After coaching the Senior Bowl in 2018 and subsequently drafting three players from that year’s class, and then drafting their two second round picks from the Senior Bowl in 2019, Denver has shown willingness and affinity for drafting players that attend.
So far over the past two years, Denver has drafted Drew Lock, Dalton Risner, Isaac Yiadom, DaeSean Hamilton, and Troy Fumagalli who all attended the Senior Bowl.
Additionally, Vance Joseph’s staff also coached Duke Dawson at the Senior Bowl in 2018, and Joe Woods mentioned to me that week that Dawson was a guy that really stuck out to them. So Elway and the Broncos scouting staff likely had some familiarity there that I’m sure helped in the decision to acquire him in a trade with New England.
Thus, Broncos fans should be paying attention to Mobile, AL this upcoming week as NFL prospects descend on the town to showcase their talents.
I had the privilege of attending in 2018 when the Broncos coaching staff was there, and will be headed down there for a second time this year. Stay tuned for daily recaps and plenty of content coming your way from the Senior Bowl.
To get things started, here are the players I will have my eye on for Denver (shout out to Scotty and Joe Rowles for their help with the list). There is obviously a ton of talent, and I couldn’t cover them all, but these players specifically fill a need for the Broncos, and I think will impress in practice. I also joined Adam Malnati and Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio Podcast to preview the Senior Bowl and go over some of these players.
Javon Kinlaw - Defensive lineman, South Carolina
Javon Kinlaw is a 6’6” 310 man. He was a game-wrecker at times on the interior of the Gamecocks defensive line, was named an AP First-team All-American, and won the defensive MVP award for South Carolina for the last two seasons. He was also a team captain and won the team’s Unselfish Teammate Award for defense and the Tenacity Award for defense.
Kinlaw had 35 tackles, six sacks, four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick in his senior season.
Denver is definitely in need of help on the defensive line with Shelby Harris, Derek Wolfe, and Adam Gotsis as free agents, and Kinlaw could be an explosive force in the middle for Denver to unleash in between Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Kinlaw is a 6'6 310 lb freak... You cant teach what he has. pic.twitter.com/c9jVqO9Bli— J.R. (@JRDrafts) January 18, 2020
Javon Kinlaw is incredibly explosive for a player w/ his size (6-foot-6, 310) and length. There are many reps where he fires off the ball, extends his long arms and uses power to create pressure. With technique refinement/consistency, Kinlaw will be a fantastic 3-tech in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/aSVmja70xX— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) January 17, 2020
#DraftNotes: You will be hard pressed to find a better story of perseverance in this class than Javon Kinlaw. Overcoming homelessness and being forced to play JUCO, Will Muschamp saved his life by giving him an opportunity to play at South Carolina.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) January 17, 2020
He also has a really inspiring story, and seems like a really great, team-first guy. Both on the field and off the field, Javon Kinlaw would be a great fit for the Broncos.
Neville Gallimore - Defensive lineman, Oklahoma
Gallimore is another disruptive force on the interior of the defense. He doesn’t have as much range up and down the line as a guy like Kinlaw, but he’s quick, stout and was a big piece of a much improved Sooner defense. He notched four sacks, six tackles for loss and two forced fumbles playing primarily nose tackle in his senior season.
Neville Gallimore is the second “surprise” first round grade from me so this year. This play sums up Gallimore pretty well. Quickness, good hands, power, and effort. pic.twitter.com/E70SloIxpY— Dante Collinelli (@DanteCollinelli) January 13, 2020
This one is probably the biggest stretch from a scheme fit perspective as Gallimore is probably best served as a 1-gap penetrating nose tackle, but his talent is undeniable, and I could see Denver being interested.
Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU
Recency bias may have some people souring on Kristian Fulton as he struggled a bit in the national championship game, but his performance in his previous two seasons at LSU is more than enough to warrant him being in the first round conversation, and he will likely be the most talented DB on the field in Mobile.
He’ll have a chance to really showcase his man coverage abilities in the 1-on-1 drills, and will be going up against some big bodied receivers at the Senior Bowl so it should be a great place for him to show what he can do.
Kristian Fulton vs Justyn Ross pic.twitter.com/ImMv37sIhn— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) January 14, 2020
Denver needs help at corner in a big way and Fulton could be a great target at #15.
