Broncos Mock Draft 1.0: Will the Broncos land Christian McCaffrey? Renck's picks

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The alphabet soup and lingo boggles the mind when discussing the NFL draft.

Teams must balance BPA -- Best Player Available -- against DFN -- drafting for need. Can they avoid picking a JAG -- Just Another Guy -- or a questionable player who spends more time on the IR than the field? They must avoid receivers with hands like feet, lineman who are light in the, um, butt, and defensive backs who are tight in the hips. 

The dizzying evaluations provide caution that the draft is an imperfect science. Tom Brady and Antonio Brown fell to the sixth round. And Akili Smith and Ted Gregory were taken in the first. There are no dance steps or perfect blueprint. 

I humbly offer this reminder as I reveal my Denver7 Mock Draft, 1.0. It sounds like a sports car or computer software (my brain can use all the help it can get). So let's rub the hands together, gaze into the magic 8-ball, and let it rip with the qualifier that there are no trades in this draft. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock. Tick. Tock.

1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, OLB

Garrett delivers skill and need. They need an effective pass rusher. No quarterback deserves the No. 1 spot in this draft. Cleveland can find offense later in the first round. Or you know, just start Brock Osweiler (I swore I typed that with a straight face).

2) San Francisco 49ers: Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, CB

GM John Lynch learned from John Elway. Want to rebuild a winner? Stockpile with cover guys and pass rushers. Lattimore represents a risk here because of leg injuries, but is a dynamic force.

3) Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, LSU, S

Can go wrong with Malik Hooker or Adams. Adams can play in the box and boasts playmaking abilities. He can cover all types of receivers, and brings huge thump.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, Alabama, DE

Is Jacksonville bad? The Jags pick in the top five for the sixth consecutive season. Allen brings power, strength and the potential to start opposite of Malik Jackson from jump.

5) Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, Ohio State, S

Many mocks see the Titans taking Adams. If there, he's the guy. Hooker brings special talent as a former basketball player. He's rangy, and shows no fear in coverage. Needs to improve in run support.

6) New York Jets: Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, QB

With Geno Smith no longer around as a punching bag for the media, and in one instance, his teammate, the Jets need to restore hope and save jobs. I would not take Trubisky in this spot. But the easiest way for a franchise to buy time -- even another season -- is to select a franchise quarterback. 

7) San Diego Chargers: Mike Williams, Clemson, WR

Mike Williams can make plays in tight spaces. He excels in contested situations. Has skills to be a No. 1 receiver.

8) Carolina Panthers, Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB

He profiles as an old-school road grader. Can carry the rock 20 times per game. However could become a two-down player compared to Christian McCaffrey, who is a three-down player and will start on special teams.

9) Cincinnati Bengals, Solomon Thomas, Stanford, DE

They benefit from the mechanisms in front of them. Thomas owns explosiveness to be a top-three pick. He is raw, but has drawn comparisons to Seattle's Michael Bennett. 

10) Buffalo Bills, Reuben Foster, Alabama, ILB

The best player on the board with Ray Lewis-type ferocity and tackling skills. However, NFL officials booted him from the combine after an issue with the medical staff, and news broke this week that he tested positive for a banned substance. These represent neon red flags, but his talent might trump the character questions.

11) New Orleans Saints, Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, RB

Led college football in all-purpose yards last season. He has magical feet, and has more uses than Arm&Hammer. Quarterback Drew Brees, who still longs for Darren Sproles, will receive gift on draft day. 

12) Cleveland Browns, O.J. Howard, Alabama, TE

He should be better in the pros than college. There were too many mouths to feed in the Alabama offense. Howard would be a perfect fit for Broncos, too. 

13) Arizona Cardinals, Corey Davis, Western Michigan, WR

He brings size, and production. He dominated lesser-level competition. Must address drops. Upside is enormous.

14) Philadelphia Eagles, John Ross, Washington, WR

The best way to make a young quarterback look better remains surrounding him with weapons. Ross runs a 4.22 40-yard dash. The Eagles have lacked a breathtaking deep threat since parting ways with DeSean Jackson. Durability a fair question.

15) Indianapolis Colts, Gareon Conley, Ohio State, CB

Many options exist in this spot, among them UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley. In a passing league, Conley represents a talent too difficult to pass up. 

