I'm sure some of you will hate this mock, but with Peyton Manning on the roster priorities have changed. This offense is a couple pieces away from being a force in league, but it is also an injury or two away from having significant holes. I look at adding the talent needed to make this offense special early in the draft, because having an elite offense will be the #1 component of the Broncos being a Superbowl contender. The Broncos need to get a group of players together this year so they can grow together over the next 4-5 years. I feel it would be a huge mistake to wait until year 2 or 3 to to get all the pieces together on offense.
Rd. 1 Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech I will say that if Kendall Wright were available I would take a hard look at him as well. I don't think Wright will be availible at #25 and I don't think the Broncos should move up to get him. If the Broncos want a DT with their first pick they should trade back. If they trade back to the late first, early second, they will still have Still, Worthy, or Reyes to pick from. They should not reach for a DT at #25. It also was very hard to pass up Jenoris Jenkins. I think he is the most talented DB in the draft. His character concerns were enough for me to pass him up, although if the Broncos draft him I would assume they feel good about his maturity. For me that left Stephen Hill. Hill is by far the most dynamic talent left on my board at #25. With Hill added to the mix, this receiveing core has the size and talent be be absolutely devistating. Hill still needs time to develop, but if he could work himself to the #2 spot on the depth chart by 2013 with DT, Hill, and Decker, the Broncos would have one of the fastest, physically imposing WR cores in the entire league.
Rd. 2 Lamichael James RB Oregon James was the easiest player in the entire draft for me to pick. If James is availible in the second he would be by far my favorite player to draft. I won't bore you with my analysis. Just watch his tape. Every time I watch his highlights I end up smiling ear to ear. If I could pick one player for the Broncos to draft, it would be James in round 2.
Rd. 3 Derek Wolfe DT Cincinnati See, I'm not completely ignoring team need. Round 3 may seem early to some of you, but I don't think Wolfe will be availible later than this. I think Wolfe has the same potential as some of the first round guys, but at a much better value in round 3. For me, this is another easy pick.
Rd. 4 Nigel Bradham OLB Florida State Very versitale LB that can play will or sam. Very tough and physical guy that has the size and speed to turn and cover TEs. Immediate impact on special teams and could very well end up being DJ Williams replacement in a year or two. I do believe he has the talent to start year one if needed.
Rd. 4 Ryan Miller OG Colorado Miller wouldn't be projected as a starter on the Broncos, but he has the talent to play just about any position outside of center on the line. If the line has any injuries in the upcoming season, Miller could step right in and play well. Great value in the 4th that would help push the talent ahead of him on the depth chart.
Rd. 5 Donnie Fletcher DB Boston College I think Fletcher is underrated because of playing at BC. Has all the tools that you want a DB to have. Needs to get stronger, but with devopment could project as more than just a nickle DB because of his size and speed. If Fletcher played for Alabama or LSU he would be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd. I think the Broncos would be happy to take him in the 5th.
Rd. 6 Akiem Hicks DT Regina I think Hicks will have a tough time adjusting to to level of competition he will face in the NFL in year one. Once he gets adjusted, with his size and length he could end up being a force on the line. Hicks is a developmental project, but most DTs are. Most don't play well as rookies. That is part of the reason I'm not sold on drafting a DT early. Hicks and Wolfe would be a nice start to rebuilding the DT position without betting the farm and spending early draft picks.
So there it is. That's my mock and I'm sticking to it. Well, until I do another one. I tried to address team needs without reaching for talent in a round that didn't have it a certain positions. DT may very well be the biggest team need, but I personally don't think that means the Broncos have to draft one early. I like drafting dynamic players with high ceilings early, and I don't see a DT at #25 that fits that description. Thanks for looking. I look forward to defending my mock in the comments section, as I'm sure some of you just grabbed the torches and pitchforks.