Denver Broncos Mock Draft: Defense gets upgraded

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the Denver Broncos during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the Denver Broncos during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos mock draft: Tight end Gerrit Prince #20 of UAB catches a pass for a touchdown over defensive back Chris Kershner #25 of Central Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Legion Field on September 3, 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos mock draft, pick 152 (own pick): Gerrit Prince

Since the Denver Broncos traded away Noah Fant, they need a tight end to compliment Albert Okwuegbunam. Thankfully, like the tackle class, tight end is up there with that offensive position.

There are quite a few options Denver could go to address tight end. The player drafted here brings multiple different tight end positions to the table.

Gerrit Prince from UAB is that guy here. Prince has enough traits to show faith here. The receiver traits give him an opportunity in the passing game which makes for a nice compliment threat to Okwuegbunam. He is not as fleet of foot but he is a threat in his own right.

Prince shows a great feel for his ball skills once the ball is in the air. He can see the flight of the ball and show the necessary change of direction to catch the pass. We mentioned versatility earlier above with a tight end and Prince offers that. Prince can be used as a tight end out of the backfield or in-line.

This allows Denver to bring competition for Andrew Beck in this regard or choose to put Prince solely in line.

One reason why this is tempting is that Prince is a very competitive blocker in the run game. While just a tick under 240, Prince brings enough and is willing to be a blocker. There are pros and cons to Prince as a blocker. The pros start with his competitive toughness. The con is his slender build.

Prince is not the most physically gifted specimen. He will need to bulk up by adding a few more pounds and hit the weight room for strength. If not there will be a few problems blocking in-line.

Denver Broncos mock draft, pick 206 (via Philadelphia Eagles): Jalen Nailor

Once you get to the later round of the draft you are looking at special teams contributors. Another reason not to pass up this position is what he brings right away on special teams.

Jalen Nailor from Michigan State is a wide receiver who offers some nice gadgets to him and insurance in case of a KJ Hamler injury. It’s also nice to have a player who focuses on a kickoff return and another on punt returns. Flexibility in that regard could give the Denver Broncos the opportunity of two solid return specialists.

There’s some nice wiggle to Nailor as well as a passing threat. Nailor’s play was probably hindered at times by the offense of Michigan State being more run-heavy. That said, there’s still enough talent to work with as a route runner and possibly all-around wideout. He does present some craftiness to the position and allows Denver to use both Hamler and Nailor as weapons to help exploit a defense.

In some ways like Hamler, Nailor offers very good speed and especially in a room where pure speed is Hamler. Nailor gives Denver a second speed threat for Russell Wilson. This would also not be the first time an AFC West team brought in another speed demon when they already had one. Kansas City Chiefs did that with Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman.

The biggest area of weakness to possibly see initial playtime is the impact as a blocker. Nailor is okay, but not great. Nailor needs to focus on this area if that’s something Nathaniel Hackett wants to focus on with him.

Denver Broncos mock draft, pick 232 (own pick): Isaiah Pola-Mao

Here is an opportunity where this player might get drafted solely on name recognition alone. Isaiah Pola-Mao is Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu’s nephew and does have some impressive athletic traits where a coach can also easily fall in love with him.

Pola-Mao is a safety who offers fascinating twitch and versatility to be a corner in certain packages. Pola-Mao brings surprising physical toughness to the position.

In the scheme of Ejiro Evero and past scheme coordinator Ed Donatell, tackling is an absolute must for defenders. Pola-Mao brings a lot to the table here.

His size will get beat some, but he is a tremendous perimeter tackler. He shows strong downhill toughness by crashing hard for the tackle. As we mentioned to he presents a possibility to be a slot corner as well or the chance to be another rover like Caden Sterns showed at times during last season.

Sterns is an interesting comparison here. Not by the player, but from performance in college. Pola-Mao had a stellar sophomore campaign but regressed since then. However, the talent is evident. Just takes a coach to believe in him.

There’s a lot of talent to work with in Pola-Mao. So much so, special teams could be seen in the future for him early in his NFL career.

Whether it be a gunner or other areas on special teams, Pola-Mao could show enough to be a core special teamer. David Bruton worked hard to get the playing time he did in Denver but his opportunity finally came. Maybe Pola-Mao has the same path.