Denver Broncos: The Top 5 Players the Broncos Need To Watch at the Senior Bowl
With several premium picks in the upcoming NFL draft, the Broncos need to be focused on scouting the best possible players that will make an immediate impact next year.
It is no secret that the Broncos need help on the defensive side of the ball, and thus most of the scouting should be directed towards filling these holes left by the Josh McDaniels regime.
Although none of these players are likely to be taken with the Broncos' first pick in the draft (second overall pick), there are some players that could be impact players later on in the draft.
5. Jake Locker, QB
I know, I know...I just mentioned that the Denver defense resembles that of Swiss cheese at the moment, and I immediately list a quarterback out of the gate.
It would almost be impossible to watch this game and not scout Jake Locker, as he is definitely a physical presence in any offense. He has been highly touted as one of the better quarterbacks in this draft class, a class that isn't particularly deep at that position.
The odds of Locker even being available when the Broncos would be willing to select him are slim to none, so we really shouldn't spend too much time considering this unless he goes out there and has the day of his life.
4. Greg Jones, LB
Out of Michigan State, Jones is a back-to-back first-team All-American and an absolute beast on defense. Jones possesses the speed that Denver desperately needs when it comes to penetrating and getting into the backfield.
Jones finished his career second in school history in tackles for loss and sixth in sacks—something the Denver defense could use an immediate boost in production.
The linebacking corps for the Denver Broncos is currently a mixed bag, with D.J. Williams overstaying his welcome, along with Robert Ayers not currently living up to his draft status. Taking Jones in a late-round situation would not be a huge risk, as he has been a steady player over the course of his career.
3. Kai Forbath, K
Kickers generally don't get much hype, let alone attention, but Kai Forbath has been a great one. Over the course of his collegiate career he managed to tie both the second overall all-time scoring record, as well as second overall field goal percentage record.
The Denver Broncos haven't had a kicker that we could assume is automatic ever since Jason Elam's time in Denver came to an end. Most Bronco fans remember the good old days of expecting the three points and having them be automatic.
Not only that, I miss the days when field goals longer than 40 yards were automatic, something that shouldn't be as difficult in the mile high thin air. Prater has not been a bad kicker, just somewhat inconsistent at times.
2. Ahmad Black, DB
Ahmad Black intercepted five passes this year, running back one of them for a touchdown against Penn State in the Outback Bowl, where he was named MVP (two interceptions in the game).
Black also led Florida State in tackles on the year with 108. These numbers somewhat resemble Champ Bailey in terms of always finding himself in the middle of the play.
With Champ Bailey possibly not returning, Black would be a late-round selection that might provide the Broncos with a formidable defender for years to come.
If Champ leaves, the Broncos may even have Peterson and Black working opposite each other if he is still available in the later rounds.
1. Ryan Kerrigan, DE
Over the course of the last week Ryan Kerrigan has raised his draft stock tremendously. At 6'4" he is an absolute force on the line and in the opposing teams backfield. He finished the season with 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, indicating the power he possesses in some of these hits.
He was the team's co-captain, and with Dawkins and Champ possibly out, the Denver D is going to need people to step and be leaders not only now, but in the future.
It is no doubt that the Broncos' most glaring hole is in the defensive line, and with Elvis Dumervill coming back next season, this will give the defensive line double the pressure that it has currently had. Kerrigan may not be around by the time the Broncos make their second pick of the draft, but if he is, they very well may consider taking him.