The draft is less then two weeks away and me being a draft nut, I'm getting excited. So enough with my talking and on to the picks.
First Round, 28th overall: Jonathan Cyprien SS, Florida International. 6'0 217lbs
STRENGTHS Looks and plays like a strong in-the-box safety with solid thickness throughout his build. Holds his ground against blocks from bigger opponents, and also runs through traffic to wrap up ballcarriers inside (sometimes as a fast edge blitzer). Possesses enough speed and athleticism to cover ground as a zone defender in the back half and line up against slot receivers inside. Closes on stretch runs and quick throws to outside receivers even when playing well back from the line. Beats receiver blocks with quickness or strength. His secure tackling in those situations is also notable, as he brings some attitude into his attempts unlike other defensive backs in this class. Used as a blitzer on run and pass plays, can overpower running back blocks.
WEAKNESSES Doesn’t have elite range or the height/length combination to play as a single-deep safety. Quick enough to make a hit after the catch when deep, but is often a step slow to recognize the pass coming into his area. Aggressive in coverage, he can be sucked up by play action and will jump underneath routes, allowing plays over the top. Lacks elite change of direction and quickness in man coverage, and does not recover like a corner if beaten by a quick move off the line or in space.
Cyprien would give the Broncos something they have been lacking since former Bronco great Steve Atwater. A big hitting safety who's also a ball hawk. The safety position is something i have overlooked. Cyprien is a solid blitzing safety as well. I think he would be a great assest to a defense that likes to get after the passer.
Second Round, 58th Overall: Corey Lemonier DE/OLB, Auburn. 6'3 255lbs
STRENGTHS Long-limbed end with a nice motor and a strong overall build with room to grow. Plays on both sides of the formation. Stands up at times. Showcases a good first step. Also flashes agility to drop into a zone and attack ballcarriers coming into his area. Can threaten outside shoulders of average linemen, and works an impressive rip move on the outside. Has strength and long arms to separate the ball from any ballcarrier. Works hard throughout each play, chasing plays to the sideline when needed and crashing inside for a secondary rush if stopped in his initial upfield move. Works well on twists inside, closes hard and gets into passing lanes if unable to reach the quarterback. Strong arm extension to knock back and shed linemen or tight ends in the run game. Good vision through traffic and hustle to reach the ball. Frame makes him susceptible to cut blocks, but he recovers quite well, gets back into the play to make a stop with pure effort.
WEAKNESSES Does not have a powerful build. Lacks great snap awareness. Looks to be stiff in the hips, and is not always flexible enough to bend the edge. Weak hands, doesn't deliever a blow on contact with the offensive lineman. Better tackles get a push against him on drive-blocks due to that leggy build. Struggles to separate when an offensive lineman engages into his chest.
I've been warming up to the idea of Lemonier. He can line up at DE on either side or as a pass rush OLB on either end. That versatility has to be attractive to John Fox and Jack Del Rio. They have drafted versatile front seven guys and like to mix in many different schemes. His motor is relentless and has a great first step. He also has the long arms you like to see from your pass rusher. I think he would be a solid addition.
Third Round, 90th Overall. Christine Michael RB, Texas A&M. 5'11 220lbs
STRENGTHS Low center of gravity back with good thickness throughout his frame to take and give out punishment. North-south runner who uses his strong legs to burst out of the hole to eat up six or seven yards in a hurry. More speed in the open field than you’d expect given his size, sets up defenders in the open field for a dangerous cut on the run. Capable of strong cuts on stretch plays, runs with lean and balance to blast or step through arm tackles near the line. Also willing to spin off tackles to free himself in space or stretch for an extra yard inside. Takes out blitzers with cut blocks in pass protection, also defenders at the second level as a lead blocker.
WEAKNESSES Missed the end of both his sophomore and junior seasons due to injury. Not elite in his change of direction ability, will round some cuts and gets tripped up trying to change field. Will spin away from situations instead of taking what he can get. Ball security can be an issue, will run with the ball away from his frame (three fumbles in 2011). Not often targeted in the passing game, must prove he can be a reliable receiver. Whiffs too often when trying to land a punch in pass protection, and gets pushed back too easily when man-up.
