Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide nose guard Jesse Williams (54) prior to the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Denver Broncos Seven-Round Mock Draft 1.0 — Free Agency Edition

The Denver Broncos have been surprisingly active in free agency in 2013. After signing Peyton Manning in 2012, it was widely assumed the Broncos would have a quiet free agent period and look to build more through the draft, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, you could argue no other team in the league has made a bigger splash than the Broncos.

They started with a bang, signing former Chargers guard Louis Vasquez to a four year contract, and followed that up by bringing in defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, inside linebacker Stewart Bradley, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Then, they stole away slot receiver Wes Welker from the New England Patriots at a relatively cheap price (especially considering contracts other WRs were given).

Then, chaos.

The Broncos had an agreement with defensive end Elvis Dumervil on a new contract that would save them $4M in cap space, and a fax machine blunder cost the Broncos almost $5M in dead cap money, and it cost Dumervil likely at least $2M on the open market.

Dumervil fired his agent, and over a week later, there is still no resolution (at the time of this posting) to this messy situation. The Broncos are trying to bring Dumervil back at a reduced price, but he’s putting out feelers to teams like Baltimore and Miami who are also interested in his services.

The Broncos have a couple of alternate plans in place (Dwight Freeney and John Abraham) in case Dumervil bolts to another team, so they aren’t worried about this situation but if Dumervil comes back, it will only fortify an awesome offseason for the Broncos.

Denver’s top remaining needs include and are not limited to running back, defensive end, and defensive tackle. The team could use depth at wide receiver, safety, corner, and linebacker, particularly on the inside. The biggest question marks facing Denver’s draft strategy right now are whether or not they would be willing to pass on a top need like DE or RB and take a position that could pay dividends down the road like CB or WR.

With Denver’s cap situation, they are right up against it and adding shorter, reasonably priced contracts was a very wise decision for John Elway. It allows the team to add talented veterans at smaller prices and have cap space each year. The team is looking at renewing contracts of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas after the next couple of seasons, as well as giving left tackle Ryan Clady a long-term deal.

The Broncos have some very important decisions to make in the coming drafts, especially with their cap positioning. Peyton Manning passed a physical this offseason that guaranteed him $40M over the next two seasons, but that’s the price you pay for elite quarterback play.

If I had to rank the Broncos’ top needs as of right now (pre-Dumervil decision), I’d say they look as follows:

1. Defensive End/Pass Rush

2. Defensive Tackle

3. Power Running Back

4. Safety

Without any further delay, here is a seven round mock draft that I think could really help the Broncos in their case for a Super Bowl in the 2013/14 season.

1. First Round, 28th overall: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

The Broncos have been in need of a big-name defensive tackle for quite some time. Jesse Williams is still relatively new to the game of football, but what he brings to the table that John Elway, John Fox, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will love is his intensity. Williams has an incredible motor and his athletic ability is off the charts. He is a space eater in the middle who can free up the linebackers and make plays himself. I think this would be a fantastic pick for the Broncos, who have excellent defensive coaching and could make Williams a star in this league.

2. Second Round, 58th overall: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

Lattimore’s health is a big question mark, but this is a risk the Broncos can afford. Last year, they spent a second round pick on Brock Osweiler, a guy who has no potential of contributing unless Peyton Manning would for some reason be unavailable to play. The Broncos realize that Willis McGahee is not getting any younger or more durable, and Knowshon Moreno showed he could be a very capable starter before getting injured in the playoffs, and the team could use a guy who projects as a “thunder” back to Ronnie Hillman’s “lightning”.

3. Third Round, 90th overall: John Simon, DE, Ohio State

The Broncos have shown some interest in Simon, who could be a good replacement for Dumervil should he leave, or at least a guy who can give a ton of effort in terms of rushing the passer. He has a motor that never quits and is an offensive tackle’s nightmare. If you take a play off, this guy assuredly will not do the same, and he will make you pay. He doesn’t have a wide variety of pass rush moves, but he gets the job done and has elite strength. I think he’s the type of guy the Broncos would love to work with.

4. Fourth Round, 125th overall: Josh Evans, FS, Florida

Evans is a guy I really like in the middle rounds, and I think he has starter potential in the NFL. The Broncos’ safety woes are well-documented, though I think they have a solid core of players at the position with Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, Mike Adams, and David Bruton, but there is room for one more in the rotation. Evans is a guy who hits like a ton of bricks and he has very solid overall athletic ability. I think for the Broncos, he’d be someone who could crack the rotation in his first season, and potentially emerge as a starter over Quinton Carter who missed last year with an injury, and Mike Adams who struggled down the stretch.

