Now let's switch gears over to the defensive position groups and let's start with the badazz dudes - the DT/NT & IDL. The enforcers in the locker room as well as the football field and anyone who's played at any level with the known entities of those big dudes, athletic as anyone and ready to rumble know what am talking about. These guys can flip pancakes at a team breakfast with ease & do a backflip on the sideline, dunk a basketball, and hold down two gaps if necessary. They most often don't get recognized unless they're being washed out and running backs are cruising up the gut for big time yardage. When they're doing their job, they seal gaps and the LB's make the tackles. I've always respected these guys and the O-lineman as that's where the games really played out - win there and generally the team wins. The guys at UW on the line called me an XXXL wannabe and I never disputed that either. With that let's roll with the badazzes for this year's 2024 NFL draft:
- Ruke Orhorhoro - DT - Clemson - 6'4" & 295lbs with a 4.98 40, a Kinlaw type of athlete playing with the 49'ers. His hometown is Lagos, Nigeria - just amazes me so many Afrikan kids can quickly adapt due to their sheer athleticism without having played football into NFL players. Long and lean he'll need to add some bulk to play on the inside in the NFL, which ironically was his problem with too much fat coming into college football and adding muscle, now needs some bulk muscle. No surprise he's a raw talent and will most likely be a rotation player to start out in the NFL. Could he be a Bronco - doubtful as rated a back end of first or second round pick so probably won't align with where Bronco's draft currently.
- Jer'Zhan Newton - DL - IL - 6'2" & 295lbs with a 4.95 40. A poor man's Kancey with the Bucs the Aaron Donald body type that can move all over the place and make plays. Most likely will be in the A gap and then be moved based on the alignment and situation on the field. Solid NFL player with outstanding traits - could he be a Bronco; sure, he's rated a mid-first rounder and would provide a solid upgrade on the DL.
- T'Vondre Sweat - DT/DL - TX - 6'4" & 362lbs with a 5.05 40. Big man football right here, he's the 100% dude on size in this year's NFL draft at over 360lbs. Power gap plugger of the run, big and raw as a talent - he's going to be in the NFL for a decade if healthy. Could he be a Bronco - absolutely he could, this could be the Purcell replacement and be on the roster as the pivot in the A gap for a long time and is rated a late first round pick, so could trade back and still get him potentially too - like this dude.
- Brandon Dorius - DL - Oregon - 6'3" and 290lbs with a 4.98 40. Another solid NFL interior DL, he also has a knack like Shelby Harris for batting down the passes. Solid athlete will need to polish his game but shows good interior pass rush skills. Could he be a Bronco - possibly if trade back in particular as a late first round or second round pick is where rated currently.
- Mekhi Wingo - DT - LSU - 6'1" & 295lbs with a 4.95 40, yes you read that right a 4.95 40, talk about a stout brick - this dude is a handful. His shuttle is a disappointing 4.73 or bottom 19% and his vert isn't impressive either with a 28" or bottom 20% so those need improvement at combine and am interested to see his bench press reps as guessing will be impressive. His run defense rates at 92 on college level so he reminds me a bit in the trenches of DJ Jones which is highly complementary. Could he be a Bronco - unlikely as he's rated a second-round pick at worst and could move up into the first round.
- Michael Hall Jr - DT - OSU - 6'2" & 280lbs with a 5.0 40. His 280lbs is in bottom 5% of this position group, so that's a definite concern. Despite his lack of bulk, the dude is a little powerhouse and has the ability to be a three down DT. Former four-star athlete in HS, he's got the talent and motor, now it comes down to can he add some bulk onto his frame and not lose quickness as his burst is more adequate than an Aaron Donald type for a smaller DT. Can he be a Bronco - possibly as he could drop into the third round.
- Mason Smith - DT - LSU - 6'6" & 315lbs with a 4.8 40. Superior athlete on Feldman's Freakish athlete's list - hit 19.5mph on the GPS gun, that's just not right for a DT & former 5-star out of HS. He can motor up and down the line, and provides excellent run support, and has ability to set for decent leverage he will need to improve on gap control. Provides outstanding pass rush with an NFL ready spin move. Could he be a Bronco - oh yeah, he could - he's got what all NFL teams covet in the DT size, speed and range as well as ability to hunt the question is will, he be there in the third round when Broncos have a pick. Due to an injury and suspension beginning of 2023 most likely will be available in the third round, so a high risk/reward player with if checks out at combine second round value.
