Horse Tracks: Focusing on the NFL Draft

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE


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1. 2014 NFL Draft: Denver Broncos spotlight:

CBS Sports Rob Rang wrote a nice article focusing on the Denver draft plans, and five prospects who should interest the Broncos. You will notice some familiar names.

Five players who should be on the Denver Broncos' draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)

OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA (25, 1): Given Manning's age and the Broncos aggressive moves in free agency, Denver is clearly all-in to win now. That normally doesn't lend to drafting an offensive lineman in the first round. Su'a-Filo is far from the typical offensive lineman, however. He's a natural left guard who plays with athleticism and an anchor to handle both athleticism and power in the passing game. Given the loss of Zane Beadles to free agency and the retirement of Chris Kuper, the Broncos will almost surely be devoting extra attention to their offensive line in the draft, perhaps as early as the first round.

OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (29, 3): While the hole at guard may be literally bigger than at linebacker, this is clearly the largest concern on the defensive side of the ball. A traditional inside linebacker to replace free agent defection Wesley Woodyward (Titans) might be the ticket but should an instinctive, explosive athlete like Ryan Shazier still be on the board in the first round, he'd certainly make sense, as well. Any team looking for an infusion of physicality could be especially intrigued by Shazier, who ranks among the more fearless defenders in the 2014 draft.

CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson (74, 9): No one knows better than a quarterback the effect quality cornerbacks can have in tilting the field and therefore Elway paid handsomely to add Talib. The Broncos remain high on veteran Chris Harris, added Jerome Murphy and are intrigued by second-year pro Tayvon Austin but with each struggling with consistency early in their respective careers and Talib always a durability concern, adding depth will remains a priority. Breelend, 5-foot-11, 197 pounds, is a fluid athlete whose best football is ahead of him.

DE James Gayle, Virginia Tech (122, 12): The combination of Miller and Ware should be formidable but the Broncos are still expected to address the position in the draft given the loss of veterans Robert Ayers (Giants), Jeremy Mincey (Cowboys) and Shaun Phillips (Titans) via free agency. The Broncos could see Gayle as another intriguing developmental pass rusher to bring along with 2013 fifth rounder Quanterus Smith. Gayle started his last three seasons with the Hokies and while not as productive as his athleticism indicates, he could impress in a part-time role on a defensive line this talented.

ILB Avery Williamson, Kentucky (214, 9): Given their prior success with former Wildcat linebackers Woodyard and Trevathan, Williamson is a logical consideration for the Broncos. Like the former Kentucky stars before him, Williamson is instinctive and a reliable open-field tackler. He didn't emerge as a full-time starter until his junior season but once on the field, Williamson emerged as one the SEC's most consistent defenders. Williamson worked out better than expected and in a weak ILB class, he is a candidate to rise as the draft approaches.

2. The Denver Broncos are going to work out Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief:

According to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, the Denver Broncos are among a handful of team who are setting up private workouts with Ole Miss receiving prospect Donte Moncrief.

The 6'2, 221 pound prospect is expected to go sometime in the second or early third portions of the NFL Draft. Here's a scouting report on Moncrief via CBS Sports Rob Rang.

STRENGTHS: Moncrief's thick frame, deceptive speed and smooth route-running make him a nightmare for cornerbacks. He does not possess the explosive moves of Southern Cal's Marqise Lee or Clemson's Sammy Watkins but might be a better player than either of them. He is sudden in his breaks, showing the ability to generate separation even against tight man coverage, and accelerates quickly, often leaving defenders in his dust on double-moves. Moncrief tracks the ball well and generally shows excellent hands (one drop vs. Texas), as well as the body control to make the dazzling grab. Moncrief is also cognizant in the running game, showing awareness and toughness as a downfield blocker

WEAKNESSES: Perhaps the only thing standing in Moncrief's way of becoming the first "skill-position" player from Mississippi to earn a first round draft selection since Eli Manning (No. 1 overall, 2004) is the question about his straight-line speed. Moncrief was not caught from behind on tapes viewed but the big-bodied receiver may not possess elite timed speed.

If you want to take a look at what other prospects the Broncos have looked at this offseason, check out Mile High Reports Draft Interest Tracker here!

3. Another day, another Mock Draft:

Using FanSpeak.com's draft simulator, I will do a seven round mock draft for the Denver Broncos.

Here's my results!

31
ILB C.J. MOSLEY
ALABAMA
63
CB BASHAUD BREELAND
CLEMSON
95
C WESTON RICHBURG
COLORADO STATE
131
DE MARCUS SMITH
LOUISVILLE
171
G TRAI TURNER
LSU
207
WR JEFF JANIS
SAGINAW VALLEY
246
QB BRYN RENNER
NORTH CAROLINA

Horse Tracks:

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