The day is finally here.
At 6 PM last night, I had conceded that the Broncos were drafting Marcell Dareus, the defensive tackle from Alabama. I figured there was an outside chance of Patrick Peterson, but I wasn't confident in it. Then, the consensus quickly turned to Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller with the 2nd pick, and it appears as though if the Broncos stick at number two overall, they will take Miller, the best pass rusher in the draft.
There were also reports yesterday that Peterson was gaining steam, and likewise for Auburn's Nick Fariley.
I'm still not positive on this pick, but I trust the sources of guys like Mike Mayock, Rich Gosselin, Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, and Mike Klis, not to mention our own John Bena among others who all picked the Broncos to take Von Miller with the 2nd pick in the draft.
1. First Round, 2nd overall: Von Miller, Linebacker, Texas A&M
Von Miller is an exceptional athlete who will play the SAM linebacker position with the Broncos, and will start immediately. He is the kind of player you can build a defense around, and one of the four players I would be happy with the Broncos taking tonight.
Miller is a rare combination of size, speed, instincts, athleticism, and pass rush ability. He can cover tight ends, and he can take down quarterbacks. The only player in the NFL who has a comparable skill set is Clay Matthews in Green Bay. Multiple scouts have told me Miller is a lock to be the NFL's Defensive rookie of the year.
2. Second Round, 36th overall: Stephen Paea, Defensive Tackle, Oregon State
I know, I know. This is not an unfamiliar name around here. Paea dropped out of the first round in my latest first round projection, so I'm going to assume he is on the board with this pick. The Broncos bypassed Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley in the first round, and I think the value of DT's in the second round will be excellent.
If someone like Adrian Clayborn or Da'Quan Bowers were to somehow mystically fall to this pick, the Broncos should take notice. You have to try and think of someone with this pick who will be supreme value, because now, free agency is expected to start on Monday and it's likely the Broncos are prepared with a draft board for such a scenario.
Paea is a strong defensive tackle who could be inserted into the starting lineup right away. He has a high motor, and is a great worker. The Broncos could also look to trade this pick.
**Broncos trade 46th pick for a later 2nd round pick, 4th round pick, and 5th round pick**
3. Second Round (via trade): Mason Foster, Linebacker, Washington
The Broncos continue to add guys with third down star potential in Foster, one of the best tacklers in the Pac 10. Foster is a tackling machine, and would be immediately inserted into the Broncos' starting lineup as the MIKE linebacker, in all likelihood.
4. Third Round, 67th overall: Daniel Thomas, Running Back, Kansas State
Daniel Thomas is a big running back who had a huge 2010 season for the Wildcats. He fits the mold of the type of back that John Fox likes, and the Broncos need someone who can go along with Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has not been able to stay healthy, and Thomas was injury free for most of his collegiate career before dealing with injuries late and this offseason.
5. Fourth Round (via trade): Tyler Sash, Safety, Iowa
If the Broncos are going to take a safety, this is the guy that I want. Sash is a kid who is always around the ball, he is an instinctive playmaker, and he's a perfect fit for the cover two defense. Great complement to Darcel McBath if he can stay healthy.
6. Fifth Round (via trade): Allen Bradford, Running Back, USC
Two running backs might seem unlikely right now, but I don't think it is. This is going to be a very run-oriented offense, and the Broncos need guys who can carry the load. Bradford is a big, fast guy who can come in immediately and play special teams. If not for injuries, he'd be a first or second round grade. Could be Michael Bush type value in this spot.
I would be pretty surprised if the Broncos didn't try to nab someone from North Carolina's top tier group of prospects. Williams had knee surgery so he will fall as the draft progresses, but this is a great value here. Williams was a 2nd round value type of guy before his injury, and I think this would be a solid pick, but it's a crap shoot at this point. You can redshirt Williams year one and he could make a serious impact year two. Similar value to Myron Rolle here.
Julius Thomas is a popular guy to mock to the Broncos, mainly because they've shown a ton of interest in him. Tight end is a position that NEEDS to be upgraded this offseason, and Thomas is an intriguing prospect. Former basketball player with great athleticism and surprising blocking skills.
9. Seventh Round, 246th overall (compensation pick): Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Wide Receiver, Iowa
I'm probably not going to get this pick right, so why not predict it to be DJK? The Broncos have injury concerns at receiver, and at this point in the draft what are you looking for? Guys who can contribute on special teams. DJK has the ability to be an All-Star type punt/kick return man, and he has starter upside at receiver. Who knows if he will go this late, but we will see.
1. Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
2. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
3. Mason Foster, LB, Washington
4. Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
5. Tyler Sash, S, Iowa
6. Allen Bradford, RB, USC
7. Deunta Williams, S, North Carolina
8. Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State
9. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, WR, Iowa
Can't wait to see what happens. Happy Draft!