In my Future Broncos series to date, I’ve covered several topics regarding the team’s future needs as well as some top prospects from the FBS and FCS to look out for in regard to the 2019 NFL Draft. There is still a lot to delve into prospect-wise, and while I usually don’t do mock drafts this early, the current state of the Denver Broncos who are bracing themselves for another cataclysmic season and wild forthcoming offseason filled with immense change prompted this week’s installment to be a mock draft.
For this mock draft, I am using the order and pick selection courtesy of Tankathon. Further explanation on how the Broncos acquired the extra selections can be viewed here. Additionally, the team is not expected to receive any compensatory picks in this year’s draft, but here is a deeper look at the selections they possess.
Broncos’ 2019 Draft Capital: 44th, 75th, 106th, 137th, 145th (via Minnesota Vikings), 168th, 199th, 223rd (via Los Angeles Rams)
With the Broncos slated to pick thirteenth overall, this currently means they would miss out on top prospects such as Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) and Greedy Williams (CB, LSU), who would undoubtedly be solutions the franchise needs at premier positions. Unfortunately, there are two teams ahead of Denver who will likely be in the market for a franchise quarterback: The New York Giants (currently holding the top selection) and perhaps the Oakland Raiders if John Gruden decides to move on from Derek Carr. That being said, I have not studied Drew Lock or Dwayne Haskins enough to feel comfortable slating them to Denver in the first round.
This mock draft will only consist of the first three rounds, but at the end of discussing those three picks, I will outline where I think Denver should focus their handful of Day 3 selections. Without further adieu, here is my three-round Broncos’ mock draft.
13th Overall: Devin White, ILB (Junior) — LSU
Since I’m opting not to formulate a mega-trade that could somehow land the Broncos a franchise quarterback in the draft, I’m going to go with a difference-maker who is viewed as a top-tier player on the defensive side of the ball where the Broncos clearly need help.
I’m doubtful the team elects to use their team-option to retain Brandon Marshall next season. Moreover, it’s quite clear Todd Davis isn’t a long-term solution at linebacker for the Broncos either. Even in a deep inside linebacker class (if juniors declare), that’s why I’m slating Lousiana State junior linebacker Devin White to Denver in the first round.
Tremendous size, premier athleticism, tenacity, a non-stop motor and a penchant for creating game-changing turnovers are just some of the reasons why scouts are high on White, who is coming off a tremendous sophomore campaign where he registered 133 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks and 1 interception. He is also the Tigers’ key communicator on defense, often relaying plays in from the sidelines and helping his teammates with pre-snap adjustments and alignments — which speak to his high football IQ. He is also adept in coverage and most certainly has the ability to be a premier playing and three-down defender in the league.
Missing out on a top-tier quarterback or cornerback in the first round will likely merit criticism in the comments section. However, acquiring a prospect of White’s caliber would be great for Denver. Without question, the duo of White and Josey Jewell would give the Broncos a formidable interior of their linebacker corps for years to come.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart raved about Devin White, talking about recruiting him as a running back at Alabama and comparing him to a bigger Roquan Smith #LSU pic.twitter.com/V3fS8FQlWX— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) October 9, 2018
44th Overall: Dalton Risner, OL (Senior) — Kansas State
Garett Bolles is struggling, Jared Veldheer hasn’t been able to stay healthy and is in the final year of his deal and the depth at the tackle spot for the Broncos is concerning to say the least. Even before the season started, I pegged this as one of the franchise’s biggest long-term needs and what has transpired to date reinforces that even more. That makes plugging in Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner in the early second-round to the team a no-brain decision.
Risner fits the leadership and team captain mold that the Broncos searched for in last year’s draft process and would provide the team with a plug-and-play starter at right tackle as a rookie. He has been a starter in every game since his redshirt freshman season where he played center, but the last three years have been at right tackle. Additionally, he is widely-regarded as one of the top pass-blocking tackles in this year’s draft — and showed that with an admirable performance earlier in the year against Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat, who is likely a top selection in this year’s draft.
I have a feeling Risner will be a draft riser and sneak into the later part of the first round, but with a few other prospects ranked higher than him at his position and the overall depth of this year’s draft class — him being available in the early second round isn’t out of the question.
