Well here we are in mid-April, with the draft just days away and we have come out the other side of the will he won’t he Tony Romo saga, and thankfully it seems he won’t. Therefore all of our thoughts start to turn to Philadelphia and just whom might the Broncos be selecting in the draft. Assuming there are no trades, a dangerous game to play I know, then the Broncos first two picks will be at number 20 and number 51. I say that knowing full well that there are rumours linking the Broncos and the Browns with a potential trade for Joe Thomas.
Now Thomas is certainly one of the top Linemen in the league, who is coming towards the end of his career, and with that in mind I am not sure what the asking price would actually be. I think we can all agree that a deal for Thomas would be more beneficial to the Broncos than any deal for Tony Romo would have been. This is not the first time that a potential deal for Thomas has been on the table between these two teams, and I am unsure if a deal is really any more likely this time round than last. offensive line is certainly one of the largest areas of need for the Broncos, as we look to move forward with our two young quarterbacks and to get the running game going once again. But this leads to the age-old question regarding the draft, do you select the best player available, or the best player in your position of need? Hopefully, the two collide of course. John Elway traditionally has been a best player available guy, but he has been operating from a position of strength for some time now and with the AFC West likely to be the most competitive division in the NFL this coming season, a productive draft is now essential to see Denver return to the playoffs once more.
So, heading into the draft, what do we know? We know, as already indicated, that Tony Romo is heading into the CBS booth, and no other deal has been done with any of the other veteran QB’s out there (Cutler, Kaepernick, Fitzpatrick) and Elway has said he is happy to roll with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch under centre. On the defensive side, DeMarcus Ware has retired meaning that Shane Ray now needs to fully step up opposite Von Miller as pass rusher, otherwise our new head coach, Vance Joseph and Joe Woods as DC are inheriting one of the better defensive units in the league. A few seasons ago after Super Bowl 48, Elway had to overhaul the D, and now he needs to oversee some tweaking to the Offence.
Myles Garrett will be gone by the time we select, however everybody else it seems could go anywhere. If we take Elway’s word and we are not in the market for QB’s, you would still think that the first pick will go on an offensive player. The best player available route might see us having a pick between Christian McCaffrey , RB from Stanford, Joe Mixon, RB from Oklahoma (sizeable red flags here to say the least), David Njoku, TE from Miami and Evan Engram, TE from Ole Miss. Out of these four, McCaffrey would be my favourite selection as he offers so many options from the backfield or even in the slot.
These picks could be seen as luxury picks though, the tight ends maybe not quite so much, as a fully healthy CJ Anderson and Devontae Booker could well handle the backfield duties, but for that to be the case, they will need running lanes to be opened, and that takes us back to the Offensive Line. Some names in the draft to look for here are Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky, Garrett Bolles from Utah, Ryan Ramczyk from Wisconsin and Cam Robinson from Alabama. As pro ready as Alabama players tend to be, my preference here would be Ramczyk. Wisconsin have a great running game tradition, and Ramczyk would be a great fit into the Broncos OL and help get that running game going again.
If you wanted to go defensive line instead, there are a few first round quality players like Garrett who should be off the board before Denver are on the clock, like Solomon Thomas from Stanford and Jonathan Allen from Alabama. In recent years the Broncos defensive mantra has been you cannot have too many pass rushers, and there could still be some there in the first and potentially second round. Some names to watch for are Derek Burnett from Tennessee, Takkarist McKinley from UCLA, Hasson Riddick from Temple, Tim Williams from Alabama, Derek Rivers from Youngstown and TJ Watt from Wisconsin (yes we all know how good his brother is, and all the rumours suggest he has the same work ethic). Any pass rusher coming to Denver is almost certain to face one on one blocking as Miller draws double and triple teams on the other side.
Assuming we haven’t traded away the picks for Joe Thomas then I really want McCaffery in the same way that Jerry Jones wanted Jonny Manziel a few years ago. Like Jerry I think and hope I would shout down the demons in my head though and take Ryan Ramczyk at number 20. In the second-round I would be very surprised if Reddick was still there so I would come back on offensive again if Evan Engram is still there, if not I would look at taking Derek Rivers. I would then be looking to find a deal to move up in the third and take TJ Watt and double up on Wisconsin players in the draft. Later on in the draft, I would be interested in Cooper Kupp a slot receiver from Eastern Washington to complement our outside guys.
Those are my choices though, let’s hear yours and get some fun debate going before we all sit down with a Philly Cheese Steak and find out once and for all.