For several NFL teams - such as Denver's opponent this week, the 2-12 Houston Texans - the 2013 season can't end soon enough. In fact, if the season ended now, the Texans would hold the top overall pick. Bring on the draft!
So with that in mind, ESPN has honored the tortured masses' calls. Todd McShay has released his first 2014 NFL Mock Draft (Insiders only). McShay has Denver taking offensive tackle Zack Martin out of Notre Dame with the 31st overall pick. Ryan Harris anybody?
McShay writes -
COLLEGE: Notre Dame | AGE: 23 | HT: 6-4 | WT: 308 | POS: OT
There is one reason why the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders this season, and that same reason is what is going to make them contenders again in 2014: Peyton Manning. So even though Denver has other need areas, its top priority needs to be protecting its quarterback. The more tape I watch of Martin, the more I like him. He is consistent, shows up to play all the time and is versatile (he's capable of moving inside to guard, but also athletic enough to stay out at tackle). The Broncos can address their other needs -- WR, CB and D-line among them -- later on in the draft.
My take: While an offensive tackle is always a valuable position to draft, no way do the Broncos spend their top pick on the position this year. Ryan Clady will be back from Injured Reserve, Orlando Franklin is a beast, and Chris Clark has proved to be more than serviceable. That's really the surprise development that makes this pick a stretch - the Broncos don't need to add depth at tackle when they're already as deep as they need to be for 2014.
Plus he has the Broncos drafting in the wrong slot. They'll select 32nd overall, of course.