This year is so deep for D-line that the Broncos have a fantastic opportunity to build our new defense from the inside out. While the focus is on the D this year I realize that we have a new coach and some glaring holes on offense as well, meaning we aren’t going to have an all defensive draft. This Mock aims to fill as many needs with the best value players we can get in the draft based on what there is out there worth it in FA because there is no realistic way to fill every need we have through the draft.
Depending on the injunction decision in April this trade could or could not happen so I am going to assume, or hope, that we get a FA period before the draft and I am going to include the one and only trade we can make at this point since we are fairly devoid of talent and depth: The Denver Broncos trade Kyle Orton to the Titans for their 3rd(#77) and 4th (#108) in 2011. This may be a little steep but I think that Fox has upped the ante for Orton this offseason and Orton is as good or better than most the guys coming out this year.
The Free Agency class is huge this year but many of the good players have already been tagged or tendered. We don’t make a huge splash in FA because the three legged stool wants to build through the draft but I do think the recent purge of bad contracts means that we are looking for a couple difference makers.
The Broncos sign MLB Stephen Tulloch of the Tennessee Titans. The LB class is very weak, we need two starting LBs and Tulloch is a beast that instantly upgrades our weakest level. Tulloch has the size and speed that Fox likes. In addition, this allows DJ to play WLB and Woodyard or Mays to fill the slot at SAM.
The Broncos Sign Safety Roman Harper of the New Orleans Saints. We need an upgrade at Safety and the position is weak in this year’s draft. Dawkins’ age is catching up to him and he is a liability in coverage and injury prone now. In addition, McBath has shown great potential but he is injured too often and the verdict is still out. Allen is familiar with Harper and he would be able to upgrade our safety position right away so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this reunion.
The Broncos trade their 2nd overall to the Arizona Cardinals for their 5th overall and 2nd rd( #34)and 5th round (#133).
Now the Broncos have a 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 which we could really use.
#5) Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M, 6’3", 246 lbs
Miller may be better suited for a 3-4 OLB dues to his pass rush ability but I think the Broncos could use him in a hybrid role. Von is talented and instinctive enough to be extremely effective as a SAM LB in 4-3 and move to DE on passing downs. This not only gives us the flexibility to rush a LB from the SAM but also take advantage of Miller’s strengths on all downs. I also know think that Allen will want to blitz to create turnovers and Miller would perfect to bring as a fifth guy. Finally, I think we take Miller here because Fox loves him and DT is extremely deep in rounds 2 and 3.
Read & React: Overall instincts for the position, particularly containment and run responsibility and reaction, are questionable since he is primarily used in a "sic 'em" role. Still getting a feel for coverage but reacts quickly when the ball is thrown to the flat. Good feel for pass rush. He sniffs out indecision in the passer and senses weakness in an offensive tackle. Knows when to go for the ball or big hit on to create turnovers.
Tackling: Strong upper body and closing speed make him an explosive tackler who is tough to elude in the backfield. Loads up on ballcarriers -- sometimes even leaving his feet -- to force fumbles
Pass defense: Could excel in this part of the game because of his fluidity and quickness, but is still raw in coverage. Mirrors running backs and tight ends off the line into the flat and downfield. Athletic enough to drop deep, keeps one eye on the running back and the other on the quarterback.
#34) Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona, 6’3", 263lbs
The Broncos could use some depth at DE. We don’t know how effective Ayers is going to be and if one of these guys goes down our next best DE is Jason Hunter, which does not excite me. The DE isn’t the best after round 2 and I really like Reed. He is a fierce competitor and has great intangibles.
Three-year starter at end is a combination of effort, hustle and quickness off the snap. Could get a look as a 4-3 end, but is also well suited for outside linebacker in a 3-4. Stays low, runs well and is relentless in pursuit. Powerful bull rush and a quality speed rush. Consistent and strong tackler, can deliver the big hit. Contributes on special teams. Smart in the classroom, fiery leader on the field - top intangibles
Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St, 6’1", 303 lbs
The Broncos run defense has been pathetic for too long and Paea is a run stuffing beast at the line of scrimmage. Paea may not show a ton of pass rush ability but he has upside and a relentless motor that will help free up our DEs to attack the QB. He is a prototypical 1-tech that we are currently lacking.
Run defense: Is quick enough to surprise his opponent with a burst through the gap, but will make his NFL millions due to the fact that he is a natural run plugger due to his short, squatty build and rare upper- and lower-body strength. Can be knocked off the ball when double-teamed, but flashes the ability to split them and is rarely pushed far before he's able to plant his legs in the ground and create a pile.
Explosion: Fires off the snap low and hard, flashing a sudden burst that surprises opponents. Burst is short-lived and only extends to his ability to go straight upfield. With his strength and bowling ball-like frame, Paea can explode into the ballcarrier if he gets a running start.
Strength: Ranks as one of the country's strongest players, reportedly boasting a 600-pound squat, 500-pound bench press and the ability to churn out 49 repetitions of 225 pounds. Is even stronger than his weight-room numbers indicate due to his natural leverage
#46) Marvin Austin, DT, UNC, 6’2", 309lbs
Austin would be a first round pick if not for his off the field issues. He has great size and ability to disrupt in the backfield. Austin does a lot of things great and could be a stud 3-tech for us if he shows the desire to be great and good attitude.
