Denver Broncos mock draft: Ezekiel Elliott a possibility?


Denver Broncos mock draft: Could the Broncos draft Ohio State star RB Ezekiel Elliott to fortify their backfield?

It’s not quite Denver Broncos mock draft season, but we’re going to start sprinkling them in as intriguing scenarios are presented. This one was particularly interesting to me.

The staff over at — one of the greatest FanSided sites of all time — executed a group mock draft in which pairs of staff each selected for a number of different teams and played the role of GM. Trades were allowed, if not encouraged, and though I didn’t have the opportunity to select for the Broncos, I was well pleased with the results.

The Denver Broncos’ acting general managers moved up to the 17th overall pick, giving up just a 3rd round pick and 6th round pick in return, and selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Now, I’m a huge NFL Draft fan. I follow very closely the prospects on an annual basis and the typical response from most fans who don’t really care for college football at this time of year is likely always the same: Don’t the Broncos have a need elsewhere rather than running back?

Specifically, don’t the Broncos have a need on the offensive line?

Yes, yes they do.

The fact that the Broncos have a need on the offensive line could very well change by the time the 2016 NFL Draft rolls around in April. In fact, look at things on paper as of this moment in time. Under contract for next season, you would have the following players coming back:

Ryan Clady, Ty Sambrailo, Max Garcia, Matt Paradis, Louis Vasquez, Michael Schofield, James Ferentz, Sam Brenner (ERFA), and a host of practice squad players. The Broncos could start off the offseason with a penciled in starting lineup of Clady, Sambrailo/Garcia, Paradis, Vasquez, and Schofield and probably feel pretty good about it, at least on paper.

Now, there’s a big difference between what goes on paper and what happens on the field. Clady and Sambrailo are both coming off of season-ending injuries. That is an area of concern, but because of Clady’s injury history, they will likely be able to re-construct his contract and get him at a discounted rate. Sambrailo, Garcia, Paradis, and Schofield all have incredibly  team-friendly contracts for possible starters.

I’m not trying to say there’s not a need at least for depth at OT, but the Broncos have players that look like they could form a formidable starting five.

Hence, why I would be AOK with the selection — and trading up for — Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is a special talent at running back with speed, power, vision, receiving ability, and generally everything you would want in a running back prospect. In fact, he’ll probably be long gone by the time the Broncos’ pick comes around, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream.

If Peyton Manning has played his last season with the Broncos as is expected, the team would have — again, on paper — a skill position group that includes Brock Osweiler, Ezekiel Elliott, C.J. Anderson (RFA), Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Owen Daniels, Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, and possibly Ronnie Hillman and Vernon Davis.

Contractually, it makes sense that the Broncos would pursue a running back high in the draft. They have only Juwan Thompson under contract for next season with CJ Anderson a restricted free agent and Ronnie Hillman an unrestricted free agent. There are plenty of areas they could look to, but adding a superstar like Elliott would be a huge pickup for the Broncos and the type of splash move we’ve grown accustomed to from John Elway.