices.
Safety will be a very interesting position for the Broncos this offseason. They now have several players who they can shuffle around and experiment with. The only sure thing they have is Ward, so the competition will be wide open.