Last year, I got very sick of talking about the same prospects. This year....more of the same. I'm tired of talking about the players at the top of the draft. Marcel Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley, Cam Newton, Marvin Austin, Stephen Paea, Martez Wilson, etc. All of these players are commonly mocked to the Broncos and I'm ready to talk about new prospects. So just like last year, I'm dedicating a post to the players that aren't talked about. When it comes down to it, the first 3 rounds get all of the attention, but rounds 4-7 can really take a team from good to great. The Broncos know this first hand as evidenced by Terrel Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and Tom Nalen among others. With all that being said, I'm going to introduce you to just some of the players that could be available in these rounds. Let's try and find the next big late round steal.
Kelvin Sheppard, MLB, LSU
Extremely productive linebacker. 311 career tackles with 5 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. He also got 4 sacks his senior year. Good size standing at 6 ft 2, 250 pounds. Very physical player, but struggles to fight off blocks and has questionable instincts. Could play any of the linebacker spots in the 4-3. Sufficient speed, clocked at 4.7 at his pro day. Very vocal leader for the Tigers.
Deunta Williams, S, North Carolina
Well put together safety who stands at 6 ft 2, 215 pounds. Good instincts, 12 interceptions before his senior year where he was suspended and suffered some injuries. Great in run support, but not a good tackler. Likes to throw himself at the ball carrier. He has been talked about as a film rat with a good work ethic. Suffered a broken leg in his bowl game which is why he has fallen down draft boards.
Greg Jones, LB, Michigan
After being very undersized for most of his career, he now weighs in at 6 ft 1, 240 pounds. Great instincts and tackling ability. Totaled a ridiculous 464 tackles in his time at Michigan St. Good in pass defense, but could struggle against physical receivers/tight ends. Good at run defense, but his small frame in college made it easy for him to get engulfed by blockers. Great blitzer and on field leader.
Jordan Cameron, TE, USC
Former BYU basketball player who transferred to USC and played one season for the Trojans. Very good, reliable hands. Extremely athletic. Was a leader in almost every event at the Combine. His leaping ability is a real asset. Very good body control. He is very raw, especially when it comes to blocking, but his upside is tremendous. Could develop into an elite tight end if trained properly.
Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College
Fantastic player whose career was stalled after suffering a rare form of cancer. After being told he would never play football again, he fought cancer and won. He's an incredible leader with an incredible "Never say Never" attitude. Good size standing at 6 ft 4, 244 pounds. Fantastic instincts which always puts him in a position to make a play on the ball. Surprisingly good pass rusher and a very good tackler. He hasn't been the same since his run-in with cancer, but if he can get back to his 08 form, he could be the biggest steal of the draft.
Shareece Wright, CB, USC
1 year legit starting year. Very good mechanics. Smooth backpedal and fluid hips. Good explosion out of breaks. Fights for all of the jump balls. Vastly improved in his run support. He is a player whose best football is ahead of him. He has a lot of medical concerns and had an inconsistent career which drops him.
Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi St.
6 ft 3, 278 pound DE from Mississippi. Was a JUCO transfer who had offers to play at prestigious universities such as Alabama and LSU. Nice bull rush. Locates the ball well. Holds his ground well against the run attack. Very strong. Anchors very well. Decent tackler. Has experience standing up in a 2 point stance. Will likely get several looks by 3-4 teams.
Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut
Undersized LB standing at 6 ft 1, 225 pounds. Very instinctual player who finds way to make plays on the ball. Very good in zone coverage. Displays fluid hips and gets out of his breaks very well. Very good tackler, over 400 tackles in his career. His size is what hurts him most. It hurts in run defense when blockers get a hold of him. Quiet, hard worker. Perfect for John Fox scheme. If we get a pick in round 4, and Wilson is on the board, I think it's a lock.
Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado
Nice size for a CB standing at 6 ft 1, 205 pounds. Quick feet and uses sidelines well. Good in zone coverage. Long arms help him knock away passes. Willing in run support and has good speed. He gets caught up in plays too much and will get burned. Not the best tackler.
KJ Wright, LB, Mississippi St.
Very well put together standing at 6 ft 4, 244 pounds. Good athleticism. Good strength. Good, physical tackler with good instincts. Drops back in coverage very well for a guy his size. Good hips and technique. Will likely be drafted by a 3-4 team, but can play 4-3 just as well. Good potential as a 4-3 SAM.
Julius Thomas, TE, Portland St.