16) Baltimore Ravens, Cam Robinson, Alabama, LT

The first offensive lineman comes off the board. It's a weak class. Robinson, though, fits the Ravens with his brute strength in the run game. Needs work in pass protection. If Davis is available, he'd be solid addition for offense that needs a boost. 

17) Washington Redskins, Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT

If falls their way, they'd love McCaffrey to be available in this spot. No chance. That means going defense to replace Chris Baker is the choice. McDowell brings a mixed bag of potential and concerns about his motor and motivation.

18) Tennessee Titans, Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, G

He is my favorite lineman in this draft. Versatile, fast. He played tackle in college, but likely lacks length to pull it off in the pros. Has been compared to the Cowboys' Zack Martin. I can see it given the way he shut down Alabama's Allen in college. He is a plug and play guy inside.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dalvin Cook, Florida State, RB 

Jameis Winston might turn in this draft card himself. With questions concerning Doug Martin's future, Cook provides an everydown back who is better catching the ball than most realize. 

20) Denver Broncos, David Njoku, Miami, TE

In a perfect scenario, McCaffrey remains available when Eagles or Colts select, leaving the Broncos a chance to move up and snare him. It appears unlikely. Tackle becomes the next issue. I like Garett Bolles' ferocity and nastiness. I just don't see him starting this season. In the long view, he makes sense. I prefer a playmaker at this spot. Njoku boasts freakish athleticism. He measures nearly 38 inches in the vertical jump, and has body control to pull in tough passes in the red zone. The Broncos' offense screams a need for a weapon inside the 20. It's been lacking since the salad days of Julius Thomas and Wes Welker. Njoku can find a way on the field early just as Hunter Henry did for Mike McCoy's Chargers last season. Henry caught 36 passes and eight touchdowns. The Broncos would love that kind of production from a rookie tight end.

21) Detroit Lions, Taco Charlton, Michigan, DE

I do wonder if the Broncos will pause and think about Charlton at 20 given the need for more line help. Charlton bloomed late, and can be easily blocked at times. Had 13.5 tackles for a loss last season. 

22) Miami Dolphins, Charles Harris, Missouri, DE/OLB 

Watching Vance Joseph's Miami defense against the Steelers in the playoffs drove home the point that the Dolphins need help. Harris might not be a perfect scheme fit, but brings athleticism and a nose for the quarterback. 

23) New York Giants, Jarrad Davis, Florida, ILB

Reliable, dependable. He delivered 60 tackles last season. Should start as a rookie.

24) Oakland Raiders, Kevin King, Washington, CB

King can run, play press coverage and provides unique size. Represents a potential reach with enticing upside.

25) Houston Texans, Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, QB

The god son of former Rockies pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, Mahomes brings a pitcher's arm and strong personality. Playing in the air raid offense, where throwing to wide open receivers is common, will likely stunt his early transition to the NFL. But physical skills make him a potential starter in Year Two.

26) Seattle Seahawks, Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, OLB

McKinley brings intensity, effort and production. He produced 12 sacks last season. He could be a steal as a late first-rounder, his availability at this spot linked to past injuries. Takes no plays off.

27) Kansas City Chiefs, DeShaun Watson, Clemson, QB

Alex Smith, aka Captain Checkdown, has shown he can reach the playoffs. Has reached his ceiling? The Chiefs need a successor, and Watson is a proven performer in college's biggest games the past two seasons.

28) Dallas Cowboys, Haason Reddick, Temple, OLB

Might be the best pass rusher in this draft. He lacks ideal size and strength. As a situational rusher could help ease the mistake of drafting Randy Gregory.

29) Green Bay Packers, Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, CB 

Son of former Broncos first round running back Bobby Humphrey. He gave up too many big plays in college. But he checks all boxes with his physical tools. 

30) Pittsburgh Steelers, Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, S

If any team knows how to creatively use a non-traditional safety it is the Steelers. Peppers can make plays everywhere on the field. He's undersized as a linebacker, but if develops ball skills could become a Pro Bowl defensive back, while helping on special teams. 

31) Atlanta Falcons, Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE

Recovered from a torn ACL in 2014 to produce 13.5 sacks last season. His value will be tied to coach Dan Quinn's ability to use him creatively.

32) New Orleans Saints, Tre'Davious White, LSU, CB

By taking McCaffrey earlier, a defensive player is a must in this spot. White was the top corner at LSU. He boasts strong instincts, but lacks size. Can help on special teams and brings leadership skills   


               

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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.

 

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