Oh man, this is a rough spot for the Broncos. Their top choices are Garett Bolles and Haason Reddick. The latter is off the board, while Bolles, I believe, will be the target of a team trading up into the late teens. I won't spoil things for you.
If Bolles and Reddick are off the board, I think Zach Cunningham would be in the conversation. The Broncos struggled to cover tight ends and pass-catching running backs without Danny Trevathan, and Cunningham would be a nice solution to that problem.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Garett Bolles, OT - Denver's top choice to bolster a weak offensive line. The Broncos will likely have to trade up for him.
2. Haason Reddick, LB - The team's No. 1 linebacker. Another trade needed.
Rd. 2, Pk. 19
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
The Broncos have an extremely dubious tackle situation, which they almost have to address with an early-round selection. Menelik Watson, Donald Stephenson and Ty Samrailo are their top three tackles, and all three of them are horrible. Tony Romo just retired, but even if he had joined the Broncos, it wouldn't have mattered very much because Denver wouldn't have been able to block for him.
Rd. 3, Pk. 18
Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
Denver's offense fell apart when C.J. Anderson was injured, so I imagine the Broncos are going to spend a Round 2-4 selection on a running back.
Rd. 3, Pk. 37
ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
The Broncos need to find a third receiver to go along with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, as they don't have anything beyond those two.
Rd. 4, Pk. 19
Charles Walker, DT, Oklahoma
Here's more defensive line help for the Broncos, as Charles Walker appears to be a nice fit in Denver's scheme.
Rd. 5, Pk. 33
Erik Magnuson, OT, Michigan
The Broncos could stand to add multiple offensive tackles, considering their dire situation at the position.
Rd. 6, Pk. 19
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Here's another receiver for the Broncos, as they don't have much beyond Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.
Rd. 7, Pk. 20
Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson
T.J. Ward is an impending free agent, so this pick could provide some insurance for them.
Rd. 7, Pk. 34
Garrett Sickels, DE/3-4OLB, Penn State
I have no idea why Garrett Sickels declared early, but at least he gets drafted. The Broncos need pass-rushing depth.
Rd. 7, Pk. 35
Hardy Nickerson Jr., LB, Illinois
The Broncos start and end their draft with a linebacker, as Mr. Irrelevant is the son of former Jaguar Hardy Nickerson Sr.
The Broncos could use a left tackle to protect Paxton Lynch, and Bolles could be the target of teams trading up for him.
In his one season at Utah, Bolles (6-5, 297) showed that he is really talented with quick feet and athleticism on the edge. He also is tough in the ground game and plays with a physical mean streak. Bolles had a rough upbringing and some off-the-field issues, but a number of teams say he interviewed well at the combine and they feel he has matured. Some do have concerns about his ongoing mental health, however.
Bolles will need to work on pass protection for NFL speed rushers. He will also be significantly older than most rookies as he turns 25 a few weeks after the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Carlos Watkins, DT/NT, Clemson
The Broncos could use a replacement for Malik Jackson.
Watkins notched 50 tackles with 13.5 for a loss, 10.5 sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. He caused a lot of disruption. To end the season, the senior dominated Ohio State and played well against Alabama. As a junior, Watkins produced a strong season with 34 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes batted and an interception. The 6-foot-3, 312-pounder didn't record many stats in his prior seasons as he was buried on the depth chart by a lot of good talent at Clemson.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
The Broncos could use more backfield talent.
Mack (5-11, 213) ran well for the Bulls in 2016. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry on the year for 1,187 yards with 15 touchdowns, plus snatched 28 receptions for 227 yards. 2016 was Mack's third straight 1,000-yard season. He had 1,381 yards as a sophomore and 1,041 yards as a freshman. The junior is a sleeper back who could be a nice role player in the NFL.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International
The Broncos could use a receiving tight end for their offense.
Smith made nationwide news in 2016 by suffering a serious injury off the field. His pregnant girlfriend poured boiling water on him after arguing about him not spending enough time with her. The senior totaled 42 receptions for 506 yards with four touchdowns on the year. He had quality production as a junior (36-397-4), sophomore (61-710-8) and freshman (39-388-2).
