It just makes too much sense.
So we are a couple weeks removed from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine and one week into Free Agency, so the draft needs of each team are starting to become more obvious. For the Broncos, it is currently, left tackle and offensive weapons.
The Broncos have addressed the offensive line position, but they still do not have a pure left tackle on the roster. They could spend a first-round pick on one, but I believe they will add a veteran(King Dunlap maybe) or explore the trade market. So this mock will not have an offensive tackle mocked in the first round to the Broncos(SPOILER ALERT!!!) so let's see who I do have the Broncos taking in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
It took awhile for me to jump on the Christian McCaffrey bandwagon(Some here have been on it for awhile), but I officially joined it, and I think members of the Denver Broncos are also on that bandwagon.
On Wednesday, Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph called McCaffrey a "Special Player".
"He's a special player," Joseph added. "He gives you a first-, second-, third-down player. He's also a returner. It's a need for us. He would definitely be in the conversation."
Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway spoke about McCaffrey during this month's NFL Scouting Combine, and he had similar thoughts and opinions about McCaffrey.
"He’s a dynamic player who can do it all,’’ Elway said. "Wherever he goes he’s going to have an immediate impact.’’
Even Christian himself said he thinks that it would be "awesome" to be drafted and play for the Denver Broncos, the same team that his father, Ed McCaffrey won two Super Bowls with during the late 90's.
"That’d be awesome, that’d be great, I’d love to play there,’’ McCaffrey said. "It’s kind of hard to be a fan of anywhere any more because you start to wind down things and you don’t know where you’re going to end up. I’d be happy to play for anybody.’’
So it just makes too much sense for the Broncos to select McCaffrey with their first-round pick in April's NFL Draft, doesn't it?
He would also fill a few holes for the Broncos. He would give the Broncos a speed element at the running back position., a slot receiver who can line up anywhere on the field, and a playmaker in the return game.
It's easy to give @CMcCaffrey5 lots of attention. The greatest @rosebowlgame performance ever and at the end of 2015 was POY in College!!! pic.twitter.com/519TYo63iP— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) March 16, 2017
McCaffrey may not carry the ball 15-20 times a game, but he can give you that many touches in multiple different ways and be an impact player in whatever he does. He would give the Broncos a much-needed impact player on the offensive side of the ball.
It just makes too much sense.
It has been reported that the Broncos are likely to take a cornerback early in the draft, so I have them taking the former Florida Gator ball-hawking corner going to the Broncos in the second round.
Stat of the Night - @_31Flavorz had a PBU or an INT on 26.5% of his targets in 2016... That's the best mark in the 2016 draft class!#DBU pic.twitter.com/lNyYqRmgsB— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) March 15, 2017
Cornerback is a big need for the Broncos and a position that General Manager John Elway values.
Kayvon Webster took his talents to LA, Aqib Talib is getting up there in age, has a looming suspension out there for shooting himself last summer, and is likely playing his final season for the Broncos. Also, the Broncos have a decision to make on cornerback Bradley Roby. Will they pick up his rather pricey fifth-year option?
So this is why Tabor makes a ton of sense here in the second round.
He was originally considered a first-round prospect, but a poor 40 time and some character concerns will likely drop him in this loaded cornerback class. However, the talent is there. He's a physical corner, a ball hawk, and reminds me a bit of Aqib Talib. The way he plays and his personality.
With the Broncos depth at corner, he could be brought along slowly and play special teams his rookie year before eventually taking over for Talib the following year.
You can never have enough corners in this league.
|3||82||Bucky Hodges||TE||Virginia Tech||6-6||257lbs|
The Broncos already have a number of tight ends who can block. Virgil Green, A.J. Derby, and Jeff Heuerman. However, none of them have proven they can be a trusted receiving option in the passing game. This is where Bucky Hodges comes in.
He has great size(6-6, 257lbs) and ran a 4.57 40 time at the Combine a few weeks back, so he is a mismatch for opposing defenses. He is also a touchdown machine. He caught a total of 13 touchdowns the past two seasons for Virginia Tech.
Bucky Hodges is a threat.. pic.twitter.com/Kmln6DK09a— Football Posts (@FballPosts) March 10, 2017
Hodges is built and plays like a big wide receiver more than your normal tight end, but can be a playmaker in the NFL.
Also, Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy would find ways to get Hodges in winnable one on one matchups in his offense. His size and speed make him a mismatch more everyone on the field, especially linebackers and safeties who will most likely be covering Hodges on the field.
He might not be a starter right away, but he will have some packages in the offensive playbook for sure. Especially in the red zone. Jump ball fades every time.
Anzalone is a rather athletic and physical linebacker who could be a difference-maker for the Broncos defense. A three-down linebacker who can cover, blitz, stop the run, and basically play in any scheme you ask of him.
He is also NFL Network's Mike Mayock's 5th best linebacker in this year's draft.
