2016 NFL Draft Denver Broncos Scheme related positional review: DL

2016 NFL Draft DL class evaluation:

DE: good quality and depth: there are some really good talented 3-4 DE high in the draft that could come and be rotational players and starters from year 2. Later in the draft there are some very good talents that would need maybe a couple of years to adapt their game but could become starters after that.

NT: great quality and a bit less of depth, high in the draft there are some starters that could be there at 31st overall, after that some guys that could become rotational as rookie and starters from years 2. After the 3rd round there is a bit of drop-off and at the end of the draft there are some other developmental potential starter but much less than DE.

What the Broncos look for:

DE: quickness, power and pass rush skills. Size matter. Physicality.

NT: quickness, power and pass rush skills. Size matter. Physicality. Also strength, less size and more lower body power.

Type of player the Broncos look for:

DE: pass rushing 3-4 DE with size and power.

NT: pass rushing 3-4 DE with size and power, strong and sized penetrating NT.

Best prospects related to team scheme and required skills

  1. Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss, Jr, 6’3’’, 296 lbs): DE/NT, Best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
1st 1st (top 5 player on the Board)

General Overview: character concern here, has a great first step and quickness but looks to use inconsistently elite power and strength, behavior that he could modify. Has great size and potential. Does not show many pass rushing moves and have to learn to get better body balance to not be moved away from the play by Olinemen. Still a great potential with all the tools to become a dominant force in the NFL.

My Broncos Evaluation: now what the Broncos think about this player depends on if they drop him from their board completely for character issues or not. If they don’t he might be one of the premier players they’re hoping to fall to them. He won’t be the substitute of Malik Jackson in his rookie year, he has too much to learn, but he could be  a solid rotational lineman that could really contribute in the pass rush at first and become more powerful and aware in the run defense then, just as Malik did in 2015. He could become one of the most dominant players by the time his rookie contract will expire: if he could handle the professionalism of the NFL.

  1. Adolphus Washington (Ohio State, Sr, 6’4’’, 301 lbs): DE, Second best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
3rd 2nd  -3rd

General Overview: great size, powerful, battles well when double teamed, able to move the pocket and has very good quickness for a player of his size. Very aggressive and has very good awareness. Great against the run and very good in pass rush too. Inconsistent player, has to learn to be always on the play, whether is mental awareness and focus or conditioning.

My Broncos Evaluation: wow, he might be gone when Denver will select in the 2nd round, IMO one of the most pro-ready prospect I scouted up to now. He did great in the senior bowl so he’s already climbing the overall board. IMO there is no doubt that he could become a great player especially in systems as Denver has that emphasize aggressiveness and disruption. He could be a great addition, being a rotational player in his rookie year and then starter at DE in 2017.

  1. Carl Nassib (Penn State, rSr, 6’6”, 270 lbs): DE, Third best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
2nd– 3rd 2nd– 3rd

General Overview: relentless pursuer. Looks to have a strong lower body and a good first step and burst at the snap which uses to help himself to be in position to make a play or to be disruptive. Does not have the elite acceleration or lateral movement and it could lower his potential at the next level. Still looks to be a good prospect for RDE in the 4-3 scheme or a good 3-4 DE.

My Broncos Evaluation: not bad prospect for the Broncos perspective. Might not have a ton of potential but could develop in a similar way Wolfe did but just a bit less disruptive. Will have to learn to play at NFL speed and for this reason I have a 2nd or even better 3rd grade on him.

  1. Delvon Simmons (USC, rSr, 6’5”, 298 lbs): DE, Fourth best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 5th

General Overview: interesting prospect that could be a little underrated at the moment. Plays aggressive and has really good functional strength. Is able to be disruptive or less productive when asked to spy and maintain the edge. Has really good body balance that allows him to move the pile laterally and to place himself in the right place to make the play. Does not showcase much of pass rushing movements but his aggressiveness is a sigh of things to come.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think that the Broncos could develop this prospect in a really solid player as 3-4 DE. He looks to have the kind of Dline mentality that the Broncos covet: aggressive and looking to dominate the opponent. His size is very good and his athleticism also is on the range the Broncos look for. His lack of elite qualities has him going under the radar but he had a great game in Boulder against Colorado, I guess the Broncos had some scout there to take notice of him blocking field goals.

