With several celebrity draftniks updating their rankings recently, I thought some readers might be interested in taking a peek at what my composite rankings currently look like. For this particular exercise, I’ll be including only positions that would fill needs I’ve identified for the Broncos.
To lighten things up, I’ll be sticking with the theme established in today’s Orange Overview with Bob’s Beastie Boys joke. So let’s get it together.
Here are the needs, as I see them:
Primary Needs: T, Slot WR, KR/PR
Upgrade: TE, ILB, DL
Depth: CB, RB, Edge, QB*
None: C, G, S, K, P, LS
*QB is a depth need that is almost certain to be addressed via free agency, so QB prospects will not be featured here.
|4||Jermaine Eluemunor||604||325||Texas A&M||2-3|
|5||Taylor Moton||605||328||Western Michigan||2-3|
|7||Roderick Johnson||607||311||Florida State||2-3|
*Players who’ve met with the team
The need here is huge, and while there is reasonable concern that none of these guys are a sure shot worthy of the 20th pick, I think both Ramczyk and Bolles are solid first round selections. Moving back to take one would help to maximize value, but it would not be without risk. This is a premium position, and the Broncos aren’t the only team looking to fill a need here. Ramczyk could slide due to medical concerns.
Robinson would be considered a good value in round 2, but it’s unlikely he’ll drop to #51, and he likely projects as a RT or G. The other Day 2 options are Eluemunor, Moton, Garcia and probably Johnson. Eluemunor is a wild card, with only a few years experience playing football. Like Robinson, Moton projects strictly as a RT or G. Garcia is probably the best bet outside of round 1 to develop into a starting LT in the NFL, but it won’t happen overnight. Johnson is more of a long shot. He’s got some physical ability, but he’s sloppy.
|1||Corey Davis||603||205||Western Michigan||Top 20|
|2||Mike Williams||603||220||Clemson||Top 20|
|3||John Ross III*||511||190||Washington||1|
|4||Zay Jones||602||202||East Carolina||2-3|
|5||Curtis Samuel||511||200||Ohio State||2-3|
|6||Cooper Kupp||601||195||Eastern Washington||2-3|
|7||Chris Godwin||601||201||Penn State||3-5|
|11||Carlos Henderson||511||191||Louisiana Tech||4-6|
|12||Taywan Taylor||511||198||Western Kentucky||4-6|
I’ve included all WRs here, but in reality I think the Broncos are most likely to target a prospect suited to play in the slot. The names in bold best fit that mold. This is a much deeper group than T, as some of these guys can really put that left leg down and right leg up.
We all know John Ross by now and his fastest ever 40-time. That kind of speed coupled with his KR experience make him a very nice fit for Denver. Curtis Samuel is a very exciting option in round 2 as a guy who can be used in a number of ways offensively. For all the talk of the Broncos adding an offensive weapon in the draft, I’m surprised his name doesn’t come up more often. Chris Godwin has gained a lot of momentum during the offseason evaluation process, and he’d be a nice add in round 3. There are options available throughout the draft, so if the Broncos miss out on Ross on Day 1 and Samuel on Day 2 there are still plenty of options. Many of these guys project as KR/PR, too, so there’s a chance to knock out two major needs with one player here.
|5||Gerald Everett*||604||240||South Alabama||2-3|
|6||Bucky Hodges*||607||245||Virginia Tech||2-3|
|10||Jonnu Smith||603||245||Florida International||4-6|
It doesn’t get much more exciting than this group. There are prospects here who will be drafted late on Day 2 and even into Day 3 who have the ability to come in and make an immediate impact. It’s unheard of for three TEs to be in the first round conversation, but that’s the case this year. By the end of Day 2 we should see about eight of these names called. If I’m the Broncos, I’m thinking “if this is gonna be that kind of party…”
If OJ Howard falls to 20, I think he’s a no-brainer. If he doesn’t, which is probably the case, Njoku has to be in consideration, as is Engram, especially following a move back. These guys are all going to catch balls immediately at the next level. Howard is the best blocker of the bunch, but Njoku is willing to bang heads, too. Engram is more of an move TE who probably won’t move the pile in the run game.
