Grade : B+
Round 1 Pick 31 – Bradley Roby CB
Round 2 Pick 56 – Cody Latimer WR
Round 3 Pick 95 – Michael Schofield OT
Round 5 Pick 156 – Lamin Barrow LB
Round 6 Pick 207 – Matt Paradis C
Round 7 Pick 242 – Corey Nelson LB
The common refrain that you hear about the Broncos is that they are in a Championship window. Peyton Manning has got probably at most, two seasons in him and the aim is to pick up a Championship ring in that short time frame.
Whilst there is a good deal of truth in this the pleasing aspect of the 2014 draft is that it was clearly planned with an eye on the future. Obviously, the Broncos will be delighted if the draft picks all contribute immediately but the teams success this year isn't predicated on this draft with one exception.
The exception to this is first round pick Bradley Roby, a boom or bust prospect. Roby possesses elite speed. He posted a 4.39 second 40-yard-dash at the combine.
The speed allows him to track the fastest wide receivers in the game and he combines this with a great vertical leap. This combination should allow him to go toe to toe and hand to hand with the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Where Roby struggles though is in zone coverage. At times receivers have been able to get behind him or find separation with double moves. If he can keep the game in front of him though Roby could add some needed explosiveness to the Broncos secondary and he has a great mentor to follow in Aqib Talib. Roby should complete what is a secondary that can compete with Seattle's Legend of Boom.
A pick I like even more than Roby though is second round selection Cody Latimer. In a wide receiver rich draft Latimer slipped to the second round but he is a first round talent. At 6'2'' tall Latimer is super fast and super strong. At the combine he did 23 reps at the
bench press which led the all wide receivers and bested some linemen.
If needed, Latimer would be able to contribute in his rookie season but with any luck he will be able to spend the next year learning from the likes of Manning, Welker and Sanders before really coming into his own in 2015.
There is also plenty to like about picks later in the rounds. The selections of Michael Schofield and Lamin Barrow seem especially smart.
Able to play either left guard or right tackle the ex-Michigan lineman Schofield adds depth to the Broncos offensive line. Although, a strong run blocker Schofield excels in pass protection where his excellent footwork makes him hard to get past.
Aside from not being able to play left tackle Schofield's biggest weakness is that he struggles to get downfield to make it to the second level as a blocker. If that's your right tackle's biggest problem though any coach would count themselves blessed. Broncos
should have no fears about Schofield protecting prize asset Manning.
Fifth round pick Lamin Barrow also fills a need for the Broncos. Although not a three down player Barrow fills an increasingly important role in the modern NFL of being the linebacker who can drop back into coverage. Standing at 6'1'' Barrow excels a defending the pass and with his height and arm length has the ability to break up passing plays. He isn't strong against the run currently but that worked on in training. The Broncos picked him up in the fifth round and he could be an absolute steal.
Overall, there is much to like about the Broncos draft. It has enough about it to help immediately on the field but there is also enough potential to keep the franchise successful in the long term.
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