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BSN Denver Mock draft 4.0: Do the Broncos still take a quarterback?

Andre Simone Avatar
March 22, 2018

With the ever-changing landscape after free agency’s first week and a half and the big trade up by the New York Jets, we couldn’t resist bringing you a fresh mock draft.

More draft coverage will follow soon, with a trip to Wyoming on Friday to see Josh Allen’s pro day, and an updated big board and position rankings to follow soon also.

But enough about me, let’s dig into this two-round mock.

1) CLEVELAND BROWNS, SAM DARNOLD, QB, USC

This has been the pick we’ve mocked to Cleveland at first overall all along, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. Darnold is far from perfect, but he’s young at only 20 years old and has the best combination of tools out of any quarterback in this class.

2) New York Giants, Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Rosen remains an injury question mark, and maybe—for some—a character one as well. However, he’s easily the second-best quarterback in this class, while also being polished beyond his years—or any other quarterback in the 2018 crop.

The Giants might still be holding out hope that they can win now, after a few big moves in free agency, and this pick could be on the market for a trade down—including to Denver, potentially. Regardless of who ends up picking here, expect Rosen to go in this spot—as we’ve been predicting for months now.

3) New York Jets (from IND), Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

This is where the draft really begins, and with the Jets big trade, it’ll be between Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen, the two big names we watched at the Senior Bowl.

There are two different schools of thought here with who the Jets will pick and why they traded up. If they moved up to get in front of the Broncos, then they’ll likely take Mayfield, but if they made the trade to beat out the Buffalo Bills, who were rumored to be pursuing the Colts pick aggressively, then they’re taking Allen.

Allen’s the pick here because of his size and cannon for an arm, which should be much more appealing to New York than Mayfield’s smaller stature and not as otherworldly raw tools.

Mind you, this is the same front office that took a gamble on Christian Hackenberg in the second round only two drafts ago, so you know they’re enticed by the raw talent that Allen presents—which is much greater than anything Hackenberg had or has to offer.

4) Cleveland Browns (from HOU), Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

We finally have a non-quarterback, and while the Browns acquired Carlos Hyde in free agency, Barkley might still be too enticing not to take here.

This will be another potential trade down spot as well, with Denver and the Arizona Cardinals seemingly the biggest potential suitors—with Allen out the mix, it sounds like the Bills are out.

If Denver trades up to ensure they get Mayfield, it should be for a package similar to what the Chicago Bears gave the San Francisco 49ers to move up one spot last draft, which cost them two thirds and a fourth. Arizona would have to give up at least two first rounders for the Browns to move down 11 spots and say goodbye to Barkley, Bradley Chubb, or any other possible top-’10 pick.

In this scenario, everyone stays put as the Broncos know that the Browns won’t take two quarterbacks and are too enticed by Barkley to trade down and miss out on him.

5) Denver Broncos, Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

With Case Keenum now in Denver, this is far from a sure thing. However, Keenum’s short-term contract doesn’t indicate he’s the man in Denver, nor would the fact that John Elway delayed his introductory presser to scout Mayfield at his pro day, after already seeing him plenty of times at the Senior Bowl and Combine.

Either the Broncos are doing an amazing job of putting out smoke screens for everyone, or they’re enamored with Mayfield, who isn’t all that different stylistically from Keenum but has a much bigger arm.

Coming from a spread offense, the cerebral Heisman winner would have a chance to learn and get some time to develop behind a quarterback who came from a very similar system.

If not Mayfield, Quenton Nelson would very much be in play, as would Chubb, as both upgrade the Broncos in the trenches. That said, neither has the potential to be a franchise quarterback like Mayfield does, which is why he’s the pick here.

6) Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ), Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

The Colts trade down looks even better now, as they sweep up Chubb who was being mocked to them at pick No. 3 by just about everyone already. Now, they’ve added endless second round picks (see below) and can finally attempt to put a winning roster around their quarterback(s).

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Derwin James, DB, Florida State

With the trade for Jason Pierre-Paul, the Bucs don’t need outside pass rush help as badly now. That means they’ll have the option to add talent to their secondary with cornerback Denzel Ward and James being the two main contenders. Ward might be too similar to their other young cornerback Vernon Hargraves, a former high pick himself, which is why they take James who’s a phenom with insane versatility. He’d also continue the Seminoles pipeline to Tampa.

8) Chicago Bears, Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS/CB, Alabama

The Bears have done a really nice job of adding free agent targets for Mitch Trubisky this offseason, thus not having to force the pick here and take another one this high in the draft. Their cornerbacks and secondary could still use an upgrade, which is why Fitzpatrick is a logical plug-and-play pick.

