With the Reese’s Senior Bowl game going down today, I decided to do my first official mock draft of the offseason. Very exciting, I know. I will be using The Draft Network mock draft tool for this mock for a somewhat realistic mock draft.
This is obviously prior to free agency which will likely change the Broncos needs as we head to April’s 2020 NFL Draft. For now I’ll just assume the needs they will/should have after free agency and will look to address during the draft.
First round -15th overall: Alabama wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III
Ruggs is the popular choice right now and I am going to keep that trend rolling. Broncos General Manager John Elway wants the teams offense to be more explosive and put more points up on the board in 2020. Well, Ruggs gives you someone with potentially 4.2 speed who can take it to the house whenever he touches the ball. Add that sort of speed and play-making ability with Drew Lock’s arm and you have a potential unstoppable pairing right here.
I do worry his potential impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine could push his stock out of the Broncos reach, but for now, it seems like 15 is a sweet spot for Ruggs.
Second round - 45th overall: Ohio State running back, J.K. Dobbins
I was a bit surprised to see Dobbins fall to the 45th overall pick and couldn’t resist making this pick.
I think running back is a bigger need than most assume. Phillip Lindsay has now had two wrist surgeries, Royce Freeman has been a disappointment and Devontae Booker is a free agent. Dobbins would give the Broncos a potential three-down back who can pair with Phillip Lindsay and give them a dynamic one-two punch to lean on during the season. Dobbins is also a weapon in the passing game which is crucial in a Pat Shurmur offense.
John Elway gives Drew Lock a dynamic and explosive receiver in the first-round and then gives him a dynamic and play-making running back to hand the ball off too as well. I know some will hate a running back this early, but if Elway is truly all in on surrounding Lock with weapons, it makes sense to me.
Third Round - 77th overall: Mississippi State cornerback, Cameron Dantzler
I think cornerback will be addressed during free agency, however, another will likely needed to be added during the draft and this is why I have the Broncos taking Dantzler here.
He has the size/length you look for in a boundary corner and has a skill set to fit into Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme.
I believe Chris Harris Jr. will not be back next season which means the Broncos will need to add at least one starter via free agency. I believe they will do just that(potentially even two), but another young guy should be brought in for competition. Also, a hopefully healthy Bryce Callahan can man the slot position for the Broncos this upcoming season. So, this pick will add some much needed depth and competition to the Broncos secondary.
Third Round - 83rd overall: Wisconsin Center/Guard, Tyler Biadasz
This is one of those high risk/high reward picks to make in the third-round if possible. Biadasz was a first-round pick entering the 2019 season, but a down year now has him available late on day two of the 2020 NFL Draft. He dealt with injuries throughout 2019 and if he can reclaim his 2018 form, the Broncos can have a bit of a steal here If not? This pick could be a dud.
The center and/or the guard position is an area we could see addressed during free agency. Starting center Connor McGovern is a free agent and veteran Ron Leary figures to be released. I can see them signing one or two players to fill those roles in free agency. I could also see the leaning on some already in-house talents in Patrick Morris, Elijah Wilkinson, and Austin Schlottman to fill one or both of those roles as well. Either way, a player like Biadasz is worth the risk here.
Third Round - 96th overall: Clemson Safety K’Von Wallace
The Broncos are likely losing Will Parks to free agency and veteran Kareem Jackson isn’t getting any younger. So safety is a position that could be targeted during the draft and Wallace makes a lot of sense right here.
He is a versatile defensive back who can play either safety position depending the scheme/play call which is valuable for a backup player. His football IQ is something that is talked about in a positive manner as well.
I can see Wallace being a player that Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell would covet during the draft process.
Fourth Round - 108th overall: Texas Wide Receiver Devin Duvernay
The Broncos already added the explosive Henry Ruggs in the first-round and now turn to YAC machine Devin Duvernay in the fourth round. I like Duvernay in the slot and he can push the inconsistent DaeSean Hamilton for reps in that role his rookie season.
With newly hired offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur calling the plays, look for the Broncos to spread things out more in 2020 which means more explosive athletes at the position are needed. This would give the Broncos Courtland Sutton, Henry Ruggs, Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton, and now Devin Duvernay to work with.
Fifth Round - 128th overall: North Carolina Offensive Tackle, Charlie Heck
A tackle being selected for the first-time in the 5th round? This may piss of some people but I think it’s a likely reality for the Broncos.
Whether we like it or not, we will have at least one more year of Bolles at left tackle. Highly paid 2018 free agent Ja’Wuan James will hopefully start at right tackle as well. So the Broncos are “set” at that position and will look to add depth/competition sometime during the draft. This is where Heck comes into play.
Heck is a big boy at 6’8” but does move well for his size. His build and play style are somewhat similar to Pittsburgh Steelers starting left tackle, Alejandro Villanueva. Broncos offensive line coach Mike Munchak helped make Villanueva into the player he is today so maybe he could do the same or something similar with Heck.
