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Rumor: If the Broncos trade back, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is on their radar

Could the Broncos address their linebacker position in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft?

NCAA Football: Boise State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

According to CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora, the Denver Broncos are “very open” to trading back and could be targeting Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in a potential trade back.

Here is what Canfora said about this in his piece that dropped on Friday.

Broncos open to trade

I have long reported that I don’t get any information leading me to believe Denver is taking a quarterback and the Broncos are very open to a trade. John Elway confirmed the trade part at his press conference Thursday, and if the Broncos did swap picks with the Bills, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is someone very much on their radar. Fifth overall is too high but in the teens it’s a fit. The most likely trade scenario would involve the Bills moving up to get Rosen if we assume Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are all gone in the top four picks.

Vander Esch hasn’t really been considered for the Broncos because the 5th overall pick is too early for him, but he figures to be long gone by pick 40. So he has been a name ignored, but if the Broncos do indeed trade back with say the Buffalo Bills, he would be a potential target for them for sure.

The Broncos have been doing their homework on the inside linebacker class in this draft, and Vander Esch ranks among the top inside linebackers in this draft. He is a 6’4”, 256lb linebacker who is coming off a breakout campaign for the Boise State Broncos.

Vander Esch played three seasons at Boise State but is coming off a breakout year that shot him up the draft boards. During his three-year career at Boise State, Vander Esch totaled 188 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 6 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 4 forced fumbles. This past season, he totaled 141 tackles, 8.5 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 pass deflections, and 4 forced fumbles.

He would come in and instantly challenge Todd Davis for a starting job and contribute in sub-packages. Don’t let his size fool you, Vander Esch is talented in coverage and a tackling machine.