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3 players I’m sky high on right now

A long way until April, but these players look like ideal fits for the Broncos.

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State
If the Broncos are looking for an interior offensive linemen they could do a whole lot worse than Cushenberry.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Bowl week is in full force. On Tuesday I went over the players who currently look like the most likely picks in the first round. So here are a few guys who may not be under consideration at 15 that I still really like as scheme fits for the Broncos.

Jeff Gladney

TCU is a school that’s easy to sleep on during the Fall. It’s a small private school in Fort Worth, Texas that tries to hang with big dogs like Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12. It speaks to the kind of work Gary Patterson puts in that they can do just that on their best years. One of the things that routinely stands out about the Horned Frogs is their player development. Year after year there are high school players the blue bloods slept on that grow into NFL prospects.

This senior cornerback is just the most recent example.

Gladney has the kind of tools and aggressiveness that makes him easy to love.

One thing that’s fun watching the TCU defense is how many concepts they use that would help Gladney adjust to Fangio’s system. Patterson uses plenty of match quarters, which blurs the lines between zone and man coverage. Ideally, the Broncos will as well.

Beyond that fact is Gladney himself. He’s a terrific blend of athleticism and aggressiveness that makes him a joy to watch. He’s probably a hair under 6’0 and weighs a little under 190 lbs, but isn’t afraid to mix it up as a tackler on the perimeter or stopping a back. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from his ball skills and think he’d be able to step in as an early contributor as a rookie.

Xavier McKinney

I’ve been driving this wagon since October, and I’ve seen no reason to hop off just yet. More than once I’ve had to explain how the Alabama safety brings the kind of versatility that would allow him to contribute as a potential nickel corner early in his career before sliding back to take over for Kareem Jackson. It’s still true.

McKinney brings many of the same traits people fell for when they were studying Minkah Fitzpatrick.

As a way to keep up with spread offenses across the NFL, defenses have incorporated nickel personnel as the new base in recent seasons. That’s important to keep in mind as it means the third corner will play starters minutes while a third linebacker usually won’t. With some teams in the league attempting to buck this trend by moving towards back to tight ends and fullbacks, it’s even more important that the nickel is able to hold up against both the run and pass.

McKinney can do just that. In games I’ve watched he’s been solid at mirroring opposing slot corners as well as contributing in run support. When he played on the third level he showed the wherewithal to stay over the top of vertical routes and come up to fill in a way that’s very reminiscent of Kareem Jackson. He’s an underrated tackler and Nick Saban didn’t hesitate to send him on a blitz in key situations.

McKinney is a “sum > parts” prospect.

Lloyd Cushenberry III

Much like McKinney, I’ve had it bad for this Tiger for a long while now. He first caught my eye when I watched the Texas-LSU game back in September and I’ve remained infatuated ever since. He’s a two year starter at center who’s proven durable in SEC play. I really like what I’ve seen from him at the second level and think he could improve the Broncos’ running game in this regard. He also offers promising lateral mobility and could potentially play at guard if the Broncos elect to retain Conner McGovern.

Cushenberry keeps his head on a swivel and has the lateral mobility to keep up with games from NFL defensive fronts.

So far, Cushenberry is crushing the offseason. He’s earned rave reviews for his physique and performance in the Senior Bowl so far. I’ve considered him a Day 3 steal in The Draft Network mocks to this point, but as is the case with a couple of other LSU players, that’s looking unlikely now.

Your Broncos’ Links

Who makes sense for the Denver Broncos at 15? - Mile High Report

The likely 2020 NFL Draft candidates before the offseason circuit really gets going for the Denver Broncos.

Denver Broncos OL Coach Mike Munchak is getting more with less - Mile High Report

Mike Munchak has a history of getting the most of lowly drafted (fourth round or later) offensive linemen and undrafted offensive lineman. So maybe he will try to coach up Pat Morris, Austin Schlottmann and Elijah Wilkinson.

