I am still buzzing about last nights game; however, as we turn our attention to the Chargers game, many of you may want to check out the USC vs. Ohio State game this Saturday since CU won't be playing, even if you are not a fan of either program. There will be several players that I assume will be on the Broncos radar for next year's draft, although I am hoping that we are picking 32. So most of these players may be out of reach; however, you never know who will fall or what trade we may be able to pull off. Of note in the game include:
James Laurinaitis - LB, Ohio State, Many people have compared him to an A J Hawk or (this may be too much) a Randy Gradishar, I on the other hand think he is somewhat over-hyped and not as physical a player that he should be. However, several early mock drafts have Denver taking him (that was assuming we pick somewhere around 18)
Rey Maualuga - LB, USC, I personally love this guy, he is likely to be a top 5 pick, so little chance we could nab him, (but who knows, maybe Al Davis will trade us his pick for Travis Henry, Patrick Ramsey and a new jump suit), anyways, I compare him to a bigger version of Junior Saeu, he is somewhat stiff in coverage, but I have never seen a college LB his size, that could run as well, and hits like a freight train. He makes plays all over the field. A really special player, here's hoping he doesn't end up in Silver and Black. I really hope he ends up outside our division if we don't get him, because he will be a terror in the league for a long time.
Brian Cushing - LB, USC, Not as heralded as Maualuga (he was injured last year), but is fundelmentally as sound as they come, hard nosed, and makes plays, would be a great outside backer as he has great pass rush skills, but I could also see him being a terror in the middle. This is a guy we would probably have a shot at (although likely trade) since he will probably be a top 15 pick.
Marcus Freeman, LB, OSU, A classic speed outside LB with good size, Freeman has great pass rush skills and good size for an OLB in a 4-3 scheme. Will likely play the weak side LB in a 4-3 scheme or inside in a 3-4, similar to Jarrod Mayo who the Pats drafted this year, but I think he needs some work on his coverage skills. Likely a top 25 pick, although with DJ signed for years and the signing of Boss Bailey, I think not likely going to be a Bronco.
Taylor Mayes - LB/S, USC, Think a cross between Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, and Dennis Smith (O.K. that may be a bit much) and that is what you have in Mayes, 6-4 and 225 lbs, and reportly is the fastest Trojan. He is always around the ball and has very good ball skills, needs to be more consistent, but would be a great pick-up for the Broncos and continue the hard hitting safety tradition.
Fili Moala - DT, USC, I have not seen as much of his play, but scouts do rave he is a great penetrating DT that is taller than the past DT that have come out of USC that, projected as a top 20 pick, some another possibility to be wearing the orange and blue next year.
Malcom Jenkins - CB, Ohio State, Seen as another very good cover corner coming out of OSU, he compares favorably with many past OSU corners (think Shawn Springs in his prime) that he is physical and can run, unlikely Denver would draft him since I am assuming he will be a top 15 pick and that will likely not be considered a need in the draft, but should have an interesting day facing USC.
Jeff Byers - G/C, USC, the hometown Colorado boy has all the physcial tools and smarts to excel in a zone blocking scheme, obviously he won't likely be a 1st rounder, but someone to look for in round 3 to 4, he lacks the typical size for larger lineman, but is mobile, strong and smart (6-4, 285), and can play guard or center.