ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Many are focused on the Broncos' first-round pick, but this week's decision to release running back C.J. Anderson may mean Denver's Day 2 selections will be just as intriguing to watch.
When the Broncos are on the clock with the 40th-overall pick, 71st-overall pick or 99th-overall pick, they very well could add a player to their now-thin backfield.
"I think that's [what] you're thinking about at pick No. 40," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Wednesday. "Would they look at Derrius Guice from LSU, Sony Michel from Georgia, Ronald Jones from USC? I think one of those three, maybe two of those three would still be there possibly."
If the Broncos were to wait until the third round to select a running back, Kiper could foresee Denver taking the other half of Georgia's backfield duo, Nick Chubb.
The ideal value pick, though, may come with that 40th-overall pick. And should Denver wind up with Guice, Michel or Jones at that spot, Kiper would be impressed with the value.
"Those are three really good backs that would be good second-round choices if they were able to bring them into the fold," Kiper said.
The best player at the position is almost undoubtedly Penn State's Saquon Barkley, but Kiper suspects he will be gone when the Broncos first pick at No. 5.
In his latest mock draft, Kiper predicts the Browns will select Barkley with the fourth-overall pick.
If the Broncos can find a way to land Barkley, however, Kiper's fellow analyst Todd McShay believes they will get a player who is "different" than all the other running backs.
"It doesn't take a super scout to figure out that he's a highly talented back," McShay said. "Six-foot, 233 pounds, runs the 4.4 40[-yard dash]. Explosive numbers across the board. The tape matches up. And then he'll pass protect and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. You're getting an every-down starter and a player that brings intangibles and leadership and a work ethic that you rarely find in a player who's your most-talented player on the football team.
"I think he's a franchise-changing type player."