Part I, Running Backs and Quarterbacks. Included are charts, tables and a snickers bar
Sorry, I ate the Snickers, because I was getting hangry from low blood sugar spent watching film. Now that the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl, and NFL Combines are over, it’s time to dig into some names the Denver Broncos could target.
Today we focus on two position groups: Running backs and quarterbacks.
Before I begin, need to let everyone know that without a regular Fan Poster, Cool_Ninja3100, this piece would be half of what it is. Not only did he put together the colorful charts from the combine, but at the begging of me, broke out some of the position groups (bless you, you made my job so much easier).
He also was a sounding board to bounce names off of. We may have even changed the other’s mind on a couple and even unearthed a gem here and there.
Because my new man crush put color codes, it’s easier to see who is elite (Blue), above average (Green), average (White), below average (Yellow) and Houston we have a problem (Red). Black is for those who didn’t perform. Many athletes opted out because they’re going to work out on Pro Day or were sick or recovering from an injury. Don’t let that sway you.
Along with his charts, I made a few tables to compare certain player’s numbers from college, trying to give as well rounded a perspective as possible.
With that, lets kick off with...
Running Back is a position group Denver met quite a few from. You can go here and see all the names for every one Denver has interviewed. Note: Denver has signed players in the past without an interview and/or didn’t meet them until they came to Englewood for a work out.
There are three players who are every down guys and then some debate after them. Fournette, Cook, Mixon.
Leonard Fournette is the guy you want between the tackles. He’s a bull in a China shop and like a bull, it takes him a step or two to get going, but when he does, he’s hard to take down. He’ll be long gone by 20.
Joe Mixon is the everything guy. He’s quick and fast. He’s got great vision, balance and hips. He’s a matchup nightmare (overdone term, but it’s true) and he can be a receiver out of the backfield with good hands. He runs with purpose and passion. This cat will be a steal, no matter the round. You can bet that whatever team takes him, they’ve been spying on him every time he goes outside.
Dalvin Cook’s numbers at the combine were poor; however, teams who have watched him live, won’t care, like Tampa Bay. He rises to the talent he plays against. He has a nose for the end zone, as the chart below highlights. He’s used to a QB playing in the gun, under center and playing with a FB (fellow draft prospect Freddie Stevenson). This last item is overlooked and it shouldn't be. Unless we trade Janovich, this puts him above the rest. He’s a perfect for what we need and has the drive to do it. He’s deceptively quick and can changes angles in a breath. He glides around defenders.
Denver did meet with him, but if they pick a RB in the first round and Christian McCaffrey is still there, Denver fans will storm the doors in Dove Valley, torches and pitchforks in hand. There’s nothing on lil Mac I can write that’s not been done by every Denver media outlet, so I’m not going to be able to offer any insight worth your time to read.
There’s obviously speculation on what position gets drafted first. Going to list the second or later guys.
Samaje Perine. D’Onta Foreman. Marlon Mack. Kareem Hunt. Jamaal Williams. Brian Hill. Can the first two be an every down back? They have the build and style of play for it. Perine gets overlooked, but that guy is a Brick Howwwse. He’s mightee mightee. A stone with wheels. Seriously, he’s got some wheels. Not great hands, though.
Foreman didn’t run at the combine, but I can tell you, he’s fast enough to get the job done. Gone like a freight train, fast. Plus, he produces. North, South produces. Why he could be appealing in Denver is because he can pick up a blitz and isn’t afraid to block. Regardless of who is the QB, he will benefit from some extra blocking.
Both come from schools where they played against the best. The next four, are most likely shared down backs unless their varying skills at ball catching makes the difference.
People talk about the guys who burn for football. Is their heart in it? I can say that for Hunt and Williams, that’s a big 10-4, good buddy. I spoke with them. When a guy tells me that there’s nothing about football he doesn’t love, even getting hit because that’s part of the game, my heart does a little extra thump thump. You don’t get me at hello, you get me at, I LOVE FOOTBALL. I turn into chocolate in a Florida car.
When a player gets in trouble and battles back, when it would be easier to transfer elsewhere, that’s heart, my brothers and sisters. Especially when he attends a school where he stands out like an onyx stone on a sugar sand beach. Something else Hunt and Williams have in common is ball security. Hunt never did turn one over and Williams only, twice. Those two aren’t the flashy guys, but they’re dependable, strong, and have good balance. Hunt told me he likes to catch the ball and thinks he’s got good hands (he does). Oh, and watch out for Williams’ first step, it’s good.
Kareem’s favorite player was LeBron James, Vinny Testaverde and any Buckeye. Jamaal’s favorites were Walter Payton and Eric Dickerson.
Denver met with one quarterback in total, Patrick Mahones, who shares an agent with, Paxton Lynch. Both guys are mobile gunslingers (each threw 59MPH), indicating Elway loves that style of play. Patrick should be a first round pick, so it’s hard to imagine Denver goes back-to-back on QB as their first pick.
No matter who is the targeted starter this season, Elway has let his coaches use a 7th pick. Fox (Dysert), Kubiak (Siemian). I don’t see why Elway wouldn't continue that. Right now, we have 10 picks, leaving us with most likely a couple to burn.
I can’t see a 7th round QB, in this class, being helpful. My guess is, most of these guys will go undrafted. Sefo Liufau or one of the other two 6’3” guys who will be left are options I can see Offensive Mike McCoy targeting.
If we wanted to go an upper pick, I like Brad Kaaya. He’s a guy who should’ve stayed another year, but with the coaching situation there, can’t say I blame him for leaving. His talent has truly been mismanaged at that nasty school. As a number three on an NFL team, though, unless one and two go down, hard to see him getting a lot of time spent on developing him. The rest of the QB’s, as Shania Twain used to sing, don’t impress me much.
There you have it. A list I’m sure we don’t all agree on. I left some names off for the sake of brevity or their upside put them out of our reach, or they’re wrong for our scheme or I flat out don’t them. Some names I missed because I have a job and only so many hours in a day to watch film.
Be nice in the comments, my set of armor is at the blacksmith’s getting repaired.