Dalton Risner leads the nation's tackles with his 85.8 overall gradehttps://t.co/cKXAPHpSVo pic.twitter.com/vMGw5gBdIT— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 2, 2018
75th Overall: Iman Marshall, CB (Senior) — USC
With the up-and-down year Bradley Roby has had thus far, I’m not so certain he is going to be retained long-term with the team. He also recently switched agents, which signifies to me that he has his mind set on free agency. While Chris Harris Jr. is still playing at a high-level, he is getting up their in age and there is no doubt the team needs to bolster their secondary which has went from the No Fly Zone to the Frequent Fly Zone at a quick pace. Brendan Langley didn’t pan out and while Isaac Yiadom is getting more snaps than expected this year, they still need a future starter as the position. Enter USC senior cornerback Iman Marshall, who has the skills to be a starting corner in the National Football League for a long time.
Back in 2015, he was considered one of, if not the best prep defenders in the entire nation and was ranked in the Top 10 nationally by most outlets. After being highly-sought after by most every major program in the country, the 6’1, 205 pound corner who runs a 4.45 forty-yard dash opted to stay local and commit to the University of Southern California. It was a great decision for him, as he has been a starter ever since his true freshman season and has cemented himself as one of the best corner prospects available in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Marshall is a physical defensive back who uses his size, length and physicality to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and excels in man coverage. He had one of his best games a few years ago when he snagged two interceptions off of current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. One of the key judgment factors for me for any prospect is how well they play against top competition, and Marshall has proven his worth against a first-round player. To date, Marshall has racked up 125 tackles, 6 interceptions and 30 passes defended in 42 games as a starter. That’s big-time production in a conference known for slinging the ball around the field.
After delving into several of his highlight tapes, he had issues being over-aggressive in coverage which has caused him to give up just as many big plays as he wracks up for the Trojans. That being said, his occasional lapses and coverage and discipline aren’t too big of a worry for me, as those deficiencies can be corrected with proper coaching. If the Broncos were able to get a player of his caliber in the early third round, I’d be extremely satisfied.
I wrote about Iman Marshall’s bounce-back season, starting with father-son film study: https://t.co/yus2BOqBFR— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) October 12, 2018
Day 3 Positional Considerations and Prospects
The Broncos have all of their original selections in rounds four through seven, as well additional fifth and seventh round selections from trades this past offseason. Here are some of my thoughts for positions they should target, as well as a handful of prospects at each position.
The defensive line depth in this year’s class is crazy, so I would feel comfortable with the Broncos getting an eventual replacement for Domata Peko here. The franchise could also use another tight end considering the injury history and lack of production from those currently on the roster. This is also a time in the draft where I would like to see Denver add another safety, with the fact that Darian Stewart may be a cap casualty after the season is over.
The big question to me is what the Broncos do with Matt Paradis this offseason. If he gets extended, it’s not a major need by any means, but a prospect for depth purposes should be considered. Last but not least, the Broncos did draft Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in this past draft, but if franchise opts to get rid of either Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, adding another weapon at receiver would be wise — it’s a deep class at the position.
Day 3 defensive tackle prospects: Demarcus Christmas (Florida State), Dontavius Russell (Auburn), Olive Sagapolu (Wisconsin), Daylon Mack (Texas A&M), Raequan Williams (Michigan State)
Day 3 tight end prospects: Tommy Sweeney (Boston College), Alize Mack (Notre Dame), Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama), Logan Parker (Southern Utah)
Day 3 safety prospects: Andrew Wingard (Wyoming), J.R. Reed (Georgia), Tanner Muse (Clemson), Will Harris (Boston College), Evan Worthington (Colorado)
Day 3 center prospects: Sam Mustipher (Notre Dame), Ryan Anderson (Wake Forest), Jesse Burkett (Stanford), Sean Krepsz (Nevada)
Day 3 wide receiver prospects: Jaylen Smith (Louisville), Gary Jennings Jr. (West Virginia), Steven Sims Jr. (Kansas), Emmanuel Butler (Northern Arizona)
Feel free to sound off in the comments section and give your own Broncos mock draft, as well as discussing other prospects and all scenarios you envision for the franchise next April.