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Horse Tracks: Broncos should draft a returner

Good Morning Broncos Country!

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

One of the least talked about needs for the Denver Broncos as they near the NFL Draft is a return man. The Broncos have used multiple different guys at kick and punt returner but haven't had a difference maker at the position since Trindon Holliday.

When General Manager John Elway addressed the media on Thursday he was asked about adding a return man. The Broncos top decision-maker said he is not looking for a specialist at the position, but a guy who can help out in multiple areas on the team.

"I think the ideal situation is a guy that can be a core special teams guy and can also play offensively or defensively as well as being a returner. That is the ideal situation. To just have a roster spot that is eaten up by a returner is a little bit tough, even though we’ve done that the last couple of years. We’d rather have it the other way."

So if the Broncos do indeed select a returner in next week's NFL Draft, the prospect better be ready to contribute on offense or defense as well as on special teams.

Here are some prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft who the Broncos might consider for their return man needs.

  1. Mario Alford, WR, West Virginia
  2. Kaelin Clay, WR, Utah
  3. Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas St.
  4. Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri
  5. J.J. Nelson, WR, UAB
  6. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
  7. Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke
  8. Tre McBride, WR, William and Mary

The Broncos do have some kick return options currently on their roster. Receiver Andre Caldwell has handled kick return duties but hasn't been all that impressive. The Broncos did sign Justin Norwood last season to be this guy but missed the entire 2014 season.

One guy who did a good job last season for the Broncos in limited action as a kick returner was safety/cornerback Omar Bolden. He had 13 kick returns for 429 yards(33 yards per return).

However, the Broncos are in need of a punt returner. Last season the Broncos tied for 20th in the NFL at 7.2 yards per punt return and were just one of four teams who did not have a punt return longer than 22 yards.

I would look for the Broncos to look to the draft to find themselves a receiver who can battle Andre Caldwell for a roster spot, and able to return punts and kicks.

Another Fanspeak Mock:


I took a different approach with this draft. I went with a middle linebacker in the first. Marshall and Trevathan all have injury concerns, and McKinney would give them a bigger/athletic ILB.

I added Marpet in the 2nd, and he will continue to be my second round pick.

In the third I added Henry Anderson who will be a good player in the NFL.

I know most will hate my 4th round pick, but I couldn't pass up on Cobb.

An offensive tackle in the 5th round?? I believe the Broncos will go forward with Michael Schofield at right tackle. Gibson will give the Broncos an athletic offensive tackle to groom for the future. I added Shaq Mason who will add depth at guard and center.

Hodges is a late round edge rusher who can compete for playing time at outside linebacker, and in the 7th Sasser adds depth at WR, Bonner will be Kubiak's project at QB, and Valles is a project edge rusher.

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