9) San Francisco 49ers, Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech

The Niners have added Richard Sherman and still could use an influx of talent in the secondary. They could also use an upgrade at linebacker, especially with Reuben Foster’s uncertain future. Enter Edmunds, the 19-year-old phenom with unlimited upside and the combination of size and athleticism the NFL covets.

Outside of defense, watch out for Connor Williams who’d be a perfect fit in Kyle Shannahan’s zone blocking scheme. He’s the dark horse pick here.

10) Oakland Raiders, Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

It’s no secret the Raiders need to improve their linebacking core, and they’re set up nicely with Edmunds or Smith in the mix at this pick. Edmunds is the complete package, but Smith’s ridiculous speed at the position will make him a nice consolation prize if that’s who they have to “settle” on.

11) Miami Dolphins, Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Nelson’s drop ends here, where the Dolphins could be in play for a quarterback, but with the top four gone, they decide to add to the line which has been depleted with some big-name departures through the years. Nelson isn’t a sexy pick, but he’s a ready-made starter who could form a nice building block up front with Laremy Tunsil.

12) Buffalo Bills (from CIN), Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Bills get their quarterback after all, with Jackson going in the same exact spot that DeShaun Watson went a year ago—another spectacular college QB from the ACC. Jackson will require some grooming with his footwork and accuracy beyond the numbers, something Buffalo can now give him with A.J. McCarron in place.

13) Washington Redskins, Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Skins need to add talent at cornerback after losing a few pieces this offseason, which is where Ward comes in. Still a bit raw with his ability to track the ball and tackle, Ward is a phenomenal athlete with big upside. He reminds me a bit of Denver’s Bradley Roby only smaller, but with better tape in his final year at OSU.

14) Green Bay Packers, Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA

The Packers are split between an edge rusher and cornerback, and with the supremely athletic Davenport still around, they pull the trigger on the former. Davenport has incredible size and athleticism for the position, and he’s only scratching the surface of his unlimited potential.

15) Arizona Cardinals, Connor Williams, OT/G, Texas

The Cards could simply jump the gun and take quarterback Mason Rudolph here, who’s the clear-cut best signal caller remaining at this point. They’ve made some moves on the offensive line, but could still use an upgrade at tackle.

Williams’ position will be debated after his arm length came in at 33 inches, but he has the athleticism to make up for it and could also allow Arizona to play him inside while they try their new signings, Justin Pugh or Andre Smith at tackle. Regardless of where he plays, he’d upgrade the line significantly, a must with Sam Bradford behind center.

16) Baltimore Ravens, Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Alex Collins had a nice season last year, though he still didn’t go over 1,000 yards rushing. So while there are more pressing needs in Baltimore, their bland offense needs an upgrade and an identity, something the explosive Guice could give them.

17) Los Angeles Chargers, Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Vea could go higher than this after a very impressive showing at the combine and two years of great tape. However, defensive tackles who aren’t primarily inside pass rushers have gone lower than expected the last few drafts. LA has greater needs, but putting Vea on their front would make that defense truly special.

18) Seattle Seahawks, Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

The Legion of Boom has lost some big-time pieces on the back end, and having lanky cornerbacks with ball skills, who can be physical on the outside is crucial in Seattle’s scheme. Oliver would be perfect in the Hawks Cover-3 and a potential steal at this point in the draft.

19) Dallas Cowboys, Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

The Cowboys are an interesting team and need to fix a few areas on either side of the ball. Defensive tackle is one of their bigger need areas and adding an interior penetrator like Bryan with unlimited upside could pay off big for them down the road. A nice value pick at this point in the draft.

20) Detroit Lions, Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

Landry could’ve gone higher than this, especially after a nice showing at the combine, but Detroit snatches him up as they need another pass rusher opposite Ziggy Ansah. Landry would be a perfect compliment as a bendy speed rusher opposite Ansah’s big frame.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF), James Daniels, OC, Iowa

Daniels is a special athlete, and while the Bengals added tackle Cordy Glenn by moving down from 12 to the 21st pick, they still need help on the interior of their line, particularly at center after losing Russell Bodine. Adding a talent like Daniels would go a long way in allowing Cincy’s offensive playmakers to strive in 2018.

22) Buffalo Bills (from KC), Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

After losing the aforementioned Glenn and center Eric Wood this offseason, the Bills could use some more help along the offensive line. After a surprisingly impressive showing at the combine, this is about where Hernandez should go. He’d add an attitude and be a tone setter for the Bills offense, which is still built around the running game.

23) Los Angeles Rams, Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch was a big winner from the combine, and now a first-round slot seems very much in play for him. While the Rams have made plenty of splashy moves, they’re in need of an upgrade at interior linebacker after trading away Alec Ogletree. The Boise State product would fit nicely.

