Pre-Combine First Round Draft Board

Draft season is heating up, and since there’s little else to discuss I’ve decided to share my Pre-Combine First Round Draft Board for the Broncos. I must emphasize it is VERY early in the draft preparation process, so many of the names I provide today will likely drop off the first round board by April 28th, and many new names will be added. In addition to the Scouting Combine there will be countless individual workouts and pre-draft visits that will impact prospects’ grades before the draft. Moreover, teams will use Free Agency to fill many of their immediate needs, which will also have a huge impact on their respective draft boards. 

Obviously there’s a lot of guesswork involved here. This list might contain the name of the Broncos’ first selection in this year’s draft, but it’s also sure to include several names that we will look back and laugh at a couple months down the road. Some of these truants will find home, and a wish to hold onto, but others will be swept out through the crack beneath the door.

As always, I’ve identified and prioritized the Broncos’ various needs and then cross checked them against prospects at those positions to give you a few names to watch for at the Combine. I’ve left out many names that project as early first round picks, assuming at this point the Broncos will stay put and draft with their natural pick, #31.

WARNING: Shameless speculation to follow

1st Round Prioritization:
Name Position Height Weight School Remarks Scouting Report
Jack Conklin T 606 318 Michigan State Could be a quality starter immediately at RT; Makes up for minor physical limitation with sound technique Report
Taylor Decker T 607 315 Ohio State Strong and tough; He’ll be a fixture at RT for years Report
Austin Johnson NT 604 324 Penn State Exceptional size and strength; Great production inside; Bad hand usage; Lets blockers into his frame; Doesn’t quit against double teams Report
Sheldon Rankins 3-4 DE/NT 602 303 Louisville Elite foot quickness; Powerful, violent hands; Short for a 5-tech; Small stature could cause him to fall Report
Kevin Dodd 3-4 DE/OLB 605 280 Clemson Big frame; Relentless competitor; Gets off blocks quickly; Productive pass rusher; Only one productive season Report
Andrew Billings NT/DE 602 300 Baylor Elite power and weight-lifting background; Great burst for a big man; Struggles to change direction; Raw pass rusher; Only 21 years old Report
Darron Lee ILB 602 235 Ohio State Quick to diagnose; Loose hips and quick feet; Rangy playmaker; Plus in man coverage; Lean for LB; Too many arm tackles; Misses tackles Report
Cody Whitehair G 604 309 Kansas State 4-year starter; Team captain; Short arms but big hands; Exceptional body control and core strength; “Safe” pick; All-Pro ceiling Report
Shon Coleman T 606 313 Auburn Long and nasty; Inconsistent footwork; will turn 25 after missing two years with leukemia Report
Jarran Reed NT/DE 604 313 Alabama Good frame; Elite run defender; No pass rush; Lacks foot quickness for one gap scheme Report
Jonathan Bullard 3-4 DE 603 277 Florida Quick and instinctive; Good initial pad level but gets taller as play progresses; Tends to sit on blocks if initial move fails Report
Darian Thompson FS 602 210 Boise State Ballhawk; Physical, solid tackler; Lacks instincts and awareness in coverage; Undisciplined; Allowed several deep TDs Report
Derrick Henry RB 603 242 Alabama Huge RB; Rare speed for size; Makes tacklers miss but doesn’t break them; Heavy workload; Tall, long-strider Report
Ryan Kelly C 604 297 Alabama Great leader; 3-year starter at Alabama; Can challenge for a starting position right away Report
Paxton Lynch QB 607 245 Memphis Big, athletic; Can escape pressure and extend plays; Misses too many reads/open WRs; Slow through progressions Report

Again, this list is fluid, but I thought it would be fun to have some names to look for during the Underwear Olympics in Indianapolis next week.

Go Broncos.