One of my favorite and most trusted NFL Draft outlets is CBS Sports, AKA NFL Draft Scout, led by draft guru Rob Rang.
Rang’s latest first round projection has the Broncos taking Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, a guy who lit up the combine with his surprising athleticism confirming his draft stock as a top 50 player in the class.
However, he’s lately been getting some first round love showing up at the back end of some mock drafts from big names like ESPN’s Todd McShay and WalterFootball.com.
“The Broncos spent millions in free agency to overhaul the defense but protecting Peyton Manning should be priority No. 1. Given the loss of starting guards Zane Beadles (who signed with Jacksonville) and Chris Kuper to retirement, Denver will almost surely dedicate an early pick towards the offensive line. Gritty and versatile, Bitonio would make a lot of sense.”
Bitonio’s athletic ability, ruggedness and toughness, as well as his versatility are attractive options for teams with offensive line needs at the bottom of the first round. The Broncos have a need for a guy who could possibly start at left guard or right tackle like, now, and Bitonio seems to fit that description perfectly.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Denver reach a little bit in terms of the boards that are out there from national draft experts but Bitonio is a very good player who would fill a big need and could be a decade long starter in the NFL.