Last week, I speculated on which prospects the Denver Broncos could target in round 1 of the NFL Draft. The priority target was Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, but I also focused on fellow Buckeye, Bradley Roby, Virgina Tech’s Kyle Fuller and Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson . With only a few days left until Draft Day, let’s take a look at potential round 2 targets.
The Broncos lost 3 key contributors from their secondary in free agency this year. Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mike Adams. Bailey signed with New Orleans, DRC with the Giants and Adams is still a free agent. It’s possible that the Broncos could choose to bring Adams back sometime around the beginning of training camp, if he’s still unsigned.
The team made up for these losses in a big way by signing Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. But they’re still short a cornerback. The projected starters at CB are Talib and Chris Harris, Jr, with Kayvon Webster and Tony Carter as the backups. The fact that Harris is recovering from a torn ACL, which occurred last January in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, means that it’s no guarantee that he’ll be 100% by week 1.
John Elway knows this. There is no doubt that the Broncos will draft a cornerback this week. The question is: when?
The 2nd round would be a prime opportunity to start. By pick 63, guys like Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett and probably Bradley Roby, will be long gone. But there will be plenty of talent left on the board.
One player in particular that the Broncos could target in the 2nd round is Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir. The redshirt-senior enters the draft as a prime candidate to become one of the NFL’s best talents.
At 6’2, 198lbs, he fits the mold of the new NFL prototype of long, physical corners who can cover and tackle. Big, elite athletes on the outside. At Lindenwood, Desir thrived in a multiplicity of defensive schemes. As a cover man, he’s versatile. He can play everything from press-man coverage, to off-man zone.
He also happens to be a top-notch ball hawk (25 INTS in 4 years). Desir does a phenomenal job of using his size as a tool to physically dominate the opposing receivers. He has excellent football I.Q. and is proficient in diagnosing and recognizing routes quickly. And with injuries being an issue in the Broncos’ secondary, it bears mentioning that Desir has no injury history.
The primary knock on Desir is the fact that he played Division II football. It’s the “level of competition” argument. But it’s one that I believe will be quickly dispelled once he hits the NFL ranks. He’s from Haiti and has excellent character. He’s a great kid.
Had he gone to school at Florida, LSU, or USC, or any other big-name school, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d be in the conversation for first CB off the board.
After being invited to the Shrine Game this year, Desir turned in such a performance that he was subsequently invited to the Senior Bowl where he shined, even picking off a pass.
If Desir is gone by pick 63, the Broncos could choose to go with Utah’s Keith McGill, or Clemson’s Bashaud Breeland. Like Desir, both fit the long, Richard Sherman-esque prototype that happens to be in vogue right now, although they’d require more development at the NFL level than Desir.
If the Broncos want to focus on offense, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews would be an absolute steal at 63. He’s big, he’s fast, he has great hands and can make circus catches look easy. His abilities with the route tree are tremendous.
At 6’3, 205, he would be the perfect outside compliment to Demaryius Thomas. Matthews won’t likely go in the 1st round, but I’d take him over guys like Odell Beckham, Jr, Marquise Lee, Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin. I get a lot of grief for this, but I see him as an equal to Sammy Watkins.