Kristian Fulton vs Texas A&M is elite man coverage CB tape. Super sticky.— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) January 12, 2020
Logan Stenberg, Interior Offensive line, Kentucky
Offensive line is always the perpetual need in Denver, and with Ronald Leary likely being out, Denver has a hole at right guard. Logan Stenberg will be an absolute blast to watch in the trench battles at the Senior Bowl because he is just an old fashioned “nasty” offensive lineman.
Powerful run blocker and plays angry every play. At 6’6” 332 pounds, he has the size and strength to play the position, but also shows ability to pull, which would be important in Denver. He projects as a Day 2 or mid/late round prospect due to his lack of refinement in his technique and playing with poor leverage at times.
Could be a guy Denver takes in the middle rounds for Munchak to mold. His showing at the Senior Bowl could go a long way in helping his stock.
I love Logan Stenberg's mean streak. Dude looks to finish every block to the ground. pic.twitter.com/7oX7wc1kj1— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) January 16, 2020
Kentucky LG Logan Stenberg's bio said one word to describe him is "nasty."— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) January 16, 2020
I'd say it holds up. 6-foot-6, 322 pounds. Strong hands and incredible torque in the run game. Not a drive goes by without a pancake and or pissed off defender because of Stenberg's style of play. pic.twitter.com/UGE0BUA5z4
Loyd Cushenberry - Center, LSU
If Connor McGovern isn’t retained, I really like Cushenberry as an option for the Broncos. Even if McGovern is brought back, I still think it could be an option as both players have the versatility to play either guard or center.
Cushenberry likely projects best at center since that is what he played at LSU, and was known as a really smart guy who made all the line calls and kept them on the same page.
He is another guy I’ll have my eye on in “the Pit” battles where the O-line and D-line duke it out 1-on-1.
Cushenberry is OC1 for me as we enter the draft process. Senior Bowl is where he can lock up top-60 status with a productive week. https://t.co/WZooCRtj80— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 17, 2020
Cushenberry (#79) can move. Did lot of really good things vs Alabama pic.twitter.com/Zr3XRpF4Db— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 17, 2020
KJ Hill - Wide Receiver, Ohio State
One of the top needs for Denver with Pat Shurmur coming to town as the offensive coordinator is wide receiver. With Shurmur’s heavy use of 11 personnel, Denver will need three viable receiving threats, and guys who can take some heat off of Courtland Sutton.
Hill is more of a consistent move the chains and after the catch guy than he is a field stretcher, but he does that very well. Hill has been a consistent weapon for the Buckeyes recording a catch in 48 straight games, a new school record. He also finished his career at Ohio State with a program-best 195 receptions for 2,265 yards and 20 touchdowns.
So the production is definitely there, and the fit makes sense in Shurmur’s offense with his propensity for the quick, efficient passing game that gets guys out in space.
Brandon Aiyuk - Wide Receiver, Arizona State
Denver has been in need of a burner/deep threat at wide receiver since Emmanuel Sanders left (and could be argued they needed one even when they had him). Brandon Aiyuk fits that bill. He has speed to challenge on vertical routes, and also be extremely dangerous in the screen game or after the catch in the short game.
Posted that YAC stat for the Eagles before (they're terrible at it)... pop on the Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State WR) film & he's got a couple after catch reps on there that have me interested - pic.twitter.com/1kWtJU2V72— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 9, 2019
Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk is sudden boy WHEW - pic.twitter.com/N7i0QleZIa— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 9, 2019
How he fares against top competition in the 1-on-1 drills will be key, but I’m really looking forward to seeing his speed in person.
Josh Jones - Offensive Tackle, Houston
For good measure, not necessarily because Denver has an immediate need at tackle, but because I really like Josh Jones. He is a multi-year starter at left tackle and think he has potential to really solidify his spot as a top tackle in the draft by proving it against tougher competition in Mobile.
Josh Jones earned the highest overall grade we’ve ever given to a non-Power 5 offensive tackle - 93.2. pic.twitter.com/B3Tm3gJ7zw— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 15, 2020
Who are the guys you’re looking forward to seeing, Bronco Country? Who should I keep an eye out for while I’m down there?