NFL Draft Prospects at 2016 Senior Bowl the Broncos Should Have Interest in
For 10 years in a row, I have taken what I’ve dubbed the “all-star road trip.” Each year in January, I kick the draft season off by traveling to college all-star games in order to scout the incoming talent to the NFL. I’ve already gone to Florida to scout the prospects at the East-West Shrine Game, and now I’ve gone to Alabama for the biggest all-star game of the draft season.
This week, I’ve been in Mobile, Alabama, for the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl.
According to the Senior Bowl’s official website, about 30 percent of the NFL has played in the Senior Bowl. This is a huge event and regularly features some of the best talent available for the draft. In 2011, the most unstoppable player during the week of practice for the Senior Bowl was none other than linebacker Von Miller.
It’s always fun to dig into which prospects could be the best from each roster. It’s also fun to decipher which players would be a good addition for the Denver Broncos.
Here are some prospects from the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl the Broncos should have interest in.
RB Tyler Ervin, San Jose State
The Broncos may lose starting running back Ronnie Hillman via free agency this offseason. Even though Hillman is technically the starter, his skill set is more of a change-of-pace back.
They may add talent to the running back position this offseason, and that makes dynamic speedster Tyler Ervin an option.
Ervin’s game is all about speed, speed and more speed. He’s a dynamic player in space who can get to top speed in a hurry. Ervin has the speed to get to the corner quickly, and once in the open field he can run away from the defense.
He’s a decent receiver out of the backfield, and Ervin is a threat to score anytime he touches the football. Ervin is a player that is best featured in space as he doesn’t have the size to grind it between the tackles. Even though he’s not a huge back, the 5'10" Ervin did measure in at 192 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He also showed the willingness needed to be an effective pass-blocker.
The Gary Kubiak system could use a player like Ervin, and right now he’s graded as a fifth- or sixth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.
DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
The Broncos defensive line features players like defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson plus nose tackle Sylvester Williams. With Wolfe wrapped up with a new long-term contract, the team may lose Jackson in free agency.
The loss of Jackson would be huge, and the Broncos could look to a player like Alabama’s Jarran Reed to replace him.
Reed has surprising athleticism for such a big man, and he can get interior push on the quarterback. Measuring in at 6’4”, 311 pounds, Reed is difficult to move and he does a good job of re-directing his man where he wants to go.
He’s got long arms to snare ball-carriers, and Reed does a good job of being a violent tackler. Reed has high football intelligence, and he’ll regularly sniff out where a play is going and get to the ball in a hurry.
As one of the best players at the Senior Bowl, it’s no surprise that he’s currently graded as a first-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.
OT/OG Vadal Alexander, LSU
The Broncos offensive line has been a trouble spot for most of the 2015 season. Fans should expect Denver to make multiple moves up front in order to improve the play from its offensive line.
Offensive guard Vadal Alexander has a perfect skill set for the zone-blocking system.
He played outside at tackle during his career at LSU, but Alexander’s skill set makes him a better fit to play inside at the pro level. Alexander is big, powerful and capable of bulling defenders out of the way. He can get low and push as a run-blocker, and Alexander showed a bit of a mean streak during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Alexander lacks the foot quickness to play on the outside in the NFL, but he’s light enough on his feet to get to the second level and work effectively as a combo-blocker.
At this time, NFLDraftScout.com has Alexander graded as a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
SS K.J. Dillon, West Virginia
The depth at the safety position has been tested this season. With injuries to starters and backups, the Broncos have looked everywhere for help at safety.
They may look to the draft for help, and a guy like K.J. Dillon should be a consideration.
Dillon was an intimidating presence during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl. While there is no tackling to the ground, there are some big hits from time to time. After most of those hits, you’d look up to see Dillon talking smack.
He’s got a seek-and-destroy mentality on the football field. Dillon can patrol the middle of the field and play close to the line of scrimmage to help out in run support.
In addition to his physical play, Dillon is a vocal leader on the field that his teammates can rally around. He will struggle in coverage at times, but on a swarming defense like the Broncos he could give them quality depth at the safety position.
NFLDraftScout.com has Dillon graded as a seventh-round pick at this time. His standout play at the Senior Bowl could have that draft stock on the rise.
WR Braxton Miller, Ohio State
At this time, the Broncos have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are stars, but behind them the Broncos have some question marks at the position.
Former college quarterback Braxton Miller is an interesting option as a developmental wide receiver with amazing upside.
Miller has the athleticism to create separation as a route-runner. Just one year into his transition to wide receiver, Miller showed good route-running ability during the week of practice for the Senior Bowl. He’s explosive at the top of his route, and he does a good job of coming back to the football.
He has great run-after-the-catch ability, and he can take a short pass and turn it into a long gain. Miller needs to show better composure when facing more physical defenders. During practice, there were a couple of times when Miller and the defensive back covering him got into a shoving match after the play.
In addition to helping as a wide receiver, Miller has the ability to contribute as a return man as well. Currently, NFLDraftScout.com has him rated as a second- or third-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via the Broncos media department unless otherwise noted. Draft grades can be found at NFLDraftScout.com. Advanced stats via ESPN's employees-only database.