In the wake of the new MHR contest involving Broncos mock drafts, I have gotten my final draft of how I think McDaniels will improve this team in a week and a half. Here we go!
First Round, 12th overall: Knowshon Moreno; Running Back, Georgia
5'11" 217 lbs. 4.44
Although I hope the main focus of the draft is on the defensive side of the ball, I really hope McDaniels and company hesitate to pass on Knowshon Moreno at this slot. I have previously had him going 18th, but I'm afraid someone might jump us to get him in that case. Moreno is a dynamic player who Todd McShay recently compared to Clinton Portis. We all saw how great Portis was in Denver.
First Round, 18th overall: Rey Maualuga; Middle Linebacker, USC
6'2" 250 4.64
I absolutely love what Maualuga brings to the table as a leader. He was a tackling machine at USC, and has the perfect size to be a run-stuffing MLB at the next level for the Denver Broncos. I realize his 40-yard dash time at the combine doesn't suggest that he is going to be great in coverage skills, but the guy has a nose for the ball.
Second Round, 48th overall: Jarron Gilbert; Defensive End, San Jose State
6'5" 288 lbs. 4.74
While some aren't so optimistic that he will fall this far, I'm fairly confident that the former San Jose State superstar will be available for the picking here with the third of the Broncos' 11 picks. Gilbert has the ideal size for a 3-4 defensive end, and led the nation with 22 tackles for a loss. That is one area the Broncos need to address in a bad way.
Third Round, 79th overall: Kevin Barnes; Cornerback, Maryland
6'0" 187 lbs. 4.38
Denver desperately needs to add some youth to their secondary. Kevin Barnes is an instinctive ball-hawking cornerback who has excellent speed and adequate size. He also is a great tackler for his size.
Third Round, 84th overall: Stephen McGee; Quarterback, Texas A&M
6'3" 225 lbs. 4.61
Taking a quarterback this high is a bit too much for my personal preference, but I think we need to go after McGee. He has great athleticism, a strong arm, and good upside. He could sit for two or three years and groom under McDaniels and eventually replace Orton.
Fourth Round, 114th overall: Sammie Lee Hill; Defensive Tackle, Stillman
6'4" 329 lbs. 5.12
There is nothing small about this small school prospect. Sammie Lee Hill is one of the more versatile big men available in the draft. Despite checking in at 329 pounds, Hill lined up at defensive end for the Tigers, and had 7.5 sacks to boot. For the Broncos, I have high hopes that he can become a dominant nose tackle.
Fifth Round, 149th overall: De'Von Hall; Safety, Utah State
6'3" 212 lbs. 4.48
I love the addition of Kevin Barnes in the third round, but I still feel the back end of the defensive backfield needs to be addressed. Hall is an underrated prospect who has both great tackling ability as well as coverage skills. He has excellent speed, and the perfect size for the strong safety position. Couldn't hurt to learn behind a future Hall of Famer either. Last season, he had 72 tackles and four interceptions.
Sixth Round, 185th overall: Vaughn Martin; Defensive Tackle, Western Ontario
6'4" 335 lbs. 4.98
Despite only being a redshirt sophomore, Vaughn Martin is one of the more physically gifted defensive linemen in this year's draft. He has massive size and excellent quickness, and reportedly also bench pressed 225 lbs. 33 times. He is one of my favorite prospects in this year's draft, and I really like his upside as a nose tackle at the next level.
Seventh Round, 225th overall: Marko Mitchell; Wide Receiver, Nevada
6'4" 218 lbs. 4.43
To be honest, I'm not so sure why Mitchell is rated so low on draft boards. He has ideal size and speed, and was very productive in college. Granted, Nevada doesn't really play against elite level competition, but Mitchell still seems to have the full skill set to make it at the next level.
Seventh Round, 235th overall: Pierre Walters; Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Eastern Illinois
6'4" 269 lbs. 4.78
With our last pick, we get great value here with yet another unheralded prospect out of a smaller school. Walters has great size and looks like the quintessential rush linebacker for the NFL. I am intrigued by this prospect, and think he could be a great fit especially this late in the draft.