- Byron Murphy - DT/NT - TX - 6'1" & 308lbs with a 5.05 40. Want a classic DT - here's your man a dude with the run stopping gap filling compact body to bear hug running backs. Has a decent inside pass rush, but realistically is probably not a pass rusher so more a two down DT. Could he be a Bronco, absolutely he could as a solid Purcell replacement. Doubt would be able to get him in the 3/4th round range but if drops could see him in orange and blue.
- Tyleik Willams - DT - OSU - 6'2" & 290lbs with a 4.98 40. Did you like Malik Jackson, as I sure did, this guy's got that froggy ability like Malik had as Williams 10-yard split of 1.62 got him onto Feldman's freakish athlete's list this year. He's actually up to about 300lbs now and he's going to be an inside pass rushing threat particularly in NASCAR sets. A DT-3 technique guy, so probably a rotational pass rusher but could be a starter if can get his run & gap control to an NFL level. Could he be a Bronco - don't see it in third round but could later if drops, he's a guy that could come in and give Henningsen competition for a roster spot.
- Kris Jenkins - DT/DL - MI - 6'3" & 305lbs with a 4.9 40. The son of former Panthers DL Kris Jenkins he's a mound of muscle to deal with - not a great but just all-around good athlete. Will most likely be a rotational DL in the NFL and has DL flexibility. In NASCAR sets can be that inside DL, and if can be a starter can be a three down lineman potentially though there's questions on his athleticism and get to on outside gap plays. Could he be a Bronco - doubtful in third but if dropped could see it happening.
- Jordan Jefferson - DT - LSU - 6'4" & 317lbs with a 4.7 40. This dudes all over the place from rated a second round to a UDFA so realistically based on his athleticism am putting him here in the third round. An absolute Feldman's freakish athlete with a not just the 4.7 40, he backs it up with 495lb bench press, and a 34.5" vert just a top shelf athletic specimen. Very raw athlete plays too tall, spin move isn't there and doesn't bend around the edge - all mechanics that can be coached up - oh, one more plus a solid thick trunk and legs. Could he be a Bronco - if he's there in the fourth don't waste any time go get him.
- Darius Robinson - DL - Mizzou - 6'5" & 296lbs with a 4.78 40. Long and lean this dude is ideally a NASCAR inside DL and outside DE on regular downs. Rated from 2-5th rounds have him in the third as a situational inside pass rusher early in the NFL. Currently not a solid gap plugger inside and doesn't have a ready for NFL spin move. Could he be a Bronco - kind of depends on where Uwa winds up as not sure where his suspension will put him or his status in the NFL. If not able to play this is type of guy could be a replacement.
- Nazir Stackhouse - DT - Georgia - 6'3" & 320lbs with a 5.1 40. When gawd said I will build a NT this was it, go look at his picture and tell me you wouldn't guess if O-line a guard or if D-line a NT. Former 4-star recruit, who isn't at Georgia - with a college run defense grade of 86 and a pass rush grade of 60 you know what you get with this big dude. Like him and could be a Bronco though prefer fourth round but doubtful lasts that long.
- Leonart Taylor III - DL - Miami - 6'3" & 305lbs with a 4.8 40, a 5-star recruit outta HS that stayed home at the U. With a college pass rush grade of 87 and run grade of 72 he's an every down type of DL. Can flip him all over the DL to find mismatches and he's gonna punish the O-lineman that winds up with him. Only going into his junior year, he might stay another year and further develop into a potential first round player. Could he be a Bronco - certainly could if comes out to be in the NFL 2023 draft.
- Rylie Mills - DL - Notre Dame - 6'5" & 296lbs with a 4.79 40. The Big Handsome or Mahoney would have you believe that - good looking kid a bit of a Hutchinson type of look in last year's NFL draft from MI. Not same level of talent obviously and more an inside DL but flexibility is an asset for Rylie. All over the board from rated 2nd round to UDFA which is not unusual for this time of year. Heck of an athlete made Feldman's freak list with clocking 19mph on the GPS, a discuss and shotput guy and benched 420lbs. Athletically he outperformed last year's freak at ND on the DL Foskey. Could he be a Bronco - oh heck yeah, he's got all the tools, just needs NFL coaching - would like him better in fourth but someone probably pull him in the third round is my guess.