  1. Luther Maddy (Virginia Tech, Sr, 6’0”, 287 lbs): Best NT prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th 6th – 7th

General Overview: undersized but really strong and has a good anchoring technique. Came back from two knee surgeries. Dynamic player that will have to learn how to play at NFL speed but that looks to understand the mental aspect of the game, really important part of success in the NFL.

My Broncos Evaluation: I do think that he could be a jolly. I think that he will fall in the draft because of his size and because in 2015, coming back from knee surgeries, he didn’t have been as productive, in numbers, as he has been in 2013. Maybe the knee is a real problem for his career but maybe not and Wade Phillips has a history on developing and getting the best over undersized dynamic and disruptive NT. He could be an hidden gem of this draft for the Broncos.

  1. Kenny Clark (Virginia Tech, Jr, 6’3”, 314 lbs): Second best NT prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
1st – 2nd 1st – 2nd

General Overview: strong and powerful, looks bigger in pads than his actual height. Has exceptional explosion at the snap for a player of his size, lacks elite lateral movements so he’s kinda stuck when needs to move away from the block. Has potential both in run stopping and in pass rushing but will need to adapt his play and learn the speed and power of the NFL Olinemen. Especially disruptive against the pass when he’s man to man with the Center.

My Broncos Evaluation: he’s an interesting player that IMO could interest the Broncos because they don’t need a starter at NT right – away.  Clark will need to be part of a team with a strong leadership where he will be able to learn technique and also the mental aspect of the game. The Broncos could be a perfect landing spot for him, being him a bit raw IMO: these are the reason why I would prefer if the Broncos would use a 2nd rounder on him, maybe trading down few spots from the 31st and getting him with the 35th overall could be the best place. If not possible to get an early second, at 31st, depending who will fall, he could be Denver target too.

  1. Kevin Dodd (Clemson, rJr, 6’5”, 277 lbs): DE
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
1st – 2nd 1st – 2nd

General Overview: flashy DE that has size, speed, balance and a sort of good enough quickstep to become a reliable pass-rusher 3-4 DE in the NFL. Will have to strength up a bit his lower body because looks bigger than his size and in the pros Olinemen will be bigger and stronger. Has a tons of material to start with but he’s not a finished product. High potential.

My Broncos Evaluation: I would really like the Broncos to have the opportunity to select him. He could put up some sacks in his rookie years while focusing in gaining the power he’d need to be a great starter for Denver from year 2.

  1. Chris Jones  (Mississippi State, Jr, 6’6”, 310 lbs): DE/NT
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
2nd – 3rd 2nd – 3rd

General Overview: strong and stout run defender that is able to move the pack and to make the play. Has great awareness and great functional strength. Has a big drop off in effectiveness when getting tired. Inconsistent in the pass rush.

My Broncos Evaluation: if he’d fall into the 2nd round he could be in the conversation. He’s a two downs player at the moment and will have to adapt to the speed and power of the NFL. Also I think that in the Broncos actual scheme he could rotate at DE and NT.

  1. Javon Hargrave  (South Carolina State, Sr, 6’1”, 309 lbs): NT
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
3rd 3rd

General Overview: completely dominate at the level of competition where he played. Question is whether he could learn enough to be effective in the NFL too. Talented DT that could play both NT,1 gap DT, and 3 gap DT: he’s explosive and too fast at the snap for the Olinemen he played against. Has some good move in the pass rush thought will have to gain awareness and not to rely only on his athletic skills, because that won’t make the cut in the NFL.

