ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. predicts the Denver Broncos, along with every other NFL team in round one, will pass on a high profile QB prospect.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has certainly had no shortage of controversial opinions since he’s been evaluating and analyzing the NFL Draft.
Kiper put out his first mock draft of the 2019 offseason on Thursday, and one omission from his top 32 picks is certainly going to fill up the comment section.
That is, if you have ESPN insider access to be able to read it…
Kiper’s first mock draft starts off just like pretty much every other one you’ll find. Nick Bosa is going with the top pick to the Arizona Cardinals until they fall in love with someone else.
Nine picks later, one would assume Kiper would have the Broncos taking a quarterback, but that’s not the case in this mock draft.
Instead, Kiper has the Broncos and new head coach Vic Fangio getting a new toy for the defense in Georgia’s star cornerback Deandre Baker.
Baker is a very good player who would also fit the mold of what the Broncos targeted in last year’s draft, which was ‘veteran’ types of college guys who combine leadership qualities with elite athletic traits and consistent production.
Baker, a senior and three-year starter for the Bulldogs, certainly fits the Broncos’ qualifications based on last year’s draft.
But so does Drew Lock, a four-year starter at quarterback for the Missouri Tigers who happens to be on the board at the same time as Baker in this case.
Not only do the Broncos pass on Lock in this scenario, but so does every other team in the first round. That doesn’t seem overly likely to happen in real life, but you never know.
In 2018, Kiper had Wyoming’s Josh Allen as his top quarterback prospect (he had Baker Mayfield ranked fourth among QBs and 12th overall) so there’s a bit of hypocrisy in not having Drew Lock ahead of Allen.
Allen is a very talented athlete with one of the strongest arms we’ve ever seen from a young player, but even Kiper admitted in his final big board in 2018 that Allen was ‘super raw’. Lock may not be able to rifle a 101 MPH fastball but he has a very strong arm and some of the same mechanical flaws that plagued Allen at Wyoming.
The big difference between the two is that Lock has some incredible production spread over four years against SEC teams while Allen struggled to stay healthy and threw just 16 passes at Wyoming against the schools they play.
All the while, Allen also played his worst against the top schools Wyoming faced.
This year’s draft season is not all about Drew Lock but that was my most interesting takeaway from Kiper’s mock draft — the fact that he didn’t include the talented Missouri passer.