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Mason's Mailbag: Why Zach Kerr fits the Broncos

Posted Mar 19, 2017

Also ... why a Darren Sproles-Christian McCaffrey comparison isn't completely accurate, and some Day 3 QBs who could be worth a look in the draft.

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.

Because of scheme and use of the player within it.

The Colts use more two-gap alignments with their defensive linemen, asking them to align themselves directly over an offensive linemen and then move inside or outside the O-linemen, giving them a choice of gaps to use (if they don't bull-rush the O-linemen directly), while the Broncos typically ask their defensive linemen to align themselves between two offensive linemen (as a shade nose tackle, or a 3- or 5-technique defensive end) and attack a single gap.

Any chance we could get Joe Thomas in a trade from Cleveland? He almost became a Bronco a couple of years ago.

-- Steve Lance

This is something I've had mentioned to me in many questions over recent weeks is, and the answer is simple: virtually none.

Those trade discussions of the 2015 season were with a previous Cleveland administration. There is no indication the Browns' current brass will make him available via trade -- and given the reinforcements they made up front in free agency, why would they? They could have one of the game's best offensive lines this year, and they already have a surplus of draft picks for the next two years.

With Devin Hester stating a desire to retire, could Denver go after him for a one-year contract?

-- Mike Willson

The desire to retire -- which he expressed after Seattle's divisional-round loss, when he said, "I told my wife that this is pretty much my last year" -- and the signing of a one-year contract seem to be mutually exclusive concepts.

It seems like the Broncos were comfortable that Vance Walker would be a good replacement for Malik Jackson last year. So, why aren't they eager to sign him this year?

Also, it seems like Darren Sproles was an earlier version of Christian McCaffrey. Looking back, would Darren have been worth a first-round pick?

-- Todd Banchor

Walker is coming off of a severe knee injury. That's the biggest issue. He could still end up in the mix, but given his age and the injury, he would be brought back as part of a competition, and not to be penciled in as the starter. You can't go with him as the first-teamer and hope the knee holds up without contingency plans.

As for Sproles ... Certainly in retrospect, he should have been a first-round pick. However, a 5-foot-6, 187-pound player -- as Sproles was measured at the 2005 Combine -- isn't going to go in the first round.

People want to make the Sproles-McCaffrey comparison, but I don't think that's fair to McCaffrey, who is five inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than Sproles. They have similar open-field capabilities, but McCaffrey also has a size and skill set than can translate to playing in the slot and lining up outside in the "Z" spot.

We're looking for linemen and especially offensive linemen. My question is why can't we bring Louis Vazquez back? He's been a free agent and would be a proven asset and arguably cheap.

-- Anthony Perez

Vasquez also has knee and back issues, as I have mentioned in this space before, which significantly hindered him in his final two seasons with the Broncos. Those injuries are why no team signed him in 2016.

I'm of the belief that you keep adding young quarterbacks -- although usually in the late rounds and via the undrafted pool. The most important position on the field is worthy of extreme investment given the high value placed on the position. If you have multiple young quarterbacks from the late rounds or college free-agent ranks that show promise, then you can flip them for higher draft picks even if you can't get them on the field.

Ron Wolf used this strategy as Green Bay's general manager in the 1990s even after Brett Favre had established himself as the Packers' unquestioned offensive leader. Future NFL starters like Kurt Warner, Matt Hasselbeck and Ty Detmer -- all of whom would later lead teams to the postseason -- each served as understudies in Green Bay.

As for which quarterbacks, I think you have to watch how the draft falls and look for value. The two potential Day 3 quarterbacks I like most are Tennessee's Josh Dobbs -- who was shown on an NFL Network documentary receiving tutelage from Peyton Manning in Knoxville -- and Virginia Tech's Jerod Evans, who found his form in the Justin Fuente-guided offense that allowed Paxton Lynch to shine at Memphis.

Dobbs needs more consistent footwork, which led to some errant passes during Senior Bowl week, and Evans needs to learn how to get to the second read, but both are athletic, tough leaders. Evans has the stronger arm of the two, and is more effective at flinging the ball downfield and outside the numbers -- but as is the case with Dobbs, Evans' footwork isn't NFL-caliber right now.

If you go back to 2011, you can find a roster with even more players who were born outside of the United States. That season saw four foreign-born players contribute: DT Marcus Thomas (Yokosuka, Japan), OL Orlando Franklin and DE Ryan McBean (both born in Kingston, Jamaica) and QB Tim Tebow (Makati, Philippines).

The 2007 Broncos did them two better, boasting six foreign-born players: the afore-mentioned Thomas, DEs Ebenezer Ekuban (Accra, Ghana) and John Engelberger (Heidelberg, Germany), WR Domenik Hixon (Neukirchen, Germany), CB Domonique Foxworth (Oxford, England) and LB D.D. Lewis (Bremerhaven, Germany).

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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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