Senior Bowl Day 1 Recap: Kinlaw, Cushenberry, and KJ Hill steal the show - Mile High Report

Here’s a rundown of what I saw on the first day of Senior Bowl practices.

Senior Bowl 2020: Javon Kinlaw says he “would love to play for Denver” - Mile High Report

The South Carolina defensive end sat down with Broncos Country Tonight and talked about the Senior Bowl experience and potential of being drafted by Denver.

Broncos will take their time deciding on Garett Bolles’ fifth-year option – ProFootballTalk

The Broncos will make plenty of decisions in the coming months, but the one involving their 2021 option on left tackle Garett Bolles’ contract is going to be at the back of the line.

What will the Denver Broncos do at backup QB & QBs coach? - Mile High Report

Now that the Broncos have a new offensive coordinator, it’ll be interesting to see the direction the organization takes on both fronts.

Broncos Country thoughts on Super Bowl LIV - Mile High Report

Previewing this year’s Super Bowl.

Super Bowl 2020: Ranking every game in NFL history from best to worst

11. XXXII (1997) Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24: Denver QB John Elway finally got his first ring (on his fourth attempt), though MVP Terrell Davis was the day’s star (157 rushing yards, 3 TDs). The AFC also ended a 14-year losing streak to the NFC.

NFL Draft Links

NFL Draft Geek | NFL Mock Drafts and Rankings

Senior bowl week has arrived! There are only two teams left standing in the playoffs. The deadline to declare has come and gone. What does all this mean? This means that we are truly kicking off draft season! So to celebrate this time of year here is my first 2020 Top 50 Big Board of the year.

2020 NFL Draft: PFF Top 100 Big Board Update | College Football and NFL Draft | PFF

PFF Lead Draft Analyst Mike Renner has updated his top 100 big board for the 2020 NFL Draft ahead of the 2020 Senior Bowl.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 2 North Practice: Offensive Recap | The Draft Network

Detroit’s practice wasn’t fast-paced or rife with content, but it did give us enough one-on-one matchups to measure these players against each other and come back with some takeaways. I focused on the North’s offensive unit and highlighted nine prospects I thought did their job and more.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 2 North Practice: Defensive Recap | The Draft Network

Here are the best of the best and the standouts from Day 2’s North defense.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 1 South Practice: Offense Recap | The Draft Network

The one-on-one portion of the practice is where Cushenberry shined the most. He was matched up against Javon Kinlaw and was able to stymie his hands and sink his hips in order to impede the process of the bigger Gamecock interior defender. The former LSU center passed the first day of practice with flying colors. Cushenberry stock continues to rise and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the leader of the unit that was received the Joe Moore Award (given to the nation’s best offensive line) enter the discussions as a top-40 selection.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 1 South Practice: Defensive Recap | The Draft Network

A safety-linebacker hybrid, Akeem Davis-Gaither was flying all over the field in the South team drills Tuesday. His speed and range in space immediately stood out, and he quickly asserted himself as the top cover linebacker on the South squad in the one-on-one drills against tight ends and running backs. In team drills, Davis-Gaither played everything from inside linebacker to slot defender, aligned across several spots in the defense, and looked incredibly poised handling these various roles. Whether it was quickly chasing down a screen play or running vertically with TEs in man coverage, Davis-Gaither showed people the traits he displayed on tape and why he is worthy of becoming a top-100 selection.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 1 North Practice: Offensive Recap | The Draft Network

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: An Ohio State wide receiver has put defensive backs in the blender with strong route-running ability. No? Not ringing any bells? It should. The Ohio State receivers are nasty in the open field — today’s North practice was no exception. K.J. Hill fought the ball at the catch point on a couple of occasions but made a nice vertical adjustment versus tight coverage up the far sideline for a big play and successfully turned defenders inside out multiple times in the one-on-ones. Hill’s performance left his former position coach beaming.

