Instead of sticking with the Broncos only, I figured I would be a little more bold than usual. I've decided to take on the role of general manager for all 32 NFL teams, and make my first three round mock draft of the offseason. I've placed a lot of focus on the Broncos in this draft in terms of trades, but I've also tried to include some other logical trades for other teams, which you will find following the jump.
This mock draft features some surprises, some picks that are almost unanimous, and I've thrown some other twists and turns in there, just to keep it interesting. I've also included a full Broncos mock with analysis after my three rounds.
More after the jump...
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DL, Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DL, Oklahoma
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OL, Oklahoma State
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
6. Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OL, Iowa
7. Cleveland Browns: Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State
8. Oakland Raiders: Trent Williams, OL, Oklahoma
**Trade: New York Giants trade pick #15, 76 to Buffalo Bills for pick #9**
9. New York Giants (from Jacksonville): Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
**Trade: Denver Broncos trade pick #11 to Tennessee Titans for pick #16, 77**
11. Tennessee Titans (from Broncos thru Bears): Joe Haden, CB, Florida
12. Miami Dolphins: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
13. San Francisco 49ers: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
**Trade: Seattle Seahawks trade pick #14 to Denver Broncos for WR Brandon Marshall**
**Trade: Denver Broncos trade pick #14 to Cleveland Browns for pick #38, 2011 first round pick**
14. Cleveland Browns (from Broncos): Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
15. Buffalo Bills (from New York Giants): Dan Williams, DL, Tennessee
16. Denver Broncos (from Tennessee): Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina): Earl Thomas, S, Texas
**Trade: Cincinnati Bengals trade pick #21, 152 to Pittsburgh Steelers for pick #18**
18. Cincinnati Bengals (from Pittsburgh): Taylor Mays, S, USC
19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
20. Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Cincinnati): Mike Iupati, OL, Idaho
22. New England Patriots: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OL, USC
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
25. Baltimore Ravens: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
26. Arizona Cardinals: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
27. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
28. San Diego Chargers: Linval Joseph, DL, East Carolina
29. New York Jets: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
30. Minnesota Vikings: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
31. Indianapolis Colts: Roger Saffold, OL, Indiana
32. New Orleans Saints: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
33. St. Louis Rams: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
34. Detroit Lions: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
36. Kansas City Chiefs: Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama
37. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
**TRADE: Broncos trade pick #38 to Carolina Panthers for pick #48, 112**
38. Carolina Panthers (from Broncos thru Browns): Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
39. Oakland Raiders: Brian Price, DT, UCLA
**Trade: Buffalo Bills trade RB Marshawn Lynch to San Diego Chargers for pick #40, 126**
40. Buffalo Bills (from Chargers thru Seahawks): Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
41. Buffalo Bills: Bruce Campbell, OL, Maryland
42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Bears): Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
43. Miami Dolphins: Ricky Sapp, LB, Clemson
44. New England Patriots: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
45. Denver Broncos: Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
46. New York Giants: Nate Allen, S, South Florida
47. New England Patriots: Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
48. Denver Broncos (from Panthers): Tyson Alualu, DL, Cal
49. San Francisco 49ers: Vladimir Ducasse, OL, UMass
50. Kansas City Chiefs: Jared Veldheer, OL, Hillsdale
51. Houston Texans: Morgan Burnett, S, Georgia Tech
52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Carlos Dunlap, DL, Florida
53. New England Patriots: Damian Williams, WR, USC
54. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Cook, CB, Virginia
55. Philadelphia Eagles: Daryl Washington, LB, TCU
56. Green Bay Packers: Chad Jones, S, LSU
57. Baltimore Ravens: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
58. Arizona Cardinals: Lamarr Houston, DE, Texas
59. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
