Posted Thu Mar 29th by Monty
(Editor’s note: The follow piece was written by Geoff Bangs, who is trying out for a position on the BroncoTalk staff. We’ve split his article into two parts. Today he’ll break down the first two picks the Broncos will be making in the 2012 NFL Draft. Rounds 3-7 here. We hope you enjoy.)
April 26th, 2012. 27 days from the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Denver Broncos currently hold the rights to picks #25, 57, 88, 108, 120, 137, and 188. Our original fifth and sixth round selections were traded away by Josh Mcdaniels (5th to Browns for Quinn, 6th to Eagles for Mays). Our 7th, as I’m sure most of you know, was just recently given to the NY Jets along with Tim Tebow-san for New Yorks 4th (108) and 6th (188) round considerations.
After the monumental signing of Peyton Manning along with key additions such as Tamme, Dreessen, Porter, and Caldwell the Broncos free agent season is simmering down and their draft needs are becoming clearer. Denver did well to re-sign linebackers Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard and defensive end Jason Hunter this week and are now continuing to look at bringing back Marcus Thomas.
What obviously hurt us this week was the loss of Brodrick Bunkley to the Saints. Bunkley was ranked last year as the #1 DT against the run by profootballsource.com. Prior to losing Bunkley it was already known the Broncos ached for a solid 3-tech that can collapse the pocket and pressure the QB. Now we need a run stopper as well. Some have high hopes for Vickerson returning from IR. Either way it’s absolutely crucial the Broncos draft one, if not two, stud interior defensive lineman. That’s why in this segment we will be taking a closer look at the defensive tackles of this 2012 draft class that could be available at our selections.
PICK NUMBER 25
The Broncos first round selection. The trendy pick here early was Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State, mostly because he was mocked to Denver in Mel Kiper Jr’s first mock this year. After an evaluation of tape and the very strong perofrmance he put forth at the combine the First team All SEC performer will undoubtedly be off the board before 25 and is my #1 defensive tackle overall.
Lately I have seen many people mocking Michael Brockers to the Broncos at this spot. Brockers is the number one DT on walterfootball.com’s Draft Consensus big board (a big board comprised of averaging ranks from the likes of Scouts Inc, Mel Kiper, CBS and others) with an average just over #10. Some think the physical specimen, 6’5 323 lbs, could slip to #25 as a result of running a 5.33 40 yard dash, which is slow, and only benching 19 reps of 225 at the combine. It is clear, however, that scouts are absolutely in love with his potential and he will also be off the board by our first round selection.
The two most likely selections, if Denver were to go DT at #25, are Devon Still (6’5, 303lbs.) of Penn State and Jerel Worthy (6’2 308lbs.) of Michigan State. The two Big Ten prospects are loads at the line of scrimmage, being difficult to move in run defense and quite capable pass rushers as well.
Worthy came into this season considered a top ten prospect but questions arose about his conditioning after playing a low number of snaps in a lot of games this year and coming to the combine looking a little sloppier and out of shape than one would want their first round draft pick to be. Worthy has some stupendous tape and finished off this season well with good performances against Ohio State and Georgia but he also had quite poor games on his record as well earlier in the season against the likes of Wisconsin where he was virtually a non factor. Worthy, at times, shows an elite burst off the line and superb ability to jump the snap. He has absolutely tenacious hands and at times looks as if he is undoubtedly a top ten selection. At other times he’s just a big body. These are big questions to answer if Worthy wants to go in the first round.
Still also shows a great ability to penetrate the backfield and beat everyone else off the snap. He does very well in run support, both can eat up double teams but Still moves better laterally down the line. Still has a great build for an interior d-lineman and was many peoples #1 DT before the senior bowl. Unfortunately Still has just as many, I think more, questions about his effort than Worthy does. Worthy always plays with fire he just really needs to get his fitness in check. Devon Still, and Todd McShay said the same exact thing at the combine this year, will completely disappear from games for 3 quarters.
On the walterfootball.com consensus big board both are right between 28 and 29 as their average. Both players are consistently being mocked to Denver. Most like Still over Worthy. I like Worthy more because he seems to care much more about the game. Still’s play often times appears apathetic. All in all I believe the Broncos will choose to leave both of these players on the board here and go in a different direction from DT as there will certainly be a player of much higher rating available at 25.
PICK NUMBER 57
Our second round selection. The most exciting prospect at DT that could potentially be on the board here is Kendall Reyes (6’4, 299 lbs.) Of Uconn. Reyes came to Uconn as a 3 sport all star and ended up putting on loads of muscle to become the All Big East player that he is. Reyes rocketed up draft boards after clocking a 4.79s 40 yard dash and putting up 225lbs 36 times in the bench press at the NFL Combine. I was watching film on him today vs West Virginia and there is a play where he bull rushes the guard so ferociously that they’re both past the QB and off screen before Reyes even has time to react and come off to make a move on the QB. Reyes played NT as well as 3-tech and has a high ceiling of athletic ability. He is widely considered to be an early or mid second round pick but Reyes has some questionable tape where he looks a little lost on the field or has trouble getting off of blocks laterally. There is no doubt about Reyes’ physical gifts but he still has developing to do, especially with technique. I would grade his tape as an early to mid 3rd rounder, with the combine he put up #57 could be exactly where he goes and The Broncos would be wise to capitalize if that turns out to be the case.
Brandon Thompson (6’1, 318 lbs.) of Clemson is a quality run plugger that will most likely be available at #57. Thompson is a squat load that can be an immovable force. It’s quite a rare day that you see Thompson get to the QB but that is because he is busy happily eating up double teams to free up the pass rushers around him. Thompson could make a good replacement for Bunkley but would also be of no use in Nickel and Dime situations.
Check back tomorrow for Rounds 3-7 (UPDATE: find it here), and let us know what you think in the comments!