With the Senior Bowl kicking off this week, I figured it would be a good time to release my first mock draft of the offseason today.
Now we are still over a month away from Free Agency beginning so a lot can and will change during that time, but for now, I am just projecting what I believe John Elway will do during Free Agency. I believe the Broncos will address both offensive and defensive lines in free agency. Not projecting who, but I think we will see at least one or two new offensive linemen and a new nose tackle. This will leave the Broncos with no major holes to fill during free agency and allow Elway to add some youth and talent to the offensive side of the ball.
Note: I am including the projected compensatory picks from Over The Cap which has the Broncos receiving a maximum of 4 compensatory picks. Also, with the draft order, not official just yet, I am using drafttek.com's projected draft order in this mock draft.
I know O.J. Howard is a popular pick here and I'd be 100% okay substituting him in here, but I like Njoku a tad better right now.
Njoku may not be a household name just yet, but he is an athletic freak and should blow up after the Combine. He has 4.5(if not faster) speed, great leaping ability, good agility, and will be a matchup nightmare in the NFL.
David Njoku is a tight end??? pic.twitter.com/LakzpuKkth— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 21, 2017
The hype for Njoku is beginning to pick up too. NFL Network's draft expert Daniel Jeremiah ranked Njoku 13th in his top 50 prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Njoku has a long, muscular frame and outstanding athleticism for the position. He primarily lines up flexed in the slot or split out wide. He has outstanding speed to get down the seam and he does a lot of damage on quick-hit and tunnel screens. He's not a refined route runner, but instead gets by with pure agility and speed. He has strong hands to reach and pluck the ball away from his frame but he does allow some balls to get into his body and ricochet off him. After the catch, he has an explosive burst and he breaks a lot of tackles. In the run game, he's a work in progress. He gets in the way to shield and wall off, but he needs to get stronger and more physical at the point of attack. Overall, Njoku is very raw but he has an extremely high upside.
Tight end is a major need for the Broncos this offseason, especially if they want to build around their young quarterbacks. Virgil Green, Derby, and Heuerman have all flashed at times, but neither has stepped up to be a playmaker for the Broncos.
The tight end was largely ignored in the Broncos passing game last season, but I expect that to change with Mike McCoy running the Broncos offense in 2017. He utilized Antonio Gates and rookie Hunter Henry well this past season for the Chargers so I could see him doing the same for the Broncos in 2017.
This pick gives the Broncos another electric target to use in their pass game and someone who would be a matchup nightmare on Sunday's.
I know this might not be the most popular pick, but the Broncos need an upgrade at their running back position. I love C.J. Anderson like everyone else, but he has yet to put it all together for an entire season. He has been inconsistent and hurt for the most part of his Broncos career. Don't get me wrong, when he is on, he's a damn good back but that doesn't happen enough. The Broncos did draft Devontae Booker last year, but he didn't look like anything more than a number two back. So I have the Broncos adding the explosive Kamara.
Alvin Kamara = Devonta Freeman— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 22, 2017
Kamara can do it all. He can run in between the tackles, bounce it outside, line up as a receiver, be a weapon in the pass game and be dangerous in space.
The Broncos have two downhill runners already with C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker, so adding some with homerun hitting explosiveness like Kamara should be a priority for the Broncos.
Also, Mike McCoy used the versatile Danny Woodhead in a similar role while he was the Head Coach of the Chargers, so I think he would like to add a back with that type of versatility to help out his young quarterbacks.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah ranked Kamara as his 26th best prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kamara has ideal size, speed and instincts for the position. On inside runs, he has a slashing running style and the ability to get skinny through the hole. His lateral quickness is off the charts and he gets up to top speed in a hurry. He has surprising power at all three levels. Against Vanderbilt, he broke six tackles on the same play. He has the speed to get the edge on outside runs and he's very elusive in space. He is dangerous in the passing game. He has natural hands and has shown the ability to make special catches (see one-handed grab vs. Texas A&M). The major knock on Kamara is the lack of carries he had during his college career; he's never carried the ball more than 18 times. However, he has an elite skill set and could end up being the best running back in the entire draft class.
