In the NFL draft, players at certain positions tend to have more 'immediate impact' - in terms of production - than others. For example, defensive lineman generally take two to three years to begin realizing their full potential. The Broncos look poised to go all-out for THIS year, which inevitably will affect their draft strategy. While the broncos will, for the most part, take the best player available at a position of need, I am confident that the reality of Peyton's shelf-life will shape the team's strategy - especially in the early rounds of the draft.
What does this all mean?
1. Look for Denver to go running back - EARLY. In fact, I'd be relatively surprised if we don't take an RB in the first or second round. I would expect the Broncos to go with a big back here - Eddie Lacy (Alabama) or Montee Ball in the first, or LeVeon Bell (Michigan State) or possibly Christine Michael Texas A&M) in the second.
2. Many won't like to hear this, but don't be surprised if we don't take a D-lineman until the fourth or fifth round.
3. Look for the broncos to spend an early round pick - first or second round - on a defensive end / pass-rusher-type like Demontre Moore (Texas A&M) or Dion Jordan (Oregon), Ezechiel Ansah (BYU) or Sam Montgomery (LSU) (my favorite of of those projected to be on the board in the 20's).
4. In addition to Running back and D-end, I expect Denver to spend one of their first three picks on either a linebacker Manti Te'o (Notre Dame), a tight end like Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) or Zach Ertz (Stanford), or a safety like Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) or D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina).
5. Finally, although it can be a sudden impact position, unless a highly touted offensive line prospect falls all the way to them in the 20's, I don't see Denver going with an O-lineman in the first three rounds as it is not really a position of need.
Trading Up: I also wouldn't be shocked if we package some picks to move-up in the first round. If we do this, the no D-lineman section above would not apply. In such a case, I would expect us to take Ezechiel Ansah (BYU), Dion Jordan (Oregon), Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) - mostly because of a lack of depth at safety this year, Star Lotulelei (Utah) or even Tavon Austin (West Viginia).
I know the Tavon Austin idea might raise some eyebrows - but we don't currently have a speedy deep threat. Imagine what that could do for the offense. Just imagine how having a guy like that could allow Decker, Thomas and Welker to get open at will on underneath and intermediate routes. We would go from having the best wide receiving corp in the league to having the best wide receiving corp, arguably, that the league has ever seen.
- GJ OUT