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Broncos 2019 Draft: Top prospects to watch at the Senior Bowl

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Who are the guys Broncos fans should pay attention to this week in Mobile?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

While the Broncos staff won’t be coaching the players this year at the Senior Bowl, they’ll still have plenty of attention and personnel down in Mobile this week as nearly the entirety of the NFL will descend on the state of Alabama to get a closer look at some of the top draft prospects.

Last year, Denver took advantage of the face-time, drafting three players who participated in the Senior Bowl, cornerback Isaac Yiadom, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, and tight end Troy Fumagalli.

They also used that opportunity to get a good look at the top quarterbacks who attended, even though they didn’t end up drafting one. This year will also bring that opportunity, however, we’ll forego the quarterback conversation today as we’ll have a whole post dedicated to the topic shortly.

Today, myself and MHR’s draft guru, Christopher Hart will go over the top non-QB prospects for Denver fans to pay attention to this week; because you just might see them in the orange and blue, come draft weekend.

Nasir Adderly, Safety - Delaware

(by Jeff Essary)

Denver will most likely move on from Darian Stewart, and I would love to see them re-stock the cupboard at the safety position. Nasir Adderly is a rangy singe high deep safety who played corner his freshman and sophomore year at Delaware which comes through in his excellent footwork.

Here’s what Adderly said about the advantage playing corner gives him.

“It definitely helped. Playing corner, you have to have good feet. I feel like a lot of safeties don’t have that component to their game. I feel like that’s a big help for me. I have great feet because I played corner for so long.”

While playing corner definitely helped him out, Adderly said he is loving his transition to safety.

“I just love everything about it. It allows me to be physical in the run game. I can patrol the middle of the field. I just love having all that green in front of me. It allows me to really see the game and dissect whatever the quarterback is doing. You see everything from the free safety position. I recognize the formations. That’s how I play and how I learn. I’m a visual learner. When I see a formation, and my teammate needs help, I can see it due to my instincts. Seeing the whole picture from back there is amazing at safety as opposed to cornerback or any other position on the field. You’re the last line of defense...I just love playing safety, man.”

Adderly has made some eye-popping interceptions on tape and projects to be one of the top safety prospects in this draft.

Tytus Howard, Offensive Tackle - Alabama State

(by Jeff Essary)

Denver needs a long-term answer at right tackle, and Tytus Howard is an intriguing small school prospect who has looked impressive so far on tape.

Howard is a converted tight end with great size at 6’6” - 309lbs, and played well against Auburn. It will be fun to see how he plays against top competition. The Senior Bowl is perfect for guys like Howard, who played most of their career against inferior competition, to show that they can hang with the larger school prospects.

Te’Von Coney, ILB - Notre Dame

(by Christopher Hart)

With the hiring of Vic Fangio as head coach of the Denver Broncos, I would expect the team to be in the market for a linebacker to be a future foundation of their defense. Fangio is known for having athletic playmakers to be centerpieces of his defenses and while the Broncos have amassed talent at the position I feel they could certainly use a long-term upgrade. That’s where Notre Dame senior Te’Von comes into play.

After spending his first two seasons at Notre Dame as a reserve linebacker, Coney burst onto the scene in his junior season and became one of the Fighting Irish’s biggest playmakers on defense. He posted 116 tackles, 11.5 for loss and 3 sacks that year and continued that dominance through his senior campaign where he totaled 123 tackles, 9.5 for loss, four sacks and an interception. Without question, Coney is one of the most productive players on display at the Senior Bowl and has a chance to cement himself as a Top 75 selection if he has a great week in Mobile.

There are a lot of things to like with respect to Coney. His physicality, plus-motor, and instincts are evident on film. He is a great sideline-to-sideline defender and effective blitzer. If Coney is able to prove his worth in coverage with a strong week of practices and in-game performance he will be a highly-coveted three-down linebacker come April.

Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback - Penn State

(by Jeff Essary)

This is one of the players I am most excited about. Denver needs corner help with Bradley Roby’s future with the team in doubt, and Chris Harris coming off of injury. Amani Oruwariye is a long corner with good size for the position at 6’1” - 204lbs, and can thrive in either man or zone coverage.

This quote from The Draft Network’s breakdown of Oruwariye gets me excited about the thought of pairing him up with Vic Fangio:

Does an excellent job of trusting his technique and landmarks in coverage. Superb zone coverage corner that sharply reads the backfield and works into throwing lanes. Spacing is generally sound. Anticipates route breaks and combinations at a high level. Does well to find the football and knows when to come off his man to play the ball. Very intelligent and a technique-driven player.

I’m not comparing the two, per se, but the way Oruwariye breaks on the hitch and out routes from off coverage reminds me of what Kyle Fuller excelled at for the Bears last year.

