On Monday, the league awarded its compensatory selections at the advent of the annual owner and team meetings taking place in Arizona. The Broncos were one of the biggest winners in the process and were awarded four additional picks to the six they already had in place — giving them ten total for the 2015 NFL Draft.
With the official draft order set for 2015, here is the official breakdown of the Broncos selections:
First Round — 28
Second Round — 59
Third Round — 92
Fourth Round — 133 (Compensatory)
Fifth Round — 143 (via Chicago), 164
Sixth Round — 203
Seventh Round — 250, 251, 252 (Compensatory)
Additionally, the Broncos have a full cupboard of selections in the 2016 NFL Draft and will be beneficiaries in the compensatory formula due to the off-season losses of Julius Thomas, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore, Terrance Knighton, Nate Irving, Jacob Tamme and Mitch Unrein. Currently, Over the Cap has the Broncos earning four extra selections next year — predicting gains in the third, fourth and sixth rounds.
If you are doing the math at home, that would give the Broncos an immense haul of 21 selections in a two year span. That is the most selections the team has (potentially) had since 1999 and 2000 where they had 22 overall selections in back-to-back years.
Keep in mind, the eight compensatory selections cannot be traded, but are extremely beneficial for the team in regard to targeting players at the end of each round. Furthermore, allows for flexibility to be aggressive with thirteen selections they have that can be traded. It is exciting to see them have a legitimate chance at landing top tier talent they usually aren’t in the hunt for due to picking towards the end of each round.
Looking ahead, the team has 31 players under contract for the 2016 season. Undoubtedly, there will be a high turnover ratio in comparison to last year’s squad and the identity of the franchise will be forged anew under the leadership of John Elway and his new coaching staff. One could make the argument that they certainly could make use of all the selections, but when you factor in future free agent acquisitions and undrafted rookie free agents, they might be better off wheeling and dealing to get impact players who can help make a difference now and down the road.
As a fan, it can be frustrating sitting back until the end of each round as the top players go before we even have a chance at selecting them. However, just because a player is selected early doesn’t mean he will ever live up to his draft status. The draft is inherently a gamble and rarely there are any sure-fire bets to be had. That being said, I would be excited and in favor of the Broncos wheeling and dealing their way up in the early rounds to get players of immediate impact who contribute to this years quest for the Lombardi Trophy.
Listed below are several prospects who have been dubbed early selections that I would be very interested in the Broncos moving up for. (To view scouting reports and clips of game tape courtesy of Draft Breakdown, just click their names.)
One of the players I like for the Denver Broncos is Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Erving. Tackle, guard, center — it doesn’t matter where you play him, the sky is the limit for him. With the concerns looming over our offensive line, I would rather move up and get a guy who can play a variety of positions than sit back and wait for the "best lineman available" to fall into our laps at #28. When it is all said and done, I expect Erving to be a Top 25 player selected, with Top 20 not being out of the possibility. He has a wealth of experience and his athleticism makes him a perfect fit for the zone blocking system. What he lacks as a player can all be refined with coaching, something he took to very well at during his career with the Seminoles.
If there is a player in this draft that Wade Phillips and Bill Kollar could make into an absolute monster on the defensive side of the ball, I believe it is Oregon’s Arik Armstead. At 6’7, 292 pounds he has insurmountable size and is pound for pound one of the best athletes in all of college football. While he may not have a ton of experience, his technique and game play improved much this past season. Couple that with an impressive combine performance and you can see why he is soaring up draft boards. Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe, slated to start at defensive end for the Broncos this season are free agents in 2016, so it would be fitting to acquire a long-term prospect to help ignite the defense moving forward.
Whether or not Sly Williams or Marvin Austin are the solution to our nose tackle position remains to be seen. Austin is in the last year in his contract and we can only hope Williams develops into the quality talent the Broncos believed he would when the selected him in the first round two years ago. The nose tackle position is one of the most important in Son of Bum’s defense and I believe Carl Davis would be a fantastic fit. He played in a very outdated defensive front system in Iowa, which might have been a disservice to his abilities.
Despite his enormity, he is rather fluid on his feet and isn’t relegated to being just a two-gap player taking up blockers. He can shoot the gap and be disruptive in the backfield, which is something Phillip’s likes to see out of his nose tackles. Consistency is the key question for Davis, but he has first round talent. If he ends up sliding a little bit into round two, I would be ecstatic to see Elway burn up the phone lines and make a move to get him. I feel his is going to have a very good professional career and would solidify our defense for years to come.
The Broncos are high on Walford, who showed improvement each year with the Hurricanes and had a solid combine performance. I expect Maxx Williams from Minnesota to go in the first round to a team in desperate need of a tight end and Walford is the next best of the bunch. The Broncos may have re-signed Virgil Green and brought in Owen Daniels, but what happens if one of them gets hurt?
Do you feel comfortable with Joe Don Duncan being a starter in two tight end sets? Dominique Jones from the practice squad? Didn’t think so. It never hurts to have options and at 6’4 — 215 pounds, Walford could help replace Julius Thomas’ production in the red zone. To me he is a Top 50 player and worth a move up for in the second round.
The Broncos will be hosting McKinney for a private visit and workout, so the interest in him by the team is clear. There are several quality inside linebackers in this years draft, but few have the size and versatility of McKinney. He can play inside in a 3-4 and even rush off the edges, making him a dynamic player on the defensive side of the ball.
The Broncos have every intention of extending Von Miller, but it never hurts to add guys who can get after the passer. It is also worth mentioning that starting inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall will be free agents at the end of this season, giving credence as to why the Broncos are considering the position early in the draft.
Rowe isn’t a well-known name amongst draft gurus online, but he is being clamored about in NFL circles as a versatile defensive back who can play either corner back or free safety. With the proliferation of the spread becoming commonplace in the NFL, teams will continue to look for tweener players with quality coverage skills to combat against it. Rowe is certainly one of those players. He registered one of the best combine performances regardless of position and would be an excellent selection for the Broncos on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Reese Dismukes & Hroniss Grasu, C
Elway and Kubiak seem to have high hopes for Matt Paradis, but Dismukes (Auburn) and Grasu (Oregon) are quality fits tailor-made for the zone blocking system. I believe they can start right away given their background and quality of play over their collegiate careers.
So Broncos Country, what do you think?
Sound off by voting in the poll or giving us feedback in the comments. As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @topherhart if you have any NFL Draft related questions!