My Broncos Evaluation: if the Broncos believe that he could learn and adapt to play at the speed and power of the NFL they might have to use a 3rd rounder, to put him off-board before the third day of the draft will start. His potential haven’t gone unnoticed and there will be a number of teams that will be willing to pull the trigger at the beginning of the 4th round in order to get a prospect with his potential. If able to develop, he could take over at NT or DE in Phillips scheme and become quite dominant with his quickness and aggressiveness.

  1. Jihad Ward (Penn State, Sr, 6’5”, 297 lbs): DE
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
4th 3rd

General Overview: great size and power, really strong at the point of attack. Does a good job against the run and when not double teamed he’s a disruptive pass rusher too.

My Broncos Evaluation: I do like Ward a lot and I think he could really be good as the new Broncos 3-4 DE. He’s stout and has a great motor and fit exactly physically and by the skills point of view what the Broncos are looking for. A 3rd rounder not to let him be there at the beginning of the 4th round.

  1. Willie Henry (Michigan, rJr, 6’3”, 303 lbs): NT
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
4th– 5th 5th

General Overview: good motor, has really some quickness and power, is able to get penetration and hurry the QB.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think he’s a bit undersized for becoming a 3-4 DE, but has the ability to rush the passer from inside and has a great motor. He could become a good contributor under Wade Phillips scheme.

  1. Anthony Zettel (Penn State, rSr, 6’4”, 277 lbs): DE
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
6th 5th

General Overview: has good size and a good first step and quickness. Needs to do a better use of the hands to be more efficient on the trenches and not be moved out of the play. Also need to gain better leverage once engaged the block by the Olineman, too many times he’s driven away from the play for poor body balance.

My Broncos Evaluation: the size for a 3-4 DE is there and the quickness is promising but the run blocking is too much of a work in progress. Still he has really good movements and is capable to be disruptive.

  1. Trevon Coley (Florida Atlantic, Sr, 6’1”, 304 lbs): NT
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
CFA 6th – 7th

General Overview: interesting underrated prospect that has average size and look smaller that his size. Has good power and very good body balance and athletic skills for a DT. He his disruptive when not facing double teams in the videos I saw, both against the pass and the run. Able to move his blocker, pass around him with some good burst and move very comfortably around the line of scrimmage. Does not have elite athleticism and strength, but with a better functional strength he could gain even more agility and short area quickness, I think he has potential and could become a good rotational to reliable starter in the NFL with time and patience.

My Broncos Evaluation: it’s rumored that the Broncos are interested in Coley, I think that like last year Darius Kilgo that was completely out of my radar, the Broncos could have a late hot prospect in their NT/DE segment of the board. He would compete with Kilgo being a bit less powerful but potentially more athletic. Kilgo was a 6th rounder so I’m giving Coley the same round projection by a Broncos point of view, although I would prefer a 7th, since I think in the 6th round there will be still very good talent at a number of position where the Broncos have more direct need at quality depth.

  1. Terrell Lathan (TCU, Sr, 6’4”, 292 lbs): DE
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
CFA 6th – 7th

General Overview: he has good size, not great. Has some very interesting speed for a guy of his size and some interesting athletic skills. Has to get better technique and not rely on his power alone. Good potential.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think that he has pass rushing potential playing at 3-4 DE. He may need one year of practice squad, to get ready physically and mentally, but there is no doubt on his potential and with Denver having one of the best coaches at the DL position I can see good things happenings.

  1. Mike Rose (NC State, rSr, 6’3”, 271 lbs): DE/NT
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
CFA 7th – CFA

General Overview: I couldn’t find too much to see about him. In the few videos he looks like a relentless Dlineman that looks bigger than his height and plays until the whistle. He quickly diagnoses the play. Is not the most athletic Dlinemen in the draft and would benefit by getting a better functional strength.

My Broncos Evaluation: the Broncos interview him at his Pro Day and he’s a prospect that is flying so much under the radar that he may get picked as CFA. To have less competition taking him in the 7th round could be good too. He might need a bit of time but his production in 2015 has been extraordinary. Interesting prospect to develop.



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