At FanSided’s NFL Draft website NFLMocks.com (where I am also co-editor) we are conducting bi-monthly community mock drafts, where the staff gets together on a Facebook group chat and is given a handful of NFL teams to be the ‘GM’ of for a full 7-round mock draft.
We are currently knee deep in our second run-through of the draft, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the haul I’ve gotten for the Broncos thus far.
To be clear, trades and all players are able to be traded, and we are keeping track of it all. Future picks are also in the mix.
Here’s how it’s gone down through five rounds.
1. First round, 31st overall: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The decision to take Shazier was an easy one for me. He is one of the most athletic and productive linebackers in the draft, and I think he gives the Broncos four-down capabilities. People want to keep saying that Shazier is undersized at 6’1″ 237 pounds, but I would contend that’s horse crap.
Shazier is bulkier (albeit shorter) than Luke Kuechly, one of the best linebackers in the NFL right now, if not THE best.
I’m not saying Shazier is Kuechly, and if he is, there’s no way he’ll be around with this pick. What I am saying is that he can play the middle in Denver’s defense and the only knock on him is his ability to shed blocks, which is a very overrated aspect of a college player’s game since not many LBs excel in this area at this age anyway.
For my money, Shazier is the best player I could have gotten with this pick, and he’s a plug-and-play starter from day one.
2. Second round, 63rd overall: Brandon Thomas, OL, Clemson
The Broncos haven’t really found a solution for their situation happening at left guard yet. The rumor is that Orlando Franklin will move inside and Chris Clark will move to right tackle, but in an ideal world, the Broncos would have someone waiting in the wings to take over at one of those two positions if the need should arise.
Thomas was a very productive player at Clemson at tackle, but the thought is that he can move inside to guard in the pros. He has great length, quickness, and upper body strength, and has the look of a long-time starter in the NFL.
- Broncos trade 2015 2nd round pick to Dolphins for DE Dion Jordan
I saw an upgrade here to trade for a guy that I thought could be a huge help for the Broncos. Jordan was a top 3 pick a year ago by the Dolphins, who are looking to clean house. They may choose to hang on to him ultimately, but I felt like this was a financially responsible move to make considering Jordan’s price tag, and the fact that he can play multiple positions.
Jordan’s athletic ability makes him scheme diverse, but his size lends toward him being a great fit as an end in the 4-3 defense as well. He can rush the QB from a variety of spots and in his first year with the Broncos, he would provide some strong depth.
3. Third round, 95th overall: Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
The Broncos are going to take a WR at some point, and I felt like Ellington was a fantastic fit for what we need him to do. He is a dynamic playmaker even at about 5’9″ and 197 pounds. He has explosive leaping ability and very strong hands. He wins one-on-one battles downfield despite being shorter than a lot of defensive backs.
His toughness and ability to make plays down the field are really attractive to me as a potential future slot WR replacement for Wes Welker, allowing Emmanuel Sanders to stay outside. In case you’re not in love with Ellington as a prospect yet, prepare for it.
4. Fourth Round: Jordie Tripp, LB/ST, Montana
The Broncos lost Wesley Woodyard to the Titans, a player who was a team captain from the minute he became a Bronco and exemplified what it means to be a team player. I loved Woodyard, enough to the point that I own his jersey, but all good things, as they say….
The Broncos need someone who can come in and contribute immediately on special teams, but I think Tripp has some upside as a starter at linebacker eventually.
This is a versatile player who can also excel on special teams and even be a long snapper. He is a player the Broncos have talked to as well, and at 6’3″ 237 pounds he has excellent athleticism to be a key special teams player.
5. Fifth Round: Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
At this point in the draft, I felt like I could go with either a reach at CB or I could pick one of the top centers available this year. Larsen is a top 5 center prospect with starter potential even in year one, and I think the Broncos would be elated to have him fall to their fifth round pick. He’s been an all-conference performer three straight years at Utah State, and gives the Broncos a guy who can start at center in the future.
To Sum Up…
- In addition to the Broncos getting DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward for the defense, I managed to add Dion Jordan (Dolphins) and Ryan Shazier in the first two rounds of the draft.
- I shored up an offensive line that is likely going to be Clady, Franklin, Ramirez, Clark by adding key backups and future starters in Brandon Thomas (Clemson) and Tyler Larsen (Utah State).
- I added WR Bruce Ellington as the future slot WR and a guy who can also be a return specialist if need be. An explosive, speedy playmaker to an offense that is building toward the future.
- I also snagged one of the draft’s top sleepers and most versatile players in the 4th round in Montana’s Jordan Tripp, a big, rangy, athletic playmaker who can be a special teams cog immediately.
Let me know your thoughts!