My only repeat from my last mock. Many of you didn't like it, but the Broncos are very interested in this kid. I do not blame them. Yes he has some maturity problems, but we do not know the whole story so i'm not judging him on that. He had no problems with prior coach Mike Sherman, so this whole attitude issue may be over blown. Also he's young, maturity questions are always a concern. The Broncos have a solid locker room and environment where this guy can mature. If he can play(which he can) teams over look these issues anyways.
Now to the on the field stuff. He's a very explosive player. Something the Broncos are lacking in a big way at the Running back position. He's dangerous in the open field. I think he would be the perfect back for this offense. Has decent pass blocking skills, but that can be learned. Michael is the most athletically gifted runner in this years draft.
The Broncos are interested in him too. They were connected with him at the Senior Bowl, met with him at the Combine and now had him in to visit the facility. So we'll see if that amounts to anything. I wouldn't be surprised if Michael ends up going higher, but with a soft running back market, he may fall a little bit.
Forth Round, 125th overall: Bennie Logan DT/NT, LSU. 6'2 309lbs
STRENGTHS Athletic tackle with a wide frame and solid thickness and strength throughout. Nice lateral quickness to step into a gap after the snap, can penetrate through to get a hand on the ballcarrier or hold his ground with a shoulder against single blocks to stuff the hole. Plays with leverage when man-up and against double-teams, doesn’t get moved off the line often. Flashes the violent hands and pop to shed and eat up backs coming into his area. Works hard as a pass rusher, can use his hands and strength to bull through the shoulder of his man to reach the quarterback if the ball stays in the pocket too long. Strong tackler who swallows ballcarriers when in position and also slows them with an arm even if engaged.
WEAKNESSES Not elite in his initial quickness, will be stoned more consistently by NFL linemen unless it improves and might be taken out in obvious passing situations. Might be best as an athletic nose, rather than a three-technique. Inconsistent getting off blocks inside to two-gap, lunges towards ballcarriers after they’re already by him. Gets overaggressive on his punch on occasion and doesn’t have elite upper-body strength, so better linemen and double teams can get his shoulders turned out of the hole. Stamina is an issue, losing his chase ability and short-area quickness when facing strong competition, and forces him to be heavily rotated. Has difficulty seeing and handling cut blocks. Doesn't offer much as a pass rushing threat.
I believe Logan could be a solid addition to our D-Line rotation. He's a solid nose tackle prospect who's strong as a bull and has the potential to be a solid NFL starter with the right defensive coordinator. He has great short area quickness, and can collapse the pocket. He needs to improve as a pass rusher though. Coach Fox and Del Rio have gotten the best out of our Defensive line players, so i'd love to see what they could do with Logan.
Fifth Round, 161st overall: Josh Boyce WR, TCU. 5'11 206lbs
STRENGTHS Solid overall build with a muscular upper body and strong legs. Lines up outside and in the slot. Displays very good hands. Excellent first three steps off the line to challenge corners, shakes them off the line and has enough speed to get a step down the field. Stems every route in the tree with foot quickness that college corners can't handle, does not have to slow down significantly to make a cut. Tracks the ball well over either shoulder, and shows a good job of high pointing the football in contested situations. Creates space downfield with an arm extension. Tough to bring down after the catch because of his low center of gravity and strength. Aggressive run blocker with the strength to negate his man and stick with the block. Willing to attack safeties stepping up inside if uncovered.
WEAKNESSES Might be limited to purely playing the slot. Does not bring some difficult catches extended away from his frame that top prospects are expected to snare with their hands. Some college corners could close on him in the open field. Will fall off run blocks instead of sustaining, allowing his man to come off and make a play at times.
Boyce would be a nice value pick at this point in the draft. The Broncos lack receiver depth. After the big 3, there's nothing at all. Boyce is a explosive slot WR who's dangerous with the ball in his hand. He's a solid run blocker and would make for a solid 4th receiver this upcoming season.