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Monday Morning Broncos Mock Draft: The Tua Trade Down.

How could the draft go if the Denver Broncos jump out of the first in order to stockpile picks in 2020?

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama
If Elway wants in on the Tank for Tua race, it’ll take some creativity.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I mentioned on Twitter that one of my favorite parts of doing Mock Drafts is how it gives me the opportunity to explore different scenarios. So far we’ve looked at how things could go if the Broncos take T.J. Hockenson, or Ed Oliver at 10. This week, I thought I’d do something a little different.

I signed up to do a live mock this week in hopes that it would add some chaos to my board. Then the opportunity came along that I didn’t quite expect: the Miami Dolphins GM was enamored with Dwayne Haskins and offered me a bounty for 10. There was just one catch.

On day 1 of the draft, I had the opportunity to go to Elway’s steak house and have myself some waffles.

No but seriously, I got some flak for two reasons. The first was that jumping all the way out of the first was a huge gamble in case the Dolphins somehow won a game or two this year. The second was that obviously this isn’t realistic, as the real Dolphins are 100% committed to Tua 2020. I hear both points, and wanted to address them here.

Remember: Mock Drafts are scenarios.

I had three offers for 10 by the time I got to the clock, but Miami was the only team offering enough to seriously consider. Devin White, Haskins, and Drew Lock were on the board. If that’s the case in April, I’d fully expect a few teams to give the Broncos calls. So if you hate that I moved with the Dolphins, pretend it’s the Bengals, or Washington. If that were the case here, I would have asked for another pick to sweeten the deal. Let’s say it was a 2020 2nd or 2019 4th. You choose.

The gamble is too risky. What if they win?

If you read my article last Monday on the Bronco’s biggest needs, you know how I feel about the quarterback position.

If you believe John Elway at his word, he already employs a quarterback who’s just now entering his prime in Joe Flacco. I’m not sold, but there’s reason to believe Denver may wait until the loaded 2020 QB class to address the long term need at the position.

But let there be no doubt: until the Broncos have a real long term answer at the quarterback position they’re playing for second place in the AFC West.

QB is the biggest Broncos need, and will be until there is a franchise signal caller residing in Denver. That doesn’t mean Flacco has no value, quite the contrary. With a passable stopgap in place, Elway has the chance to pick the right quarterback, rather than the first available one.

In this scenario, I’m passing on both Haskins and Lock for the 2020 class. That means we need to get ammo in case we win, because we aren’t actively tanking. If we find ourselves back in the 10-20ish range in next year’s draft, it will take a boat load of capital to move into position to grab an elite arm. Everything helps.

If the Dolphins (or Bengals, or Washington, or *insert favorite trade partner here*) wins, that simply means it will probably cost other picks as well. Remember that extra 2020 picks are simply the first step in that process, not the final one.

41. Parris Campbell, Wide Receiver

I almost traded out of this pick for more ammo, because two of my top targets went right before the pick. When it came down to 41, I was torn between Campbell and two safeties. Johnathan Abrams and Taylor Rapp have gotten a lot of love, but I had enough questions about their ability in coverage that I decided to wait on the position.

If you missed it, I wrote at length about Campbell Saturday.

Remember when the rumors circulated that the Broncos were considering John Brown or a veteran burner? There are very few players in this class that can come close to matching Campbell’s insane speed and agility. He’ll be a threat to house it on every play if the defense falls asleep and can contribute as a returner from day 1. He’ll also be a weapon on jet action and bubble screens right away.

In limited opportunities Campbell shows glimpses of the player he could become at the next level.

48. Blake Cashman, Linebacker

This pick came down to Darnell Savage and one of “my guys” at linebacker. I’m still studying Savage and I like what I see, but wonder how pressing the need for a safety is when Denver has more than $40 million in cap space next year. If Will Parks and Justin Simmons ball out this year, we could still afford to keep one or even both.

