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Monday Morning Broncos Mock Draft: The opportunity cost of Ed Oliver at 10

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What could things look like if John Elway grabs the best player available at 10 in the 2019 NFL Draft?

NCAA Football: Houston at Navy
DT isn’t a big need, but Ed Oliver may be too good to pass on.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you pay attention to Draft Twitter, Ed Oliver has been a darling for basically the entire process. It usually takes a special set of circumstances for a guy to get labeled a “first round steal” but more and more that seems to be the case with the Houston tackle. The belief is that he’s a top 5 talent, but for whatever reason could see a slide down the board like Derwin James did a year ago.

So for this mock, I thought we’d look at what a draft where Elway stops the slide of a talented player. Defensive tackle isn’t a pressing need, so what positions suffer for the decision? Is it worth it?

Let’s dive in.

That first step though.

10. Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle

Let me just say that he’s one of those guys that immediately pop off the tape. The last tackle who wrecked the opposition like Oliver does was Aaron Donald. That is a really lofty comparison, Donald looks like he has a chance to go down as the best tackle ever, but their college tape give you the same “wow they never had a chance” vibes.

The thought of Shelby Harris and Oliver, with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rushing the edges makes me lightheaded. That is a ridiculous front four.

If you want to watch a tackle beat 3 blockers, turn on some Oliver tape.

41. Chris Lindstrom, Offensive Line

If the Broncos are looking for immediate help along the offensive line (spoiler: they are) there are few players as prepared for the job as the Boston College product. He’s an elite athlete for the position and started more than 40 games at right guard for the Eagles. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared him to Joel Bitonio:

Lindstrom is one of the most athletic interior lineman in the 2019 draft with a rare ability to match movement quickness with anyone across from him. His quickness can place him in position to make blocks on both the first and second levels and he has an impressive ability to cover lateral space and protect his gaps as a pass blocker. Lindstrom is scrappy at the point of attack but lacks the length, mass and strength some teams will want. His final destination could be as a guard/center in a zone scheme where he can become a long-time starter.

71. Andy Isabella, Wide Receiver

A small school stud, Isabella has a chance to make his new team look very smart. Similar to Oliver, the UMass receiver dominated opponents his entire career and finished with 231 catches for 3526 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Isabella caught 15 passes for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Georgia Bulldogs.

He’s a former high school sprinter who ran sub-10.90 in 100m dash and will bring short area quickness with him to the NFL. A bit small at 5’9 188, Isabella has the potential to grow into a dangerous burner. More likely than not, he’s destined for the slot so this selection would depend on Rich Scangarello’s comfort with DaeSean Hamilton as the heir to Emmanuel Sanders’ X-receiver spot.

125. Josh Oliver, Tight End

The Broncos have already expressed a lot of interest in Oliver. They spoke with him at the Combine and have arranged a Pre-Draft Workout. You turn on the tape and it’s easy to see why.

Oliver caught 98 passes for 1067 yards and 7 touchdowns during his time at San Diego State and has the room to grow into a true receiving threat at the position. He looks comfortable running routes and has very natural hands.

148. James Williams, Running Back

A running back!? What?! Yeah, I know, but hear me out. Devontae Booker is entering the last year of his deal and is solid. Solid is fine, but Williams skill set would be an upgrade for long yardage situations. He finished his career with 202 catches and averaged a touchdown every 16 carries.

156. Ben Burr-Kirven, Linebacker

I wrote a prospect profile on Burr-Kirven, so you should go check that out.

2019 NFL Draft Profile: Washington Linebacker Benn Burr-Kirven - Mile High Report

Every year there are players that come along and kind of worm their way into your heart. They become “your guys” and despite the odds, fit, or any other question you have, you find yourself rooting for them to succeed. Ben Burr-Kirven is one of those guys for me. He has the kind of film that will probably see him drafted on Day 3, but the things that flash are what “steals” are made of. He’s a hair’s-on-fire kind athlete that plays with so much heart you become a Husky fan when you’re watching his tape.

If the Broncos take him, I think his floor is a special teams ace provided he can stay healthy. The upside is much higher if only because he looks so active and quick on tape. I wonder how he’d fit in the Fangio scheme, but if he can reach his ceiling he’ll become one of those players an opposing offense actively needs to scheme around, even if he has a very clear weakness.

Part of the opportunity cost to taking someone like Oliver (or Lock, or Hock) in the first round would be missing on Devin White and Bush. The more I’ve dug into this draft, the less sold I am on most of the options after the big 2, but Burr-Kirven’s one I believe in. If you don’t, that’s understandable. Linebacker isn’t quite the crisis some would paint it out to be as the Fangio system would do a better job than Joseph’s at putting Todd Davis and Josey Jewell in situations to succeed.

182. Brett Rypien, Quarterback

It wouldn’t shock me if Rypien is in the league long after Kyler Murray went back to the outfield. If Elway passes on the first round guys this year he’s by far my favorite QB prospect in this year’s class.

237. Shareef Miller, Edge

This far down in the draft you’re throwing darts at the wall. Personally, I tend to favor athletic darts because they have tools to try and refine at the next level. Miller brings an exciting first step, enough strength, and functional athleticism to grow into a solid reserve behind Miller and Chubb. He needs a lot coaching, especially with his handwork and rush moves, but the pieces are there.