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2023 Draft Watch: CB Emmanuel Forbes and LB Jack Campbell

It’s always the perfect time to start looking at options for roster depth.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never too early for way-too-early draft previews. Given that the Denver Broncos aren’t picking until the third round (unless they trade up significantly), we’ll mainly be eying players who are projected for the late-second round and beyond. There’s just no sense in previewing the number-one top draft prospects and all that could change by Bowl season anyway.

We are expecting a dominant offense this year under Russell Wilson, and we have some key playmakers on the defensive side of the ball as well; but it’s not going to hurt us to add depth to some (or all) areas of our roster next year.

For this week I’ve selected just two athletes for a quick preview: cornerback Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State, and linebacker Jack Campbell from Iowa.

Cornerback — Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State)

In 2021 Emmanuel Forbes recorded 59 tackles (45 solo), a sack, a forced fumble, and three pick sixes — the most of any player currently in FBS. This was after 44 tackles (23 solo) and five interceptions in 2020.

Forbes is pretty slender at 180lbs, but he’s a comfortable height for a corner and has a good vertical leap (44” in high school) to add to his 6’0 frame. His zone coverage instincts are solid, he’s mobile, and he has impressive arm length.

One of the things that may keep him from being selected in the first or second round is his lack of explosiveness against the run. Forbes needs to clean up his timing and technique in that area particularly, as he’s often susceptible to missing tackle opportunities. If he improves these over the course of 2022, he may climb higher in his draft projection.

All in all, I think Forbes may be a good option for the Broncos — not to start, but to add depth and to develop his skill. A veteran like Ronald Darby and a talented Patrick Surtain II could be mentors for him as he learns.

Linebacker — Jack Campbell, Iowa

At 6’5” and 243lbs, linebacker Jack Campbell has an intimidating frame. He’s versatile, having played both outside and middle (would probably be great on the inside too), he has solid closing speed and high accuracy at reading the field, and he’s experienced in every area of special teams.

Last year, the LB led the nation in tackles with 140. He also recorded a sack, a forced fumble (which was a scoop-and-score!), and two interceptions. He was recognized with a first-team All-Big Ten honor.

There are concerns about Campbell’s speed and athleticism, so it’s debated where he’s going to fall when the draft rolls around. I’ve seen anywhere from late-first to late-second to early-fourth. Of course, any prospects we’re looking at are subject to be placed higher or lower on the scouting lists as 2023 approaches.

The bottom line is, drafting Campbell would offer up multiple options for roster depth. He’s position-flexible as a linebacker, and he can contribute on special teams.

Which position(s) do you think the Broncos should prioritize in 2023? Let me know in the comments!