The Denver Broncos should have their eyes on a few playmakers at the 2020 Senior Bowl. Who could end up being a key part of the offense in 2020?
As the Denver Broncos and all of Broncos Country lament the fact that their division rival Kansas City Chiefs and the coach they let get away -- Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers -- are going to battle it out for the Super Bowl this year, the 2020 Senior Bowl festivities are set to get underway in Mobile, AL this week.
Over the past couple of years, the Senior Bowl has been a huge tool for the Broncos in the evaluation process, and they have drafted or traded for a number of players in their last two classes.
In 2019, the Broncos used second round picks on offensive lineman Dalton Risner and quarterback Drew Lock, two teammates in last year's Senior Bowl.
In 2018 when the Broncos were coaching at the Senior Bowl, they drafted cornerback Isaac Yiadom in the third round, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth round, tight end Troy Fumagalli in the fifth round, and they traded for 2018 second-round pick Duke Dawson this past year.
It's clear that the Senior Bowl means a lot to the Broncos but more than just the event itself, Jim Nagy and the scouting staff at the Senior Bowl have done an excellent job of bringing in the types of players the Broncos have coveted in recent years.
- Team leaders/captains
- Experienced, productive players
- NFL-ready talent
The Broncos' rebuilding process seemed stunted after the failed pick of Paxton Lynch in 2016 followed up by a bad 2017 draft class, but it's been re-ignited after an excellent 2018 and 2019 rookie class.
While the Broncos will look at all position groups in Mobile this week, we'll undoubtedly have a close eye on the playmakers at wide receiver all throughout the 2020 NFL Draft process.
There are some good ones in Mobile this year, including a potential first-round draft pick. Let's take a look at some of the top players to keep an eye on during this week of practices.
Draft projection: 1st-2nd round
Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk leads the South roster and is one of the highest ranked prospects in Mobile this week.
A former JUCO transfer, Aiyuk is strong, explosive, and a natural with the football in his hands. When he creates separation, he's a blur in the open field.
His athleticism will be on full display in this kind of a setting.
Florida's Van Jefferson is a very good route runner with strong hands and one of the few players who went up against LSU's stud freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and had great success.
He had 12 touchdown grabs over the past two seasons.
Though he's a stellar route runner, he may be too similar to DaeSean Hamilton for what the Broncos need to add to their offense in terms of speed, but this guy can play and could be a nice mid-round value.
Devin Duvernay is built like a running back at 5-11, 210 pounds with big-time speed and after-the-catch abilities.
In many ways, he's exactly what the Broncos are looking for in terms of a receiver that could stretch the field vertically as well as make plays in the short-passing game, but is he going to be limited to the slot at the next level?
I would like Duvernay to Denver in the 3rd or 4th round with another receiver taken earlier as well.
James Proche has been one of the most productive wide receivers in college football the past four seasons, racking up 39 touchdown catches and 301 receptions in his time with the Mustangs.
A former teammate of Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton, Proche is one of the best receivers in this class at contending for the football at the catch point. He's got strong hands, and may be one of the most underrated players coming into Mobile.
He was one of my picks in my latest Broncos mock draft.
Back in October, this was a player Todd McShay thought was a potential first-round sleeper at the wide receiver position.
This class is just so deep.
Davis is a natural after the catch with a good amount of aggressiveness and impressive body control. He has a wide catch radius and does a good job working quickly to his top speed.
For the money in this draft, he could be one of the best values if he sticks as a mid-late day two graded player.
The Broncos are undoubtedly looking to add an element of speed at the wide receiver position, but they have every reason to double up on receivers in this draft class and although Antonio Gandy-Golden's skillset is reminiscent of Courtland Sutton, why not have a second player like that?
Everyone is looking forward to seeing the 6-foot-4 Gandy-Golden go up against some big-time competition, and for good reason. He's caught 20 touchdown passes and averaged over 16 yards per catch at Liberty, showing physicality and dominance at the catch point.
Imagining the Broncos with a guy like this along with someone earlier like Henry Ruggs or Jalen Reagor plus the personnel they already have? Scary.
Others to watch
I didn't want to just list every receiver playing in the Senior Bowl, but they truly all do bear watching.
Baylor's Denzel Mims and USC's Michael Pittman Jr. could also be of interest to the Broncos after day two of the 2020 NFL Draft.
As much as the Broncos need help at the wide receiver position, I imagine all of the players at this position are going to draw interest from the fan base over the course of the next week, and for a variety of reasons.
Going forward, we know that the Broncos have a stud alpha receiver in Sutton and a potential full-time slot in DaeSean Hamilton. They need speed to stretch the field as well as depth, and I think we'll see them take two guys in this upcoming draft class, hopefully two top 100 picks.