- Justin Eboigbe - DL - Alabama - 6'5" & 292lbs with a 4.9 40. NASCAR type of IDL - not a NT though can hop in as needed. His DL flexibility, size and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect as a pass rusher and rotational DL. Rated from 3rd to UDFA have him taken as a fourth round pick where the untapped potential often go - he's got the traits to be an NFL player. Could he be a Bronco - not seeing him outplay Henningsen maybe Harris or Lancaster but doubtful.
- Dontay Corleone - DT - Cincy - 6'2" & 318lbs with a 5.1 40. Okay he's another one all over the place from second round to not even showing up on some boards. Putting him in the fourth round as a hopeful here when Bronco's pick. He's a power plugger, a solid 77 rating in pass rush and a good 83 on run defense at the college level. He has potential to be a IDL NFL starter but definitely a rotation level player, so fourth round is a value here.
- Howard Cross III - DL - Notre Dame - 6' & 280lbs with a 4.9 40. Weird dude to evaluate, up as high as a third-round pick but have him here but could even be a UDFA. His measurables just don't add up - even for the college game, yet he's Rudy as a Golden Domer, he just plays football with an 88 on both pass rush and rush defense at the college level. How does he do it - don't know but this is the round to see in taking a guy based on guile and instinct and see if it translates to the NFL. Could he be a Bronco - not in the fourth round is my guess.
- Tyler Davis - NT/DT - Clemson - 6'2" & 300lbs with a 4.99 40. A senior albeit a bit raw, yet a solid prospect as a NT over center or DT in the A gap. Good first step, his 91 on rush defense is his calling card. has the frame to add a few more lbs. and already has the strength to be in the NFL. Could he be a Bronco - sure this is right round if available to invest in a stout fireplug on the D-line potentially.
- Fabien Lovett - DT/DL - FSU - 6'4" & 318lbs with a 5.1 40, a fifth-year senior with a lot of experience both with MS ST and then as a transfer to FSU. Lacks the athleticism of an elite IDL so most likely will be a solid rotation player which is expected in the fourth round. Could he be a Bronco, again depends upon Uwa's situation as looks like a similar type of player.
- TJ Sanders - DT - South Carolina - 6'5" & 298lbs with a 4.98 40. Sanders may go back to the Gamecocks so if comes out then is between the 4th to 7th rounds and have him here in the fifth as a prospective NFL player. Developmental player with the physical traits to be a rotation IDL in the NFL. Could he be a Bronco - doubtful as see Henningsen more as that type of player currently.
- Justin Rogers - DT - Auburn - 6'3" & 346lbs with a 5.2 40. Rated from 5th to 7th round, his size is a potential 5th rounder as a run plugger. Lacks the speed & agility to be an effective pass rusher, but as a core rotational DL he could be a solid run gap filler. Could he be a Bronco - possibly but that's more likely if drops down to UDFA status is my guess, a Mustipher type of developmental player.
- McKinnley Jackson - DT/NT - Texas A&M - 6'2" & 325lbs a natural run stuffer with a 4.98 40. He's not going to offer much in the pass rush yet is rated as high as a third round and as low as the fifth and due to his lack of pass rush ability think he'll be somewhere in the filth round. I'd like him as a Mustipher replacement in the draft and think a 5th is a good value for this dude as a Bronco.
- Gabe Hall - DL - Baylor - 6'6" & 287lbs with a 4.78 40. His athleticism is all there including a top 88% with a 35.5" vert and hit 18.2mph on the GPS. Made Feldman's freakish athletes a former shot putter in HS and has a 500lb bench press to his name. He's a guy Baylor put all over the DL a do all kind of player and see similar in the NFL. See is main IDL in NASCAR sets as lacks the bulk to be an every down IDL. Could he be a Bronco - oh heck yeah, he's an athlete and can potentially be a starter.
