The Denver Broncos made quite a splash in free agency last week, using their significant cap space to add several big name veterans. To help fill their many holes on defense, Denver acquired high-profile free agents Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware. Last weekend, Denver also signed former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, following the loss of Eric Decker to the New York Jets.
With Peyton Manning officially cleared to play for another year, the Broncos are clearly looking to add players who can contribute at a high level now, while their Super Bowl window is still open -- those players are difficult, though not impossible, to find in the draft. To position them for the best chance to win this year, Denver must aim to draft guys this spring who could hit the ground running their rookie year.
The Broncos’ draft needs become clearer with every free agency signing. This Denver Mock Draft 1.0 will project some rookie prospects who could help the Broncos fill their remaining holes and win this year. As of now, Denver has one pick to make in each of the draft’s seven rounds.
Despite making headlines last week with their additions to improve their secondary and pass rush, the Broncos will almost certainly still select a defensive player in the first round. Now that their gaping holes have been somewhat filled, they will likely take the most talented player available in the first round, much like they did last year with the selection of defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.
With the first-round pick of the draft (No. 31 overall), the Broncos should select Auburn defensive end Dee Ford.
The defensive MVP from this year’s Senior Bowl, Ford is an intriguing prospect who could instantly boost Denver’s pass rush. At 6-2 and 240 pounds, Ford is an aggressive and strong player who could help add pressure with Von Miller injured and Shaun Philips potentially leaving in free agency. With defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe (increasingly becoming known in Broncos fan circles as “WareWolfe”) both coming off significant injuries, the Broncos would be wise to add a player who can add depth and provide solid backup help.