60. Seattle Seahawks (from Chargers): Torrell Troup, DL, UCF
61. New York Jets: Koa Misi, OLB, Utah
62. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
63. Indianapolis Colts: Jon Asamoah, G, Illinois
64. New Orleans Saints: Reshad Jones, S, Georgia
65. St. Louis Rams: Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami
66. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
67. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, Indiana (PA)
68. Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Tennant, C, Boston College
69. Oakland Raiders: Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
70. Philadelphia Eagles (from Seahawks): Sean Lee, LB, Penn State
71. Cleveland Browns: Donald Butler, LB, Washington
72. Buffalo Bills: Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee
73. Miami Dolphins: Cam Thomas, DL, North Carolina
74. Jacksonville Jaguars: Major Wright, S, Florida
75. Chicago Bears: John Jerry, OL, Ole Miss
76. Buffalo Bills (from Giants): Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Ole Miss
77. Denver Broncos (from Titans): Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
78. Carolina Panthers: Corey Wootton, DE, Northwestern
79. San Francisco 49ers: Alex Carrington, DE, Arkansas State
80. Denver Broncos: Carlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida
81. Houston Texans: Ben Tate, RB, Auburn
82. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma
83. Atlanta Falcons: Thaddeus Gibson, OLB, Ohio State
**TRADE: Cincinnati Bengals trade pick #84 to Denver Broncos for TE Tony Scheffler and future conditional pick**
84. Denver Broncos (from Bengals): Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
85. Cleveland Browns (from New England via Oakland): Taylor Price, WR, Ohio
86. Green Bay Packers: Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina
87. Philadelphia Eagles: J.D. Walton, OL, Baylor
88. Arizona Cardinals (from Ravens): Jason Worilds, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
89. Arizona Cardinals: Kyle Calloway, OL, Iowa
90. Dallas Cowboys: Myron Rolle, S, Florida State
91. San Diego Chargers: Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas
92. Cleveland Browns (from Jets): Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida
93. Minnesota Vikings: Navorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
94. Indianapolis Colts: Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa
95. New Orleans Saints: Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
96. Cincinnati Bengals: Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati
97. Tennessee Titans: Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
98. Atlanta Falcons: Walter Thurmond, CB, Oregon
Denver Broncos Mock (rounds 4-7)
Pick #112 (from Carolina): Mike Johnson, OL, Alabama
Pick #114: Armanti Edwards, ATH, Appalachian State
Pick #183: Joe Hawley, OL, UNLV
Pick #220: Danny Batten, LB, South Dakota State
Comments on Broncos Picks
1. Round One, 16th overall: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
This pick is a no-brainer for me. The Broncos do not currently have a viable center on their roster, so nabbing Pouncey on day one of the draft almost has to happen in my opinion. Pouncey has been called the best center prospect to come along in "a decade", and likely will be the best for a while (perhaps his brother will emerge next year).
Either way, Pouncey is a very intelligent lineman who is capable of starting right away, though playing the center position in the NFL is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. He will have to learn on the fly, but that is something we need to be willing to risk with this pick. If we go into the season with anyone but Pouncey starting at center, I fear running lanes will be hard to come by on the interior. That is, of course, Dustin Fry is capable of moving some of the mountainous linemen that roam the NFL.
On the Brandon Marshall Trade(s)
With Dez Bryant off the board, the phones will be ringing off the hook with teams who at one point considered Bryant strongly and now have to go to the alternative, which is Brandon Marshall. While Marshall would be a very expensive #14 pick, the Seahawks have shown great interest in him, and if they want him, the Broncos will accept nothing less than a first round pick for Marshall. Brandon himself opined that a deal would not get done until draft day, so don't think because there is no news that Marshall is destined to return to Denver.
In my opinion, we settled in getting the 14th overall pick for Marshall, but we got a nice haul in return for him. With the other trades I made throughout the mock, I essentially obtained an additional 2011 first round selection (from Cleveland) and with the 2010 2nd round selection I acquired (38th overall) I moved back down again to #48 and picked up an extra 4th round pick. A 1st, 2nd, and 4th out of the Marshall deal is what I'm talking about.
