CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- No need for an airline ticket. All Christian McCaffrey requires is a trip north on I-25 to visit the Broncos on Thursday. He remains one of the greatest homegrown athletes in state history, a former breathtaking star at Valor Christian. Nonetheless, hometown or not, this counts as one of the team's official 30 visits.
This one moves the needle.
For an offense that needs "juice," as coach Vance Joseph admitted, McCaffrey entices the audience. No running back in this draft boasts his versatility. He can run between the tackles, work as a third-down weapon, line up as a slot receiver and return punts and kicks. He fits the pro game given his multi-layered skill set. A projected late first-rounder two months ago, McCaffrey is now expected to go in the top 17 picks. The Broncos select at No. 20 overall.
Would the Broncos consider trading up for him? Given their other needs, it would be a mild surprise. However, the Broncos want a speedy back to complement C.J. Anderson. Last month, the team hosted Oklahoma's Joe Mixon, a player some teams have taken off their draft board because of his suspension for punching a female student at Oklahoma in 2014.
The most glaring need sits at left tackle. It is not likely the starter is on the roster, though Menelik Watson, Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo are options. The Broncos visited with Alabama's Cam Robinson Wednesday. He made headlines in college as a road grader, but also ran into trouble. He was arrested in Louisiana 13 months ago on guns and marijuana possession chargers. However, the case was dropped. Robinson has the size and strength of a starting NFL tackle -- 6-foot-6, 322 pounds -- but his pass blocking has raised concerns. The Broncos also have interest in left tackles Garett Bolles, who plays violently, but raw, and Ryan Ramczyk, who won't be cleared to participate until June following hip surgery.
According to a report, the Broncos will also visit this week with Wisconsin outside linebacker T.J. Watt, the younger brother of Texans star J.J. Watt. Watt showed strong skills as pass rusher with relentless effort, but will need to become more diverse with his moves to succeed in the NFL.