The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder is a quick, athletic receiving tight end to be a potential mismatch weapon. Some sources have Smith grading out as a third- or fourth-round pick. Multiple team sources have compared Smith to being a Charles Clay-type player in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
The Broncos could use receiving competition and a speedy slot candidate.
Westbrook was a clutch receiver for Oklahoma in 2016 with 80 receptions for 1,524 yards with 17 touchdowns. The 6-foot, 178-pounder is very slight for the NFL and needs to add weight in order to hold up. He could fit as a speedy slot receiver. As a junior, Westbrook had 46 catches for 743 yards and four scores.
It's hard to believe that the Denver Broncos are just one season removed from a Super Bowl victory. After a disappointing 9-7 record, Denver enters the offseason with more questions than answers. The Broncos enter 2017 with their second coach in as many years, with former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph tasked with returning the Broncos to the playoffs next season. Head coach Gary Kubiak retiring is certainly a big loss, but losing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is an even bigger blow after overseeing one of the league's best defenses the past two seasons. First-year starter Trevor Siemian put together a solid debut season in 2016, stringing together 3,401 yards and 18 touchdowns. Despite an impressive season, Siemian is expected to battle 2016 first-rounder Paxton Lynch for the starting quarterback role this offseason. No matter who is under center for Denver next season, the Broncos will find little success if they are unable to keep their quarterback upright and healthy. Signing former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung was expected to revitalize this team's offensive line, instead the unit allowed 31 sacks and finished as the league's twenty-fourth best offensive line. With Okung not expected to return and Ty Sambrailo far from a viable replacement option, addressing the offensive tackle position must be a priority for John Elway come late April. At 6’6 and over 300 pounds, Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk is the top offensive tackle prospect available with Cam Robinson off the board early. A mountain of a man, Ramcyzk's mix of size and strength is what sets him apart from other offensive linemen. While his injury history may scare teams away, Ramczyk is simply too talented to pass up on and will certainly give the Broncos their left tackle of the future.
Although a tackle seems to always go top 10, it doesn’t mean they come in bunches in the first round. Bolles is a little bit of a shocker (except to Walt who has had this for the last month or so) given a lot of experts #1 rated OT Ryan Ramczyk is still available, but I think that Elway will opt for the more local kid given that Ramczyk has hip concerns (health wise that is). Bolles is a bit more aggressive than Ramcyzk so that also factors into Elways decision. Both went the JC to power 5 starting LT before bolting to the NFL route to get here which makes for good stories, but Elway has to figure out which one is the better RT for his club. As for the QB situation I think that Elway stands pat for another year. Seimian and Lynch will have another year of progression under their belt so you should expect a solid competition that produces a solid starting QB. If they falter 2018 will be a year they look for a QB.
Without question, the Broncos are going to bolster their offense with this pick. Do they nap O.J. Howard to provide Siemian/Lynch with a big, able-bodied receiving target? Do they go for John Ross to add some speed? Do they roll the dice on Fournette or add a dynamic offensive playmaker like McCaffrey?
The answer is: none of the above. The Broncos should go for one of the top two offensive tackles available. Ryan Ramczyk, if Cam Robinson is off the board. But if Cam drops this far--which he very well may--the Broncos need to take him. The only other option would be taking a chance on Fournette.
The Broncos could use more offense weapons for Paxton Lynch. John Ross, O.J. Howard, and Christian McCaffrey could all be intriguing options to help Lynch. Of the three, I could see Howard being the top choice as he would be an immediate upgrade at tight end while helping the run and pass game. <br> <br>
Howard had 45 catches for 595 yards and three touchdowns in 2016. In 2015, he made 38 catches for 602 yards and two touchdowns. Howard totaled 17 receptions for 260 yards in 2014. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards - 19.2 average - with two touchdowns. <br> <br>
The talented tight end was very under-utilized by Alabama, generally. As he proved with Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Amari Cooper and then Calvin Ridley, former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin settles on one receiver and struggles to call plays for anyone else regardless of their talent or mismatch potential. Howard is a fast and dangerous receiving weapon who has the frame to add size. Sources say Howard still needed to improve his route-running and blocking, and was able to show progress in those areas as a senior. His blocking was significantly better to the point that he was making a significant impact as a blocker late in his senior year.
