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3 & Out with The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs

A quick review of the Broncos rookies & and a look ahead to the NFL Draft.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Royce Freeman has been the quiet thunder the Broncos O needed so far.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to 3 & Out, where I do a quick Broncos Q and A with someone to get a little outside perspective. The inaugural version is with The Draft Network’s Senior NFL Draft analyst Kyle Crabbs because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next year’s rookie class. Our interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

1st and 10

So far this season Broncos fans have been elated by the performance of Elway’s most recent rookie class. I saw that Phillip Lindsay got some love on The Draft Dudes’ podcast last week, but what are your thoughts on the class so far? I also noticed Will Dissly got some love. Did it surprise you that he tore Denver up in his first start?

Crabbs: I think the Broncos have all indications of a productive group with their 2018 class. Getting early contributors, regardless of where they’re picked (or not picked) at, is always a promising start. I like the pass catchers they brought in but they were never destined to get a lot of early snaps. So to have Royce Freeman/Lindsay and Bradley Chubb be key cogs on either side of the ball is great. As far as Dissly, it most certainly did surprise me to see him get so much play through the first few weeks...but it’s a testament to his upside as an athlete. Kudos to the Seahawks for having the vision to implement him in the ways that they have.

Bradley Chubb has had an impressive start to his rookie year.

2nd and 7

Broncos fans have been a bit concerned with the secondary three games in. Darian Stewart is getting older, Su’a Cravens is hurt while Isaac Yiadom and Brendan Langley have been disappointing so far, so If you had to pick a defensive back prospect for Broncos fans to keep an eye on this far out today, who screams Elway pick?

Crabbs: As I look at the secondary group, I think Washington’s Taylor Rapp and Jaquan Johnson would be attractive fits at safety. They’re physical, built well. Cravens has been my biggest miss from the group, but he’s had some publicized issues with his health. At USC, he wasn’t big but he was physical and he was versatile. I’d like those two options to be that same type of player.

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon State
Rapp could be a huge asset defending against slot receivers and tight ends next season.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

3rd and 3

I saw on The Draft Networks most recent mock draft that Trevor Sikkema hooked the Broncos up with Brian Lewerke. I saw you had him 14th on your big board to open the season. Talk me off the ledge here, my brother goes to MSU and hasn’t been impressed.

Crabbs: Lewerke has had a frustrating start to the season. He’s got all the traits but he’s not especially polished and he’s had some struggles with consistency. That said, he’s got great upside and I think he’s got the goods between the ears. He gets greedy under pressure sometimes, which would be a good place to start in building off of his foundation.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Indiana
Could Lewerke take the reigns in 2019? Should he?
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

4th and inches

Any other prospects Broncos Country should keep an eye on going forward?

Crabbs: When I look at the Broncos, I would love to see some fresh blood on the defensive interior. This team has a strength with their pass rushers, why not make that unit elite? The top of this draft has big names like Raekwon Davis, Rashan Gary, Ed Oliver, and others. But there’s depth, too. If I were to look for a favorite position for Denver fans to monitor, it would be interior defensive linemen.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan
“Rashan Gary is a special athlete up front...” Crabbs
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports