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GERM-X: 1st/Only Denver Broncos 2018 Mock Draft

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Posted (edited)

I usually make a few of these a year, but haven't had time.  Anyway, here is my one shot at a Broncos mock draft.  As I always say, I don't agree with all of these picks and am more trying to project what Elway and Co. could do come draft day.  I'll finish by saying, I see Elway getting a bit aggressive and filling as many holes as possible with a roster that is depleted across the board.  With the #5 pick and 6 picks in the top 115 he has the ammo to get this done.

 

TRADES:

Denver trades #5 and #99 to Buffalo for #12, #22, and #56.

Denver trades #71 and #106 to San Francisco for #59.

Denver Broncos 2018 Draft Picks:

#12 (via BUF via CIN)

#22 (via BUF via KC)

#40

#56 (via BUF via LAR)

#59 (via SF via NO)

#113 (via WAS)

#149 (via WAS)

#160 (via LAR)

1st Round: #12 (via BUF via CIN)

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Vita Vea, DL, Washington*- Denver's DL is a bigger need than people think.  Wolfe is coming off major neck surgery, Gotsis' legal issues are in the air, Peko is aging/limited to a 2 down run defender.  While Harris had a breakout year, McDonald was added, and Walker is moving back to the DL (but is still a major question mark) they can't be the only players relied upon.  Vea is a mammoth DL prospect at 6'4" 347 and an exceptional athlete for his size.  He isn't just a run stuffer, but is a 3 down player that can play NT or DE in the 3/4, while also having the athletic traits to kick inside on passing downs.  He won't ever put up 10+ sack seasons, but is fully capable of netting 4-5 while consistently using his size, power, and explosion to push the pocket all while being elite vs the run.

1st Round: #22 (via BUF via KC)

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Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State* Vander Esch is a massive LB prospect at 6'4" 256 and ran a 4.65 40 with ridiculous short area quickness.  Even with Davis and Marshall on the roster and the addition of Cravens, Vander Esch will find ways to get on the field if he doesn't win a starting job outright.  He is a terrific blitzer and arguably the best coverage LB in the draft, even at 256 pounds.  His game is quite similar to that of Brian Urlacher's or Karlos Dansby's, as a bigger LB with unique cover ability.  Elway sticks to the defensive side of the ball, which has been his bread and butter since taking over as GM in 2011.

2nd Round: #40

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Ronald Jones II, RB, USC*I believe Elway is looking for speed and players that can break a game in a single play offensively.  Enter Jones II.  He had a poor combine, but ran 4.48 at his pro day at reportedly only 80%.  He's arguably the most electric RB in the draft, but is knocked down the board after injuries in the offseason and being undersized to profile as an every down type of back.  Elway and Joseph have both stated they believe Booker is capable of carrying the load at RB, I don't completely believe that, but think they're fine using him as the short yardage guy.

2nd Round: #56 (via BUF via LAR)

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DJ Chark, WR, LSU- Elway continues to add explosion to the offense with Chark.  He has good height for the position at 6'3" but is a bit undersized at only 199 pounds.  He never had much production at LSU, but LSU also never has a quality QB.  However, there are still real questions about Chark's production and his hands, which doesn't often equal a successful NFL career.  Thomas and Sanders are nearing the end in Denver and the Broncos have nothing but questions marks behind them with Henderson and McKenzie.  Regardless of the questions, Chark's height and 4.32 speed have to be respected on the outside.  He also has punt return experience and can make an impact in that area of the game.

2nd Round: #59 (via SF via NO)

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Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi State- Rankin is arguably the most versatile OL in the draft.  Some think he can be a good starter at RT, others think he'll be better kicking inside to OG, while a few think his best position is at Center.  That versatility is a welcomed addition in Denver.  Rankin has solid size, athleticism, and power at 6'4" 308 with the length to project at OT with 34 inch arms.  What Denver and Elway decide to do with him, I do not know.  I envision they allow him to compete for the RG job against Connor McGovern, while also projecting as the teams backup RT (don't forget Veldheer has injury issues).  Whatever the plan is, Rankin is a quality OL prospect that brings much needed versatility at every position along the OL and allows the Broncos to mix and match when the inevitable happens and an OL player goes down with injury.

4th Round: #113 (via WAS)

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Jaylen Samuels, H-Back, NC State- Elway again adding weapons to the offense.  Samuels is jack of all trades/master of none type of player.  He's 6 foot 225 pounds with 4.54 speed, but never really carved out a clear role at NC State, but NC State did everything possible to keep him on the field.  He's a player that just seems to be in between every position.  He lined up all over the field, RB, H-back, in the slot, out wide, and was used often in motion.  He took handoffs, screens, and ran routes.  Musgrave and Kubiak I believe will see a role for him and at worst I think he can be a powerback with a ton of special teams upside.

5th Round: #149 (via WAS)

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Davontae Harris, CB, Illinois State- A size/speed CB at 5'11" 205 with 4.43 speed, which we all know Elway loves.  Harris is well built and very strong vs the run as well, where he is unafraid to come up and deliver a hit or make a tackle.  Some think he may be better off transitioning to safety.  While playing at a FCS school he had very good ball production with 37 pass breakups over 3 years as a starter.  His size, speed, and physicality project him to be a very good special teams player with the upside to be more.

5th Round: #160 (via LAR)

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Brett Toth, OT, Army- Denver has been all over Toth throughout the offseason process.  They've done about everything aside from bringing him in for a private visit.  Toth is undersized at 6'6" 291 pounds and needs to add strength, but has the athleticism to stick at OT.  With Bolles and Veldheer manning the OT spots and Rankin added earlier, Denver is in a position to develop an OT.  Toth will need some work, but brings the work ethic and physical talent to end up paying off down the road.