2. Second Round, 45th overall: Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
We have been hot on Gerhart's trail this offseason, and it's no question as to why. He is undoubtedly one of the best RB's in this class (Doak Walker Award recipient), and reminds me a lot of a faster version of Shonn Greene. Bigger, too. Gerhart is extremely powerful back with exceptional speed (4.53 40) and he is a two-sport athlete at Stanford. He also wears number seven. Remember the last time the Broncos acquired number seven from Stanford, a letterman in baseball and football?
I like this pick even more.
3. Second Round, 48th overall: Tyson Alualu, DL, California
This pick was simply all about value. When I correlated the players we have scouted in-depth to the best players available, Alualu just happened to fit the bill. There are rumors that Alualu is a better fit for a 4-3 system, and while I normally agree with Mike Mayock, I think he is probably wrong about this. Alualu is a high motor player, and with the luxury of an extra second round selection, I felt adding Alualu was appropriate in this slot.
4. Third Round, 77th overall: Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
This pick was almost a no-brainer to me. I actually didn't realize that Spikes was still available while I was making the mock, so it was a refreshing surprise when I went through CBS' inside linebacker rankings. Spikes was an outstanding performer at Florida, and though his timed speed is awful, his in-game action does not lie. He will be a solid pro, and in the 3-4 scheme he is the perfect fit to replace the recently departed Andra Davis, also a former Gator (and one who fell in the draft because of speed). Spikes will be a tackling machine.
5. Third Round, 80th overall: Carlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida
I was ecstatic to learn the Broncos had Mitchell in for a private visit, as he is one of my favorite wide receiver prospects in this draft. It's easy to be enticed by his size/speed ratio, but it's his toughness after the catch and physicality that attract me the most. He will help ease the pain of losing Brandon Marshall undoubtedly. He is known as a tough, confident locker room leader.
6. Third Round, 84th overall: Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
Prior to the offseason, I had Decker rated as a clear cut first round prospect. After a serious injury to his foot, his draft stock has taken a serious fall. Decker has, as I like to say, hands that are like bear claws lined with super glue. Living in South Dakota, I got to see Decker play quite a bit, and there was never a defensive back that could completely take him out of a game. He is an intelligent receiver with good size, and though he didn't work out this offseason, he claims he can run the 40 yard dash in 4.49 seconds, so he has good speed as well.
7. Fourth Round, 112th overall: Mike Johnson, OL, Alabama
Johnson is a versatile lineman who can play both guard or tackle, and we need the depth at both positions. He is a team leader and was an All American at left guard for the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. He is a pretty technically refined lineman, and at this point in the draft, he is excellent value.
8. Fourth Round, 114th overall: Armanti Edwards, ATH, Appalachian State
In order to do Edwards justice, I would have to fill an entire post with his accomplishments. I will keep this analysis fairly short and simple. Edwards has the potential to be a Josh Cribbs type player in this offense, and would be a huge weapon if we decided to implement the Wild Horses more often. He is a phenomenal leader, has elite level athleticism, and can play a number of positions for us.
9. Sixth Round, 183rd overall: Joe Hawley, OL, UNLV
Hawley is a hot prospect right now who has interviewed with multiple teams. The Broncos need all the help they can get on the interior line, and Hawley has the potential to be a nice late round find for a team. I reached for him quite a bit here in the sixth round, but that could be the most likely spot to land him come draft day. He has great strength, and I think this is a very effective late round choice for depth.
10. Seventh Round, 220th overall: Danny Batten, LB, South Dakota State
The Broncos need pass rushers, and they love versatile players. Batten fits the bill. He played all along the defensive line at SDSU, and most recently played linebacker for the Jackrabbits. The Broncos could put him inside, but his most likely spot in the NFL is on the outside rushing the passer, but he is also good in space.