Pass rush: Good initial burst off the snap. Strong hands to grasp and discard the blocker and demonstrates good use of swim and rip moves to gain clearance. Good straight-line speed, agility and balance to track the quarterback. Good use of leverage and boasts a powerful leg drive for the bull rush.
Explosion: Good initial burst off the snap. Flashes a quick first step, vertically and laterally, to penetrate gaps and destroy the play. Good upper-body strength to shock his opponent and knock him back.
Run defense: Quick enough to slip through a gap and disrupt the timing of running plays. Good size and power to control his gap responsibility.
#67) Ras I Dowling, CB, Virginia, 6’1", 198lbs
I like the potential of our young CB’s but I really like Dowling. If not for injuries in his senior year Dowling may be pushing the first round. He may not be here but if he is I think it is great value. He has great size and speed and excels in zone coverage which makes him a great fit for Fox and Allen’s defense. Also, I think in a year or two Champ will make the move to safety and we will need another CB position to fill. Having Cox, Thompson, and Dowling on the roster gives us a great chance to have two solid CBs in the future.
Read & React: Experienced corner who has seen all the tricks. Rarely out of position, even against double-moves, due to his instincts and vision. Keeps an eye on the quarterback and breaks on the ball quickly. Height and long arms make it very difficult to beat him over the top
Zone Coverage: Savvy zone coverage defender. High in his backpedal, but is surprisingly fluid. Keeps his eyes on the quarterback, but has a good sense of where his receiver is. Will bait the passer into making the throw. Reacts quickly because of his vision and acceleration.
Run Support: Reads run quickly and fights through receiver blocks efficiently through lateral agility and good upper-body strength. Willing to take on bigger ballcarriers with no hesitation. Uses the sideline to help defend the run.
#77) Kendrick Ellis, DT, Hampton, 6’5", 336lbs
Fox like big DTs and although Ellis played against inferior competition in college he is huge and has a ton of potential. I also like Drake Nevis here but I think with Miller, Doom, Ayers, Reed, and Austin we have plenty of pass rushing ability.
Run defense: Looks like a run-stuffer and can play the part, but surprises with his agility and foot quickness. Agile enough to move with blockers on zone plays; can disengage to prevent cutback lanes. Holds up double teams to eat space but can also penetrate into the backfield. Can push back two defenders when keeping his hips low and churning his feet. Good hustle for his size, especially when rested as part of a regular rotation
Explosion: Excellent upper-body build and girth. Has potential to show great strength off the snap to uncoil and uproot blockers. Not just a mammoth run-stopper, he lines up at the one- and three-technique positions to be explosive as a pass rusher.
Strength: Man among boys at the FCS level due to his size and strength. Anchors against double-team, not moved backward easily
#108) Will Rackley, OT/G, Lehigh, 6’3", 309lbs
Has a ton of potential and is a steal early in round 4.
All-America candidate … a two-time All-League selection, earning First-Team All-Patriot League honors in both of his last two seasons … expected to start along the offensive line … one of the top offensive linemen in the entire country … bench presses 440 pounds.
#133) Roy Helu Jr., RB, Nebraska, 6’0", 219lbs
Good combination of size, speed and vision and we could use another back to go with Moreno.
Strengths: Very explosive runner with great acceleration to the hole. Shows very good patience to let blocks develop in front of him. Owns the breakaway speed to take it all the way once at the second level. Shows good vision and has a nice cutback move to gain extra yardage. Accelerates quickly off his cut. Carries out play fakes well. Bounces outside, able to get the corner. Breaks through arm tackles, lowers his shoulder and plows ahead for extra yards in the open field. Utilizes the stiff arm well. Displays great agility, regularly makes the first defender miss. Runs good routes and makes good use of head and body fakes to create separation. Possesses leadership qualities, earned a reputation for being a real team player.
#186) Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State, 6’5", 240lbs
The Broncos could use a threat from the TE position and Thomas has a ton of potential.
A four-year letterwinner in basketball, he walked on with the football team in the spring … so impressed the coaching staff that he figures to play an important role in 2010 … played one season of football in high school before focusing on his basketball career … has the size and athleticism to fill the role.
#189) Henry Hynoski, FB, Pittsburgh, 6’0", 257lbs
The Broncos could use to upgrade at FB and Hynoski is a great all around FB.
Positives: Attacks linebackers directly in his path. Once engaged, resets his hands after initial contact and will walk back his man. Can come off one defender to hit another in proximity. Plays through the whistle. Fair hands for the position, will be a good check-down to get six-eight yards a reception. Able to extend away from his frame to bring in wide throws. Used as motion tight end and in the backfield. Intelligent player; multiple Academic All-Big East mentions.
#247) Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio St, 5’10", 229lbs
A smaller, fast LB that fits Fox’s mold and at the least will be a special teams stud.
Strengths: Good overall athlete with a quick burst. Has good agility. Plays on the balls of his feet and can change direction quickly. Can make plays from sideline-to-sideline. Aggressive tackler and can make the big hit. Flips his hips open in coverage to turn and trail. Drops quickly and can get back and cover deep zones. Keeps receivers in front of him and his eyes on the quarterback. Very aggressive in coverage, regularly knocking receivers off their routes. Runs well with tight ends and running backs in man coverage. Tackles with a low base and attacks the ballcarriers' lower body. Avoids cut blocks. Gets into the backfield very quickly when blitzing. Effectively weaves his way through the interior of the line. Good blitz timing.