The Denver Broncos have once again been the topic of discussion this offseason, and have made once again the biggest move of any team. I don't know if it was the best, smartest, or anything like that, but the move Denver made at quarterback by dumping Tim Tebow and signing Peyton Manning put them in the spotlight for yet another year.
Denver's now traded Jay Cutler in a blockbuster deal that netted two first round picks, traded Brandon Marshall and drafted Tim Tebow, and now traded Tebow and signed arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, and probably the biggest free agent of all time in Manning.
The Broncos have also made some other notable moves, including upgrading their offensive weaponry by acquiring wide receiver Andre Caldwell and tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. They have also brought in two defensive backs who will really help out this year in cornerback Tracy Porter and safety Mike Adams. We also picked up a young backup quarterback, Caleb Hanie, formerly of the Chicago Bears.
Really, the only moves the Broncos have not made that I've wanted to see thus far this offseason is upgrading at defensive tackle (actually lost Brodrick Bunkley) and running back (no moves made there).
That being said, I had a thought on Sunday morning about what the Broncos could do in the draft. I really think that the Broncos just need to go forth and bring in the beef when the draft rolls around in April. Last year, they actually waited until after the draft when they acquired Bunkley and Ty Warren who is back this year after spending last year on injured reserve.
I am not so sure Denver will do that this year. This is a very deep class of defensive tackles, even deeper than the one last year which I felt was pretty good. The Broncos lost their big run stuffer in the middle, a guy who many thought was a top 10 free agent in this year's crop of players. That being said, here's my free agent flavor of the day Broncos mock draft considering what we have done up to this point in terms of player movement.
1. First Round, 25th overall: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
6'2" 308 pounds
Big, strong defensive tackle prospect with excellent athletic ability and potential to collapse the pocket. Essentially, Worthy would replace what the Broncos lost in Brodrick Bunkley, except I feel like Worthy offers some more upside in the pass rush department. Really just a disruptive player who can make plays in the backfield and instantly upgrade our defensive line.
2. Second Round, 57th overall: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
Mike Martin is a big, nasty defensive lineman who is really underrated because he played on a terrible defense for a good portion of his entire career. Truth be told, I'm not sure what to make of Mike Martin but he reminds me somewhat of Marvin Austin a year ago. He has excellent athletic ability and great strength, and I feel like he could be a steal in the 2nd round because a lot of people are projecting him as a third round pick right now but I think he is a valuable weapon for a defensive line. Just a tough guy with intangibles and a hard worker off the field who could be really valuable to the Broncos' defense.
3. Third Round, 89th overall: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
5'10" 206 pounds
Gray is a good, solid all-around back with great intangibles who has excellent speed and good size. Ran a 4.47 at the Combine, and is really developing overall as a player. Only has 398 carries over the last two seasons, so not too much wear and tear, but he has had some injuries. I think in the third round, you're getting a back who is a big play threat and a guy who was ranked as the top senior back prior to the season starting. Two straight 1,000 yard seasons and 24 rushing touchdowns to go along with four receiving touchdowns over the last two years. Would be an excellent addition to our backfield.
4. Fourth Round (from Jets): Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
6'3" 230 pounds
Jones only attracted one scout to his personal Pro Day: a Denver Broncos regional scout. I am not taking that as Denver is a lock to draft him in April, but if they are legitimately interested it would be a good idea in the fourth round to take a risk on him. Jones was previously considered a first round prospect by multiple analysts, but he is coming off of a knee injury and isn't an elite athlete by any means. He ran a 4.55 at the Combine, and had a 33" vertical jump, so I think he is good enough to warrant consideration at this point in the draft as a developmental prospect for Denver at the position. He has good size and big play ability.
5. Fourth Round: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
5'10" 183 pounds
One of my favorite prospects at the wide receiver position in the draft, Hilton has big play potential any time he touches the ball. He would replace Eddie Royal as our speed receiver and kick/punt return man. He is considered to be sure-handed and he proved that to me in the limited action I was able to see of his in a few FIU games on ESPN this year. He was the team's go-to receiver and definitely looks like he could be a steal at this point in the draft. He has blazing speed and ran a 4.34 at his pro day.
6'0" 239 pounds
Ganaway is a big running back prospect who actually has deceptively good straight-line speed. He ran a 4.67 at the Combine, which is probably what many expected, but at his pro day, he ran in the low 4.5 range and showed scouts some athletic ability. He was a touchdown machine and an underrated power back for the Bears while RG3 had a Heisman season, but I think at this point in the draft, he is worth the risk and could be a great addition to the Broncos' stable of backs.
7. Sixth Round (from Jets): Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa
The fourth defensive tackle in this mock draft actually happens to be one of my favorite. Daniels was a machine at Iowa and I would compare him somewhat to Elvis Dumervil of his position. Daniels is quite short for a defensive tackle, but he has great length and is constantly making plays in the backfield. He has great quickness off the snap and if he has guys around him like Dumervil and Von Miller, he's going to be a steal and potentially dominant when he figures out the nuances of the NFL game.