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Mason's Mailbag: Trade for Su'a Cravens doesn't prevent Broncos from looking at draft ILBs

Posted Apr 1, 2018

Cravens will likely have at least a role in the sub packages, but the Broncos could still use depth at ILB.

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.

With the Broncos adding Su’a Cravens, do you think they will still consider a linebacker in the first two rounds?

-- Cailen Marks

If the value is there, absolutely. Cravens told KOA-AM 850 this week that he expects to be used in the team's sub packages, but that doesn't address short- and long-term depth behind starters Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis, which took a hit when Corey Nelson left for the Eagles in free agency. Further, the team could look to bolster its outside-linebacker corps with a strong edge rusher in free agency. The addition of Cravens bolsters the Broncos' primary sub package (dime personnel with a safety working at linebacker), but it doesn't keep them from considering anything.

What do you think about the Broncos drafting Shaquem Griffin in the third round or do you think they should just stick with the LBs they have?

-- Aidan Marin

Head Coach Vance Joseph said during his question-and-answer session Tuesday that inside linebacker would "definitely" be an area that is addressed in the draft. I'm sure they'll scout Griffin, as they'll take a look at myriad inside linebackers. The allure of Griffin is his sideline-to-sideline speed and his potential to provide an immediate contribution on special teams, an area that will look different in the wake of free-agent departures like those of Nelson and Cody Latimer. As with any position, whether you pick a player there depends on the value; you want the right fit, but you don't want to reach.

What do you think about Mike Gesicki?

-- Eric Price

I think I speak for all of us on "First and Ten at Ten" -- me, Ryan Edwards and Ring of Famer Steve Atwater -- when I offer nothing but praise for Gesicki's potential. He possesses all of the necessary tools to be an effective inside and intermediate target as a "move" tight end -- i.e. one that operates in space from a stand-up alignment. We've probably talked about Gesicki at least three or four times per week since watching him at the Senior Bowl.

What's more, Gesicki could not have embraced his chance to work with Broncos Tight Ends Coach Geep Chryst any more, based on how well he did at the Senior Bowl and how effusive he was talking about Chryst at the Combine over a month later.

"Oh, man. Coach Chryst is an unbelievable dude. Loved working with him," Gesicki said. "He kind of set the standard for tight end coaches in the NFL really high."

After posting the best Combine workout of any tight end -- and one of the best all-around workouts of any player at any position -- Gesicki could be picked as early as the final 10 picks of the first round, and should be off the board no later than the first 10 picks of Round 2.

Hey, do you have any idea of the steal you could get in Nebraska's receiver, Jordan Westerkamp? Similar in size to Julian Edelman. Check him out. No one will take him due to his size, but look at Edelman. He broke all kinds of receiving-yard records at Nebraska. Check it out.

-- Cindie Eckley

Actually, someone did take him last year; Miami signed him on July 30 after he had non-roster tryouts with the Browns and Buccaneers that did not result in a contract offer. (Furthermore, at 6 feet and 200 pounds, size is not the issue; a 4.73 40 time during his pre-draft workout is, even though it came after knee problems in the previous months.) While with the Dolphins, he dealt with a hamstring issue and was waived 19 days later.

Westerkamp is now with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, and if he wants to get a lengthy NFL shot, his best bet is to have a terrific season this summer and fall and use that to re-open doors.

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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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