The Denver Broncos are in a very interesting situation here. While they hold the 5th overall pick after an abysmal 2017 campaign, the roster is one that has the ability to make the playoffs in 2018 and drafting wisely today and through the weekend will only aid that.
Many people see the Broncos taking their quarterback of the future here, however, I think that John Elway made a statement in signing Case Keenum in free agency and giving him $25 million guaranteed. To me, that says he is their guy for the foreseeable future, and it would be difficult to see them use the 5th overall pick for a guy that may have zero contribution for the next 2-3 seasons.
Also, while Paxton Lynch has the appearance of a huge swing and miss, Elway is a prideful guy, and may still think that he has the ability to develop behind Keenum for a couple of seasons.
That being said, will the Broncos even pick at the 5 spot, or is a trade in the works. With the departure of Aqib Talib, there has been a lot of interest expressed by Denver in Denzel Ward. Is he worthy of the 5th overall pick? Should that even matter? Take your guy no matter what right? Denzel Ward no matter what?
Roquan Smith is another name that has been linked to Denver and he would not only add depth to a thin LB room, he would fit in great with Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis.
I think that all of these guys would be great fits, however, I think that the first 4 picks in the 2018 draft will be full of drama, and the potential best player in the draft will fall into the laps of the Denver Broncos.
Denver Broncos 7-Round Mock Draft
Round 1, Pick 5: Bradley Chubb – DE- NC State
Mayhem in Dallas. Cleveland takes Mayfield first overall, throwing everyone into a scramble. The Jets like Rosen better who they take at 3. With Darnold still on the board, Buffalo trades up to 4 making all of their offseason moves worth it. Denver is left with a choice. Quenton Nelson would solidify the offensive line for years. A trade back with Arizona could be possible, but would Ward or Smith still be there at 15?
In the end, they take the best player in the draft and instantly have the scariest pass rush in the NFL. Carr, Rivers, and Mahomes will have nightmares of the combination of Von Miller, Shane Ray, Shaq Barrett, and Bradley Chubb.
Round 2, Pick 40: Rashaan Evans – LB – Alabama
Rashaan Evans is a first round talent that just slides into the second round. Nick Saban knows how to produce solid linebackers and Evans is one of his finest work. As mentioned earlier, the Broncos had a keen interest in Roquan Smith, but they are able to get a very comparable talent in the second round. Evans can fill in great for Marshall and Davis and breed competition in that LB room.
Round 3, Pick 71: Orlando Brown – OT – Oklahoma
Six weeks ago, Orlando Brown was arguably the top tackle in the draft. After a very poor combine, his draft stock began to plummet. The tape doesn’t lie, however, and if he does slip into the third round, the Broncos will be ecstatic. Garett Bolles is the incumbent starter at LT, and newly acquired Jared Veldheer should take over as the starting RT. Brown will add some tremendous depth, and if Veldheer’s injury history comes rearing its ugly head in 2018, the Broncos will have a very formidable backup who can keep Keenum upright.
Round 3, Pick 99 (Compensatory): Kevin Toliver II – CB – LSU
A lot of people expect the Broncos to address the departure of Aqib Talib in the second round at the latest. However, this is a very deep CB class and many forget that Elway did add Tramaine Brock in free agency, and Su’a Cravens, who can play pretty much anywhere on the field, was added via trade.
Kevin Toliver II is considered somewhat of a project still, but with a compensatory pick, he would be great value at 99. He has a big frame, 6’2, and plays well in man coverage with good route anticipation (a must in Denver’s defensive scheme). He would have plenty of time to play special teams and learn the ropes from some of the best in the business.
Round 4, Pick 106: Luke Falk – QB – Washington State
Currently, the Broncos have three quarterbacks on the roster, Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly. They will likely take at least four into camp, and Falk would add some great competition for the bottom two guys. Labeled as a system quarterback, Falk will have an uphill battle if he hopes to make the team.
The talent is certainly there as he broke several career Pac-12 records, and his 2017 season that many considered a letdown, saw him finish with 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns, with a 66.9 completion percentage. Take that for what you will, but taking a 6’4 QB that had relative success against the same competition as Sam Darnold is well worth a selection in the 4th round.
Round 4, Pick 113 (From Washington): Durham Smyth – TE – Notre Dame
The Broncos took Jake Butt in the 5th round last season but he has yet to play a snap in the NFL. The hope is that he turns into the tight end that everyone expected him to be before he got injured, but if you’re Denver, you have to plan for otherwise.
Smyth is not known as a pass-catching tight end, but the departure of Virgil Green makes him an enticing pick as he is a fantastic inline blocker and can extend to the next level as well. If Butt reaches his potential, Denver would have a great 1-2 tight end punch with plenty of versatility.
Round 5, Pick 149 (From Washington): Kalen Ballage – RB – ASU
By releasing C.J. Anderson, the writing is on the wall for Denver to take a running back in the draft, the question is when. I think the talent that falls to them in the first 3 rounds is just too great to pass up, and as history shows us, very talented running backs can always be acquired in the later rounds.
Booker was a 4th round pick and Henderson was a 6th round pick, so why not round it out and take someone in the 5th round? Ballage is a hometown guy from Peyton, Colorado. His dad played football at Adams State and his Uncle played at the University of Colorado.
At 6’3 230, Ballage is a big back that would add size to the Broncos RB room. I expect them to add a few guys after the draft as well as they currently only have two on the depth chart. A player like Phillip Lindsay from Colorado could potentially be there as an undrafted free agent.
Round 5, Pick 160 (From LAR): Keke Coutee – WR – Texas Tech
I am probably higher than most on Carlos Henderson, the third round pick from a year ago who missed the entire season due to thumb surgery, but Denver should not shy away from adding another receiver as they continue to look for their number 3 guy. In 2017, Coutee finished with 93 receptions for 1,429 yards at Texas Tech. He was tremendously productive, and after the disaster that Isaiah McKenzie was last season, he could make an impact on special teams. Great value in the 5th round.