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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Paxton Lynch will be the Broncos next starting quarterback

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The Broncos need a quarterback, and Lynch could be their guy.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

We are less than three weeks away from the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and the draft needs for the Broncos are becoming very clear.

The most important position on a football team is the quarterback, and right now the Broncos really do not have one. Yes, they traded for Mark Sanchez, he is not the long-term answer at the position. Unless the Broncos can trade for Colin Kaepernick, I see them selecting a quarterback early in the draft.

Some other needs I see them addressing are running back, tight end, defensive line, inside linebacker, and safety.

Here is version 2.0 of my mock draft series.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
1 31 Paxton Lynch QB Memphis 6'7" 244lbs

Thoughts:

I thought about changing up this draft to keep it fresh and such, but I'm sticking with Paxton Lynch at 31(or earlier via trade).

The Broncos are without a quarterback, and Lynch will be the best available option. They worked him out during his Pro Day earlier this week and will have him in for an official visit/workout before the draft. So they are doing their homework on him.

Lynch has everything John Elway looks for in a quarterback. He is tall(6'7"), has big hands, has a strong arm, and is athletic. His size and stature remind people of the quarterback John Elway called the future of the franchise.

He would also fit very well into Gary Kubiak's offense. He has the mobility to run the bootleg and has the arm to throw on the run and throw deep. I think it's a perfect fit for Lynch.

This pick makes too much sense.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
2 63 Sheldon Day DT/DE Notre Dame 6'1" 293lbs

Thoughts:

Day doesn't have the size/length you expect from 3-4 defensive ends, but his pass rushing skill set will make him hard to pass up.

I think Derek Wolfe, Jared Crick, and Vance Walker will be the Broncos main base 3-4 defensive ends, and in this scenario Day would come in in certain sub-packages and provide an interior rush. That is what the Broncos are lacking after Malik Jackson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars during free agency.

Trying to block Von, Ware, Wolfe and Day will be a handful. Lots of speed and power in that group.

I think he could eventually prove to be a full-time 3-4 defensive end. His quickness, lateral agility, explosiveness, and high motor could make a tough guy to block going forward.

His skill set reminds me of LA Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Not saying he is or will be Donald, but they are comparable.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
3 94 Alex Collins RB Arkansas 5'10" 217lbs

Thoughts:

The Broncos are going to draft a running back, who and when is the question.

Many(myself included) have assumed the Broncos will target a faster "change of pace" back to pair with C.J. Anderson's power, but I decided to change it up a bit.

Collins is a powerful runner who fits a zone scheme very well. He is patient, has great vision and footwork, and was a touchdown machine in college. He isn't a "speed back" but he does have good short-area quickness and enough long speed to be a threat.

Anderson and Collins would give the Broncos two powerful runners to lean on while their rookie quarterback develops.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
3* 98 K.J. Dillon S West Virginia 6'0" 210lbs

*(Compensatory Pick)
Thoughts:

The Broncos are extremely thin at the safety position currently, and I think Dillon would be an excellent addition to their secondary.

He has the size you look for in a safety and is also very athletic.

In today's NFL, you need a player with size, speed, and athleticism to cover running backs and tight ends, and that is exactly what I think Dillon can do. He'll replace David Bruton on the Broncos defense/special teams.

With Darien Stewart a free agent at the end of the 2016 season, the Broncos will be on the lookout for depth and potentially a replacement for Stewart.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
4 136 Thomas Durate TE/WR UCLA 6'2" 231lbs

*(Compensatory Pick)
Thoughts:

I'm not sure how likely this pick is, but I like the idea.

Durate is making the transition from wide receiver to tight end and is viewed as a "move tight end" in the NFL. He is compared to Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.

Kubiak normally prefers traditional tight ends like Virgil Green and Jeff Heuerman, but Durate could be a nice weapon for the offense moving forward.

He will need to add some bulk and learn to block, but he could bring a Julius Thomas like element to the Broncos offense.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
5 144 Rashard Robinson CB LSU 6'1" 171lbs

Thoughts:

I'm not 100% sure if Robinson will be here for this pick, but he could be because of some off the field concerns(nothing major).

The Broncos have been doing a ton of work on Robinson. Spoke to him at the combine, were present at his Pro Day, and brought him in for a pre-draft visit. So there is some real interest here.

The Broncos do not have a real need at cornerback and selected Lorenzo Doss in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. With that said, Aqib Talib is 30 years old and might not be with the team past this season, and could view Robinson as a potential replacement.

Robinson has a DRC like build/skill set. Speedy man to man type player with lots of potential.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
5 157 Willie Henry DE/DT Michigan 6'3" 303lbs

Thoughts:

Henry is another athletic defensive lineman who has the skill set to be a versatile piece for the Broncos defense.

The Broncos lost Malik Jackson and Antonio Smith this offseason, so I believe they will use the draft to add some depth and youth to their defensive line. They could also view him as a potential replacement for Sylvester Williams going forward.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
6 219 Dan Vitale FB Northwestern 6'1" 241lbs

*(Compensatory Pick)

Thoughts:

Every mock draft I do will have Dan Vitale going to the Broncos in the 6th round.

He is your classic H-back and the type of player I see Gary Kubiak coveting.

He can line up at fullback, he can play tight end, he can line up in the slot, and he run decent routes as well. He reminds me of a former Kubiak player, James Casey who did all the same things.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
7 228 Max McCaffrey WR Duke 6'2" 200lbs

Thoughts:

Once we get into the 7th round, it's difficult to make accurate picks.

The Broncos are meeting with McCaffrey before the draft and could look to draft Ed McCaffrey's son with one of their 7th round picks.

He has size, speed, and receiving skills to push for a roster spot. Max is destined to be a Denver Broncos receiver.

Round Pick Team Player Position School Height Weight
7 253 Ufomba Kamalu DE/DT Miami 6'5" 295lbs

Thoughts:

Ufomba Kamalu is Mr. Irrelevant!

He is among the late round defensive lineman the Broncos have shown interest in prior to the draft so it makes some sense.

He has the prototypical size to be a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense and would likely end up on the Broncos practice squad in 2016.