Assuming the Denver Broncos keep their number 20 pick in the first round and address their need at tackle, here are our mock projections for their remaining draft selections.
Denver Broncos Mock Draft After The First Round
51. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Since the Broncos watched Julius Thomas chase the money and head to Jacksonville they have seen a steady decline in production at the tight end position.
Virgil Green has built a career in run blocking but is a non-threat in the passing game. In his 6-year career, he has a total of 616 receiving yards.
Jeff Heuerman tore his ACL prior to his rookie season in 2015. Last season was when he saw his first action on the field. He has the ability to catch the ball up the seam, but coming out of college, he too was more revered for his run blocking ability. The jury is still out on Heuerman, but his production will have to increase three-fold if he plans to stay in Denver past his third year.
A.J. Derby was a nice acquisition mid-season, but he couldn’t break the 200-yard receiving mark, and had some critical drops in a few crucial moments down the stretch.
If Evan Engram lasts until pick 51 the Broncos have to take him. Not the greatest run blocker but he has great hands and can line up just about anywhere on the field. Engram had 65 receptions for 926 yards in 2016 at Ole Miss, and he ran a 4.42-40, which is lightning fast for a tight end.
Engram would be a great addition to the Denver offense. Green could focus strictly on run blocking and Engram would be another speedy weapon for whoever lines up under center.
82. Demarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Jared Crick was a nice offseason addition last year that put up great numbers for the price Elway paid for him. However, it’s always smart to add depth to a position that is so critical to the Broncos aggressive defense, getting after the quarterback.
Walker is an explosive defensive end that would be a tremendous compliment to Derek Wolfe. At 6’4”, 280 pounds he is a big man on the edge, but extremely quick and powerful with his swim move. He posted 25 sacks over the past two seasons, which makes him a no-brainer for the Broncos 3-4 defense.
101 (Compensatory). Anthony Walker Jr., ILB, Northwestern
Todd Davis did his best last season, but there was a noticeable difference in run defense with the departure of Danny Trevathan before 2016. Denver will want to add depth at the inside linebacker position to play alongside Brandon Marshall or spell him if the injury bug continues to sideline him consistently.
At 6’1”, 238 pounds, Walker Jr. is the prototypical size for a linebacker and he runs a 4.34 shuttle demonstrating his change of direction speed. He was promoted as “The Franchise” during his tenure at Northwestern, and rightfully so, after posting 122 tackles and 105 tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons, respectively. The Broncos need a player that is going to be involved on every tackle, and Walker Jr. can be that guy and has the ability to become an early starter.
127. David Sharpe, OT, Florida
Even if Denver takes a tackle with their first round pick, it is still their biggest area of need, so they should add another guy that they can add to the rotation and compete for a starting job.
Sharpe could be a force at left tackle based purely on his size. At 6’6”, 343 pounds, he will win any battle at the point of attack. He is a great straight-line blocker that uses his pure size and strength to move defenders out of the way. If he can improve his flexibility and footwork, Sharpe can be a good value pick for the Broncos in the fourth round.
177 (Compensatory). Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
Getting Vanderdoes in the fifth round is a bit of a pipe dream, as the possibility of him lasting that long is unlikely, but if he does, it would be an amazing pick for the Broncos. His playing weight is a bit under the usual for a tackle, but his strength and speed make up for it. If he can return to true form before he tore his ACL in 2015, he will be a viable starting tackle that can take over the reigns for Peko.
203. Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
The Broncos are missing a true slot receiver, due to Cody Latimer’s underwhelming career after being drafted in the second round, and Bennie Fowler’s inability to get a stranglehold on the third spot.
Artavis Scott won a National Championship with Clemson, gained All-Conference accolades in all three seasons he attended and earned his degree in two and a half years. He is consistent in catching the ball and can return kicks and punts as well. He would compete for the slot position and could be a day one special team’s player.
238. Jeremy Clark, CB, Michigan
Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby have supplanted themselves as the guys in Denver. However, with Kayvon Webster’s departure to Los Angeles, there is a need for more depth, and with Roby playing in a contract year, the Broncos will have to decide on his fifth-year option in 2018 and will be forced to sign him to a big contract.
Clark is a bit of an unknown due to an injury he sustained early last season. However, he is a big corner, 6’4” 205 pounds, that is extremely talented. He is absolutely worth taking a flyer on in the seventh round and given a shot to make the roster. As he continues to rehab and is given the opportunity to train with the “No Fly Zone,” there is no reason why he can’t be a starter one day.
252 (Compensatory). Cameron Lee, OG, Illinois State
Keeping with the theme, adding depth to trenches is always something that should be taken seriously in the draft. Lee comes from a small school in Illinois State, but he is a monster of a man at the guard position, measuring in at 6’5” 312 pounds.
A former walk-on, Lee earned a starting role for the Redbirds, starting 13 games at guard in 2015, and 12 games at tackle in 2016. With his size and potential, he could make the roster and save the Broncos some much-needed cap space.
253 (Compensatory). Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado
A quarterback should be taken every year in the draft. It is so hard to find a viable starter and you never know when someone will get called upon to be the starter and surprises everyone. Look at Trevor Siemian, a former seventh-round pick to go on and start for the defending Super Bowl Champions, and will have another opportunity to start this season.
Liufau is not your prototypical quarterback, as he has sloppy mechanics and his timing and anticipation are below average. However, he was beloved by his teammates, was known for being extremely tough, an extremely hard worker, a competitor, and a valued leader make him someone that is worth giving a shot. He may not have a legitimate chance at becoming the starter, but I have no doubt that he would make the quarterback room better, and become an asset in the locker room.
It doesn’t hurt that he is a hometown kid, and head coach Vance Joseph also attended the University of Colorado.