LIkely a lazy comparison but we’re on to day three so these things happen.
Sixth Round - 161st overall: Ole Miss defensive tackle, Benito Jones
Jones is a typical nose tackle sort of prospect. He is listed at 6’1”, 321lbs and would give the Broncos some depth at this position behind starter Mike Purcell.
Seventh Round - 214th overall: Oregon offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton
At this point in the draft, I am just looking for a player I recognize. He’ll add more depth and competition at the tackle position.
News and notes around the NFL
Eli Manning: It was important for me to retire a Giant - NFL.com
After 16 season in New York, Giants quarterback Eli Manning retired from the NFL. Why he said he didn't seriously consider playing for another team and if he sees himself joining the team's front office.
Vikings' George Paton pulls out of Browns' GM search - NFL.com
After two interviews, George Paton has pulled himself out of the running for the Browns' general manager position, Tom Pelissero reports. The Vikings assistant GM has decided he'd rather remain in Minnesota.
All-time Super Bowl QB rankings: Patrick Mahomes cracks top 30 - NFL.com
Gregg Rosenthal ranks the 63 starting quarterbacks in the history of the Super Bowl. Where do first-timers Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo land on this list of esteemed passers?
Injuries: Tevin Coleman (shoulder) showing progess - NFL.com
While addressing the media on Friday, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provided an encouraging update regarding injured running back Tevin Coleman's MRI results.
Brady congratulates retiring Eli, laments SB losses - NFL.com
With Eli Manning retiring from the NFL on Friday, Tom Brady made sure to congratulate the longtime Giants QB. He also left the impression his two Super Bowl losses to New York still bother him.
Senior Bowl risers: Javon Kinlaw won the week; two QBs flashed - NFL.com
Bucky Brooks dedicates this week's entire Scout's Notebook to one of the most important events of the pre-draft process: Senior Bowl. Who won the week? Which receiver could be a Day 2 steal?
Packers GM: Free agency will be more restrictive - NFL.com
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst will have his work cut out for him this offseason. Why he admitted that they'll be more restrictive in free agency this year.
Kareem Hunt issued traffic citation; marijuana found in car - NFL.com
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt was cited for a speeding violation Tuesday in Ohio and police confiscated "small amounts of marijuana" from Hunt's car during the traffic stop, Rocky River Police (Ohio) confirmed to NFL.com on Friday.
Which Super Bowl LIV TE is tougher to defend: Travis Kelce or George Kittle? - NFL.com
Ahead of Super Bowl LIV, NFL Network analysts debate which tight end is tougher to defend: Chiefs' Travis Kelce or 49ers' George Kittle?
Lawyer claims Antonio Brown, who faces potential life imprisonment, was “overcharged” – ProFootballTalk
Antonio Brown will soon leave police custody, on $110,000 bond. The charges he currently faces could put him behind bars for a long time, however. Via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com, Brown faces among other things a charge of felony burglary with battery.
Giants will retire Eli Manning’s No. 10 – ProFootballTalk
The Giants opened up Eli Manning's retirement press conference with a video showing the top highlights from his 16 years with the team and then co-owner John Mara took the microphone to make some introductory comments.
Judge orders mental health evaluation for Antonio Brown – ProFootballTalk
After Antonio Brown turned himself into the Broward County authorities on Thurday night, his attorney said that there would be a bond hearing on Friday morning.
Jimmy Garoppolo recalls “class act” Patrick Mahomes seeking him out after ACL tear – ProFootballTalk
Jimmy Garoppolo's 2018 season ended in Week Three in Kansas City, when he tore his ACL in a loss to the Chiefs. After the game, Garoppolo got an unexpected visit from Patrick Mahomes.
Brian Gutekunst says it’s his “understanding” Jimmy Graham wants to play – ProFootballTalk
General Manager Brian Gutekunst said Friday that it's his "understanding" Jimmy Graham wants to play next season, Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports. What Guntekunst didn't say was whether the Packers want the tight end back. Graham is under contract with the Packers in 2020, scheduled to count $11.
Dolphins hire Gerald Alexander as defensive backs coach – ProFootballTalk
Gerald Alexander appeared in two games for the Dolphins in 2011. He is returning to the defensive backs room where he briefly sat as a player. The Dolphins have hired the University of California assistant as their new defensive backs coach, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports.
49ers taking the entire organization to Super Bowl LIV, including interns – ProFootballTalk
The 49ers haven't won the Super Bowl in 25 years. As they try to get their sixth Super Bowl championship, they'll have the entire organization in attendance. As in everyone who works for the team. Interns included. Via David Lombardi of TheAthletic.
Report: Broncos finalizing contract to make Mike Shula their QBs coach – ProFootballTalk
The Broncos are finalizing contract details to make Mike Shula their quarterbacks coach, Mike Klis of 9News reports. The team still needs to work out the offset with the Giants, per Klis. The hiring of Shula is not a surprise given the Broncos hired Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator.