There is not a doubt in my mind that this draft season was the best one I’ve been a part of with Mile High Report. One of the unsung reasons for that is all of the help I’ve gotten from other writers, analysts, and coaches that are passionate about evaluation and the NFL Draft.
Among that group, no one did more for me this past year than Caddy to the Lama. A Broncos fan and college coach. He’s provided me a ton of All-22 tape through his Patreon and made a point to tip me off to any and all prospects he came across that intrigued him for the Broncos. It’s thanks to him that I got to a really good idea how LSU’s five man protections impacted Lloyd Cushenberry against Texas, or how Michael Ojemudia fared against the Wisconsin Badgers.
So it seemed only fitting with the rookies ready to receive their numbers I’d reach out and get his thoughts on the Broncos’ draft. Our conversation has been lightly edited.
1st and 10
What are your initial thoughts on the Broncos’ class? Did you like Elway’s strategy? What stood out do you?
Caddy: On paper, it already looks like one of Elway’s best draft classes. I love this class. Multiple players that not only have the potential to be day one contributors, but serious impact players with Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Lloyd Cushenberry.
Then Elway was able to add multiple developmental players with McTelvin Agim, Albert Okwuegbanam, Derrek Tuszka, and Tyrie Cleveland. A couple of depth pieces in Michael Ojemudia and Justin Strnad who are going to be day 1 special teams starters who have the potential to grow into rotational pieces on the defense. And then finishes it up with a potential home run swing Netane Muti and a couple undrafted free agent gems in Essang Bassey and LaVante Bellamy.
Me working on Pat Freierdmuth cutups:— Caddy’s Draft Cutups (@CaddytotheLama) April 29, 2020
“Hmm, Hamler’s open deep again.”
It’s a class with a tremendously high ceiling and a decently high floor as well. What I mean by ‘the floor’ is, Denver is going to get a lot of production on offense, defense, and special teams from members of the entire class, even from the undrafted free agents, day 1. ‘The ceiling’ meaning how high of potential does the class have and I honestly think it could be one of Denver’s best draft classes of the last 30 years.
This is a great pick. Could end up being as equally impactful as Cushenberry. Agim is very explosive, he just needs to refine his hand usage and tech. https://t.co/rJAC8MtlwQ— Caddy’s Draft Cutups (@CaddytotheLama) April 25, 2020
2nd and 7
Are there any players you were disappointed about? If so, why? Who would you have taken over them?
Caddy: Ojemudia, for sure, and it’s nothing about the player. I understand the pick in how he fits the physical and athletic profile and how he fits the scheme. And I don’t doubt Fangio, he knows what he wants out of that position and has a history of developing players that were previously not well thought of into really good corners.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Ojemudia is the number 3 corner or at least contributing snaps by mid-season. I felt Denver could’ve gotten Ojemudia much later and that there were a couple corner backs on the board, specifically Reggie Robinson II and Amik Robertson, who I think are better corner back prospects. A guy like Amik Robertson would’ve had a much bigger impact, not just in on field play but he would’ve brought an attitude that the defense has lacked since TJ Ward, even though he isn’t an exact fit for what Fangio has looked for in the past.
Eh, just not a fan of Ojemudia all together, not about the spot.— Caddy’s Draft Cutups (@CaddytotheLama) April 25, 2020
3rd and 3
One thing I don’t give you enough credit for is how you’ve been a voice in my ear to check out guys who slip through the cracks. One name that comes to mind this year in particular is McTelvin Agim. He was your guy for a long time. Can you share why you’re so high on his game?
Caddy: I’ve always appreciated you taking the time to read my football ramblings, Joe. I talk a lot about late round prospects and that’s not for everyone, so, thank you.
When you turn on the tape, Agim’s athleticism just pops because he has such great short area explosion in every direction. He’s a 305 lbs. body ripping around guards, hitting spin moves, and jumping around offensive lineman in the run game making tackles for loss. What he lacks is consistent technique. He flashes all of the right technique needed to be a starting defensive lineman in the NFL, it’s just the consistency he needs time to build.
This is our next Malik Jackson. He’ll be a depth piece that see’s snaps as a pass rusher early on and will be given time to develop. Agim was a guy I highlighted early on as a perfect developmental defensive lineman that I would want on my team because all the athletic pieces you can’t teach are there and he is already flashing technique, now he just needs the finishing touches.
One thing Agim tells me about the #Broncos defense is that Fangio is bending to combat the Chiefs.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) April 25, 2020
4th and 1
Denver’s UDFA class this year was pretty small, just 7 players. Are there any you’re intrigued by that Broncos’ Country needs to keep an eye out for?
Caddy: I like Bassey and Bellamy. Bassey is a little smaller corner that will come in and compete for one of those last corner back spots. He would be a depth piece/potential future nickel cornerback if they move on from Callahan in a season or two.
I’ve been watching Bellamy since he was a Freshman at Western Michigan. He was the lightning in a three headed attack with Jamauri Bogan and Jarvion Franklin. He may have to put on a little weight, get a little stronger, and improve in his pass protection before he sees a gameday roster spot, but he has the long speed to break big plays and the short area burst to change directions without losing speed and accelerate through open lanes before they close. I could see him challenge for a back end roster spot.
It’s never too early to start pivoting to 2021. Are there any guys on your watch list that make sense for Denver?
Caddy: Personally, I’m still looking at the trenches for next year. They believe they can make Bolles/James/Wilkerson work for another season and I back that up, but what comes after? Next year has the potential to be another good offensive line class. Penei Sewell (Oregon), Alex Leatherwood (Alabama), Daniel Faalele (Minnesota), Walker Little (Stanford), Foster Sarell (Stanford), and Sam Cosmi (Texas) are all big name, talented offensive tackles that are eligible for next year and will receiv
Some fans may not want to hear this but Von is in his 30’s now and it’s realistic he could have productive play into his late 30’s, you want to be prepared for worst case scenario, especially with Chubb’s uncertain future coming off the knee. A couple early edge guys I’m keeping an eye on are Victor Dimukeje (Duke), Quincy Roche (Miami), Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (Oregon State), and Patrick Jones II (Pitt).
And then obviously still looking at defensive line, cornerback, and safety but a lot of the future of those positions is the development of youth on the roster and the performance of recent acquisitions.