2020 Senior Bowl Day 1 North Practice: Defensive Recap | The Draft Network

Josh Uche might have been one of the best players on the field for Day 1. He dominated tight ends in pass protection drills then hopped over to the offensive line/defensive line one-on-one drills and whopped on a couple of tackles as well. He beat UConn’s Matt Peart with speed to power on the right and slipped him with a hesitation outside rush on the left — and Peart didn’t lose too many other rushers for the remainder of the day.

Uche was taking zone drops, covering in man and getting after the passer. He and the flashy player below did everything at a really high level — it was excellent to see. Sometimes the versatile players can get lost in the shuffle of practice notes because they don’t spend too much time at any one place; that’s not the case with Uche. He’s shining.

Michael Pittman Jr. Has The Juice In More Than One Way | The Draft Network

”I’m going to run faster than what a lot of people are saying about me ... I think I’m going to shock people.”

Daniel Jeremiah 2020 NFL mock draft 1.0: Four QBs in top 15 -

Jeudy would give the Broncos one of the most exciting collections of young skill-position players in the league. Adding him to a group that already includes Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Phillip Lindsay would strike fear into opposing defensive coordinators.

2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Two full rounds (and a little more) ahead of Senior Bowl week – The Athletic

15. Denver Broncos — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida The Broncos shed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and his expiring contract during the season, but now need that pass-catching element beyond Courtland Sutton. Waiting works with the impressive depth in the 2020 class. Therefore we consider the secondary with safety Justin Simmons and cornerback Chris Harris heading toward free agency. 46. Broncos — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Four QBs off the board after 12 picks, Colts get Jacoby Brissett downfield weapon -

Courtland Sutton is an emerging star who is a bona fide deep threat. Noah Fant is the dynamic tight end entering Year 2. Phillip Lindsay is the backfield playmaker, and Drew Lock is the quarterback who appears ready for the full-time job. Why not add one more weapon to this offense — the most exciting player in this draft class — Jerry Jeudy.

NFL Links

Katie Sowers: ‘The 49ers didn’t hire me as a coach to make a point’ | Sport | The Guardian

Katie Sowers has just become the first female and openly gay coach in the Super Bowl.

Media Circus: How did these two men land gigs assisting Tony Romo and Jim Nantz? – The Athletic

FOXBOROUGH, Mass – Tom Brewer was the man at Eastern Illinois University in 1998 when it came to the EA Sports NCAA Football game. He dominated all who dared challenge him on the PlayStation in his dorm room at Douglas Hall, which shares an entrance with Lincoln Hall as an ode to the Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas presidential debate held in Coles County, Illinois in September 1858. But there was one Eastern Illinois student who was determined to knock off the champ. Tony Romo.

Dalvin Cook isn’t clamoring for a second contract, yet – ProFootballTalk

“I love the organization,” Cook told in connection with Pro Bowl preparations in Orlando. “They took a chance on me in bringing me in. If a person believes in me, I’ll give them my all. I try to do everything, give them my all and I’m just happy that I’m at the Vikings. It’s a great organization. I think everything we’ve got going on is for the future.”

Matt Judon: I don’t know where I’m going to be next year – ProFootballTalk

Matt Judon is representing the Ravens in the Pro Bowl. Will it mark the last time Judon is a member of the team that drafted him in the fifth round in 2016? The linebacker is scheduled to become a free agent in March.

Patriots’ Joejuan Williams arrested for drug possession – ProFootballTalk

Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams has been arrested on drug possession charges. After initially being pulled over for speeding, Williams was arrested at 9:37 p.m.

Freddie Kitchens “not a lock” to end up on Giants staff – ProFootballTalk

The Giants could hire Freddie Kitchens, which was reported Tuesday. But they might not, Dan Duggan of reports. Kitchens has other options and is “not a lock” to make it to New York, per Duggan. Kitchens and new Giants coach Joe Judge worked together at Mississippi State.

Will Eli Manning be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? -

Yes, but he shouldn’t.