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NFL Draft prospects that don’t seem to fit the Broncos

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These guys didn’t make my board.

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College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU
Tee Higgins did not make my final NFL Draft board.
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

With the release of my first round NFL Draft board, there’s been a few questions about certain players. While time was a bit of a pinch this year thanks to finishing school, I also made a point to try and eliminate players who did not appear to be clean fits for the Broncos. Some of these were taken off for character and my belief that Elway won’t gamble on them. Others were because close to no NFL players are truly scheme transcendent, and smart teams rarely value a guy highly if he does not fit what they’re trying to run.

So what follows are three players who did not make my final cut-down and why.

Tee Higgins - WR, Clemson

It’s been trendy to beat up on Higgins on Draft Twitter for almost a year now. There was a decent period there where I felt like one of the few in Broncos’ Country who didn’t hate him. While I did not rank him in my pre-Combine Receiver Rankings, I did say this.

If the Broncos want to get a rich man’s version of Tim Patrick and go with a triple tower type of offense, the Tiger would be a fun way to do so. I have questions about his ability to separate at the next level and his route running isn’t close to the top tier technicians in this class. That said, his frame, catch radius, and ball skills make him hard to bet against.

Higgins is hard to slot for Denver because of how I believe he’d fit with Courtland Sutton on the roster. The work I’ve done on him suggests he’d ideally fit as an X-receiver down the road and perhaps a big slot while he figures out how to consistently beat press coverage. Sutton’s already and X, and Higgins’ adequate top end speed makes him a bit of a redundant complimentary talent on a roster with Patrick and Hamilton.

While the Broncos did have an informal meeting with Higgins in Indianapolis, I do not believe they will value him highly enough to take him where he’s bound to go. For that reason it felt like a waste to spend a ton of time honing in on him, and so I left him off the board.

If Elway shocks me and drafts him I’ll go back over his game at length though, because I do think he could find success in the league.

Higgins could make his future team pretty happy if he can refine his route running. He plays the game like a power forward and wins above the rim.
Higgins could make his future team pretty happy if he can refine his route running.

Marlon Davidson - DL, Auburn

How highly do the Broncos’ value a player’s ability to stack and shed blocks? That’s been a question I’ve ruminated over for the last four months. Ultimately, what Fangio said about scheme fit along the defensive line has stuck with me. For that reason, Davidson didn’t get as much attention from me. Ultimately I didn’t see enough evidence to argue with all of the scouting reports that knock him here.

Now last season the Broncos took Dre’Mont Jones, another player who’s more like a rat squeezing under the door than someone who will win a fight to hold his ground. Denver’s reported interest in Robert Windsor could also be a hint that they’re open to a talent like Davidson, and if so I’ll be excited to look into his game. Watching the big uglies is one of my favorite position groups and Davidson is a former edge player who’s probably going to live as a big end or interior player in the league.

As a tweener, Davidson is a bit of an odd fit for the Broncos' defense.
Davidson’s appeal to the Broncos is really tough to gauge. I expect he’ll go higher than they’d consider him.

Yetur Gross-Matos - EDGE, Penn State

Probably not a great excuse, but I was pretty late to most of the edge class because Von Miller and Bradley Chubb made it a lower priority. In the end I wound up looking at the edge prospects that seemed like cleaner fits and/or who could be available farther down the board. I wound up overlooking Gross-Mators because it’s hard time to believe the Nittany Lion will hang around into the third round.

Perhaps not the cleanest fit for the Broncos' defense, but Gross-Matos is an intriguing prospect.
Perhaps not the cleanest fit for the Broncos’ defense, but Gross-Matos is an intriguing prospect.

“Why wasn’t _____ tackle on the board?”

I wrote about this for my Tackle Rankings last week.

Everything I’ve seen studying the Broncos since Munchak came on board combined the players they’ve shown interest in leads me to believe Denver wants a certain kind of tackle. These players tend to look like they fit in a zone blocking scheme, but also have potential as drive blockers. I suspect this is partly because Risner’s (and now Glasgow’s?) ability to pull out and lead the way is a big part of the running game, so a tackle who’s quick enough to protect the vacated space as well as hold up in an island in pass pro is valuable. I also believe Elway’s last two years suggest that character is an important part of the evaluation.

So no, I did not forget about the following players. I just don’t believe they fit what the Broncos want. If they surprise me, I’ll be happy to go back and try to identify why.

  • Mekhi Becton - Louisville
  • Isaiah Wilson - Georgia
  • Saahdiq Charles - LSU
  • Tyre Phillips - Mississippi State
  • Yasir Durant - Missouri
  • Trey Adams - Washington

Let me know if there’s anyone else I omitted that you’re curious about Broncos Country!

Broncos’ Links

Reconciling the John Fox era with the Broncos - Mile High Report

On Saturday night, CBS Sports Network re-aired the 2010 Wild Card matchup between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, remembered simply as “Tebow’s playoff win.”

NFL Draft Links

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Mississippi State Cornerback Cameron Dantzler - Mile High Report

Scouting one of the many talented corners coming out of the SEC.

My Day 1 Denver Broncos NFL Draft Board - Mile High Report

We’re finally here. Who should Elway select?

Woody Paige: Broncos looking to trade up to select WR Jerry Jeudy - Mile High Report

Woody speaks, we listen.