Outside of the top 3, I still see tremendous talent on the board. Shaheen is freak at that size; Everett is a playmaker; and Hodges might be the best athlete of the second tier. He’ll need some refinement, but he offers some delightful mismatch possibilities. Jake Butt was injured in his bowl game, which has slid him down the board, but he could be a very low risk/high reward selection. There’s all kind of talent in this TE buffet, so whatcha want?
|1||Reuben Foster||6002||246||Alabama||Top 15|
|5||Raekwon McMillan||602||240||Ohio State||2-3|
|9||Anthony Walker, Jr.||601||235||Northwestern||3-5|
Reuben Foster is a baller, and while rumors of a slide persist due to his being sent home from the Scouting Combine, I don’t buy it. He’s just too good. Like OJ Howard, in the unlikely event Reuben Foster falls to 20, he’ll probably be a Bronco.
After Foster, though, are three legitimate targets for Denver in Reddick, Cunningham and Davis. All three can run and hit, and I think they all represent an upgrade over Todd Davis in pass coverage. Reddick is likely in the first round discussion, with the other two representing better value in round 2. If the Broncos don’t come out of the draft with a LB, though, they’ll likely be just fine. That means if a great value falls to them, they’ll make some noise, but if it doesn’t work out that way they’ll just stand pat.
|1||Jonathan Allen||6025||295||Alabama||Top 5|
|2||Malik McDowell||604||276||Michigan State||1-2|
|8||DeMarcus Walker||603||273||Florida State||3-5|
|8||Vincent Taylor||602||310||Oklahoma State||3-5|
You’ll notice there are several names on both lists, which indicates that these guys can likely play anywhere on the interior for the Broncos. After adding Domata Peko and Zach Kerr during free agency, the Broncos have flexibility here, in that they could target either a DE, a NT or someone to play both in the draft.
Brantley is probably better-suited as a 3-, 4- or 5-tech than a true nose, but I think when it comes to NT he can hold it down. He’d be a nice target following a move back in the first round, or up in the second if he lasts to day 2. McDowell is rumored to have interviewed very poorly, and there are questions about his character, but man, he’s got it all from a physical standpoint. I’ve got Taco Charlton on this list because I think he could play 3-4 end in the base D, but his ability to rush the passer from the edge likely dictates that he’ll be selected to do just that by another team in the first round.
There are several interesting day 2 options on the board, including Wormley, Watkins, Tomlinson and Ogunjobi. There’s potential dyn-o-mite in this group.
|1||Marshon Lattimore||600||192||Ohio State||Top 10|
|7||Gareon Conley||601||195||Ohio State||1-2|
|15||Rasul Douglas||602||209||West Virginia||3-5|
This group is silly deep and equally hard to rank. Honestly, you could draw names out of a hat from 2-13 after Lattimore, and it wouldn’t shock anyone if one of these other guys goes first. There’s too many to highlight in this piece, but I’ll tell you this: These guys will be on WRs’ tails like a sheriff’s posse.
|1||Leonard Fournette||601||230||LSU||Top 15|
|2||Dalvin Cook||511||206||Florida State||1|
|7||Marlon Mack*||600||210||South Florida||3-5|
|11||Jeremy McNichols||509||207||Boise State||5-7|
|14||Matthew Dayes||509||203||NC State||5-7|
The love for Christian McCaffrey is strong here at Thin Air, so there isn’t much I can tell you about him you don’t already know. His versatility is key as it makes him a potential first round for Denver. Not only would he likely be the best RB on the team, he also can line up in the slot and return kicks and punts, effectively checking three boxes for the Broncos.
After McCaffrey there are several other talented options. Some might say these guys are electric, like Dick Hyman. Both Kamara and Mixon look like great prospects, but Mixon of course carries substantial baggage.
|1||Myles Garrett||6051||261||Texas A&M||Top 5|
|2||Solomon Thomas||603||273||Stanford||Top 10|
|10||Jordan Willis||604||255||Kansas State||3-5|
|13||Demarcus Walker||602||273||Florida State||4-6|
|15||Derek Rivers||604||250||Youngstown State||4-6|
Another crazy deep group here, which means there’s no “rush” (see what I did there?) to snag one of these guys. With D Ware moving on, though, the Broncos would be wise to target someone in this group on Day 3. Most of the top guys will be gone, so I dove a little deeper in the well for this table. With Miller, Ray and Barrett already in tow the need here might not be obvious, but you can never have too many pass rushers – it’s the new style.
So there you go, Bronco fans. These lists are fluid, but it’s pretty likely several of the Broncos picks in this year’s draft are listed above. Who’d I miss?