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Mason's Mailbag: Potential compensatory picks, a look toward the draft, and more

Posted Jan 22, 2017

How many extra picks might the Broncos get in this year's draft ... plus some free agency and draft questions.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

In the upcoming draft how many compensatory picks do you see us getting for all of the talent we lost last year. And do you know which rounds they will be?

-- Charlie Brown

The best source at projecting compensatory picks is overthecap.com, which currently projects the Broncos to receive two third-round picks (one for Brock Osweiler, one for Malik Jackson), a fourth-round selection (for Danny Trevathan) and a seventh-round pick (for Ryan Harris). The official disbursement of picks will be announced at the league meetings in March, but the Broncos would surely be pleased if that prognostication is accurate.

If the Broncos get two third-round compensatory picks, they would have five of the first 100 selections, including their first-, second- and third-round choices. That further underscores the crucial importance of this draft to the Broncos' continued building process -- which, for this year, is what new Head Coach Vance Joseph has called a "reboot."

How do the Pro Bowlers prepare for the Pro Bowl? Are they working out at Dove Valley?

-- Joan Saxbury

Once the Pro Bowlers arrive in Orlando, they will have a few walk-through practices before the game itself. That's it. It's an exhibition with limited contact compared with games that count.

What are the colors of the Broncos -- navy and orange or royal blue and orange? Big argument between myself and my wife. Thank you.

-- Paul MacNeney

Navy blue and orange.

I really think the Broncos aren't crossing that bridge. The offensive line needs an overhaul, and Romo has had major injuries the last two years. Besides, Romo has been in the league since 2003 and has just two playoff wins.

What do you think about trying to sign Dontari Poe off the Chiefs? I suspect he would be pricey, but he could well be a one-man fix for the run defense.

-- Hugh Kendrick

Pricey, although he has proven he can be that rare 3-4 nose tackle who can be a three-down lineman. No 3-4 nose tackle played as many snaps as Poe did last year, and that use could justify a high price tag.

However, players with physical builds like Poe's -- he carries 346 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame -- can be prone to shorter career spans and/or reduced effectiveness as they hit their late 20s because of the increased burden on the joints. He's played five seasons and 82 career games so far. There were some signs of decline this season; he had the lowest tackle total of his career, and ProFootballFocus.com credited him with 15 stops, the fewest of his career.

Given the price Poe is expected to command, I think the resources are better allocated elsewhere.

Denver has a good amount of cap space. I expect Elway to focus heavily on the offensive line. Do you think Kevin Zeitler and T.J. Lang would be solid targets, or is there zero chance of Denver acquiring either of them?

-- Ryan Benner

Zeitler and Lang will be on the radar of most teams looking for offensive linemen, and I'm sure the Broncos will do their homework on each of them. I'd also expect due diligence to be paid on players like Dallas guard Ronald Leary, Baltimore right tackle Rick Wagner and Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is 35 but is coming off the perhaps the best season of his career, which will end with a Pro Bowl appearance.

Depending on how much help the Broncos get in free agency with the O-line do you think drafting a running back like Christian McCaffrey would be a good move?

-- Luke Rel

Absolutely. I've seen few players with the ability to create as many matchup problems because of their versatility as McCaffrey can. Not only does he have a high football I.Q., he thinks quickly and can translate that to his moves in the open field.

McCaffrey is fascinating because there are few parallels to him. With his ability to line up in the backfield, outside and contribute on returns, he reminds me a bit of Joe Washington, an electric player in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During a six-season stretch of his career (1978-83) with the Colts and Redskins, Washington averaged 84.2 yards from scrimmage per game. McCaffrey has Washington's versatility, speed and home-run threat, but he's also 21 pounds heavier than the 179-pound Washington, and should be more durable. Defenses had to account for Washington and adjust every time he was on the field; I believe this will be the case for McCaffrey.

Of course, the ability to add a McCaffrey is predicated on first taking care of enough needs in free agency to where the Broncos have a starting 22 in which they can feel confident. That would free them to pursue the best available player when they pick, which could well be McCaffrey.

Submit a question for the next Mailbag!

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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