Another mock for you to peruse!
I find that when living in Colorado it's hard to follow College football, but one of the ways I can find a way to do it is to focus on the upcoming draft prospects. I feel like most mock drafts are being conservative by placing the Broncos in the 6-13 slot for draft position. Our record isn't that good now but our six opponents have a combined record of 23-12, where are next nine opponents have a combined record of 21-24. At this point I think the Broncos have a legitimate shot at the playoffs and I wanted to see what would happen if you mocked them in the bottom 12 on draft day.
I also tried to focus on players that McDaniels would pick--it really doesn't matter who I think is the best prospect. Thus, I looked for players who were versatile, physical, smart, and team players.
Check out my picks after the jump!
First Round DL Nick Fairley Auburn 6-5 300
Pick: Denver has been serviceable in stopping the run this season, but I expect them to address the front seven early. Jarvis Green did not pan out and Denver lacks a pass rusher from the defensive end position. Vickerson has passed McBean as the Bronco's starter, but DE could still be upgraded.
Player: Fairley has come to the party hard during this early season: first in the SEC with 13.5 TFL and second in sacks with 5. He has an explosive first step and the size and power to plug holes in the NFL. His strongest game is in the pass rush where he has been consistent in blowing up double teams and penetrating down the field. He has the versatility to kick inside at DT on passing downs. Refusing to attribute his early success to his own play, he has demanded that the whole Auburn defense receive credit, underscoring his team first attitude. His biggest knock is that he is somewhat a one-year-wonder, but that didn't prevent McDaniels from taking Robert Ayers in 2009. Fairley looks like a solid pickup in the late first round.
Alternative picks: Cameron Jordan, Christian Ballard (I think these two are rising to the point where a later first-round would be necessary)
Second Round LB Mark Herzlich Boston College 6-4 238
Pick: Denver needs help at ILB bad. DJ dominates at times but is just as often dominated. Haggan and Williams suffer from the same inconsistency to fight through blocks and Denver could improve by bringing in a much stronger thumper.
Player: Most people project Herzlich as an OLB in the 3-4. I can't understand why. If someone knows why please tell me in the comments. He has great size, speed, and quickness to move down the field and is one of the best at getting off blocks to make a tackle. He plays with great passion and intensity and has a strong nose for the ball. The knock on Herzlich is that he has not proven to be effective rushing the QB from the LB position with only 3 QB pressure in 3 years. Or at least, that was his scouting profile before he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. In a year, he not only fought hard and overcame his cancer, he fought his way back onto the football field. If he can produce at the same level this year as his 2008 season, he should be hard to pass in the 2nd round.
Alternative picks: Quan Sturdivant, Don'ta Hightower
Second Round NT Jerrell Powe Ole Miss 6-2 330
Pick: I see the Broncos to be in the same dilemma at the Safety and Nose Tackle positions. Both positions have veteran starters with age and injury concerns and solid depth but no clear successor. Both positions could benefit from having an athletic rookie being groomed behind the veteran. I could have easily gone with a Strong Safety here, but I think we can give Bruton/McBath one more year to sort things out. It also takes longer for a rookie to learn to compete at NT.
Player: Big, strong, long-armed, and hard to move--not much else is wanted for our NT project. It took him some time to become academically eligible but he is now regarded as one of the hardest workers on the Ole Miss team. He has that team first attitude, telling everyone that they should "see that by coming back for my senior year that I'm a team player. I'm not out to be selfish. I'm not saying that other guys who left early were selfish. They made their own choices for what was right for them and their families. For me, though, there was no doubt. I'm a team player. Whether it is here at Ole Miss or in the NFL, I'm going to put the organization first." This is promising, given that our NT is a selfless position. If Powe can be had in the late second round, I think we take him.
Alternative players: Mark Barron, Kendrick Ellis
Third Round TE Lance Kendricks Wisconsin 6-4 240
Pick: Some will say that McDaniel's system doesn't feature a pass catching TE. That may be true, yet, we've gone to TE on key third down plays for the past three games that resulted in three dropped passes. DG has had stone hands most of the season and Quinn has been non-existent. Marques Branson was supposed to be the answer but he was unceremoniously let go.
Player: More of a H-back than a true Tight End, Kendricks has a ton of versatility in the run and pass game. A bit undersized but he plays with above-average strength. In the Champs Sports Bowl, he threw the two key blocks on two different touchdown runs. He is better as a blocker coming out of the backfield than lining up on the line of scrimmage. While he won't burn you with YAC, he runs good routes, knows how to get open, and catches the ball with great hands. A team captain and vocal leader, his coach said "He's about as tough as they come and he plays big. . .he's blossomed into a really good player. And you have to love his unselfishness, his greatest attribute. Ask him to execute 15 lead blocks in a row, he'd be happy to do it. Ask him to run 15 routes in a row, he'd be happy to do that. Whatever you ask him to do, he works his tail off." Sounds like the exact opposite of some H-Back we know.
Sixth Round RB Da'Rel Scott Maryland 5-10 200
Pick: Big wait till round six and its time to take some chances on some late rounders. Maroney's play has been very brutal. Hopefully the return of Lendale White will bring a power back. Still, McDaniels hasn't found a 3rd down back to complement his offensive system. If he can find one in the 6th round, then we should be happy.
Player: I've seen Scott mocked anywhere from the 4th round to the 7th. He hasn't had that great of a senior season but he has some attributes worth taking a chance on. A speedy runner who will kill you in space, he's not afraid and has the strength to pound the ball up the middle for short gains. His redshirt year Maryland attempted to convert him to Wide Receiver and Scott has sure hands coming out of the backfield. He also has overcome a very tough life that has motivated him to succeed. A solid late round pick.
Seventh Round SS Joe Lefeged Rutgers 6-0 205
Pick: Lets take another chance. Safety is a position to address but its hard to find future stars in the seventh round.
Player: Lefeged is an aggressive Safety and a great special teams player. Stout against the run, he is able to move down the field quickly. This year he has played much better against the pass, so good in fact that he easily could be gone by the seventh round. Team Capitan and vocal leader on a strong Rutgers defense, Lefeged has good potential moving forward.
1. DL Nate Fairley Auburn
2. ILB Mark Herzlich Boston College
2. NT Jerrell Powe Ole Miss
3. TE Lance Kendricks Wisconsin
6. RB Da'Rel Scott Maryland
7. SS Joe Lefeged Rutgers
No I didn't address the OL, but I don't know what a rookie could improve. We already have Beadles to play LG, we just need Ryan Harris to get healthy. In a future draft maybe I will attempt to find a solution.
Drop your thoughts in the comments and let my know how I did!
(P.S. This is my first FanPost, so I apologize if I messed anything up.)