Studying prospects at this time of year you hear that every guy is a hard worker, but there aren’t many who choose to walk on at their hometown school and grind their way to where Cashman’s gotten. He’d be an exceptional locker room guy from day 1 and fits the Fangio scheme to a T. He makes reads quickly, can anticipate where the ball is going and works to get through trash. He has short arms and is just 237 lbs, but is willing at the point of attack and capable of chasing down ball carriers on wide runs. He’ll be a massive upgrade over Josey Jewell in coverage, comes fundamentally sound, and if he can stay healthy, the sky’s the limit.

71. Kahale Warring, Tight End

Unfortunately, the worst case scenario occurred when the Kansas City Chiefs swooped in and stole Darnell Savage at the end of round 2. With the pickings slim at the position and a run on tight ends underway, it was time to address another immediate need for the 2019 team.

Upside is kind of what I focused on in this class and Warring has it in spades. He is a bit raw as a guy who took to football late in high school, but should be pro ready from the jump. He’s coming from a very conservative offense that didn’t air it out that often so his blocking is battle tested, but he also shows all the traits you hope to see in the passing game. 31 receptions, 372 yards, and 3 touchdowns looks paltry compared to some of the tight ends taken ahead of him, but then you realize he led the Aztecs in catches by 9.

Warring’s best football is definitely still ahead of him.

One thing that really impressed me when I watched the tape is how he’ll go up to get the ball over guys. Joe Flacco will find a way to make the most of that year 1, and with coaching Warring can fill the void at tight end for a decade.

78. Dru Samia, Guard

If the Scangarello run game is built around outside zone like Kyle Shanahan’s offense is, there aren’t many linemen that fit as well as this Oklahoma Sooner. He’s undersized and will need to get stronger to thrive at the next level, but he brings the kind of agility and technical savvy you pray for. Samia has started since his first year on campus and fights like a junkyard dog. Munchak will love him.

125. Justin Hollins, Edge

The 125 mark was a painful choice between Boston College’s Will Harris and Hollins, but with edge depth so sorely lacking and the remaining options a bit lacking, the Duck won out.

Hollins notched 14 sacks, 36 tackles for a loss, 7 forced fumbles, and 8 batted passes during his 3 years starting for the Ducks

I like Hollins a lot to pair with Jeff Holland for the second wave behind Von and Chubb. He’s got a lot of tools, he’s versatile, and if he can get stronger, he’ll grow into a great #3. I would still consider Aaron Lynch on a 1-year deal after the draft if we can get the numbers right, though. I don’t think Hollins will provide a ton of impact year one, but as I mentioned last week, the potential’s there.

148. Sutton Smith, Edge/Backer

I held out hope that Harris would fall to me, but Dallas grabbed him at the end of the 4th. After him, the safety board becomes a bit of a mess, so I looked elsewhere. It came down to Brett Rypien, one of my favorite quarterbacks in this class, and Smith.

This pick is a bit of a gamble in that it relies on Smith overcoming his current lack of functional strength, but he brings everything else a Fangio backer needs. He’s twitchy as can be, quick to the ball, and finished his collegiate career with 30 sacks, 58.5 tackles for loss, and 7 forced fumbles. He’s too small to play as more than a situational rush player in the NFL, but should be an awesome special teams player and could one day grow into a quality depth player on the second level.

156. Foster Moreau, Tight End

Once again, I found myself debating Rypien here. I really like him, but still found myself questioning the validity of taking a backup quarterback over what could be a contributor at an immediate need. Moreau comes from a similar situation as Warring, as both played for ground bound offenses. I think Warring’s a superior player, but the LSU Tiger could grow into a quality number 2 with time.

182. Marvell Tell, Safety

A bit of a string bean who brings some concerns over his ability to tackle at the next level, this is a bet on his coverage, blitzing, and range.

237. Mitch Hyatt, Offensive Lineman

Hyatt is a four year starter at left tackle for Clemson, so that was intriguing. He was a former five star recruit and could eventually serve as a backup guard and swing tackle. Chances are he’ll disappear for a year or hopefully two as we beef him up in the strength program and get Munchak to iron out his technique.

Let me know what you think in the comments, Broncos Country.


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