A lot of experts feel that the offensive struggles for the Broncos was due to a poor running game and quarterback play ... and they wouldn’t be wrong. Compounding those issues though, was the play of their offensive line. Free agent tackle acquisitions Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson ranged from mediocre to awful and guards Max Garcia and Micheal Schofield were merely serviceable.
Forrest Lamp played tackle in college but is probably more suited for guard in the NFL, but might be able to fill in at tackle if need be. Lamp gained attention in draft circles when he stone walled the Alabama pass rushers, who are NFL bound. He might never be an All-Pro, but has a high floor and limited bust potential.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Forrest Lamp Going to Broncos
Rd. 1, Pk. 20
Garett Bolles, OT
I thought the Seahawks were going to jump the Broncos for Garett Bolles, but apparently not. Bolles is the most athletic offensive tackle in this class. He has some off-the-field issues, but not anything major. The Broncos have taken chances on players like that before though, and it's worked out, so Bolles seems like a solid pick. He obviously fills a massive need on the roster, as Denver had arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL heading into the draft. It's unclear if Bolles will pan out, but the Broncos actually have a chance to block well now.
Rd. 2, Pk. 19
Demarcus Walker, DE/3-4OLB
Demarcus Walker makes sense for the Broncos from a needs perspective. They lost Malik Jackson last offseason and were worse against the run because of his departure. Walker will take his place, and he could be a decent replacement. However, Walker tested poorly, and so I think his proper range was the third round. The Broncos probably could've moved down to obtain him, but I don't hate the pick.
Rd. 3, Pk. 18
Carlos Henderson, WR
There was some speculation that Carlos Henderson would be chosen in the second round. I had him in the third frame, but I think this is solid value. Henderson has terrific athleticism and plays much bigger than his 5-11 frame. He's a perfect slot receiver to go along with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Rd. 3, Pk. 37
Brendan Langley, CB
I had Brendan Langley slotted in the fifth round, as he's a converted receiver who is still learning how to play cornerback. However, he has the athleticism and upside, and he has the luxury of sitting and learning behind some great veterans in Denver before being asked to take over. This pick could work out down the road even though it was a bit of a reach.
Rd. 5, Pk. 1
Jake Butt, TE
John Elway tweeted out that he was sweating out Jake Butt being available, and I don't blame him. Despite the torn ACL, I thought Butt could've gone in the third round. He's a huge steal in the fifth frame, and I can't imagine liking this more than any other pick in this round. Butt could emerge as a potent weapon in Denver's offense in 2018 and beyond.
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Rd. 5, Pk. 28
Isaiah McKenzie, WR
It's doubtful that Isaiah McKenzie will play much receiver for the Broncos, as he wasn't productive whatsoever at Georgia. He was a dynamic returner on special teams, however, so he'll be able to help in that regard. I had McKenzie as a seventh-rounder/UDFA, but I don't think this is a bad pick.
Rd. 6, Pk. 19
De'Angelo Henderson, RB
This pick makes sense, as the Broncos needed depth at running back, especially after trading Kapri Bibbs. De'Angelo Henderson was productive at Coastal Carolina, especially as a pass-catcher, and he has some solid athleticism. He could become Denver's No. 2 running back at some point.
Rd. 7, Pk. 35
Chad Kelly, QB
Chad Kelly has second-round ability, and he may have even snuck into the first round had he been clean. Unfortunately, Kelly has dealt with off-the-field problems and a myriad of injuries. Kelly, however, possessed too much ability to go undrafted, so I slotted him at the bottom of the sixth frame. The Broncos took him later than expected, so I think they're getting good value. Kelly is young, so perhaps he can turn his life around before it's too late.
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