Tag: Denver Broncos

2020 NFL Draft Recap: AFC West

Denver Broncos

Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 15 Overall – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama – You can easily argue Jeudy was the best receiver in the draft and I had both the Raiders and 49ers taking receivers in my mock so I was shocked to see Jeudy slide to the Broncos. Courtland Sutton is a very good receiver, but he may be demoted to WR2 by week one, Jeudy is that talented. You can look at Alabama draft picks in the Nick Saban era and find plenty of inconsistency at the NFL level, but WR has been one position that has translated well, and Jeudy should continue that trend.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 77 Overall – Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa – Not a terrible selection and definitely a need given Chris Harris moved on to the Chargers, but there were better options here. I had Troy Pride, Josiah Scott, Bryce Hall, Cameron Dantzler, and Amik Robertson ahead of Ojemudia on my board and all guys I feel could have stepped in better than him. Ojemudia struggles in man coverage, and may be best suited to be a free safety in the long term, not exactly something the Broncos with Justin Simmons already there.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 118 Overall, Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri – Tight End was far from a need for the Broncos, but the fact Albert O was still on the board in day three was a luxury too good to pass up. He is not much of a blocker, but his big body allows him to win contested balls and he ran a sub-4.50 40-yard dash, so he can stretch the field. Adding him to Noah Fant, Jeff Heuerman, Troy Fumagali, Jake Butt, and Nick Vannett gives the Broncos as deep and competitive a TE room as any in the league.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Kendall Hinton, WR, Wake Forest – The Broncos loaded up the offense with weapons in the draft, and they continued it in UDFA. Considered by many as one of the big snubs not invited to the NFL combine, Hinton likely would have truly raised his stock to a sure-fire draft pick had he gone. He is a slot receiver who should make the back end of the roster but could be in competition as one of the slot options in four and five wide sets by year two.

Kansas City Chiefs

Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 32 Overall – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU – The Broncos may have loaded up on offensive weapons in an attempt to keep up with the Chiefs, but the Chiefs went ahead and drafted one of the better all-around RBs in the draft and that offense just gets better. There is a real chance Edwards-Helaire is the go to back ahead of Damien Williams on Week 1. He is short, but sturdy, so he can run inside, but won’t be much of a goal line threat (hint to fantasy owners out there) so he will be more of a guy who is effective between the 20s.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 63 Overall – Willie Gay Jr., ILB, Mississippi State – I don’t necessarily dislike this pick, I just don’t love it. I liked Gay in the third round, so round two was a bit rich for me, plus there were other inside backers I liked btter. Zack Baun and Troy Dye are both guys I would have preferred, that said, Gay should be a quality player and this being my least favorite pick for the Chiefs is actually a complement to their draft.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 138 – L’Jarius Sneed, S, Louisiana Tech – I don’t like Sneed as a safety, but the Chiefs believe he can transition to corner where he played in 2018, and could bring good value there. He can fly once he gets going and will slide right in as a package defender for the team. Look for him to be a situational player in year one with a shot to be a starter by year two.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch:  Kalija Lipscomb, WR, Vanderbilt – Lipscomb plays like a big receiver but is only 6’ tall. He is no burner, so different from most Chiefs players, however he has long arms and very good hands that allow him to keep moving for the catch and run. He is likely a fifth or sixth option as receiver, but could offer Patrick Mahomes yet another weapon as his game speed is better than his 4.57 40-yard dash would suggest.

Las Vegas Raiders

Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 12 Overall – Henry Rugs III, WR, Alabama – Both first round Alabama receivers go to the AFC West with Ruggs being the surprise first WR off the board. At least, somewhat of a surprise, as this pick screams late owner Al Davis if anything. Ruggs ran a combine best 4.27 40-yard dash and was disappointed by it. Considering his biggest competition for targets is likely the TE duo of Darren Waller and Jason Witten (Tyrell Williams was the Raider number one receiver before this) Ruggs should have every chance to shine in Vegas.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 19 Overall – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State – A guy I had as my eighth corner going late in round two, Arnette was a shocker going pick 19 overall, fourth among corners. Then again, this is the Raiders who picked Clelin Ferrell fourth overall a season ago. Don’t get me wrong, Arnette will be a starting corner Week One, I am just not sure he was the best option here.

Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 139 Overall – Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech – Robertson will be given every opportunity to earn a spot as a nickel corner, but likely more of a dime back in season one. He is only 5’8” otherwise he would have been a day two selection and he packs a punch despite his smaller stature. I expect him to line up over the slot receiver for the entirety of his career, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him become a quality blitzer from that position.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Javin White, S, UNLV – Considering the Raiders didn’t have a ton of selections in the draft, and none after round four, it is a bit baffling to see their UDFA list at just seven as of my writing, and two of those are a kicker and long snapper. White is the best fit for the Raiders as he can play a downhill strong safety or linebacker. In order to be safety, he needs a lot of work on technique, while he probably needs to add 20 lbs. if he wants to be linebacker. Despite this, he is a hometown kid two times, growing up in Oakland (where the Raiders were) and going to school in Vegas (where the Raiders are) so he is as easy an UDFA to root for as there is in Raiders camp.

Los Angeles Chargers

Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 23 Overall – Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma – The Chargers moved back into the first round when they saw Murray still on the board late into round one, and got a guy who fits a need perfectly. They lost Thomas Davis, the team’s leading tackler a year ago, and Murray will slide right into that spot. He could battle for the team lead in tackles himself this season and will improve a run defense that was about league average a season ago.

Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 6 Overall – Justin Herbert , QB, Oregon – The fact the Chargers had two picks in round one and none on day two didn’t give a ton of options to choose from for least favorite, but I would have considered Herbert to be the selection to any team in the top half of round one. He has all the tools and has the look of a QB in LA, but the inconsistencies are a real concern as is his accuracy. The fact the Chargers have Tyrod Taylor may be the best part of this selection, as they can truly let Herbert work as the backup and soak in the speed of the NFL, but then again what team is really patient enough to let that happen these days?

Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 151 Overall – Joe Reed, WR, Virginia – This is one of those picks that only die-hard Chargers fans will truly appreciate this season. Reed averaged better than 28.5 yards per return during his time at Virginia and he amassed 17 tackles, meaning he can make an impact returning and covering kicks. As a receiver, he is a well-built slot receiver who was a HS running back so he will be a threat on shovel passes and coming around in jet sweeps. There might not be team that would have suited Reed better, so an excellent fit all around.

Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Joe Graziano, DE, Northwestern – The UDFA class for the Chargers isn’t great, but there may not have been a more productive player in the class than Graziano. He was a very effective edge rusher in the Big Ten with Northwestern, and that alone is worthy of note. He saw plenty of future NFL offensive lineman and still managed to get to the QB, although his short arm and lack of burst doesn’t suggest he will have the same success at the next level. Overall, I doubt he makes the team, but he may be a practice squad guy asked to put on 20 lbs. or so and work as a hybrid lineman who can attack guards rather than tackles.

AFC Conference Championsip Preview

New England +4.5 @ Denver (55): The New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos in overtime, in New England earlier this season, after the Patriots handed over a 24-10 halftime lead thanks to multiple fumbles early in that game.  This game is in Denver, and I don’t expect it to be a sloppy game like the first one.  I do believe the Patriots will pull this game out, but if the line was Denver +4.5, I would tell you to take Denver on the betting line. 

The game will come down to a field goal or less, because, well, why not when you have a matchup of the two best quarterbacks in this generation.  In all the great Peyton vs. Brady mathups, neither has ever won a playoff game against the other on the road, but that changes this weekend.  Denver fans can get loud, but nothing like the Colts fans used to get in the dome, so Brady’s audibles at the line shouldn’t be an issue on Sunday.

The Broncos have lost another defensive back, and that could prove to be the difference.  The Patriots have the biggest selection of unassuming wide outs, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Austin Collie, as any team has ever had, but they are productive.  In addition, the running back depth is impressive, and Shane Vereen can create mismatches all over the field.

For the Broncos to win, they will need to lean heavy on Knowshon Moreno.  The Patriots are thin at defensive tackle and middle linebacker, so a between the tackle running attack is their biggest weakness on defense.  Despite this being a game between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, the winner will be the team that is able to run the ball more efficiently.

You can follow Shaun Kernahan on twitter @shaunkernahan, add him to your network on Google, and like Shaun on Facebook.

NFL Divisional Weekend – AFC Preview

I will twist Torten’s rodeo analogy, a solid pull by the way, and twist it into the upcoming Olympics.  The Stain is standing atop the podium receiving our gold medals for terrible predictions last week.  Among the eight potential betting lines, spread and over under for each game, I am pretty sure we almost got one right, so if you are in Las Vegas this weekend, be sure to go completely opposite of our choices here.

Indianapolis +7 at New England (53):  As a Patriots fan, and knowing my history in predictions posted online, I am tempted to take the Colts in a blowout, you know, to reverse jinx it, but I have to remain objective here.  The Patriots should win this game, but the seven point spread is huge for this matchup.  With Brandon Spikes hitting IR this week, join Jarrod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, the three best middle defenders, and run stoppers, are now on IR.  Lucky for the Patriots, the Colts are terrible when it comes to running the ball.  The Colts will have to rely on Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, which is actually a good matchup for them this week.  Aqib Talib is a master at shutting down big #1 receivers, but can struggle against the smaller quicker types, aka T.Y. Hilton.  The Patriots offense is a whose who of who’s that.  Gronk is on IR, and the only household name left is Tom Brady.  Shane Vereen is as versatile a back as there is in football, and the best rusher is a guy best known for decking a guy on Boise State, LeGarrette Blount.  Amendola and Edelman are excellent slot guys, but the big play will need to come from one of the rookie receivers.  Robert Mathis will be in the backfield all game, and Brady will come out of the matchup beat up, but will do enough to win.  I see a high scoring game, 34-30 Patriots. 

San Diego +9.5 at Denver (55.5): San Diego is the hottest team in the NFL, having won five straight, including two against Kansas City, and one against Denver, and will give the Broncos all they can handle again.  Picking against Denver is a terrible idea regardless of the matchup, they are the most talented team in the NFL, and have the greatest offense in NFL history, so, I pick the Chargers to win.  Yup, I am running with the terrible idea, and I feel good about it.  Weather shouldn’t play much of a factor in the game, outside of the wind gusts that should reach about 25 mph, which can cause some trouble for Peyton, but that is not going to be the difference in the game.  Keenan Allen is as good a rookie receiver as there has been in several years.  He seems unassuming when watching the game, and never makes the big highlight plays, but watch a Chargers game, and #13 will be a staple.  He will end each game with near 10 grabs, around 100 yards, and a touchdown or two every game.  Ryan Matthews is running like the first rounder they expected when they drafted him several years ago, and Phillip Rivers might be the second best quarterback in the league right now.  Yes, I just punched myself in the gut after writing that, but he is truly playing the quarterback position as good as anyone not named Peyton Manning.  In order to win the game, the Chargers need to keep the score reasonable, and they will, easily covering the spread, and just coming in on the under.  I pick the Chargers, 28-24.

You can follow Shaun Kernahan on twitter @shaunkernahan, add him to your network on Google, and like Shaun on Facebook.