1. First Round, 25th overall: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
This might seem wild, but every day, I’m liking the Broncos to take a wide receiver more and more in the first round. There’s really no telling who will be available for this pick, and it could easily wind up being a defensive tackle or cornerback, but I’m intrigued by putting some serious talent around Peyton Manning. The Broncos have a small window to win championships with #18 at the helm, so they need to give him all the help he can get. Stephen Hill is a very talented young player with excellent size and athletic ability, and he could provide the Broncos with the best young trio of receivers in the NFL with Demaryius Thomas (another former Yellow Jacket) and Eric Decker, both high selections in the 2010 NFL draft.
2. Second Round, 57th overall: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
The Broncos are still able to take advantage of the depth at the defensive tackle position in this draft with Brandon Thompson in the second round. Brodrick Bunkley was a very welcome addition last season as a run stuffer in the middle, but he bolted for more money to New Orleans, leaving the Broncos with a decent rotation still on paper, but who knows how durable it will be. Justin Bannan returns, as do Ty Warren and Kevin Vickerson off of injured reserve for the Broncos, who also brought back Ryan McBean. Those four provide a pretty average to below average rotation even when they’re healthy, so getting a guy like Thompson could be a huge upgrade for Denver.
3. Third Round, 87th overall: Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State
The Broncos want to add another back this offseason, and it will likely come in the form of someone like Turbin. The Broncos will work him out privately, and put the big, speedy back through the gauntlet. He sort of reminds me of a Jonathan Stewart type of back, which could really intrigue the Broncos. Knowshon Moreno hasn’t cut it, though he was playing arguably the best game of his career when he went down with a season-ending knee injury against Kansas City. A rotation including Turbin, Pro Bowler Willis McGahee, Moreno, and last year’s undrafted ‘talk of the town’ Mario Fannin will be solid for Denver going forward.
**Projected trade: Broncos trade both 4th round picks (108, 120) to New England Patriots for a third round pick (93rd overall), future pick**
4. Third Round, 93rd overall (from Patriots): Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
The Broncos really, really like Osweiler. Either that, or they’re playing a seriously good trick on everybody by sending John Elway, GM Brian Xanders, head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase to work the former Arizona State product out. Osweiler is ranked 105th on my board, so the Broncos will have to reach for him a bit. Trading two fourth rounders and getting an additional pick in next year’s draft seems like a fair deal to move up for the signal caller. The Pats don’t have many picks after the third round, so getting some extra ones might be nice. Plus, they’re always moving around. Osweiler has a strong arm and the tools to be a great QB someday if he can learn from Peyton Manning. Great situation for him to go into.
5. Fifth Round, 137th overall (from Rams): Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
The Broncos recently cut Andre’ Goodman. They signed Tracy Porter, so drafting someone early is not entirely necessary, but it should not be ruled out. Getting a guy like Johnson in the fifth round, a player with starter potential, is a nice steal for the Broncos. Johnson doesn’t have great athletic measurables but he has always gotten the job done and is a very underrated player. He’s ranked 145th on my board.
6. Sixth Round, 188th overall (from Jets): Cordarro Law, DE, Southern Mississippi
The Broncos’ least deep position is at defensive end, which leads me to believe a selection at that position could come earlier than the sixth round, but I love what Law brings to the table physically, and he could be a real steal late in the drat. He was incredibly productive at Southern Miss, and his only knock was an alleged lack of athletic ability, a rumor he debunked at his pro day.