I think he would be a great addition to the Denver Broncos backfield.
|3||82||Jarron Jones||DE/DT||Notre Dame||6-5||315lbs|
The Broncos need to add some size and strength to their defensive line and Notre Dame defensive lineman Jarron Jones fits the bill.
Jones has first round talent but has battled through significant injuries during his college career. He suffered a torn MCL, stress fracture in his foot, and a Lisfranc injury during his time at Notre Dame. However, when healthy he has been rather productive. Jones recorded 45 tackles with 11 for a loss, two sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble in 2016.
He's a big strong man who can provide some size/strength to the defensive line and clog up some running lanes for the Broncos.
One thing missing from the Broncos offense recently has been a slot receiver. Neither Bennie Fowler or Cody Latimer could secure the role, so I could see the Broncos looking for a slot receiver.
Artavis Scott runs smooth routes, is quicker than fast, and is a sure-handed receiver. He totaled 76 receptions for 614 yards and 5 touchdowns this past season.
He would give the Broncos quarterbacks a safety blanket in the middle of the field and finally a true slot receiver. Scott can also contribute on Special Teams as well.
Todd Davis did an alright job this past season but ended up being a liability in the passing game. He's likely best served as a two down/run stopper/special teams player in the league going forward.
Walker is a three-down linebacker who can stop the run as well as cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game as well.In 2016, Walker recorded 105 tackles with 10 for a loss, four forced fumbles, two sacks, five passes broken up and one interception.
He would be a higher pick if he didn't have a disappointing 2016 season. He added 20 pounds of weight to hold up against the run better but ended up being a better player at a lower weight. If he can shed the pound and turn back into the sideline to sideline linebacker, he can end up being a steal for someone.
One thing that Mike McCoy liked during his time as the Chargers Head Coach was tall/powerful offensive lineman. He had 6-9 King Dunlap, 6-6 Tyreek Burwell, 6-6 Orlando Franklin, 6-6 Chris Hairston, 6-5 D.J. Fluker, 6-5 Matt Slauson, and 6-5 Max Tuerk all on his offensive line. So I wouldn't be shocked to see him add another tall and powerful tackle in the draft.
Skipper is a run blocking right tackle in the NFL and would provide depth for the Broncos at the OT position. Now he does struggle against speedier edge rushers who have good bending skills so that could end up being a problem, but if the Broncos are a run first team he would be a nice fit. I could at least see Skipper come in as sixth offensive lineman in certain run packages.
The Broncos continue to add to their defensive line depth here by adding Michigan's Ryan Glasgow to their rotation.
In 2016 for the Michigan Wolverines he totaled 39 tackles with four sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and one pass broken up
He does offer a ton in the pass rush department but he is a solid run defender. As we know, the Broncos struggled in that area in 2016, so he would be a welcome addition to their defensive rotation.
I believe the Broncos will re-sign corner Kayvon Webster who has turned into the teams Special Teams ace/leader, but if they decide not too I think they will add another corner sometime in the draft. Even if they do re-sign Kayvon, I could see them add a late round guy like Stribling to compete with Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon.
The Broncos starting center Matt Paradis is coming off surgery to his hip and his backup James Ferentz likely isn't an ideal fit in a power scheme, so I could see the Broncos spending a late round pick on a center and develop him.
Dielman played tackle but moved inside to center and played well in limited action before a foot injury ended his season after 5 games.
The Broncos will likely add a cheap veteran to push Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian this offseason, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them add a late round quarterback.
They always say you should draft a quarterback in every draft so here is one for you.
Liufau is a local guy so it makes sense for the Broncos to take a late round flier on him to be a camp body and a potential Practice Squad guy.