DENVER — When the draft is less than three weeks away, it’s time to get serious.
Mike’s Mystery Mockster is not messing around. You want an inside linebacker or right tackle with the Broncos’ No. 9 overall pick? Pshaw!
Quarterback, baby. An athletic, read-option, spread-‘em-out, fire-it and leg-it college-system quarterback who will help the Broncos keep up with the rest of the NFL, particularly all those QB stalwarts in the AFC West.
The next picks fill immediate needs at inside linebacker, safety, edge rusher and running backs in rounds 2-5. Then there are two nice local picks for the seventh round where the Broncos have three picks.
>>Video above: Pros and cons of Broncos' Drew Lock and other QB possibilities
Not sure Broncos general manager George Paton can do better himself come April 29-May 1 when the NFL Draft will be held. On with Mike’s Mystery Mockster draft (with comments on each selection made not by the author but Mike’s Mystery Mockster):
Round 1: No. 9
Justin Fields, QB, 6-2 1/2, 224, Ohio State
The Broncos don’t draft this high very often – and hopefully it’s the last time George Paton drafts this high during the six years of his first general manager contract. The expectation is five quarterbacks will go in the top 10, and this is the time for the Broncos to get one. It may take moving up a couple spots, but Fields is worth it.
If all the QBs are gone or out of reach, trade back into the teens for Jaycee Horn, cornerback, South Carolina and multiple picks.
If Broncos make the pick at 9 and it’s not a QB, select Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama, or Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern, the best defensive player and best right tackle in the Draft.
Round 2: No. 40
Baron Browning, ILB, 6-3, 241, Ohio State
The Broncos finally get the sideline-to-sideline off-ball linebacker they have been searching for and Vic Fangio gets the next Roquan Smith. (Although Fangio is not likely to compare Browning to Roquan, who went No. 8 overall to the Bears in 2018).
Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky would also be a great choice at No. 40 but he has been soaring up draft boards and may end up going in round 1.
If the Broncos don’t go QB in Round 1, Stanford quarterback Davis Mills would be an option at No. 40.
Round 3: No. 71 Jevon Holland, strong safety, 6-0 ½, 200, Oregon
Holland would be a great addition to the Broncos secondary. A versatile defensive back who can back up Kareem Jackson at strong safety for a year before teaming up with the best free safety in the game in Justin Simmons.
Holland opted out of the 2020 season which may hurt his draft position. If he is off the board, Richard LeCounte lll, safety, Georgia would be a good option.
Round 4: No. 114
Quincy Roche, Edge, 6-2 ½, 243, Miami
Broncos need depth at outside linebacker and Roche brings the skill and talent to contribute immediately.
Another front 7 option in the 4th round is Notre Dame defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji. Although he’s more of a 4-3 defensive end, Ogundeji gets after the quarterback and plays with the speed an explosiveness that will work in any system.
Round 5: No. 152
Trey Sermon, RB, 6-0, 215, Ohio State & Oklahoma
At 5-11 ½, 216 pounds, Sermon is a powerful between-the-tackles runner who would fit the Broncos running back room. He was impressive as a freshman and sophomore for the Sooners, but then lost playing time and got hurt as a junior. He was a graduate transfer to Ohio State and took off late in the 2020 season, rushing for 112, 331 and 193 yards in three consecutive games against Michigan State, Northwestern in the Big Ten championship and Clemson in the NCAA semifinal.
If the Broncos want more speed and perimeter play from their rookie running back, Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard would be a good choice.
Round 6: No. 191
Alaric Jackson, OT, 6-5, 321, Iowa
If you are going to take a chance on a later-round offensive tackle, take one from a school famous for grinding out NFL linemen year after year. Jackson spent his college career lining up with a number of high draft picks and the Mystery Mockster’s guess is he will become productive pro.
Tommy Kraemer is another O-Lineman who may be available in the later rounds and is destined for a long NFL career. Kraemer played tackle and guard at Notre Dame, the type of versatility that could make him a valuable addition to the Broncos offense.
Round 7: No. 237
Mustafa Johnson, DT, 6-0, 280, Colorado
Johnson is the type of college defensive tackle with inside pass-rush ability that the Broncos like to turn into 3-4 defensive ends.
Those of us who have watched Johnson for the past few years know some NFL team is going to be very lucky to have him.
Round 7: No. 239
Shakur Brown, CB, 5-9 ½, 188, Michigan State
Brown has a great all-around game – must think special teams with late-round picks – and can eventually provide depth in the slot.
Round 7: No. 253
Warren Jackson, WR, 6-6, 219, Colorado State
Another local product, Jackson has tremendous size and length. He could be a 50-50 match up problem for opposing teams on Day One. Jackson opted out last year possibly making him available in the later rounds.
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