With the 2016 NFL Draft, only two days away rumors and report begin circulating about a handful of prospects going higher than most assumed they would. This news usually begins leaking out after teams finalize their draft boards and info leaks out about a certain player.
This year one of the players making a late surge up draft boards is former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. SI's Peter King released his annual mock draft and hinted that Hackenberg as high as pick 19 to the Buffalo Bills.
Some in the NFL are convinced the Bills will consider Christian Hackenberg here, not so much because of the Penn State roots of the owner (Terry Pegula) but because some in the organization are convinced that Hackenberg, with the proper training, can be a good NFL player.
King isn't the only one hearing this. Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net said that he is hearing that there is a chance that Hackenberg could even go before Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.
Some in the league tell me they believe Christian Hackenberg will be selected ahead of Lynch. I do not buy this opinion, but expect Hackenberg to be off the board during the early part of the second round as the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins are all considering him in the top half of that frame.
Both King and Pauline are skeptical about these rumors, but it does sound like there is some truth to Hackenberg going a little earlier than most expect.
Pauline says he expects Hackenberg to go in the early portions of the second round of the draft and mentions the Bears, 49ers, and Dolphins as options. All three of those teams are looking for a potential quarterback of the future and could view Hackenberg as a developmental prospect.
Now if those teams are considering Hack early in the second round, would the Denver Broncos consider him at pick 31? I think it is possible if the Broncos are serious about adding a quarterback in the draft.
It sounds like Connor Cook stock is falling a bit. A recent poll from 17 NFL scouts had Cook as the most likely quarterback to bust in this draft class, and he was even compared to Kyle Orton(Yuck). Paxton Lynch is being connected to the Cleveland Browns now, and it appears the Jets also have him on their radar so it seems unlikely he will make it to the Broncos pick. So Hackenberg might be the best option available for the Broncos in the draft.
I am just dot-connecting here but sounds like Hackenberg could go around the time the Broncos pick. They haven't really been connected to him this offseason(that could mean a bunch of different things really), but they did attend his Pro Day back in March.
There are a lot of things to like about Hackenberg. He has the size, athleticism, arm talent and just overall physical traits you like to see from an NFL quarterback. Also, early in his college career, he was viewed as a potential top overall pick down the road. Consistency issues have since hurt his stock, but was that because of poor coaching and lack of talent surrounding him?
If/when Hackenberg goes early in the draft it will be because of his overall physical talent and a coaching staff thinking they can fix and get the most out of Hackenberg. Could Kubiak and Dennison, and Greg Knapp think that way? It's vert possible.
Let's just add Hackenberg to the long list of potential scenarios for the Broncos in the first round. We will all find out late Thursday night which way John Elway and the Broncos have decided to go.