I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid Madden player. One of my favorite parts about the franchise is building a team the way I want to, so of course you have to start with a Fantasy Draft.
One thing this and consistently following the draft as I do has led to is a rooting interest in a lot of players spread out across the entire league. So what follows is a team of some of my favorite NFL players who would look so dang good with a horse head on their helmet.
Quarterback - Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns
I’d be lying if I told you I saw greatness in Patrick Mahomes back when he came out of Texas Tech since I barely studied the 2017 class after Elway drafted Paxton Lynch in 2016. It’s that same reason Deshaun Watson is number 2 here. Every game Texans’ game I’ve caught this summer he’s blown me away, and he’d be an insanely good fit in the Rich Scangarello offense, but Baker’s my boy.
Last year was the first year since 2012 that I’d have put a quarterback prospect in my S-tier.
These are the guys you’d trade your draft for a chance at. They’re the no-brainers. Started a long time, killed it, the questions and concerns are minor compared to the promise they show on film.
I think he’s going to be a superstar, and while Denver never had a real shot at him with Cleveland picking 1st overall, I suspect Elway knew it too.
Running back - Christian McCaffrey - Carolina Panthers
I mentioned in my Most Valuable Broncos post how I’m not quite a “running backs don’t matter” guy, but they need to provide value outside of just rushing. McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara are the prototypical “weapon” backs you can flex out and rip apart linebackers and safeties in coverage. Throw in McCaffrey’s lineage and he’s my obvious pick here.
Z- Receiver - Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
Julio’s the kind of guy the most optimistic among us dream Courtland Sutton can blossom into. He’s the closest thing to Megatron since Calvin Johnson retired after the 2015 season: just a complete mismatch. He’s 6’3 220 lbs and runs a 4.3 40 with the kind of acceleration, body control, and route running savvy to embarrass DBs.
The Broncos were never going to draft Julio, as they’d just grabbed Demaryius Thomas in 2010 and Von Miller was “the guy” at 2. But, way back in Madden 25 I managed to snag both Megatron and Jones for my offense. That was fun.
X-Receiver - JuJu Smith-Schuster - Pittsburgh Steelers
One of the things we go over in The Scouting Academy class I’m taking is how big a deal matchups are when you’re studying players. Well, there’s a reason most DB tapes have Pittsburgh on the schedule. With Antonio Brown and Smith-Schuster, they were a complete coverage nightmare last year. Very intrigued by how he’ll adapt as the lone star of that receiving corps.
Slot Receiver - Brandin Cooks - Los Angeles Rams
One thing you’ll notice from all three of receiver picks is how much speed they bring to the table. While it’s definitely possible to thrive without rockets tied to your cleats in the league, it helps. Cooks is probably the most dangerous Corner and Post runner in football.
A couple hours after I wrote this I ranked the top 6 receivers in the league and realized how highly I think of Adam Thielen. I think I’d still prefer Cooks because of what he can do as a deep threat and how that’d compliment the rest of the Broncos roster, but you wouldn’t see me complain if the Viking rode a longboat out to Denver.
Pretty tough coming up with 6. There's so many insanely talented receivers in the league right now.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) June 24, 2019
A few I really thought about for 5-6:
One I didn't:
Tight End - Jack Doyle - Indianapolis Colts
This may surprise you if you expected someone like Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or even Doyle’s teammate Eric Ebron. But since each of these players is simply being added to the current 2019 Broncos roster, Doyle best compliments the skillset of Noah Fant.
Pulling plays went out the window when Doyle was injured. This is his 2nd week back, right out of a bye week. First running play of the game is a pull to him on the nub side. pic.twitter.com/sVPtymL66J— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) June 23, 2019
I’ll admit I had a long moment considering T.J. Hockenson here, but ultimately chose against reuniting the Iowa duo. Let’s move on before I change my mind. Again.
Left Tackle - David Bakhtiari - Green Bay Packers
Left Guard - Ali Marpet - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Center - Matt Paradis - Carolina Panthers
Right Guard - Zack Martin - Dallas Cowboys
Right Tackle - Mitch Schwartz - Kansas City Chiefs
The right tackle position is a tie between Schwartz and Ryan Ramczyk of the Saints. What makes the choice even more painful is how Elway had an opportunity for both. The left side of the line consists of two of the more criminally underrated players in the league. Zack Martin is on the very short list for best linemen in football. My center is a guy I wish the Broncos had managed to keep.
Great job by Zack Martin and Joe Looney to handle the stunt. Flawless. pic.twitter.com/UJIWS9xFcN— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 7, 2019
Who makes your team Broncos Country? Let me know in the comments.
Your Broncos Links
I joined 1st & 10 @ 10 on Friday to talk about the Broncos roster and who will fight for spots.
It shouldn't surprise that Bryce Callahan killed it with that Bears D, but dang. https://t.co/MVn6t7EVwU— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) June 21, 2019
One might wonder what was going through the mind of Jones-Drew when he kept bumping Phillip Lindsay on down his list.
