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Evaluating the Draft

Posted May 12, 2014

A look at what draft experts are saying about the Broncos' 2014 draft class.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After an extra two weeks of buildup, the 2014 NFL Draft is over and grades are being handed out by media across the country. Here's a quick glance at what the analysts have to say about who the Broncos grabbed with their six selections:

A-Minus

FoxSports.com:

I'm a big Bradley Roby fan and he's a great fit for Denver, especially where they got him. Good player, good attitude, and he doesn't have to be the star of a loaded defense. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris will start but Roby will play a lot. He could end up being the top CB in this class. In the second round, the Broncos traded up to get the uber-athletic Cody Latimer, who will make a few wow plays in 2014 and learn from Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker. Fun story on Latimer: He only  had one suit with him in New York. When he didn't get selected in the first round, he purchased a sweater and slacks at a store on Friday and wore that on Night 2. Lamin Barrow, a fifth rounder, is a solid fit for the Broncos at LB. He's a smart player who can contribute. Solid draft for a team that loaded up in free agency.

B-Plus

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco:
Best Pick: First-round pick Bradley Roby was my second-rated corner and he will play a lot as a rookie. He is so athletic.

Questionable move: Waiting until the fifth round to address linebacker, a clear position of need.

Third-day gem: Sixth-round center Matthew Paradis is a player who could spend a year on the practice squad to get stronger.

Analysis: John Elway once again had another good draft. I love Roby and second-round receiver Cody Latimer was a nice pick. And some thought Elway would just be a figurehead?

B

CBSSports.com's Rob Rang:

The weaker teams have the advantage on draft day because not only do they generally get the earlier picks, they have plenty of holes for which rookies to show their stuff. As such, when a Super Bowl team like Denver fills holes like they did in Rounds 1-3, it deserves special mentioning. I really like the addition of the tough and talented corner Bradley Roby at No. 31. He needs to play with greater consistency but the talent is undeniable. Wideout Cody Latimer adds to the length, speed and toughness of a unit that frankly failed to match Seattle's physicality in the Super Bowl - with the notable exception of star Demaryius Thomas, of course. Michael Schofield and Matt Paradis are no-nonsense blockers who also fill a need for depth along the offensive line and I like the athletic upside of linebackers Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson. This wasn't a breath-taking draft for the Broncos but few clubs did more with less (six) picks.

SI.com's Chris Burke:

Denver checked off several needs: CB with Bradley Roby, WR depth with Cody Latimer and LB with Lamin Barrow. The first two there dipped a slight bit on the board, so the Broncos could claim them as values. They need third-round pick Michael Schofield to pan out … and preferably to do so at guard, where the Broncos are thin yet did not make any additions. Nothing too remarkable here, though both Roby and Latimer may develop into stars in the not-so-distant future.

B-Minus

Yahoo! Sports' Evan Silva:

It's worth noting GM John Elway added a 2015 fifth-round pick in a day-three deal with the Bears. My lone quibble with this draft was the lack of an impact middle linebacker, but I preferred Latimer as a pure prospect over Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland, and applaud that pick. Roby filled a need and was great value so late in round one. Latimer is essentially a suped-up Eric Decker. He'll likely enter the starting lineup in 2015, when Wes Welker almost certainly departs. Schofield is an old-school, drive-blocking right tackle who can push Chris Clark for snaps right away. Barrow is a rangy weak-side 'backer who could be an eventual option to start if the Broncos kick Danny Trevathan inside, plugging the aforementioned Mike linebacker hole. Paradis and Nelson are long shots. This was a short, sweet draft that brought to Denver 2-4 eventual starters. Combine it with Elway's free agency dealings, and I think Elway deserves an offseason "A" grade.

SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn:

Roby has as much potential as any cornerback in this year’s draft, as long as he plays disciplined. Latimer is a good No. 2 receiver who can get vertical on the outside. He should easily replace Eric Decker. Schofield provides solid depth as a swing tackle, and Barrow will contribute on special teams and as a backup.

C-Plus

ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr.:

Broncos fans who believe the addition of Aqib Talib solidified the depth chart at cornerback were being a little too optimistic. Denver needed to add another potential starter there, and the Broncos may have one in Bradley Roby, but I'm not sure he helps much now. What Roby lacks in refinement and consistency, he has in athleticism and potential. He's a superb athlete -- quick, agile and strong. What he's not is a technically sound CB, so what you have to hope for is a long season that gets him seasoning so he's hitting his stride during a playoff push. But for players this raw at position that demands a transition period, that's just a hope. Even with Emmanuel Sanders around I considered WR depth a need, and Cody Latimer is a pretty good get late in Round 2. Mr. McShay had him rated higher than I did, but I thought he could go early in Round 2. Michael Schofield was a sound player at Michigan but was overshadowed by Taylor Lewan. If Schofield ends up starting at right tackle pretty quickly it wouldn't surprise me. I think Lamin Barrow is a pretty good player going into a situation where the depth chart at interior linebacker isn't great. Given where they were drafting, the Broncos did pretty well, the question is whether Roby is a help in 2014 or a liability because he requires the development.

C-Minus

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer:

Their draft didn't really fit their offseason theme of going all in to win Peyton Manning a Super Bowl. Roby and Latimer are depth players, when they could have used a top offensive lineman earlier instead of Schofield. In addition to not going quick impact, they didn't stockpile, either, like other contenders did.

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