In Part 1 of this preview, we took a long look at Denver’s needs going into the draft, and we (or more appropriately, “I”) concluded they are as follows:
Primary Needs: RT, LG, QB
Depth Needs: ILB, TE, NT, OLB, CB
Upgrade Needs: C, P
Now that we’ve taken a fairly thorough look at the Broncos’ needs, let’s see what players they may be targeting to strengthen the roster.
We’ll start with the first round of the draft, which will take place this Thursday night at 6 p.m. MDT. The Broncos currently have the 28th pick on Thursday, and there’s been a lot of discussion as to how they’ll use it. The Broncos are the proud owners of 10 picks this year, thanks in part to 4 compensatory picks. Here’s how the picks break down right now:
- Round 1, Pick 28 (28th overall)
- Round 2, Pick 27 (59th overall)
- Round 3, Pick 28 (92nd overall)
- Round 4, Pick 34 (133rd overall, compensatory pick)
- Round 5, Pick 7 (143rd overall)
- Round 5, Pick 28 (164th overall)
- Round 6, Pick 27 (203rd overall)
- Round 7, Pick 33 (250th overall, compensatory pick)
- Round 7, Pick 34 (251st overall, compensatory pick)
- Round 7, Pick 35 (252nd overall, compensatory pick)
Now let’s take a look at some possible targets for the Broncos at #28. After determining the team’s needs and taking a look at the top prospects from each position, as well as how they might “fit” in Denver, we can narrow our list and stack our board.
* – indicates the player has met with the Broncos, or that the Broncos attended the player’s Pro Day workout
# – indicates a private workout or a visit to the Broncos’ team facility
These are impact players at positions of need that will likely be gone by the time Denver is on the clock. If they’re available, the Broncos would jump at the chance to pick them.
|Brandon Scherff||T/G||6045||319||Iowa||May be a better G||Link|
|Danny Shelton||NT||6022||339||Washington||Classic NT||Link|
|Malcolm Brown||NT||6023||319||Texas||Good fit for 4-3 (even) or 3-4 (odd) front||Link|
These are players at positions of need that are more likely to be available when the Broncos make their selection.
|#Andrus Peat||T||6067||313||Stanford||Primarily a LT prospect but powerful enough to play the right side as well||Link|
|*La’el Collins||T/G||6044||305||LSU||May be limited to RT/G, but more NFL-ready than others on this list||Link|
|Ereck Flowers||T||6062||329||Miami||RT that could move to LT with improved pass pro; very raw||Link|
|*D.J. Humphries||T||6050||307||Florida||RT that could play LT; Good for Zone Blocking Scheme (ZBS)||Link|
|#T.J. Clemmings||T||6046||309||Pitt||RT with length; could move to LT later; converted DE||Link|
|Cameron Erving||C/T||6054||313||Florida State||Could push to start immediately at C or RT||Link|
|Eddie Goldman||NT/DE||6037||336||Florida State||Played DE originally, still athletic enough to do it in a 3-4||Link|
STACKING THE BOARD:
Finally, we’ve arrived at our first round board. We’ve taken out positions that don’t make sense, eliminated prospects that are highly unlikely to be available, and ranked the remaining prospects as we think the Broncos would rank them. On Thursday, reference this list, and cross off the players as they are selected. The highest priority player remaining should be the Broncos selection, and I am fairly confident the Broncos first round pick is on this list.
1st Round Board:
|Assuming the “no-brainers” are off the board, these are the likeliest picks for the Broncos in round one:|
|1. #Andrus Peat||T||6067||313||Stanford||Primarily a LT prospect but powerful enough to play the right side as well||Link|
|2. *La’el Collins||T/G||6044||305||LSU||May be limited to RT/G, but more NFL-ready than others on this list||Link|
|3. Ereck Flowers||T||6062||329||Miami||RT that could move to LT with improved pass pro; very raw||Link|
|4.*D.J. Humphries||T||6050||307||Florida||RT that could play LT; Good for Zone Blocking Scheme (ZBS)||Link|
|5. Cameron Erving||C/T||6054||313||Florida State||Could push to start immediately at C or RT||Link|
|6. #T.J. Clemmings||T||6046||309||Pitt||RT with length; could move to LT later; converted DE||Link|
On trading up…
Mike Klis at the Denver Post has written that he thinks the Broncos will use some of their bevy of picks to move up in the first round. I suppose that is a possibility, considering Elway admittedly attempted to do so last year in an effort to snag C.J. Mosley, but I don’t find it likely for a couple of reasons. First, it has historically proven quite expensive to move up in round 1, in terms of draft capital. We know it isn’t perfect, but one source that attempts to quantify the value of draft picks was developed by Jimmy Johnson in the early 90s. According to his chart if the Broncos decide to move up even 5 or 6 spots in the first round, it would cost them at least their 3rd round pick and maybe more.
You can view the chart for yourself on a number of sites, but here’s a link to PFF’s: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/draft_trade_value.htm
Such a move may enable Denver to move up to grab a player they really like at number 22 or 23, but it would also leave them without a 3rd round pick (and maybe more). That means after they pick 59th overall in the 2nd round, they would have to wait until the end of the 4th round to pick again (133rd overall). That’s a huge amount of time to wait between picks, especially considering the number of positions on the roster requiring additional depth. In reality, it could prove to be the difference between coming out of this draft with 2 potential starters instead of 3. I find it far more likely that they will use their extra picks to move up in the 2nd or 3rd round, where the price of a trade involving picks becomes much more palatable.
The second reason I think a move up in the 1st round is unlikely for the Broncos is that several of Denver’s picks either cannot be traded or would have little value in a trade. As compensatory picks, numbers 133, 250, 251 and 252 cannot, by rule, be traded. That leaves only 28, 59, 92, 143, 164 and 203 as trade bait, and of those only 28, 59, 92 and maybe 143 present any real value in a trade. Thus, despite possessing 10 picks, Denver’s ability to move up in the first round is somewhat limited unless they are willing to deal future picks as well.
And finally, there isn’t really a need to move up in the 1st round. The Broncos’ needs on the offensive line align perfectly with the talent likely to be available at the end of round 1. In other words, the Broncos can sit back and wait to see who is left on their board with a fair amount of certainty that a significant upgrade to the offensive line will be available.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss Day 2 of the draft, which will consist of rounds 2 and 3. Thanks again, and Go Broncos.