Justin Hollins was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and could be one of the best sleepers in the later rounds the Denver Broncos could have gotten.
Kyle Shanahan attaches a TE pop pass to the back side of his crack toss. If the defense pushes its numbers to the play side, the pass should be open. pic.twitter.com/g8dxtOZZ6G— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) June 22, 2019
Could the third-year pro emerge as a surprise starter for the Denver Broncos?
What can Broncos Country expect from the former Buckeye?
Dineen has an uphill battle to make the Broncos roster, but you know he’ll do whatever it takes to make it see life.
Ahmad Gooden was a productive pass rusher at Samford but can he crack the 53-man roster?
The Denver Broncos from every angle appear to still be in win now operations. Rebuilding isn’t in John Elway’s vocabulary apparently. What does that mean for 2019 and beyond?
Let’s see what we can learn about Fant’s rookie outlook from two decades’ worth of first-round tight ends and what they did in their rookie seasons.
Looking at what Simmons and Parks could make on the market next year.
2. Denver Broncos: Von Miller, EDGE, Texas A&M (no change) I mean, is J.J. Watt better? Gun to my head, I’d say yes -- but there’s no reason to fix what ain’t broke here. Miller turned out an MVP caliber-season when powering the Broncos to Super Bowl 50, won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, and has only slid under 10 sacks the year he got hurt (2013). That’s dominance.
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
Given Denver’s location, there is no perfect landing spot when considering three other teams are required to form a division. In addition, the density of teams in the midwest present a challenge to keep them all together. Four proud and storied franchises promises to form a highly competitive division.
Hey @JoRo_NFL @NickKendellMHH @MileHighReport @Broncast_pod @Broncos_Br @DenverBroncosFR @Broncos help pass this amazing edit by my friend @rafaelagpertic throughout all #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/MOvRYAnbBL— Luis Felipe Saccini (@SacciniLuis) June 24, 2019
How does a Los Angeles Chargers’ fan see the AFC West Landscape?
A ruling by the NFL could be on the horizon.
Sony Michel’s absence from the New England Patriots’ offseason program was suspicious. It was reported afterward that he had undergone a knee scope. Now the RB is back to running at full tilt.
A calf injury limited his involvement in the team’s offseason program. Although Luck attributed the absences to a post-shoulder-surgery realization that he needs to be careful with his health, it’s a stark reminder that his ability to play all of 2018 is no guarantee that he’ll play all of 2019 — and it’s a reason for Colts fans to fret about whether he’ll be able to do it.
If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want to turn his back to the defense with Jimmy Graham blocking Khalil Mack, I don’t think you’re going to trick him into it with a basketball hoop pic.twitter.com/UuJQOVWcV3— the heavyweight champ is mexican (@JuMosq) June 24, 2019
Lincoln Riley said he was not tempted to leave Oklahoma for an NFL job this offseason, failing to show any interest even in leaving for the Browns, where his former quarterback, Baker Mayfield, plays. Riley explained it’s “hard to see myself leaving Oklahoma.
There’s been conversation about how much freedom Aaron Rodgers will have to audible out of plays at the line of scrimmage for the Packers this season and head coach Matt LaFleur said it is something they still have to “work through” in the coming weeks.
Giants left tackle Nate Solder said early this month that he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready for the start of training camp after having ankle surgery, but he sounds a bit more optimistic now.
“The thing I’ve stressed to him, and I know our coaches have stressed to him is, ‘Let’s live to play another play,’” Robinson said, via Albert Breer of SI.com. “Don’t take that hit. If you feel the pocket coming down on you and you take off running, and the ‘backer is coming off of coverage and he’s coming screaming at you, throw the ball away. It’s OK to punt, we’ll get another crack at it. That’s the main thing, it’s stressing to him — to try as best as possible, like all quarterbacks do, to avoid getting hit.”
Christensen found that, while acknowledging Winston had work to do, his issues were hardly outliers among his peers. One example came with the perceived (and probably real) primary problem in Winston’s game: He threw 58 interceptions over his first four years. Just like Andrew Luck threw 55, Cam Newton threw 54, and Matthew Stafford threw 54 (despite missing 19 games due to injury). Heck, Peyton Manning—Peyton Manning—threw 81.
Oakland’s newest players, including first-round Clelin Ferrell, plan on long NFL careers. But Google is helping them grow beyond football.
Michael Gallup is ready to step up and complement Amari Cooper on an offense that’s trying to channel Dallas’s heyday.
Some of the Worst Football Coaches are the Loudest— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) June 23, 2019
“If you’ve ever been around a loud coach, one that just screams & yells, listen to what he’s saying & see if he’s even teaching.”
“We have players that need to be taught & we need teachers.”
- Freddie Kitchens pic.twitter.com/b0YWdrmSJX