With free agency winding down around the NFL, the focus now turns to the 2018 NFL Draft. The draft is only a little over a month away believe it or not so it is time for us to turn our attention towards the draft.
With the uncertainity at the quarterback position I held off on doing any mock drafts before free agency. Now with Keenum signed, It is time to hammer out my first mock draft.
First round, 5th overall pick: Quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
The Broncos will be in the quarterback market. Keenum is only signed for two-years the Broncos actions do not back up their words on their belief in former first-round pick, Paxton Lynch.
Gary Kubiak’s influence is why this pick will happen. He was a big reason why Case Keenum was signed by the Broncos and now they will get the perfect backup for him. They have similar size, similar play style, and system Bill Musgrave comes up with could be run by both players.
Baker Mayfield under pressure a year ago pic.twitter.com/ECWysea2OV— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 19, 2018
Mayfield has that “It factor” and is a winner(don’t let Tebow ruin that term). His personality is addictive and players are drawn to it. This makes him a natural leader as well as someone who will carry some swagger on the football field. A little personality never hurt anyone.
I believe the first-round will fall like this. 1. Darnold, 2. Rosen, 3. Allen, 4. Browns BPA. This would drop Mayfield to Denver without them having to trade up.
Second round, 40th overall: Guard Will Hernandez, UTEP
With Case Keenum now under center for the Broncos, the need to compliment him with a solid running game. One way to help with that is giving him one mean mother effing dude to open up running lanes for the Broncos running backs.
This is UTEP's Will Hernandez at Left Guard. His Hulk Smash and casual walk away is my favorite thing. pic.twitter.com/s4M7pRGp4t— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) March 17, 2018
He’s a 6’2”, 330lb hulking guard prospect who will add some nasty to the Broncos offensive line. He put up 37 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
This a popular pick among Broncos fans for obvious reasons. He would be an instant upgrade over Max Garcia and Connor McGovern at guard, plus there is a coaching connection. Former UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler is now coaching the Broncos interior offensive lineman and would gladly take his former recruit.
Hernandez could be gone by this pick, I know, but if he isn’t, the Broncos shouldn’t take long to make this pick.
Third round, 71st overall: Offensive Tackle Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh
The Broncos already upgraded their offensive line once on day two and now I have them addressing the right tackle position.
O’Neill is a 6’7”, 300lb athletic tackle who needs some refinement, but the talent is there. He has 34 1/8” arms, ran a 4.82 40-yard dash, and has tight end’s body type. The Lane Johnson comparison has been thrown around, but it’s not quite the same.
I don’t think he’ll be ready to start right away, but he will give whoever the Broncos have competing for the right tackle position. If he pans out, O’Neill and Bolles would give the Broncos one of the more athletic tackle duos in the NFL.
Third round, 99th overall: Running Back Nick Chubb, Georgia
As I said prior, the Broncos need to give starting quarterback Case Keenum a solid run attack to take some pressure off of him. As of now, veteran running back C.J. Anderson is still on the roster and if he still is by the time the draft rolls around, this pick obviously will not be a running back. For now, I’m assuming C.J. will be gone and the Broncos will be looking for their next bell-cow back.
If they indeed are looking for one, Georgia’s Nick Chubb should be high on their list. He’s a 5’11”, 228lb powerful back who put up 29 reps on the bench press at the 2018 NFL Combine.
With Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson likely being the receiving back/1B, the Broncos will be on the lookout for a bell cow guy. The big and powerful Chubb could step into that role instantly and give the Broncos an instant impact running back from the start. Think Kareem Hunt type production.
Top-5 RBs #2018NFLDraft: Honorable Mention -- Nick Chubb -- Rushing— Mo Brewington (@Smashmouth_Mo) March 8, 2018
Chubb's Combine performances in the Vert & Broad jumps -- where he posted 38.5"(4th among RBs) & 10'8" (2nd) -- were indicative of his core & lower-body strength, as well the explosion displayed on this run. pic.twitter.com/dTT361y5l1
He’s not an elusive/big play guy, but he can be a solid and powerful between the tackles runner for whoever drafts him. He is one of my favorite players in this draft and would love to add him to the Broncos backfield.
Fourth round, 106th overall: Linebacker Darius Leonard, South Carolina State
If the Broncos do indeed trade for safety/linebacker hybrid Su’a Cravens, this pick wouldn’t happen, but as of today, that trade has yet to happen. So the Broncos will be on the lookout for an athletic linebacker who they can play in sub-packages. One player who I like in the draft to fill that role is South Carolina linebacker, Darius Leonard.
He’s a 6’2”, 234lb linebacker who can cover a bunch of ground and be the guy who can cover linebackers/tight ends for the Broncos.
The Broncos have some tough tight ends and running backs to cover in the AFC West and have struggled in this area for years. Brandon Marshall has his moments, but Todd Davis is a 2-down run thumper. The Broncos need an athletic linebacker who is rangy, and Leonard is that guy.
This might be a tad late for him, but if not it would be a solid pick.
Fourth round, 109th overall, Edge Rusher Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
Edge rusher is a sneaky need for the Broncos. Von Miller is fine, obviously, but Shane Ray’s 5th-year option could not be picked up and Shaq Barrett will be a UFA next season. I expect the Broncos to keep one of the two(likely Ray) and let the other walk. If that happens, they will need an option behind them to step up. A player like Kemoko Turay could be that guy.
He’s a 6’5”, 253lb edge rusher who shows explosive traits and tons of potential. He wasn’t super productive at Rutgers, but I think he’ll have a much better NFL career.
All aboard to Kemoko Turay train.— John Owning (@JohnOwning) March 8, 2018
Love this rush against Illinois. Feints with the bull rush and easily transitions into a swim move. Beautiful stuff. pic.twitter.com/vEoLstEuE2
This would add another explosive edge rusher to the Broncos unit and a player with untapped potential. This is more of a pick for 2019, but I like it a lot. He’s one of my favorite edge rushing prospects in the draft.
Fifth round, 142nd overall, Defensive Lineman Kentavius Street, South Carolina State:
The 6’2” 280lb Kentavius Street would give the Broncos another interior option along their defensive line. He’s a tad shorter and lighter than you would like, but he doesn’t lack power.
The Broncos interior defensive line could be without Adam Gotsis going forward, so I expect them to add some depth here. Street would be an intriguing late round option for them.
Fifth round, 160th overall, Tight End Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan:
The Broncos lack an answer at tight end, but if they do not add a veteran to the mix, look for them to add someone via the draft. Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt figure to be the main two tight ends, but adding Conklin into the mix adds some competition.
Fifth round, 163rd overall, Cornerback Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
The Broncos did sign veteran Tramaine Brock but they could look to add more depth to the position. The explosive Darius Phillips can play nickel for the Broncos and contribute in the return game. He’s an instant threat with the ball in his hands as well.
Sixth round, 182nd overall, Wide receiver Antonio Callaway, Florida
Callaway has first-round talent but has multiple issues off the field. He vows he has turned his life around after becoming a father, but the risk is still there. In the 6th round, I think he is worth the risk for the Broncos who need another option in the passing game.