[email protected]'s Top 5 Linebackers.— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 5, 2017
Watch them run the 40 NOW on NFL Network! #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/UMQOPosqqr
The Broncos have Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis(who they just placed a 2nd round tender on) so they don't need a linebacker, but with Davis becoming a UFA next season, they need a replacement as well as some depth.
Now, Anzalone does come with some injury concerns(why I think he will be available here) so that's something to monitor, but when healthy he can be a damn good linebacker for whoever drafts him.
Plus he has Clay Matthews like hair which is always cool.
An offensive tackle in the 4th round? Yeah, I know that seems insane right now but like I said in the introduction, I think Elway has something up his sleeve. Whether that be signing someone like King Dunlap or getting a Joe Staley or someone in a trade, he HAS to do something.
Despite what they're saying publicly, I doubt they are comfortable with Donald Stephenson or Menelik Watson being the starting left tackle next season(Especially if Elway is trying to sign Tony Romo). So I expect something to be done there.
The Broncos have interest in Bucknell OT Julien Davenport. More to come in a full write-up.— Predominantly Orange (@PredomOrange) March 14, 2017
I've been a fan of Davenport since the Senior Bowl. The Bucknell product held his own and has the size, length, and physical traits that you desire at the tackle position.
He is listed at 6-7, 318lbs and has 36 1/2" arms with 10.5-inch hands. He is a very large human who would be a very intriguing development prospect for Offensive Line coach Jeff Davidson.
He played against lower level competition at Bucknell but will likely not be ready for pass rushers like Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, Joey Bosa and some of the other pass rushers in the AFC West.
He's raw, his technique is lacking, he hasn't faced top competition, but if you can teach him and develop him, you may have a steal here in the fourth round.
With the Broncos likely playing a bit more spread under Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy, and that means they need an upgrade at slot receiver. University of North Carolina's Ryan Switzer can be that guy, and apparently someone the Broncos are rather high on.
UNC slot WR/returner Ryan Switzer will meet with #Broncos tonight. I've heard they're real high on him. Could fill a couple needs. pic.twitter.com/VMRF3AxrKo— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) March 3, 2017
He is your Wes Welker/Julian Edelman/Brandon Stokley/Cole Beasley type slot receiver. I'm not saying he will turn out like either of those players, but his style is comparable.
He is slot only, reliable hands, a crisp route runner, and accelerates quickly. He lacks high-end speed but has enough acceleration to gain separation on slot corners.
I think someone like this can become a nice security blanket for whoever the Broncos quarterback is and always be annoyingly wide open like Julian Edelman and Wes Welker did for the Patriots offense.
One final thought. Mike McCoy knows Peyton Manning's offense and Manning always had a slot receiver produce during his best seasons. So It will be interesting to see if he brings that back this time around.
Like cornerbacks, edge rusher is another position that John Elway values highly and will likely always end up drafting one if there's even a hint of a need. Right now, the Broncos have All-Pro Von Miller, first-round Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett at the edge rushing position, but could use another development project.
This is where Tashawn Bower fits for the Broncos. He is a very raw prospect who didn't produce at a high level in college, but his size and athletic traits make him a very intriguing developmental project for someone.
[email protected] was a top performer in the 60-yard shuttle, recording a time of 11.77 seconds at the NFL Combine. #NFLSU pic.twitter.com/C9SG4LQ5C4— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) March 6, 2017
After a strong Combine showing he may end up going higher on potential alone, but if he's there late I think the Broncos should roll the dice on him.
Once you get into the seventh round it becomes extremely difficult to guess on who will be available and who those teams may select. So I go for players who fit a profile and in this case, have some local ties to the team.
This is why I selected the massive Josh Tupou.
Former Buff Josh Tupou ready for his chance https://t.co/SFAJzYzOxN pic.twitter.com/08SvRxAUd0— Buffzone (@buffzone) March 10, 2017
Tupou may go earlier than this, but if he's there he makes sense as a developmental nose tackle behind Domata Peko. He would serve as depth as a run stuffing nose tackle.
I think the local crowd will like this pick.
|7||252||Isaac Rochell||DE||Notre Dame||6-4||280lbs|
At 6-4, 280lbs, Rochell would serve as depth at the defensive end position.
He's a high motor, blue collar, two-down defensive lineman who will compete as a rotational run stopper in the league. He offers very little in the pass rush department, but his motor and strength make him a solid run defender at the next level.
Like Tupou above, he may a bit earlier, but if available he will help the Broncos and push for a roster spot during Training Camp and the Preseason.
With the final pick in the draft, I have the Broncos taking a smaller linebacker in Blair Brown.
He lacks physical traits, has shorter arms than desired, only 5-11, and is only a one-year wonder. These reasons alone why I think he's a 7th rounder at best, and most likely a undrafted free agent.
However, he makes up for his physical limitations with his instincts. He's a downhill linebacker who will knock the snot out of you if he hits you. That physical mentality makes him a potentially very good Special Teams player in the NFL.
I'm not sure that he will ever be a starter in the NFL, but his traits fit as a potential Special Teams ace. Something the Broncos need after losing David Bruton and Kayvon Webster in back to back years.