Germaine Pratt, Linebacker - NC State

(by Jeff Essary)

Denver should definitely be in the market for interior linebacker help, so be paying close attention to this entire class of linebackers. Pratt, is an interesting prospect with excellent size at 6’3” - 240lbs. He is a converted safety, so is still relatively new to the linebacker position, but looked pretty good on the tape I watched of him.

He is a little stiff in his hips, and doesn’t jump off the tape with his speed, but was rarely out of position, was always around the ball and quick to rally to it, racking up 104 total tackles in 2018.

Pratt still has a ways to go in development, but will be interesting to see how he looks in some of the Senior Bowl drills, especially the 1-on-1 coverage drills.

Iman Marshall, Cornerback - University of Southern California

(by Christopher Hart)

Another area where the Broncos will likely focus draft resources is the cornerback position. Chris Harris Jr. and Isaac Yiadom are the only starting caliber players currently on the roster and the team will have to make a decision with regard to Bradley Roby and Traimane Brock who are both free agents. The aforementioned Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will likely have their eye on this year’s crop of cornerbacks to upgrade the franchise’s secondary.

One of the major themes of the Broncos’ 2018 draft class was finding players who were team leaders, multi-year starters and well-respected individuals within their respective programs. I believe that John Elway and his scouting staff will continue to search for those things as they evaluate this year’s draftees. One player in Mobile who checks all those categories is cornerback Iman Marshall from the University of Southern California.

Marshall was one of the top-ranked high school recruits in the nation and became an immediate starter for the Trojans as a freshman. In his four years at Southern California, Marshall racked up 218 tackles, 6 interceptions and defended 36 passes. At 6’1 and 205 pounds, Marshall possesses ideal size for the position and his high-level of play as a senior earned him second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

He appears to be at his best on off and zone coverage where he can read opposing wide receivers which make him a quality fit for Fangio’s defense. Moreover, he is an aggressive defender who shows great willingness to defend in the running game. One of the pinnacle evaluation boxes for corners is ball skills. After notching six interceptions in his first two years, Marshall didn’t snag any in his final two years with the Trojans. If he can show that he can take the ball away in Mobile he has a chance to significantly boost his draft stock and cement himself as one of the better second-tier prospects available in April. I currently have him slated as a late Day 2, Early Day 3 selection.

Dalton Risner, Offensive Line - Kansas State

(by Jeff Essary)

Risner has been a top right tackle for Kansas State’s program for three year, and hasn’t allowed a sack since 2016. The trench battles during the practice drills are the best part of Senior Bowl week and will be an important time for Risner to prove he can hang with some of the top pass rushers, as he didn’t face the greatest competition in the Big-12.

There’s some discussion on exactly where he fits in the NFL as some are projecting him inside, which could potentially help him in pass protection, as he has some footwork issues in his pass set.

Risner is a dog in the trenches who could really rise (oh yes, that just happened) up the draft boards with a strong performance in Mobile.

Charles Omenihu, Defensive Line - Texas

(by Jeff Essary)

Denver may end up needing to re-stock on the defensive line depending on who sticks around this offseason, with Kerr and Peko’s contracts both expiring. Omenihu is a bit undersized to directly replace one of those guys, but he would be a dynamic pass rushing threat inside with plus run-stopping ability.

During his time at Texas, Omenihu lined up both on the edge and inside, racking up 9.5 sacks on his way to the Big-12 defensive player of the year.

Not only is Omenihu a great pass rusher from both inside and out, he also made big plays in the running game on the interior against one of the top SEC teams in Georgia.

The more I watch of him, the more I want to put him in Bill Kollar’s hands, go pop some popcorn, and watch the show.

He’ll be another one to keep a close eye on during the trench drills this week.

Andre Dillard, OT - Washington State

(by Christopher Hart)

With Mike Munchak in the fold coaching the Broncos’ offensive line you can bet your bottom dollar that Denver will be looking to upgrade their trenches for the 2019 season and beyond. While this year’s offensive line class might lack the top-flight names when compared to past drafts there are a handful of intriguing prospects who have the potential to become quality starters in the National Football League.

Andre Dillard isn’t a household name for most draft fans yet but very well should be if he has a strong outing at the Senior Bowl. He has been a lynchpin in the Cougars’ offensive line over the past three seasons and started 39 straight games at left tackle. His on the field prowess (allowing only one sack as a senior) earned him first-team All-Pac-12 and All-American honors in his final year with the squad.

Dillard is a quality pass protector with excellent footwork and has the requisite athleticism to get to the second-level routinely on run blocking assignments. His overall traits make him an ideal fit for zone blocking concepts favored by Munchak during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That influence should be heightened even more given the hiring of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello given his experience alongside Kyle Shanahan with the San Francisco 49ers offense. If Dillard puts in a dominant Senior Bowl performance expect him to make a strong push for first-round consideration.