What is the Denver Broncos biggest positional draft need? - Mile High Report

In early March, we asked what the Denver Broncos biggest positional need was in the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s find out how much that differs today.

John Elway: Virtual test draft ‘smooth’ after early hiccups

”It will be interesting to see. The mock draft we had [Monday], everything was kind of predetermined, so it made it a little easier than I think it’s going to be,’’ Elway said. “Obviously, the time constraints, being virtual and not having everybody in the same room makes it more difficult, so that may lead to less trades. I still think there is going to be trades, if anything it makes us prepare a little bit harder to have an idea at each position of where we are right now ... [to] have an idea what the compensation may be.’’

Offensive line guru Duke Manyweather loves 2020 NFL Draft tackle class, sees ‘Hall of Fame’ upside for one OT - CBSSports.com

”Top to bottom, this class is really good and really deep. I really don’t think there has been a class like this since 2013,” Manyweather said. “You had guys like Terron Armstead that was in that 2013 draft. You had Lane Johnson. Eric Fisher, who has developed. It was pretty loaded. I think this draft could be pretty similar.”

Looking back on the absurd haul the Redskins received in a 1999 Draft Day trade | NBC Sports Washington

Six picks in the 1999 draft, and a first and third-round selection in the 2000 draft. Washington traded one pick for eight selections, two of them first rounders. That’s something that doesn’t even seem reasonable when “force trade” is used in Madden, and yet it happened in the real world.

Broncos considering moving up in draft to take WR - NFL.com

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Denver Broncos have interest in trading up to draft a top receiver, and added that the Cleveland Browns (No. 10) could be a trade partner.

49ers could move first-round picks, WR Goodwin - NFL.com

Outside of a pair of first-round picks, the San Francisco 49ers wouldn’t be on the clock again in this year’s draft until the fifth round. General manager John Lynch could be looking to change that.

Daniel Jeremiah’s top 150 prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft class - NFL.com

With the 2020 NFL Draft just days away, Daniel Jeremiah makes a final update to his draft prospect rankings, this time going 150 players deep. Where do QBs Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm rank on his list?

Rhett Lewis 2020 NFL mock draft 1.0: Four WRs picked in top 15 - NFL.com

In his first — and only — mock draft of the 2020 NFL Draft season, Rhett Lewis says four WRs will go among the top 15 picks, including Alabama teammates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

2020 NFL mock draft: Peter King scenarios for Thursday - NBC Sports

15. Denver—Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver, Alabama John Elway looks around his living room in Cherry Hills Village a few spirals from the Broncos complex, and says to the scouts and coaches tethered to him via teleconference: “Are you freakin’ kidding me? Jeudy falls to us at 15?” It’s a gift, he thinks, and it takes him a minute to type in Jeudy and send it on the Microsoft Teams channel to draft central. Sometimes the draft falls weird, and the incredible excess at receiver in this draft makes so many teams with wideout needs say they’ll wait till the second and third rounds. Elway could sit back after a pick like this and think about Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, Jeudy and Phillip Lindsay: I’ve got a quarterback I feel pretty good about, two top-20 NFL receivers, a 1,000-yard back, and none are 26 years old yet. We’re pretty good at the explosive offensive positions.

Steve Palazzolo’s Final 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars pick Justin Herbert at No. 20 | College Football and NFL Draft | PFF

15. DENVER BRONCOS — DI JAVON KINLAW, SOUTH CAROLINA Receiver or cornerback would have been great here, but the Broncos go with the top interior pass-rusher on the board in Kinlaw. He brings length and explosiveness to the defensive front to go with an excellent tackle radius in the run game. Last season, Kinlaw had the No. 2 pass-rushing grade (90.7) and the No. 1 pass-rushing win percentage (18.1%) in the draft class.

Inside the 2020 NFL draft class - 50 facts you didn’t know

A home-run-hitting QB? A Swahili-speaking cornerback? A lifesaving linebacker? The son of a Harlem Globetrotter? Get to know this year’s NFL draft class.

Buy or Sell: Risers and Fallers in the 2020 NFL Draft | College Football and NFL Draft | PFF

Evaluating 10 prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft to determine if their rise up boards or fall down boards has been warranted.

NFL Links

Brady asked to leave closed Tampa park for working out - NFL.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is one of the most famous people in the world. So, it’s no surprise that Brady didn’t go unnoticed while working out in a closed Tampa park on Monday.

Yannick Ngakoue feuds with Tony Khan on Twitter - NFL.com

The Jaguars have had trade talks in regards to defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, but no offers, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Monday.

Sean Payton donates blood plasma following recovery from COVID-19 - ProFootballTalk

“Until there’s a vaccine for it, this allows us to do something we think can help,” Payton said. “… Hopefully that plasma can help someone who’s been affected maybe in a much more grave way.”

Titans draft picks could “potentially impact” Jadeveon Clowney pursuit - ProFootballTalk

“Who we pick could potentially impact that,” Robinson said, via Erik Bacharach of The Tennessean. The Jets have also had communication with Clowney. Browns General Manager Andrew Berry said this month that the team is “always looking” for good players and that Clowney is a good player, although he didn’t say if there’s been any discussions with his camp.