“Jefferson is one of the hottest names in the draft. After catching 111 passes with 18 touchdowns for the national champs last year, he surprised scouts with a 4.43 40-yard dash at the Combine...An even 100 of his catches for LSU last season came out of the slot, and that’s where he’d fit best for Denver, which has a stud young outside target in Courtland Sutton.”
To say Benjamin Allbright disagrees with that strategy for the Broncos would be an understatement.
Not to say that the former LSU Tiger isn’t talented; he’s said to be one of the top route runners in the 2020 Draft.
But that’s the thing.
That is NOT what the Broncos really need.
Allbright’s initial reaction to Kiper’s latest mock on Broncos Country Tonight was dripping with sarcasm...so much you can probably “hear” it in print: “Yeah, the Broncos are totally taking a slot receiver at 15.”
But why not, Ryan Edwards pressed his cohost.
“Because he doesn’t solve your problem,” Allbright said, noting that if the Broncos already had a player who “could take the top off” on the defense, Jefferson would be an excellent pick. Basically, if Broncos already had a Henry Ruggs. “You want a receiver over there that dictates coverages.”
And part of his logic stems from knowing Pat Shurmur’s type of offense, which does not make much use of a third wide receiver.
Once again Allbright emphasized that it’s about needing a speedster who will command that a defense put two players on him - a cornerback to cover and a safety over the top to help.
“You are drafting Henry Ruggs because of his ability to dictate coverage. It is not to get another 1,000-yard receiver,” Allbright said. “You need somebody stretches the field vertically...Ruggs forces two people in coverage - a corner and a safety over the top to make sure you don’t get burnt - giving you one-on-ones for Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. And we know they’re going to win those.”
It’s a simple philosophy really. Not even meant to be a disguise. It’s just math. If a defense knows it has to account for Ruggs, it will put two guys on him for protection. As soon as Fant and Sutton become productive and a defense moves a defender off Ruggs, then he’s there to be the speed demon down the sideline.
“You get Henry Ruggs at 15 because he makes Sutton and Fant more productive,” Allbright said. “You dictate to a defense how they’re covering our guys and get favorable matchups for our best players.”
Ruggs would be like the “Will Fuller” of the Broncos.
“Will Fuller is not an all-world caliber receiver, but he has all-world speed,” Allbright said, noting that he’s a 700-yard per season kind of player but he helps Deshaun Watson immensely because “as soon as you stop doubling him, then the speed guy burns” the defense.
Allbright also pointed out that a Ruggs kind of receiver is what is missing in the Broncos’ offense. He broke it down like this:
We need a quarterback that can stretch the field horizontally and vertically with his arm and still extend plays with his legs. We’ve got that in Drew Lock.
We need running backs that can beat linebackers to the edge and shake off the first tackle We’ve got that in Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon.
We need a tight end who is a willing blocker but can stretch the field vertically and make linebackers back peddle. We’ve got that in Noah Fant.
We need a contested catch guy. A guy who if the quarterback gets in trouble he can lob the ball and up and this guy has the hops to go up and get it. We’ve got that in Courtland Sutton.
What is the one thing we’re missing? Someone who threatens the field vertically.
Although Sutton really proved to be a big, good-hands receiver, Allbright pointed out that corners can keep up with him - “The question is can he out-muscle them, and most of the time he can.”
So that just leaves a wide receiver whose speed is fast enough to “make defenses roll coverage on him.”
And that’s Ruggs.
“You get one game of him getting 80, 100, 120 yards, and all of the sudden DCs are paying attention to him and you just bought one-on-ones for Fant and Sutton for the next 8 games,” Allbright said.
And for that reason, Allbright also advocates Broncos trading up to 11 or even 10 to make sure they can get the speedster out of Alabama.
Be sure to check out the whole episode to hear Allbright’s “Big Board” for defensive linemen...you may be surprised to learn that his No. 1 is not Javon Kinlaw.