This week’s Mock Draft comes from another live Mock I participated in over the weekend. One of the big rules for this mock was that we were not allowed to trade for future picks. My initial plan was to zero in on my board and come out of it with the best player I had available.
Things took a turn when Devin Bush went at 8, and Ed Oliver got scooped up at 9. Suddenly, I found myself with two options. Devin White or a trade offer the Indianapolis Colts offered me where I’d move all the way back to 26 and receive 34 and 89 for my trouble.
The more I’ve hammered out my big board, the more I’ve come around to the idea that Denver would greatly benefit from a trade like this, so I gladly took Indy up on the offer and sat on my hands for most of Day 1.
As the mock got to 20, I started to realize I had a good chance at one of my top 10 players.
26. Garret Bradbury, Center
If it weren’t for positional value and his age, the former tight end recruit would easily go within the top 15 picks of the draft. He brings the athleticism Denver is going to need as they move to Scangarello’s outside zone heavy run game and has all the tools to start day 1 and lock down the position for the next decade. It isn’t a sexy pick, but sometimes the best ones aren’t.
NFL teams that are looking for a center, NC State has a really good one in Garrett Bradbury. Excellent reach block here on outside zone. pic.twitter.com/WuwLzmvnEF— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) November 14, 2018
After 26 things got interesting. Could I get another top 10 guy from my board? Christian Wilkins was still out there. Alas it wasn’t meant to be. Due to an arrangement with the rules, the Vikings were allowed to make up their skipped pick as soon as the GM was able to and he grabbed Wilkins at the round 1-2 turn. I was a bit disappointed, and mentioned that the Broncos may be looking to trade down from 34.
The Patriots were interested. The details were a bit complicated, but New England had a deal in place to move to 37 and would offer me 37 and 134 if I agreed before their pick at 32. It was very tempting, but I couldn’t do it with N’Keal Harry and Amani Oruwariye available.
34. Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback
Don’t mistake this pick for any sort of condemnation towards Chris Harris, this one left me sweating. Harry is my favorite receiver in the entire draft, but Amani could grow into Denver’s next Aqib Talib. At the end of the day, you can never have too many strong coverage players. Adding the Nittany Lion would give Fangio and Ed Donatell another starter from day 1 and load up the secondary in a way that’s hard to imagine. Kareem Jackson is pushed to safety to run with Justin Simmons and Will Parks is the super sub.
Down the road 6’1 204 lb Penn State grad has the potential to develop into the best cornerback of this crop. I have Byron Murphy higher on my board, but Oruwariye will give Denver a big coverage man for players like the Chargers Mike Williams.
Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye’s downhill click + close, tracking, concentration and ball skills are a weapon - minimal wasted motion out of breaks #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/NWJLrb6u7G— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 21, 2019
My hopes for a real coup were dashed two picks later when the San Francisco 49ers took Harry before I could run to the podium at 41. With him gone I had a glut of prospects that I had slated for 41. So many, in fact that I couldn’t decide between them. I reached out to let it be known that I was interested in moving down. 3 teams contacted me. The Saints, Patriots, and Jets. New Orleans couldn’t compete with such limited ammunition, but the deals between New York and Bill Belichick got heated.
I decided to make a deal with the devil as the fall to 56 wasn’t quite as precipitous as 68, and found myself with another pick at 97 to add to my pick cache. It was a tough choice. The Jets offer would have given me 68, 94, and 105. That seemed insane, but I really wanted a chance at my 41 tier if anyone slid down the board. Little did I know at the time, but I’d hit the jackpot.
56. Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Line
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big believer in planet theory. Few players encompass that belief like Lawrence, who I expect to go in the first round of the real NFL draft. Very few big men can move like he does.
Dexter Lawrence checked into the combine at 6'4" 342 pounds and almost 35" arms. He was able to put up 36 reps on the bench and despite being somewhat stiff, can still move to make this play. Should be an immediate force in stopping the run. pic.twitter.com/TKEaWC1R2R— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) April 2, 2019
Lawrence would fit the Eddie Goldman role for the Broncos. Day 1 he would suit up as the starting nose tackle on 3-4 base downs, freeing Shelby Harris to rotate in behind Adam Gotsis and Derek Wolfe. Eventually I see him as a player that would play a 2i technique in the nickel sets that Fangio employs so often. The former 5 star recruit also works as insurance against the defensive line’s 3 expiring contracts in 2020.
The ride towards 71 was a test in patience for me. Outside of a franchise arm, the Broncos biggest immediate need is tight end. I like a few in this deep class, but my target was also one of my favorite sleepers in this entire class.
71. Kahale Warring, Tight End
I said this about Warring in last week’s Mock.
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.
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.