24) Carolina Panthers, Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Panthers are in desperate need of more options at receiver. Though he disappointed a bit at the combine, showing a lack of explosiveness with his jumps, Ridley is still a talent who can get open thanks to his route running skills. He’d complement Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey nicely as a No. 2 wideout.

25) Tennessee Titans, Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Whether on the edges or inside, the Titans need an injection of talent on the defensive line outside of Jurrell Casey. Coming from an odd front in college and being a destroyer on the interior, Payne would be an ideal fit and a great value at this point.

26) Atlanta Falcons, Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

The Falcons have done their best to address their need at guard in free agency. Defensive tackle is their biggest need at this point, but the run at the position in the last nine picks makes selecting one here at a reasonable value unattainable. After losing speedster Taylor Gabriel, and letting tight end Levine Toliolo go, the passing offense could use a third option.

Kirk would make their offense more dynamic and add a special weapon in the return game as well.

27) New Orleans Saints, Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

The Saints could use more talent at tight end and more depth at receiver. As a big target, Sutton could in some ways, fill both those needs. Put in the right situation with an explosive offense, the SMU star could be a really dangerous weapon in the NFC South.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers, Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Steelers would love to get their hands on an interior linebacker and could add some talent at safety or running back—depending on Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation. That said, they also need to be looking to the future and consider a succession plan for Ben Roethlisberger.

Rudolph is no Big Ben, but if groomed he has the big arm and frame to compete in the AFC North and keep the passing offense ticking in the future.

29) Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Jacksonville’s established their ground-and-pound identity on offense, and it’s worked nicely for them. They doubled down this offseason by making guard Andrew Norwell the highest paid player at his position. However, tackle could still use an upgrade, especially on the right side.

McGlinchey isn’t the best pass protector, but if developed could be serviceable, and he’s a monster in the run game which fits what the Jags are trying to do to a T.

30) Minnesota Vikings, Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

A forgotten man until his impressive combine showing, Alexander is a special talent. While the Vikings should prioritize the offensive line, CB is a key position for them and with aging nickel corner Terence Newman now 39, Alexander would be a huge upgrade for the future. A phenomenal value pick here.

Isaiah Wynn was another consideration as well.

31) New England Patriots, Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

The Patriots need an offensive tackle, cornerback, and depth at receiver after some offseason losses. However, they do have young players at all three spots being developed. They’ve also lost running back Dion Lewis, and RJII would add a completely different big-play element they’re currently lacking in the backfield.

While underutilized as a receiver in college, if Jones demonstrates decent hands, he could be a matchup nightmare for the Patriots offense. An unconventional pick, but a great fit.

32) Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Much like the Patriots, this pick is almost guaranteed to be traded away, as the Eagles are a savvy negotiating team and could use the extra day-two draft capital.

That said, if they’re stuck here, an aggressive, fast, man corner like Hughes who adds value as a returner would be a really solid selection, and a perfect fit in Jim Schwartz’s aggressive scheme.

ROUND 2

33) Cleveland Browns, Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

34) New York Giants, Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

35) Cleveland Browns (from HOU), Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

36) Indianapolis Colts, D.J. Chark, WR/KR, LSU

37) Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ), Rashaan Evans, OLB, Alabama

38) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ronnie Harrison, SS, Alabama

39) Chicago Bears, Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State

40) Denver Broncos, Isaiah Wynn, OG/T, Georgia

41) Oakland Raiders, Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

42) Miami Dolphins, Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

43) New England Patriots (from SF), Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

44) Washington Redskins, Matthew Thomas, OLB, Florida State

45) Green Bay Packers, Arden Key, EDGE, LSU

46) Cincinnati Bengals, Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas

47) Arizona Cardinals, Billy Price, OC/G, Ohio State

48) Los Angeles Chargers, Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

49) Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ – by way of SEA), Brian O’Neil, OT, Pittsburgh

50) Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State

51) Detroit Lions, Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

52) Baltimore Ravens, Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

53) Buffalo Bills, Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

54) Kansas City Chiefs, Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia

55) Carolina Panthers, Rasheem Green, DE, USC

56) Buffalo Bills (from LAR), D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

57) Tennessee Titans, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB/EDGE, Oklahoma

58) Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

59) San Francisco 49ers (from NO), Braden Smith, OG, Auburn

60) Pittsburgh Steelers, Uchenna Nwosu, OLB/EDGE, USC

61) Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike McCray, LB, Michigan

62) Minnesota Vikings, Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

63) New England Patriots, Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

64) Cleveland Browns (from PHI), Marcus Allen, FS, Penn State

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