5. Fifth Round, 161st overall: T.J. Barnes, DT, Georgia Tech

Barnes is a mountain of a man at the defensive tackle position with good athletic ability and strength. Like I’ve said before, that’s what the Broncos really like in their DL is for them to be big, strong, and coachable. I think Barnes has that capability and he could be a really nice find in the mid-rounds.

6. Seventh Round, 234th overall: Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

The Broncos could use some depth in the secondary, and if Hyde is available at this point, I think he’s a huge bargain. The Broncos have been able to find some hidden gems in the secondary even in the post-draft free agent pool, and Hyde could be a guy that has starting potential. He didn’t show great speed at the Combine, but his ability to contribute on special teams should get him drafted, along with his size and instincts.


Tags: 2013 Denver Broncos Mock Draft 2013 Nfl Draft Denver Broncos

  • Vaughn Thomas

    I would like to get Zach Stacy in the 3rd or 4th instead of lattmore in the second.

    • SayreBedinger

      If you want Stacy, he should be available as a UDFA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/trevor.wilkinson.520 Trevor Wilkinson

    I like a lot of these picks, only problem I have is with Lattimore because McGahee and Moreno both have had well documented injury problems and with Lattimore it could turn into that year (i think it was ’08) when all of the RBs got injured.

  • http://twitter.com/steve1981 Steve Williams

    Not sure about the double dip at DT. I was impressed with Unrein’s development and Siliga seems to have the backing of the coaching staff. This coaching staff also seem to develop run stuffing DTs like Shanahan did RBs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bret.nonames Nonames Bret

    Broncos signed DT Terrance Knighton and resigning DT kevin Vickerson
    I would not say DT is a need. Wide reicver we have welker thomas, decker. DE is a need now that dumervil is gone and I would not take Freeney or Abraham. nice addition with cromartie CB, Devers Top needs are (1 DE) (2 Safety) (3 TE) (4 MLB) (5 RB)

  • John Richards

    i some what agree but by what iam seing its whose available and i hope they go for value first abraham is a better choice than freeney1st round kewann short dt will be available but if bjorn werner dt or marcus hunt de are still there take either over short and one more name to fall back on first round alec ogletree mlb and no doubt in my mind second round is montee ball rb we are week in a powerback mcgahee old and mareno both get hurt and marcus latimore andrea ellington levon bell should still be availaible in the third round if we cant get ball so in second round look for sio moore olb kevin minter ilb realy denver has a great roster and as as far as third fourth and fifth round get just the best player available theres alot of cb safetys lb in the mean time sign abraham talk to james harrison and urlacker and start planing your brounco superbowl party dummerville wont hurt us we picked up big improvements on defence

  • Benjamin Yetter

    They need better competition at running back…fifth round they should take Rex Burkhead out of Nebraska…this guy’s one of those freak athletes with a motor that never quits…this guy would become Peyton Manning’s favorite weapon out of the backfield…like I said great hands, incredible balance, good speed and strength…and he’s got the heart to win the starting job as a rookie

  • Benjamin Yetter

    Denver Broncos Draft needs and priorities:

    First Round:Defensive End- With the loss of Dumervil we can’t rely on any free agent or current backup to fill this position. We need a premium pass rusher and decent run stopper which would actually be an improvement over Dumervil because he wasn’t a very strong run stopper. Von Miller needs another bash-brother.

    Second Round: Middle Linebacker- This is a biggie. We have a bunch of second-tier guys filling this position now but need speed to cover the larger tight ends in the league from dominating the middle of the field.

    Third Round: Corner Back- I’m expecting big things out of Dominique Rodgers Cromartie opposite Champ Bailey but we need a back-up plan. We should be able to find a quality cornerback in the Third Round that can learn from Champ.

    Fourth Round: Strong/Free Safety- This is a position we need depth and talent in. Our current back ups are either showing a lack of initiative or getting arrested for cheating in Vegas. Mike Adams is good but losing years fast.

    Fifth Round: Running Back- This could be the most important offensive cog we’re missing. So why wait till the Fifth Round you ask? If John Elway learns anything from former coach Mike Shanahan I hope it’s that the best backs can be found late in the draft. Example #1: Terrell Davis was drafted by Shanahan in the Sixth Round and we all know the Legend that is Davis. Example #2: Alfred Morris: Shanahan also drafted him in the Sixth Round and he was the second or third top rusher last year…AS A ROOKIE! And it just so happens that I know which running back with the most to offer in this years draft will still be available this round: REX BURKHEAD!

    No sixth Round pick this year due to a trade that went sour…bummer.

    Seventh Round: Wide Reciever or Defensive Tackle- Depth! Andre Caldwell didn’t pan out last year for our Wide Recievers core and Defensive Tackle is the DEEPEST position in the draft this year. We filled holes in both areas during free agency and are probably set. However, an interior pass rusher could be the way to go in this round to to rotate in and out with Vickerson and Knighton during projected pass plays.