The NFL Draft begins tomorrow...Sorry, needed to pause because I got a little too excited.
Anyway, the NFL Draft starts Thursday night, and the Broncos are set to make a huge splash on day one. I thin kthey have a trick or two up their sleeve, but I don't think they are prepared to maneuver around the draft board in the same way they did last year. I think this year, they will look to obtain more picks and move down rather than move up for the players they covet.
Under certain circumstances though, I could see both happening.
Either way, I think the Broncos are set to make huge news on draft day. If they decide to stand pat with their picks, however, I have an alternative mock draft prepared...
1. First Round, 11th overall: Rolando McClain, Inside Linebacker, Alabama
Josh McDaniels raved about the intelligence of the All American linebacker. McClain has great size and instincts that you crave for an inside linebacker, but what of his health situation? Was he misdiagnosed with Crohn's disease? Are the Broncos willing to deal with it? If Josh McDaniels told the truth at his pre-draft press conference, then the Broncos have no problem with McClain whatsoever.
2. Second Round, 43rd overall: Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Illinois
With the first of two picks acquired for Marshall, the Broncos add an electrifying playmaker at the receiver position. Benn is a possession guy who has great run after the catch ability. He has not had the greatest production over the last couple of years, but that can be largely attributed to poor quarterback play.
3. Second Round, 45th overall: Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
Williams is a smart wide receiver prospect and the best route runner in the draft. He is excellent in the screen game, so he will be a great fit for the Broncos immediately.
4. Third Round, 80th overall: Matt Tennant, Center, Boston College
If the Broncos aren't getting Pouncey, Tennant is the next best option without question. A durable starter for the Golden Eagles, Tennant might just be a diamond in the rough at this point of the draft, and a guy who the Broncos would probably expect to come in and start in 2010.
5. Fourth Round, 114th overall: Joe McKnight, Running Back, USC
This is a case of best player available. McKnight is a good speed back compliment for Knowshon Moreno, and he is a great receiver who can have an impact in the return game.
6. Fifth Round, 137th overall: Armanti Edwards, Athlete, Appalachian State
An electrifying playmaker who projects as a Josh Cribbs type player, Edwards is the most decorated prospect available in this draft, which is saying something considering he has Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford keeping him company.
7. Sixth Round, 183rd overall: Joe Hawley, Offensive Lineman, UNLV
Hawley is a versatile performer who can give the Broncos a boost at guard or center. Tough as nails and has great upper body strength.
Overall, I think I would be very pleased with this draft. It is certainly not balanced by any stretch of the imagination. Rolando McClain, the first pick I made, is the only defensive player that I have selected. When it comes down to it, the Broncos' needs for the present and future are clearly most prevalent on the offensive line, the interior line to be specific. They also have a blatant need for offensive playmakers, something this draft certainly addressed.
If the Broncos are unable to make a move down in the draft, or make any trades at all, I would be very pleased with this outcome. But what if the Broncos decide to move around the draft Bill Walsh style? I was watching the NFL's Top Ten Draft Classes last night on the NFL Network, and the 49ers had a draft in the 80's where Bill Walsh was able to maneuver around the draft and acquire 14 picks.
I don't believe the Broncos need to go to that extreme, but I would not be surprised in the least if they decided that a minimum of nine draft picks was needed out of this class, one that is being considered the best to come around in a long while. So, I shall approach this mock draft like I would approach it if I'm Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders, setting ten draft picks as my goal for the end of this draft.
Broncos trade pick #11 to Green Bay Packers for pick #23, #56, #193
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Packers are one team looking to move up in the first round, likely to grab an offensive tackle, hybrid pass rusher, or safety. Possibly even Clemson running back C.J. Spiller. Regardless, the Packers' trade up with th Broncos is entirely possible, and the Broncos come away with a nice haul that gets them to their target amount of picks for this draft.
But the moving might not be done yet. In order to get a more accurate depiction of what the Broncos might do at 23, let's mock the draft up until this point.
1. Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DL, Nebraska
3. Bucs: Gerald McCoy, DL, Oklahoma
4. Redskins: Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma
5. Chiefs: Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State
6. Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OL, Iowa
7. Browns: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
8. Raiders: Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho
9. Bills: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
10. Jaguars: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
11. Packers(from Broncos): Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB, South Florida
12. Dolphins: Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
13. 49ers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
14. Seahawks: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
15. Giants: Dan Williams, DL, Tennessee
16. Titans: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
17. 49ers: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
18. Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, OL, Florida
19. Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
20. Texans: Taylor Mays, S, USC
21. Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
22. Patriots: Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State
Okay, so obviously that may not be the most accurate depiction of what could happen because one trade could change everything, but it does present the Broncos with an interesting scenario. With this mock draft, the Broncos' top targets that we know of (McClain, Williams, Bryant, Pouncey, Odrick, Weatherspoon) are all gone.
In this case, the Broncos took a risk in the first round by moving down 12 spots, and while they acquired an extra 2nd round pick, it seems to have backfired. Luckily, Josh McDaniels constantly preaches about "situational" football, and this is no different. If the Broncos plan on moving down (and they have indicated that as a serious option), they will have a plan for this scenario undoubtedly.
With the 23rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Tim Tebow, Quarterback, Florida
As I stated in my previous mock draft, the Broncos appear to be hot on Tebow's trail. They have scouted him more in-depth, at least to our knowledge, than any other prospect in the draft. Josh McDaniels raved about Tebow, and while this time of year is a prominent time for coaches and general managers to lie, the Broncos have no reason to smokescreen about Tim Tebow. They have three young quarterbacks on the roster already, and the team has not indicated a long term dedication to any of them.
If Josh McDaniels sees an opportunity to select a game-changer at the quarterback position, he will jump at it, especially if the Broncos' draft board has thinned out to this extent. Plus, the team has three second round picks with which to work. The Broncos also have a mere one prime time game in 2010, and adding Tebow will also give them national exposure and increase their overall popularity greatly.
Armed with three picks in the second round, the Broncos can afford to look at some of the best players available on their board.
After drafting Tebow, I'm thinking the Broncos will try and put as many playmakers around him as possible.
With the 43rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Illinois
Benn provides the Broncos with a physical possession receiver who compares very favorably to Anquan Boldin, though Benn may be a bit faster. He has the potential to be an electrifying playmaker at the next level who will probably step in and start immediately for this team.
With the 45th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
Williams seems like the ideal #2 receiver you look for in your offense. He has the best route running skills of any receiver in this draft, is quicker than fast, and is instinctive. This pick allows the Broncos to move Eddie Royal inside, and keep Jabar Gaffney at the #4 receiver spot, or possibly interchange him and Williams.
With the 56th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Toby Gerhart, Running Back, Stanford
This third 2nd round pick is a luxury, so the Broncos get themselves a nice road grader in Gerhart. He has been in for a couple of visits, and the Broncos have to love his toughness. Short yardage running was an area this team really struggled in 2009, and Gerhart could very much help fix that problem.
With the 80th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Matt Tennant, Center, Boston College
Tennant will be expected to come in and start right away, unless the Broncos have a lot of confidence in Dustin Fry. He is the 2nd best center prospect in this class, and would not be the worst alternative if the Broncos do not obtain Maurkice Pouncey.
With the 114th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Donald Butler, Inside Linebacker, Washington
Wonderful value pick here. Butler's stock was hot on the rise a month ago, and now he's back on ice. I think the Broncos could really take advantage here with a guy I think is the 2nd or 3rd best inside linebacker in this class. great pass coverage skills, prototypical size for the position, and a thumper in the middle.
With the 137th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Armanti Edwards, Athlete, Appalachian State
Playmaker with great potential as a gimmick offensive player and a return specialist. Either way, you've just got to find a way to get this kid the ball. A great leader and motivator, and a guy who has accomplished more at the collegiate level than even our top pick, Tim Tebow.
With the 183rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Joe Hawley, Offensive Lineman, UNLV
Hawley is an underrated guy with great upper body strength. A little bit smaller than you might like to see, but Hawley packs a strong punch. He gives the Broncos depth at center and guard.
With the 193rd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...A.J. Edds, Linebacker, Iowa
Edds has a lot of versatility, and will make his presence known initially as a special teams player. Has the potential to kick outside and play as a pass rushing outside linebacker or inside in the 3-4 scheme. Very instinctive, and an underrated prospect.