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Big Board Update: A look at the dark-horse options for the Broncos at 10

Andre Simone Avatar
March 22, 2019

With pro days still in full swing and the biggest names in free agency all locked down to new record-breaking figures, our focus, like the rest of the NFL, turns to the draft. 

As our coverage starts to ramp up, it was time to update our big board, extending it to the top-100 prospects in the draft and focusing on risers on our board who could be selected early on by the Denver Broncos.

Stay tuned, this is just the beginning. Much, much more draft content is coming to a screen near you.

Dark horse options at 10

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, LSU linebacker Devin White, and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver are the most logical options at 10 overall for the Broncos right now, but they’re far from the only names Denver will consider.

Here are some other names to keep in mind. 

Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

Williams rose to the top spot on our board in this update, after putting a stamp on his stock with an outlandish combine performance, showing elite athleticism for his size.

Despite that, other positions will get valued higher than defensive tackle, with Williams potentially sliding a bit if teams at the top of the draft go edge-rusher crazy and we see a few trades for quarterbacks.

Still, Williams slipping all the way to 10th overall remains highly unlikely—his floor should be ninth overall to the Buffalo Bills—but there seems to be a slim possibility this happens.

Just a one-year starter, Williams’ combination of power and athleticism give him elite upside, and he’s already devastating as a zero-technique who feasts on centers both against the run and pass. That type of game-wrecking ability could make him an instant star in Vic Fangio’s new defense.

As the best player on our board, he’d be a slam dunk pick and could potentially be the best player on Denver’s roster not named Von Miller.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Metcalf has slowly been rising up the rankings in the last few months, after somewhat unexpectedly declaring for the draft and then confirming his freakish athleticism in Indianapolis. At this point, Metcalf feels like a lock to go in the top 10, and given his big-play ability, he’d be worth considering if still available.

Metcalf’s lack of statistical production, combined with his injury concerns, is very reminiscent of Demaryius Thomas when he entered the league coming from Georgia Tech. The two are especially comparable with their outlandish combination of size and athleticism.

The Broncos have a budding group of young receivers but are lacking that true alpha dog on the outside who can stress coverages vertically, Metcalf has the potential to be that guy.

He might not be the Broncos’ top target, but if he’s around, he’d certainly warrant consideration as improving the offense should be the top priority for John Elway and Co.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Denver loves their Big Ten tight ends, that’s been made clear through the years, and they still have three on the roster with significant promise—if they can stay healthy.

Hockenson might be too good to pass up, though, given his devastating combination of athleticism, blocking ability, and noticeable upside as a receiver. His steady hands and route running already stand out, and if T.J. can be more of a red zone threat and polish out the rest of his game, the sky is the limit for him.

With a top-10 selection, Hockenson has to become one of the best players at his position, which makes him a bit of a risky pick that high, even if he’s generally seen as a pretty safe prospect. Still, don’t discount Hockenson being the best player available for Denver if their defensive targets are gone by their first-round selection.

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Bush and Devin White went toe-to-toe at The Combine, and while White fell one spot from our pre-combine big board, Bush has climbed the rankings into our top-15.

Like Hockenson, the value of this selection wouldn’t be great at 10, but it wouldn’t be terrible, either, especially considering how the ultra-athletic backer would fit perfectly in Fangio’s defensive scheme.

Beyond being ideally suited to drop in deep zones and cover plenty of ground, Bush has the speed and instincts to run down tight ends or running backs in man coverage, a big issue for the Broncos for years now.

Despite his less-than-ideal size, he’s a physical tone-setting finisher, though he needs to be better in taking on blockers.

His ideal fit in Denver’s new ‘D’ makes him the most likely selection of all the names on this list as Bush could be the quarterback of Fangio’s defense for years to come.

And beyond

Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

As we alluded to in the headline, it’s not all about the 10th pick, with our board having plenty of risers who would fit in Denver and can be found later in the draft.

Tillery is the first name on the list due to a monster performance in Indianapolis and elite flashes in 2018, where the big 6-foot-6 defensive lineman wracked up eight sacks.

At this point, hoping Tillery slides to 41—Denver’s second-round pick—is too much to ask, but he’d be an ideal target if the Broncos were to trade down from 10, or trade back up from 41. His fit in Fangio’s defense would be perfect given his stout presence against the run and ability to annihilate clean pockets up the middle. Tillery’s length is also reminiscent of Chicago Bears standout Akiem Hicks, who blossomed into a star last season for Fangio, and could have a similar impact down the road in Denver’s defense.

Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Another post-combine riser, Lindstrom had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and is an absolute mauler in the run game. How he tested athletically suggests the big guard could work in a zone-blocking scheme, too, and given the Broncos need for more talent on the interior of the offensive line, Lindstrom—in addition to Garrett Bradburry—is a name to keep a close eye on. 

John Cominsky, DL, Charleston

The small-school standout has drastically increased his stock between the Senior Bowl, where he showed he belonged with some of the top prospects in the country, and his combine showing.

Cominsky’s combination of athleticism, size and unlimited upside make him very appealing in the Broncos’ scheme. He’d be a big roll of the dice on the draft’s second day that could pay off in a major way.

Safeties rising

While we wait to verify the athleticism of two of the top safeties in the class, Alabama’s Deionte Thompson and Washington’s Taylor Rapp, the rest of the safety class is rising quickly.

The biggest riser of all is Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, a physical slot defender who excels close to the line and is fluid in coverage. This is exactly the type of DB the Broncos have targeted this offseason, and Gardner-Johnson could add significant value and versatility to the Broncos secondary in sub packages.

If he dropped to 41—yes, at this point him being available in the early second would be a drop—he’d be a really nice fit in Fangio’s ‘D’.

Another safety—among the nine in our top 100—is Mississippi State’s Jonathan Abram, who has made significant strides up our board. Abram is far from perfect but plays with a contagious intensity, and while his strength is coming downhill to deliver big hits, he’s more than athletic enough to match up with tight ends and play in two-deep safety looks on occasion, crucial for Fangio’s defense. He’ll be another name to know when considering second-round options for the Broncos.

Thompson remains atop our rankings due to his infinite range and high upside as a true single-high safety. Rapp’s also up there on our board, as a more reliable enforcer in the secondary than Abram who can also cover TEs and play in two-high looks.

There are lots of options for the Denver to add a dynamic safety in this draft, that’s for sure.

Here is the rest of our top-100.

Top-100 Big Board 5.0

1. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

2. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

3. Devin White, LB, LSU

4. Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

5. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

6. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

7. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

8. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

9. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

10. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

11. Andraez ‘Greedy’ Williams, CB, LSU

12. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

13. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

14. Jonah Williams, LT, Alabama

15. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

16. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

17. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

18. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

19. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

20. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

21. Andre Dillard, LT, Washington State

22. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

23. Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

24. Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State

25. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

26. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

27. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

28. Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

29. Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

30. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

31. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

32. Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama

33. Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

34. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB/S, Florida

35. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

36. Deebo  Samuel, WR, South Carolina

37. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

38. Yodny Cajuste, LT, West Virginia

39. Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

40. Zach Allen, DL/DE, Boston College

41. Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami

42. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

43. Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

44. Dalton Risner, RT, Kansas State

45. Taylor Rapp, SS, Washington

46. Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan

47. Johnathan Abram, SS, Mississippi State

48. Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State

49. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

50. Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

51. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

52. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

53. Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma*

54. Terrill Hanks, OLB, New Mexico State

55. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

56. Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

57. Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky

58. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

59. John Cominsky, DL, Charleston

60. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

61. Nasir Adderley, CB/S, Delaware

62. Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State

63. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

64. Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

65. Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas

66. Kaleb McGary, RT, Washington

67. Marvell Tell III, S, USC

68. Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

69. Ryan Finley, QB, NC State

70. Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

71. Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State

72. David Edwards, RT, Wisconsin

73. DeAndre Walker, OLB, Georgia

74. Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M

75. Erik McCoy, OC, Texas A&M

76. Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn

77. Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford

78. Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida

79. Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M

80. Kris Boyd, CB, Texas

81. Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

82. Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

83. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

84. Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland

85. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

86. Beau Benzschawel, OG, Wisconsin

87. Amani Hooker, S, Iowa

88. Connor McGovern, G, Penn State

89. Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA

90. Anthony Nelson, EDGE, Iowa

91. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

92. Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State

93. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

94. Andy Isabella, WR, UMass

95. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

96. Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

97. Ben Banogu, DE, TCU

98. Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

99. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

100. Trey Adams, OT, Washington

Just missed the cut:

Michael Jordan, OC, Ohio State

Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama

Tyler Biadasz, OC, Wisconsin

Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma

Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin

Jordan Ta’amu, QB, Ole Miss

Austin Bryant, EDGE, Clemson

Joe Jackson, EDGE, Miami

David Sills, WR, West Virginia

Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State

Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State

Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford

Justin Hollins, OLB, Oregon

Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State

Greg Gaines, NT, Washington

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