- Keith Randolph - DL - Illinois - 6'5" & 300lbs with a 4.9 40. Randolph is a developmental player rated in the 6th round. His size and strength will get him a look. Could he be a Bronco - doubt it, unless drops to the UDFA category.
- Shemar Turner - DL - Texas A&M - 6'4" and 290lbs with a 4.8 40. Lots of talent as a former 5-star recruit. Didn't gain the bulk to be an every down IDL and lacks the ability to chase on the edge both the running backs and consistently pressure the QB's. He could be a NASCAR package IDL but limited in his sets so doubtful will see as a Bronco.
- DeWayne Carter - DT - Duke - 6'3" & 305lbs with a 4.95 40. Typical three-star athlete made good on his promise to himself to potentially be drafted and play in the NFL. He lacks the size to dominate at the NT but as a DT he can be a handful as can play on guile and instincts and make plays particularly in the run game. His lack of a fast twitch will probably keep him off the field in passing downs. Limited as a rotation IDL probably not enough there for the Broncos to take in the 7th round is my guess.
- Braden Fiske - DL - FSU - 6'5" & 297lbs with a 5.1 40. You'll see more of this type of player going forward - a fifth year senior that decided to play one more season after his playing days at Western MI were done, he decided to up his level of competition by joining FSU. Smart move as now he's on the draft board as a potential 7th rounder or UDFA and works for the schools that need to fill a hole with maybe a lesser player than recruit normally but can be a player for a season or two. Lots of experience and could be a developmental player in the NFL and eventually a DL rotation player - unless a UDFA don't see him as a Bronco.
- Zion Logue - DL - Georgia - 6'5" & 310lbs with a 4.91 40. Solid athlete who's dropped bad weight and has some interesting traits including size and decent speed as an NFL DL. Could be a NASCAR IDL set type of player and can defend the run so could be in a rotation. Could he be a Bronco - possibly if they want to jump on him before hits the UDFA market.
- Tim Smith - DT/NT - Alabama - 6'4" & 302lbs with a 5.17 40. He lacks the size and speed but makes up for it with his background as a HS wrestler. He has outstanding leverage and can defend the run - not so much the pass rush though so most likely very limited type of rotation player in the NFL. Build a bit like Cush he's got the lower center of gravity, and he is a big time rumbler. Like him, not sure the Broncos would spend draft capital as guessing would attempt to sign as a UDFA.
- DeMonte Capehart - DL - Clemson - 6'5" & 305lbs with a 4.75 40. Former 4-star recruit has the tools and athleticism, he just cannot stay below his pads and loses leverage. If can be coached up as a developmental player to stay down & not stand up getting too high, then may have something to work with as an NFL player. Could be a Bronco as a UDFA.
- Chidozie Nwankwo - DT - Houston - 5'11" & 290lbs with a 5.08 40. His calling card is his quickness in run gaps, he's going to be most likely a XFL or USFL stud but lacks that ability to be consistent enough with short arms to get to the running backs in the NFL. Don't see him as a Bronco.
- Jayson Jones - DT - Auburn - 6'6" & 328lbs with a 5.18 40. Dude is a monster of a man, the old-style DT. A 4-star recruit so the talent and tools are there. He pulled the opposite of Bo Nix as was at Oregon and transferred to Auburn. Raw talent as gets too high and loses leverage, but if coached up could be a diamond in the rough. Could he be a Bronco, oh hell yeah, he could as Purcell is most likely gone, and this dude could be a solid A gap defender in the NFL if he gets it with the coaching.
- Cole Godbout - DL - Wyoming - 6'4" & 285lbs with a 4.95 40. Played primarily at NT/DT at Wyoming, just don't see how that's going to work in the NFL - he's way too upright in his stance and will most likely get blown off the LOS. Love his game at the college level as he just batters the IOL, so his hands are violent and he's way aggressive, I see him as a potential IDL in NASCAR packages and potentially moved out to DE as like Bills Espinoza a guy that looked slow early in his career has shown to be a powerhouse with an athletic physique now too. Godbout will most likely be an XFL/USFL/CFL player like Purcell before him at Wyoming and then come back to the NFL when ready. Yes, am a homer so I get that and hope the best for Cole!