The Draft Overall:

- Elway gets aggressive and does a lot to add talent to a depleted roster.  Almost retooling every area of the team in a single draft.  It still isn't perfect.  Elway, almost exclusively looks for physical talent in this draft.  While I'd love the additions of Vea, Vander Esch, and Rankin, he takes some big gambles early with Jones and Chark, which could contribute to another continuation of blown 2nd round picks under Elway.  If it all pans out Denver just added major youth and explosiveness across the board to the roster.

Depth Chart:

Offense:

QB: Keenum, Lynch, Kelly

RB: Jones/Booker, Henderson

FB/H-Back: Samuels, Janovich

WR: Thomas, Chark, Taylor

WR: Sanders, Henderson, McKenzie

TE: Butt, Heuerman, Traylor

LT: Bolles, Veldheer

LG: Leary, McGovern, Watson

C: Paradis, McGovern

RG: McGovern, Rankin, Watson

RT: Veldheer, Rankin, Watson

Defense:

DE: Wolfe, McDonald

NT: Peko, Harris, Kerr

DE: Vea, Walker, Gotsis

OLB: Miller, Vander Esch

ILB: Davis, Anderson, Garcia-Williams

ILB: Marshall, Vander Esch

OLB: Ray, Barrett

CB: Harris, Brock, Langley

S: Stewart, Parks, Carter

S: Simmons, Cravens

CB: Roby, Harris

Special Teams:

K: McManus

P: King

LS: Kreiter

Edited by germ-x

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I love the picks in the trenches. Good work. I'm a bit skeptical of the two skill position guys in the 2nd. Still a lot of good ball players available right then.

If we start like you did with the trades and first two picks, then veer off a little in the second rd I'd love it.

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1 minute ago, AKRNA said:

I love the picks in the trenches. Good work. I'm a bit skeptical of the two skill position guys in the 2nd. Still a lot of good ball players available right then.

If we start like you did with the trades and first two picks, then veer off a little in the second rd I'd love it.

Don’t disagree with that all.  Jones and Chark are both gambles.  Elway loves speed, which is why I think both will be under strong consideration and at or near the top of the board.

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Good effort. Couldn’t complain too much if this played out. 

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Love the Jones pick and wouldn’t at all be shocked if he’s a Bronco. We finally get our Jamaal Charles lol. 

Swap Charlie for Gallup and I love this draft. Good job 

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Quite realistic given visits, Elway’s stayed Love for speed, needs, availability.  And overall I’d be pretty happy if it were to come to pass. 

Unfortunately,  instead of the above, I expect we’ll be uttering “who the heck is THAT guy” more than once over the next few days...

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The Boise State Backer has a very checkered injury history I believe so I will hope we would do our due diligence on that. Ronald Jones is a good big play guy with good speed but he can't run very well inside. Reminds me a lot of Charles so I think he's worth a shot.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, AKRNA said:

I love the picks in the trenches. Good work. I'm a bit skeptical of the two skill position guys in the 2nd. Still a lot of good ball players available right then.

If we start like you did with the trades and first two picks, then veer off a little in the second rd I'd love it.

 

7 hours ago, germ-x said:

Don’t disagree with that all.  Jones and Chark are both gambles.  Elway loves speed, which is why I think both will be under strong consideration and at or near the top of the board.

I share @AKRNA skepticism on the Rd2 skill positions.   Jones has nowhere near JC’s burst, balance or agility.  He only has similar straight line speed.   JC had sub 4.3 speed too.   Jones just isn't JC it's not that close.  So I'm very iffy on him if we go there.   But he’s clearly had a visit so I think it’s realistic.   I’d much prefer Anthony Miller in late Rd2 to Chark but again that’s another realistic outcome with visits.  

Love the rest of the draft if we aren’t staying at 1.5.  I still believe if Rosen is there we will absolutely regret passing on him down the road but if we aren’t going there I like the result here.   I’d love it if we had gone in different directions for RB/WR but this is a realistic draft.  

Edited by Broncofan

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I can dig this. However, would like to see Sonny over Jones, because I read Jones has some character issues. And Gallup over Chark...then I think your mock goes from great to greatness.

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I could see this happening, but I too believe Sony Michel may be preferential over Jones. Jones has talent, but I'm a little leery about him. The Chark pick isn't great in my mind, but it may well happen. The two first rounders are excellent picks though, and I also like Rankin quite a bit.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, broncos67 said:

I could see this happening, but I too believe Sony Michel may be preferential over Jones. Jones has talent, but I'm a little leery about him. The Chark pick isn't great in my mind, but it may well happen. The two first rounders are excellent picks though, and I also like Rankin quite a bit.

I’d easily prefer both Georgia RB’s, Penny & a couple of other RB’s by a fair margin over Jones.   Just can’t deny only Penny and Jones had visits.   Sigh. 

Edited by Broncofan

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7 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

I’d easily prefer both Georgia RB’s, Penny & a couple of other RB’s by a fair margin over Jones.   Just can’t deny only Penny and Jones had visits.   Sigh. 

Honestly, I don't really think visits are a great indicator of who we'll select. How many guys have we chosen over the years who have visited?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, broncos67 said:

Honestly, I don't really think visits are a great indicator of who we'll select. How many guys have we chosen over the years who have visited?

For Rd1 2 who didn’t were Ray and Roby - who weren’t expected to fall that far.   IIRC everyone else in Rd1 has with Elway.  Rd2 has been more spotty for sure.  The last 2-3 drafts we’ve seen more telegraphing of targets but it’s not by any means a lock.   It’s somewhere around 60-70 percent of Day 2 IIRC.  

I hope you are right in this case; Jones doesn’t even hit my top 6 RB list.   

Edited by Broncofan

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