Broncos Draft Prospects: OLB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington


For a class of players like the 2015 NFL Draft boasts, a guy like Washington OLB Hau’oli Kikaha flying under the radar a bit is nothing short of a shock. Why is that? Well, for a class that is dominated by the ‘edge’ position at the next level, the next wave of great pass rushers, Kikaha was probably the best in all of college football last season.

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Yet, as is often the case, he’s not considered to be the best NFL prospect among the group.

Whatever the contributing factors, Kikaha is a player that — as of right now — is being considered a solid day two, probably early second round draft pick. Playing the outside linebacker/defensive end or ‘edge’ hybrid position, Kikaha filled the stat sheet this past season with 72 tackles, 25 or a loss, and a whopping 19 sacks with three forced fumbles.

This kid is an absolute monster on the football field.

Known for his relentlessness, power, and strength, Kikaha rushes the passer with such force that you sometimes just watch with your jaw glued to the ground. At the same time, there are some underwhelming parts of his game, including his current abilities against the run, that give a bit of pause and help you realize why he is considered a second round pick and not a top 20 selection.

Kikaha also has had two major knee injuries, and those certainly factor into his draft status as well. So why am I writing about him here? I think Kikaha is an intriguing option for the Broncos in the first round with that No. 28 overall selection. The Broncos are set to dive into free agency, addressing major needs and making a splash as per usual. I think there will be a lot more questions answered than people think, and the Broncos might be able to afford a pick like this at the bottom of round one.

Certainly, getting after the quarterback is one of the most critical areas for any NFL team, and the Broncos are already one of the best in the league at doing so. With Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, they have a tandem that can put the pressure on. The Broncos also have some intriguing young developmental talent at the EDGE positions but adding a dynamic rusher and hard worker like Kikaha is something that would fit well with what John Elway has done (all defenders with his top picks as GM) and fits the profile of a hard-working, productive player that is relentless in pursuit of the football.

But don’t take my word for it…

In a class like this one, it would be wise for the Broncos to take advantage of the depth of the EDGE position. There is no reason for them not to, unless they are 100 percent satisfied with the development of all their current prospects, which is rarely the case. The reason you use a pick now is because Von Miller is entering the final year of his contract, and DeMarcus Ware is not getting any younger (also only 2 years left on his deal).

Adding a player like Kikaha gives you plenty of options in the pass rush department and also allows you flexibility going forward.

This is a guy that I think can significantly contribute as a rookie be it as a linebacker or defensive end and certainly in situations where his ability to sack the quarterback is needed.

The Hawaii native would be a welcome addition to the Broncos’ defense, and if the team is going to go with another position besides offensive line, this is a great way to go.