Similar to Jordan Cameron, a basketball player who played just 1 year of college football. Extremely athletic. He opened a lot of eyes at the Combine. Showed above average hands. Has performed well all off season. He has big time upside. Very raw as a blocker and a route runner, but has a lot of natural ability.
Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
Very big, athletic RB standing at 6 ft 2, 220 pounds. Very physical, decisive runner with great speed. Hits his holes hard and hits his top speed very fast. Good hands, will be an asset in the pass game. Pretty good in pass protection. Nice upside. Not shifty at all and doesn't show great balance.
Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame
Big DT who stands at 6 ft 1, 311 pounds. Great against the run, capable of taking on multiple defenders. Locates the ball well, flashes moments of total dominance. Good competitive nature, doesn't give up on plays. Not much in terms of pass rush, lack of explosion, probably a pure 3-4 NT.
Nate Irving, LB, North Carolina State
A nice prospect who went through a terrible tragedy after getting into a car accident and had to work his way back from a collapsed lung, fractured leg, and separated shoulder. Physical player with great lower body strength. Good instincts which helps off set his average speed. Not very good in coverage to go along with his injury concerns.
Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo
Nice sized prospect standing at 5 ft 11, 198 pounds. Nice 4.4 speed. Willing run defender who is not afraid to throw his body around. Scouts love his eagerness to contribute in the run game. Does a nice job when asked to press. Questionable instincts and awareness. A project, but nice upside.
Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona
A 3 year starter and a leader for the Wildcats. A high motor player who is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. Violent hands which serve him well in rushing the passer. Stands at 6 ft 5, 250 pounds. Has good mechanics. Good play recognition. Not a good athlete. Will likely struggle and is widely viewed as a backup/rotation player.
Virgil Green, TE, Nevada
Extremely athletic tight end who opened everyone's eyes at the Combine. Ran a 4.5 40 yard dash and jumped 42 feet. 3 year starter at Nevada who is a very good deep threat. Fast, elusive with good acceleration. He's a big play TE. Not a good blocker. A player who will be drafted for his potential. Comes from Nevada's funky Pistol offense.
DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami
A very tall, lean CB standing at 6 f 1, 175 pounds. Extremely fast, running a 4.25 40 which means he will likely be a Raider. Does a good job being physical at the line. Needs work on some of his mechanics. Isn't comfortable in zone coverage and is out muscled against bigger receivers. Looks like a nickel/dime guy at best.
Owen Marecic, FB, Stanford
One of many lead blocking fullbacks in this draft. Thickly built standing at 6 ft 1, 244 pounds. Excellent at making holes for his RB. Just a fantastic addition in the run game. Not overly powerful in his blocks, but good enough. Understands the ins and outs of run blocking very well. Will be a starting lead blocker for a long time.
Chris Conte, S, California
Nicely put together player standing at 6 ft 2, 200 pounds. A former cornerback with above average instincts when identifying run vs pass. A decent athlete who needs to shore up some mechanical issues. Only 1 season as a starter. Doesn't go in and out of his breaks very well.
Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho
My personal favorite late round player. 6 ft, 224 pound safety. Very physical player. Great team player. Not afraid to lay the wood on receivers coming over the middle. 2 time captain who is very well respected. Could be a special teams star as well as a very good backup.
Ahmad Black, S, Florida
Very undersized player standing at 5 ft 9, 190 pounds. Ran a 4.70 40 yard dash. Above average instincts which helped make him be Florida's leading tackler last year. Good coverage skills thanks to his quick feet and balance. Good ball skills. He plays better then his draft position, but his poor frame and slow 40 will cause him to drop ala Syd'Quan Thompson.
Jah Reid, T, Central Florida
A nice looking tackle standing at 6 ft 7, 325 pounds. A 3 year starter with nice, long arms. Decent quickness with adequate upper body strength. Not the best in pass blocking, but a very good run blocker. Mike Mayock described him as a player who looks bad in drills but excels in a team environment.
Martin Parker, DT, Richmond
6 ft 2, 300 pounds with long arms. Nice first step off the snap. Gives 100% on every play. Violent hands that he uses to disengage and attack the ball carriers. A nice 4-3 DT prospect. Not much of an assortment of pass rush moves. Needs to work on his form and mechanics.
Cedric Thornton, DT, Southern Arkansas
6 ft 3, 300 pound defensive tackle. He's very raw coming from a small school. He displayed flashes in the Senior Bowl practices. He seemed very eager to learn and continue to get better at the Senior Bowl. His effort is what got him all of his attention.
Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
Underrated QB in my opinion. Extremely smart, finalist for Rhodes Scholarship. A leader for the Crimson Tide. Decent pocket awareness. Very accurate passer. Has a hitch in his mechanics and has below average athleticism. He reminds me of a Matt Cassel type of player. At the very least, he is a great backup.
Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
Thick prospect standing at 5 ft 11, 200 pounds. Excellent speed. Very shifty and accelerates very well. Powerful lower body who can run through arm tackles. Good receiver out of the backfield. Injury history is a concern and is inexperienced in pass blocking.
Stanley Havili, FB, USC
A mismatch waiting to happen. Havili has been a terror for the Trojans as both a lead blocker and a receiver. He is excellent at receiving passes out of the backfield. While he is not a great blocker, he is adequate enough to make some lanes. He's been a solid leader for the Trojans.
Charles Clay, TE, Tulsa
A versatile player who doesn't have a set spot in the pros. He is an H-Back, RB, TE hybrid. Stands at 6 ft 3, 240 pounds. Not a dominant lead blocker, but is adequate and gives good effort. Good hands. Decent blocker and a special teamer. Not a good runner, undersized to play TE, and not overly dominant to be a FB. Truly an unknown heading into the pros.
Cheta Ozougwu, DE, Rice
A productive, reliable starter for the Owls. Pretty good at shedding blocks. Nice bull rush ability. High intensity, doesn't give up till the whistle blows type of player. Experience dropping into coverage. Average athleticism and doesn't change directions well. He is well undersized at 6 ft 2, 245 pounds.
Da'Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina
6 ft 210 pound safety who led his team in pass break ups (9) and interceptions (4) as a strong safety in 2010. Looks well put together. Good burst with quick feet and nice fluidity. Punt return ability. Takes good angles and has good ball skills. He may not have the range to play free safety, but might not be physical enough to play strong safety.
Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut
Thickly put together fullback who comes in at 5 ft 11, 240 pounds. A fantastic lead blocker. He generates some good hits when running up tot he line of scrimmage. Does a good job of taking his man out of the picture. He isn't the best athlete, but he can catch passes out of the backfield if necessary.
Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers
6 ft, 212 pound strong safety from Rutgers. 4.4 40 yard dash and 36 inch vertical. Very good awareness. Reacts to run vs pass very quickly. Good blitzer. Very hard hitter who will just throw his body around. Not good at pass coverage. Takes poor angles. Plays out of control at times. Looks to be a special teams stud.
Andre Smith, TE, Virginia Tech
Big tight end standing at 6 ft 5, 260 pounds. Reliable 3 year starter who was a fantastic, physical blocker during his time at Virginia Tech. Very strong. Good in pass protection. Catches balls clean and is a nice special teams player. Not athletic enough to stretch defenses. Looks to be a #2 TE at best.
Ryan Donahue, P, Iowa
Very strong leg. Easily kicks 43-47 yard punts.4 year starter who is able to get great hang time. Takes longer to kick the ball then you would like. Has the occasional shank. Hasn't kicked off.
Ollie Ogbu, DT, Penn State
Short, but stout at 6 ft 1, 298 pounds. Takes on double teams well. Keeps eyes in the backfield and locates the ball fairly well. Good quickness off the snap. Emotional leader who never gives up on a play. Size will hurt his chances. Doesn't have good length or closing speed. Needs to consistently use hands better.
David Carter, DT, UCLA
A nicely put together prospect weighing in at 6 ft 5, 297 pounds. A tall, long armed prospect who has some nice athleticism. Shows some good strength. He was a one year starter at UCLA who has upside, but will take a lot of development.
Bruce Miller, LB, Central Florida
6 ft 2, 255 pound DE who might have to find another position in the NFL. He's a tough, highly productive pass rusher who has a good initial burst. Good, violent hands. Good instincts. Uncomfortable in space. Tight hips. He's a hard worker who can probably catch on a team as a pass rush specialist on 3rd downs.
Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise St.
Decent size at 6 ft 4, 265 pounds. Not a good pass rusher and has mechanical problems. Wasn't a good edge rusher. A hard worker who plays every second of the whistle. A decent bull rush. Good against the run. Another hard worker who might catch on late.
There you have it. Here are just a handful of names that will likely be available in rounds 4-7. There are hundreds of players that are draft eligible this year. Somewhere in this draft lies a huge seal. It's up to Xanders and our scouting department to find them. This is my last draft post until I post my final mock on Wednesday night. Until then, MHR.