It may seem as though I'm going a bit overboard with the Broncos mock draft's, but I just cannot help it. Denver has so many different options come draft day, and with each day come new opportunities and scenarios. Here is a bit of a new twist that I think Denver fans will find quite interesting.
First Round, 12th overall: Rey Maualuga; Middle Linebacker, USC
I'm going with a switch here at the 12th pick, taking Rey Maualuga, the stud MLB out of Southern Cal. Following an impressive 2005 season in which Denver made it to the AFC Championship game, the team found itself looking for a new identity at quarterback.
Late in the 2006 season, Jay Cutler made his first start against the Seattle Seahawks. While Cutler's first start as a Bronco was an exciting photo finish that ended in defeat, quite possibly the most important aspect of that game came on the defensive side of the ball.
Former Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson suffered a serious neck injury, ending his career essentially. Ever since then, Denver has lacked a dominant presence, and a stout defense in general.
Maualuga is a stout middle linebacker who can defend the run with the best of them, and is excellent in pass coverage. He would be the perfect building block for the new 3-4 defense, and would compliment D.J. Williams nicely on the inside.
First round, 18th overall: Knowshon Moreno; Running Back, Georgia
You are going to have to hear me out on this one, as I'm sure some of you who think the Broncos should draft defense, defense, defense are going to freak out. Denver's rush offense ranked 12th in the NFL in 2008, and they were tied for second in the league with 4.8 yards per carry--with 98 different running backs.
Okay, so I'm being a bit sarcastic there, but undoubtedly, Denver has to be in the market for a premiere running back. This year's draft features two top end backs (Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells) who will be considered the cream of the crop.
Moreno has bulked up, and has the game-changing speed to instantly add a second dimension to Denver's offense. Correll Buckhalter, LaMont Jordan, J.J. Arrington, and Ryan Torain are fine options, but with this pick, Denver can add even more picks by trading Selvin Young and Tony Scheffler (move Peyton Hillis to h-back).
Second Round, 48th overall: Jarron Gilbert; Defensive Lineman, San Jose State
Aside from Tyson Jackson, Jarron Gilbert is hands down the best 3-4 defensive end available in this year's draft. He stands at 6'5" 290 pounds, and has the room on his frame to grow even more. He would be an excellent addition up front to Denver's defensive line, and is extremely athletic for his size.
Third Round, 79th overall: Sammie Lee Hill; Defensive Lineman, Stillman
Simply put: Sammie Lee Hill is an absolute freak of nature. This kid played defensive end at 329 pounds, and was very productive. Hill has excellent agility, long arms, and quickness. Some scouts project him as a 3-4 defensive end, but with the Broncos, he will get a shot at the nose tackle position. The only concern here is his lack of competition, but Hill dominated those he faced. He could be one of the steals of the draft.
Third Round, 84th overall: Mitch King; Defensive End, Iowa
As an Iowa fan, it does my heart good to see one of Iowa's best defensive players, if not the best defensive player going to the Denver Broncos in the third round. What King lacks in height or weight at the defensive tackle position, he more than makes up for with his production.
King has excellent quickness, and can get tremendous push in the backfield. He will be a great player for whatever team takes him, and I hope that the Broncos decide he is their guy with the second of three picks acquired from the Chicago Bears.
Fourth Round, 114th overall: Chip Vaughn; Safety, Wake Forest
Vaughn has really impressed scouts with his size, agility, and flat out speed. He is not as highly regarded as college teammates Aaron Curry or Alphonso Smith, but he has the potential to develop into a good safety and special teams player at the next level.
Fifth Round, 149th overall: Vaughn Martin; Defensive Tackle, Western Ontario
Martin is another freak of nature athletically. The 6'4" 335 pounder has reportedly run the forty yard dash in under five seconds, and bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times. He is very raw as a prospect, but is really catching scouts' eyes right now. If the Broncos want him, they may be foolish to try and wait until the sixth or seventh round to do it.
Sixth Round, 185th overall: A.Q. Shipley; Center, Penn State
I have been a huge supporter of Shipley in the draft process, and while he may not fall this far, I am optimistic that he will. He has the potential to be a starting center at the next level, and would be great value in this spot.
Seventh Round, 225th overall: Mike Reilly; Quarterback, Central Washington
Reilly is a really under the radar prospect who would be a great value this late for the Broncos. He was extremely productive at Central Washington, and would be a great mind to mold for quarterback guru Josh McDaniels.
Seventh Round, 235th overall: Patrick Turner; Wide Receiver, USC
Turner was relatively a "bust" at the college level, but is getting a second opportunity in the NFL. If he can produce in the NFL as he was expected to in college, he will be a steal this late for the Broncos. He has excellent height and bulk for the position as well.