You could argue that 71 was a bit rich for him, but he’s my favorite tight end in this class after the Iowa boys and has the tools and upside no one else can really touch, save for maybe Dawson Knox (who went to the Lions at 43).
Here’s another great piece of work by Kahale Warring. He gets off LOS, engages the LB, and shows off his burst to quickly get to the open spot where the QB easily finds him. Big Ben would find him all game long. Warring is a stud. #HereWeGo #SteelersDraft pic.twitter.com/wHYBcE3GTh— Steel Legends (@Steel_Legends) March 29, 2019
89. Ben Banogu, EDGE
I wanted to get Dru Samia as an eventual heir to Ronald Leary, but he got picked up by the Houston Texans three picks before me. I planned to debate Isaiah Johnson and his upside with Banogu, but the Lions made it easy.
With the Horned Frog it came down to upside. His athletic numbers are eye popping, and there’s reason to believe he would have been a more productive pass rusher outside of the TCU scheme. He should develop nicely in an NFL strength and conditioning program and compete with Jeff Holland for snaps behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb from day 1.
Ben Banogu is an elite athlete with arguably the highest ceiling of any edge rusher. He doesn't have the technical aspects locked down yet, but he has a chance to be a star https://t.co/zPKSVOm7Zg pic.twitter.com/0rqvZgMIsf— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) March 22, 2019
97. Miles Boykin, Wide Receiver
At first glance, this pick doesn’t appear to make a ton of sense. Boykin looks like a prototypical X receiver to many evaluators, and the Broncos already employ one in Courtland Sutton. But the more I looked at the receivers that Elway and the Broncos have shown interest in, the more enticing Boykin became.
Favorite for me in this WR class: Miles Boykin. My thoughts on him and why he has the skill set to play the X-receiver position https://t.co/GrtjmyK9Ra— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) March 30, 2019
To be honest I was pretty surprised he fell to me this far down the board. He went in the mid 70’s last week and his eye popping combine numbers have a lot of Draft Twitter abuzz. At Notre Dame he did not produce the kind of numbers you’re really looking for (just 59 catches for 872 yards and 8 touchdowns as a senior) but looks like he’ll be a far more productive pro.
He needs to continue to refine his route running and improve against press, but would pair with Sutton to give Rich Scangarello two monsters who can impose their will on defensive backs. With the way the board started to fall though, I had to go back to the well.
116. Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver
Hardman was my fallback option to Parris Campbell last week, and much like Campbell he’ll probably come into an NFL offense as a “playmaker” first and foremost. The 21-year old is new to receiver and should eventually grow into a slot role, but scored 13 touchdowns on just 73 offensive touches in his collegiate career. He’s a bit diminutive at 5’10 183 lbs, but his 4.33 40 time and explosive agility brings a speed element to the Broncos they currently lack. He’s a player where you simply find ways to get the ball in his hands and reap the benefits.
WR Mecole Hardman will also impact special teams in the pros. Speed & vision in the kick return game. #Georgia #NFL @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/KuftR8wzBo— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) April 5, 2019
125. Justin Hollins, EDGE
One of the biggest concerns I had after Blake Cashman went to Seattle at 73 was finding a linebacker. Value was hard to come by. I almost traded up with the Jaguars for 109 to get Bobby Okereke, but wanted to hold onto my Day 3 picks. He went at 110 to the Bengals. After the trade up to 116 (I gave the Dolphins 182, 205, and 237) I strongly considered grabbing Chuma Edoga, who I see as a developmental swing tackle and a strong fit in the new offense. But, Hardman was there and I gambled that he would be available at 125 only to watch the Rams scoop him up right before I went back on the clock.
That left me with just a couple guys I really wanted. You could make the argument that I already grabbed an upside depth rusher earlier in the draft, but the best defenses can send dogs in waves and Hollins gives Fangio’s D that kind of potential. He also brings ability in space and could develop into a strong intermediate coverage player.
Well timed chop on the OTs outside hand on the speed rush by Oregon EDGE Justin Hollins here. Wish he would have been able to carry his momentum through the corner better, but this is a nice finish once he gathers himself. pic.twitter.com/BLuPVs33Ks— John Owning (@JohnOwning) April 1, 2019
So because this Mock is coming out of a live draft you can see the results here. Unfortunately the remaining picks (148 and 156) haven’t been made as of this post, but that gives you a chance to weigh in Broncos Country! Let me know what you think so far, be sure to vote and comment. Then check out my post tomorrow and I’ll get you the final results.
What grade would you give this draft?
This poll is closed
A. You robbed them blind Joe!
B. I like it, but got some beef.
C. Ehhhh, you won’t wake up with a horse head in your bed.
D. You really blew this one.
F. Hate it. Quit the series and move to the woods.