The Broncos didn't show much regard for age when they selected Garett Bolles 20th overall, so perhaps they'll include that negative with Hayden Hurst, who definitely has first-round talent. Denver has nothing at tight end, and Hurst would offer a huge upgrade.
Check out the news on Hurst in the NFL Hot Press tonight, as Charlie Campbell reported that the scouting community is raving about the South Carolina tight end.
Rd. 2, Pk. 24
Malik Jefferson, OLB/ILB, Texas
The Broncos had two huge needs entering the offseason. One was their offensive line, which was addressed, but not nearly enough. The second was the inside linebacker group, which wasn't touched. Denver liked Haason Reddick, but he was chosen seven spots earlier than its selection. The Broncos can finally obtain the answer with this choice.
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.
The Broncos grab a difference-maker at the point of attack. <br> <br>
Vea (6-5, 332) was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble,and two passes batted on the season. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. <br> <br>
<u> <i> Pick change; previously Harold Landry, DE/OLB </i> </u>
The Broncos get some more running back talent. It was widely known that Denver probably would have taken Christian McCaffrey if he slipped to them in the 2017 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
With Leonard Fournette in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury in 2016, Guice (5-11, 212) took advantage of a larger than expected workload to have a breakout season. The sophomore averaged 7.6 yards per carry for 1,387 yards with 15 touchdowns. He had nine receptions for 106 yards as well. Guice put together some massive games with 252 yards versus Arkansas and 285 yards rushing against Texas A&M.
I was slightly surprised that the Broncos opted to draft a few receivers and running backs instead of upgrading the interior of their defensive line. Not to say their defense will play poorly without an interior pass rush, but it just operates so much better with that threat up the middle. Since they let Malik Jackson go they have yet to fill the void left by him. Payne is the next on the defensive line assembly line down in Alabama and this one has scouts salivating. Right now he is a plus run stopper in the middle, however he can continue to improve on his pass rush skills given his athletic ability and size.
Last Weeks Selection: Da'Ron Payne DT Alabama at Pick # 22
I think the Broncos are going to be much worst off than people think. Their quarterback situation is terrible and on defense their down to one top pass rusher in Von Miller. Windows in the NFL close much faster than you think and I think it's just about closed on the Broncos. If they land here I think they will trade up possibly for one of the top quarterbacks.
If they stay here landing an interior pass rusher can really help this defense. They were at their best when Malik Jackson was their pushing the pocket and forcing the quarterback out to the edge rushers. Wilkins is a versatile and high energy tackle who could be a new key cog for the Broncos.
The Broncos could move on from Aqib Talib before long. Here's a corner to go with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. <br> <br>
Toliver impressed as a freshman and sophomore. Considering the amount of talent the Tigers' secondary has produced, it is a serious statement that he played immediately at LSU. In 2015, he had 35 tackles with five breakups and an interception. As a sophomore, he totaled 21 tackles with one breakup in seven games. The 6-foot-2, 193-pounder is a big corner who can run. Team sources have said Toliver has a first-round skill set.