4 Round Mock Draft with Case Keenum as the Denver Broncos Quarterback
The Denver Broncos have agreed to terms with Case Keenum and while this may not be everyone’s favorite signing, it gives the Broncos more clarity moving forward. The Broncos and Keenum are reportedly agreeing to a 2 year deal worth a total of $36 million which won’t be official until the league year begins March 14th at 4pm ET. This signing does not break the bank and should allow for more flexibility in free agency, it also leaves options open in the upcoming draft. The Broncos could look to draft their next franchise quarterback with the fifth overall pick or turn their attention to players like Saquon Barkley (RB Penn St.), Quenton Nelson (OG Notre Dame), Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB Alabama), Bradley Chubb (DE North Carolina State), Roquan Smith (LB Georgia) or even trade back and grab more draft picks. The way things are shaping up it looks like multiple teams are going to try and trade up for one of the top quarterbacks, if the Broncos plan on drafting a quarterback with their first pick then they will have to move up. Unfortunately the price tag to move up is getting more costly by the minute which may cause the Broncos to draft the Best Player Available that’s not a quarterback and take a quarterback later in the draft. The roller coaster of the offseason has just begun and Case Keenum to the Broncos is only the first domino to fall, I expect the Broncos will make more moves/signings allowing the teams direction to be clearer in the coming days, so be patient and enjoy the ride.
Pick #5: Saquon Barkley, RB Penn St. The Broncos need offensive talent to put around Case Keenum, Barkley is not only one of the best players in this draft but would help solidify the Broncos chances of making the playoffs. Saquon Barkley can do EVERYTHING offensively, whether its pass blocking, running the ball or catching passes out of the backfield, he is your three down back who can take it for a score at any moment. Drafting Barkley makes everyone on the offense better and should allow Case Keenum to be more effective as a quarterback. At 6’0” 233lbs Barkley dominated the NFL Combine with a 4.41 40 yard dash, 29 reps at 225lbs and a 41 inch vertical jump which may cement him as the top pick, but with a potential run on quarterbacks at the top of the draft, the Broncos have a chance to steal the best player available.
Pick #40: Will Hernandez, OG Utep. It’s no surprise the Broncos need to get better on the offensive line, Will Hernandez is not quite on Quenton Nelson’s level but he is still extremely talented and massive at 6-2 348 lbs. Hernandez was formerly coached by Sean Kugler the Broncos new offensive line coach (center, guards) and was a standout player from the North team at the Senior Bowl. Hernandez has expressed a great deal of gratitude and loyalty to his former coach Sean Kuglar, that being said I think this is an obvious pick for the Broncos. I believe the Broncos will need to trade back into the first round to get Hernandez after his performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
Pick #71: Kyle Lauletta QB Richmond. Kyle Lauletta increased his draft stock with his performance in the Senior Bowl game and reportedly interviewed pretty well at the NFL Combine. Lauletta probably won’t wow anyone with his talent but he has the makings of a solid quarterback even if not a starter. Lauletta is a smart player who was a two year captain for Richmond, he has very good anticipation on routes, good mechanics, and can throw with touch however there are concerns about his arm strength. With the signing of Case Keenum, the Broncos weren’t forced to draft a quarterback with their first pick, but still need to look for their future quarterback, could that be Kyle Lauletta?
Compensatory Pick: Mike Gesicki, TE Penn State. Mike Gesicki is a big tight end at 6-6 250 lbs. and can create miss matches in the passing game against linebackers and safeties with his quickness, size, route running and ability to box out defenders when going up for the ball. Unfortunately he is terrible as blocker in the run game and needs to add some strength to his game. If Gesicki can translate his skills to the NFL he could develop into a player like Julius Thomas and become a huge red zone threat which the Broncos desperately need.
6th Pick overall: Shaquem Griffin, OLB Central Florida. Shaquem Griffin story is one of the best coming out of college, he is the one handed monster who keeps proving he doesn’t need two hands to be successful on the football field. While at the NFL Combine this last week Griffin ran a 4.38 40 yard dash which would be the fastest 40 time by a linebacker at the combine since 2003, he was also able to put up 20 bench press reps at 225lbs. Griffin is an athletic freak, but he is also a very intelligent player who processes plays quick and attacks the ball carrier. Unfortunately the main concern with Griffin is he will give up some broken tackles because of his missing left hand. Shaquem Griffin would be an immediate special teams star and potentially a good OLB in a rotational role. His determination alone should make him a viable option for any team.
9th Pick overall (from San Francisco): Josey Jewell, ILB Iowa. The Denver Broncos need to fill a hole at inside linebacker with Todd Davis becoming a free agent, Corey Nelson agreeing to sign with the Eagles and really ever since Danny Trevathan left after Super Bowl 50. Josey Jewell is a smart player and has the ability to be a defensive captain as long as he can develop into an NFL player. In 2017 Jewell tallied up 136 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks with one forced fumble. He also had 2 picks and 11 batted passes in the passing game. However I’m not sure that he has the speed to consistently cover NFL tight ends or running backs out of the backfield.
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