1. Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State 1. Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State 1. Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State

2014 NFL Draft Review: Denver Broncos


Dec 16, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Denver Broncos helmet awaits use before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

1. Bradley Roby, CB Ohio State
2. Cody Latimer, WR Indiana
3. Michael Schofield, OT Michigan
5. Lamin Barrow, OLB LSU
6. Matt Paradis, C Boise State
7. Corey Nelson, OLB Oklahoma

The Denver Broncos entered the 2014 NFL Draft with a win now mentality, but drafted players that have a long term vision.  They could get an early impact out of their top three picks, but they only really need to get something immediate out of their top pick.  The Broncos did a nice job in making a good use of value and allowing players to fall to them that fit what they want to do, even though they did not have a high number of draft picks.

The Broncos had a few options to go with in round 1.  The fan base in general seemed to be hoping and praying that an Ohio State Buckeye would fall to them, but they wanted Ryan Shazier.  Although slightly unexpected, Shazier went with the 15th pick.  The Broncos took his teammate Bradley Roby, the corner.

Although not really highlighted as a major need, the Broncos did really need corner help now and going forward.  And for me, Roby was my top corner in the draft and is going into a great situation in terms of fit.  Roby can play in man coverage or zone, but he is not afraid to go up and make tackles.  His 2013 tape shows far more intensity, giving the impression that he played safe at times in 2014 to protect from potential injury, especially with how he used his arms; far more shoulder bombing this past season.

For the Broncos, a team that is accustomed to playing with a lead, Roby is a terrific athlete that can break on the ball and put the nail in the coffin for opponents.  He is aggressive and not afraid to go for the big time interception.  The character questions he had are really minor when any research is done and he will benefit from having players like Champ Bailey there to guide him.

In the second round, the Broncos just let a talented player fall to them in Cody Latimer.  The Broncos have always been smart about keeping Peyton Manning loaded with plenty of weapons.  At times, the buzz on Latimer would be a first round pick but the tape did not back that up.  Latimer is a gifted athlete that shows a ton of ability and promise, but he is still refining his game and figuring out some of the nuances of the game.  In a situation where he can be the fourth option, he can ease his way in while still making an impact as a rookie.  Plus, Latimer could develop into a big time player for the post Manning era.

In the third round, the Broncos got an offensive tackle that was largely underappreciated much of the draft process because he was overshadowed by Taylor LewanMichael Schofield is an athletic player that can be a swing tackle for the Broncos now, but with additional strength, he can become a starter and have a better career in the NFL than he did in college.  Should the Broncos have an injury along the offensive line, they would have a player that can step in and help without leaving them vulnerable.  This also helps give them insurance for Orlando Franklin likely making a move to guard.

The fifth round pick of Lamin Barrow was a head scratcher.  Barrow was an athletic player at LSU, but he really never seemed to figure things out there.  His instincts and reads were questionable and he looked lost quite a bit.  The Broncos are putting themselves in position to foot the bill for his development and if they can get him to really learn the position, he can fit what they like in a player.  He should be able to contribute on special teams if nothing else, but in two years at LSU, he showed little in terms of polish as a player.

The Broncos took another center in Matt Paradisto help give them depth.  J.D. Walton left via free agency and due to his injury last year, the team was forced to move Manny Ramirez from guard to center.  Beyond Ramirez and Will Mongtomery, Paradis is the only young pivot on the roster.  They had to get one at some point and the track record for late round successes at center is a long one.  Paradis should have time to develop if the team can stay healthy.

The Broncos finished up their draft with another undersized linebacker that fits what they like.  They love guys that can fly around and make plays and since they do have an offense that can score points, they have opted for a defense that is extremely effective against the pass.  Corey Nelson was not a big investment, so if he cannot make it, no big deal.

Overall, the Broncos did well in the first three rounds.  They got players that can help immediately, but they are more for the long haul and life after Manning, especially on day two taking players that have may have better NFL careers than collegiate ones.  The Broncos have been able to build their roster in such a way where they are going all in to win the Super Bowl, but given themselves enough flexibility to still have an eye on the future.  The picks they made on day three may ultimately not yield much, but the most critical one may be Paradis.  The Broncos did well in spite of a lack of assets.