According to reports, the Denver Broncos with hold a top-30 pre-draft visit/workout with former Western Illinois defensive tackle, Khalen Saunders.
Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders has Top30 visits with the #Panthers, #Jets, #Broncos and #Bills according to a source.— Josh Edwards (@JEdwar247) April 3, 2019
Saunder is a 6’0”, 324lb defensive tackle who is one of the more interesting prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. He ran a 5.01 40-time during the Combine, had 27 reps on the bench press, and is just a freaky athlete for a man of his size.
At the Reese’s Senior Bowl, not only did Saunders dominate that week, he also showed off his athleticism by doing a front flip and a backflip.
Khalen Saunders is a pretty impressive 300 pounder. pic.twitter.com/mz8P6gZSp5— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 22, 2019
This past year for Western Illinois, Saunders totaled 72 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble, He showed off his explosive traits and routinely was in the opponents backfield.
Here’s what NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein had to say about Saunders in his scouting report on the athletic defensive tackle.
Active defensive lineman with an impressive combination of agility and athletic ability. Saunders might need to find his fit as a one-gap nose tackle in a 4-3 defense as his lack of consistent, in-line anchor could be a concern on the next level. He has been a disruptive force against a lower level of competition but flashed some of that same disruption during Senior Bowl practice week and an elevated level of competition. If he can improve his conditioning to become more disruptive for longer stretches, he’ll have a chance to become a solid rotational defender and eventual starter.
The Broncos currently have a need at nose tackle after allowing Domata Peko hit free agency and haven’t signed anyone to fill that role as of yet. Peko could return, and even then, a player like Saunders should be drafted to develop behind him and eventually take over next season or even sometime throughout the 2019 season.
Saunder’s versatility should help him see some playing time as well. He’s an explosive player who can rush the passer from the inside which should give him a shot at some sub-package playing time early in his rookie year.
Saunders is one of my favorite prospects in this draft and i’m pretty excited that the Broncos are showing interest in him. I can see Saunders going anywhere between day two and early day three of the 2019 NFL draft.