2016 NFL Draft Denver Broncos Scheme related positional review: RB

2016 NFL Draft RB class evaluation:

It is a deep class more than talented. Top end prospects are questionable for what the Broncos looks at RB (run block or pass catching not good at all depending on the prospect and a lot of change of pace only). There will be a lot of good prospects late in the draft, this year even more than before.


What the Broncos look for:

Vision, quickness and acceleration, cutback running skills, pass blocking, pass catching.


Type of player the Broncos look for:

Body balanced, cutback runner and elusive player that is quick and could possibly pass catch and pass block. Speed up to a limit.

Also: change of pace back that could accelerate and has light speed on the outside. He should has a minimum of pass and run blocking skills.


Best prospects related to team scheme and required skills

  1. Daniel Lasco (California, rSR, 6’0”, 209 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
4th 3rd – 4th

General Overview: dynamic player that has burst and quickness, hits a second and a third gears in open field. Has some blocking skills and some pass catching skills at the LOS. Has some elusiveness and it’s really hard to tackle him down, has always some yards after the first tackle. Underrated.

My Broncos Evaluation: I do like a lot what I saw in his videos, I like how fluid he’s with the ball in his hands and his ability to break tackles. He showcases a great balance of skills for a running back. Has to be more consistent and the Broncos coaches are very good at it. I think he’s a perfect fit for Kubiak offense. Running backs always slide a bit because they don’t last many years in the NFL. He is underrated right now. The Broncos could also find him in the 4th round but I think that a 3rd rounder it’s a more fair value for Lasco talent.

  1. Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech, Sr, 5’10’’, 215 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
2nd 3rd

General Overview: He runs hard and fast. It’s a good pass catcher out of the box and behind the line of scrimmage. Not bad at all at blocking for his QB. Has some serious acceleration and looks really fluid while running the ball in traffic. Still he’s more of an outside runner and not overly effective while running between the tackles. He’s a bit more than a change of pace back only but he can block and catch.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think that he could be highly regarded at Dove Valley but being not an expert in running between tackles he cannot be considered in the first two rounds. I think that coming the third round the Broncos would love to have him there on the board. He could be a really effective weapon on Kubiak system although he’s not a one cut runner, he’s a very good outside runner plus a good blocker and a very good receiver.

  1. J. Prosise (Notre Dame, rJr, 6’0”, 220 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
3rd – 4th 4th – 5th

General Overview: former slot receiver converted to RB. Raw, lacks a bit of vision and instincts. He’s doing a good job in pass blocking and in pass catching inside the box and downfield. Got better at RB skills as 2015 season went on only then to be sidelined by a neck injury. He’s developing in a very good outside rusher, a change of pace back that could really be dangerous on third downs.

My Broncos Evaluation: he’s a bit of a dilemma, he has played RB only few years and played injured a good part of the 2015 but I like his progression in vision, instincts and burst through the hole during the time. Has blocking skills and receiving skills, talents that the Broncos covet. Still between neck injuries issue and lack of experience he’s a project and to me it translates to a low 4th or a 5th rounder as the spot I would think the Broncos have him on their Big Board.

  1. Aaron Green (TCU, rSr, 5’11”, 203 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
6th 6th – 7th

General Overview: looks shorter than his actual size. He’s a dynamic player that looks faster than what he really is, has patience and had some success blocking at college level.  Has some cutback skills, he’s quick making his reads but not always are correct. He hits the defenders wall with speed and is also able to get some extra yardage. Will have to bulk up and become more powerful without losing his quickness.

My Broncos Evaluation: he’s a good prospect, especially for a team like the Broncos that has a coaching staff that lately really looked helping the development of players that might need better functional strength to become more powerful and having a better body balance. Green is a cutback runner with quickness and a bit undersized even being listed at 203 and 5’11”. His body type is not just the one of a plodder runner that splashes himself between tackles, but he has quickness, some speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield. These skills together with a better blocking will win him some playing time and better experience of how the NFL is fast and powerful.

  1. Wendell Smallwood (West Virginia, Jr, 5’10”, 208 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
6th 7th – CFA

General Overview: good size, lacks a bit of quickness and acceleration. Has enough power and has a very good stiff arm. Willing blocker downfield and good enough pass catcher at the LOS. Not really elusive and for this reason he has hard time getting extra yardage after the first tackle. Very strong and has the capability to hold into the ball after getting hit hard. Does not have the speed to run outside and turn the corner. More of an inside the tackles runner and third down back that can block and catch check downs out of the backfield.

My Broncos Evaluation: I like what I saw from a Broncos point of view. He would be a complement a lead rusher and so a valuable backup to CJ Anderson. For this reason he lowered my grade to 7th rounder or College Free Agent. He’s a player that lacks explosiveness and speed to be a featuring back in the NFL but looks to have the mindset to become a valuable asset in the offense because he can run some (if the Oline works) and can block in passing downs in and out of the backfield. He could also catch some balls and looks to be a tough player.

  1. Marteze Waller (Fresno State, Sr, 5’11”, 214 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 7th – CFA

General Overview: he hits the hole hard, has some good vision and acceleration. Very good body balance, able to break tackles and gain yardage after first contact. Shows very good speed in open field, difficult to be tackled down because of his lower center of gravity. Has some good catches out of the backfield but not much of a routs runner. No evidence of blocking skills.

My Broncos Evaluation: he might not have any blocking skills but his running ones are underrated. He runs hard and is difficult to tackle him. He can catch passes at the LOS and is elusive enough to get extra gains after first contact. I like what he brings to the table and if the Broncos are looking for a backup to CJ Anderson he could be one of the best in this class.

  1. Devon Johnson (Marshall, Sr, 6’0”, 238 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 7th – CFA

General Overview: he’ll be a fullback in the NFL. He lacks speed and is not really fluid while running with the ball. Still can be used in short yardage and if the Oline works can break some good runs. Blocks quite well in the backfield, LOS and downfield if requested both in pass protection and in the run game. He’s powerful but could get even a bit more. Tough player. No evidence of pass catching skills.

My Broncos Evaluation: would you draft a fullback in the modern NFL draft? I don’t know. If the Broncos really like him, and they interviewed him at the East/West Shrine game, they could use even a late 6th rounder. He’s really worth a look in training camp and could compete with Juwan Thompson for the 53 men spot. I still like more the 7th to CFA grade for a fullback.

  1. Storm Barrs-Woods (Oregon State, rSr, 5’11”, 213 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board

General Overview: really interesting player that has injuries issues, especially with concussion. On the field he lacks top end speed and he’s a good and patient cutback runner. Has to get better at blocking and looks to be a reliable catcher out of the backend. He’s able to break some tackles while carrying the ball. Not the most explosive runner neither very quick.

My Broncos Evaluation: the concussion issue could be a real problem. On the field he looks quite good especially for a zone scheme running theme that allows him to excel in his strength. Will have to get better at blocking. All of this if he’ll be medically cleared and if it’s not too dangerous for his health.


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