The Broncos may have disappeared from most mock drafts after they traded for Russell Wilson, but that doesn't mean they won't be able to find talent that can contribute right away.
During a conference call with media on Thursday, ESPN's Todd McShay said there could still quality prospects available at positions of need, which he identified as tackle, cornerback and linebacker.
At tackle, there's a "drop off" in talent after the top four tackles — Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal, Charles Cross and Trevor Penning — but some underrated players could be had in the second round, like Tulsa's Tyler Smith or Minnesota's Daniel Faalele.
"Tyler Smith still needs coaching and developing, but that dude is nasty," McShay said. "He is a finisher, coming out of Tulsa. But I think mid-second is probably the latest where you'll see him off the board. I think probably late in the second is probably where you get to Daniel Faalele from Minnesota, who's a monster of a man. I mean, he's … 6-8, 384 pounds with 35-inch arms and 11-inch hands. He's massive. Still has some developing to do with his hands and placement and stuff, but he's a really good player."
Cornerback could also be a position the Broncos could target. Though they signed K'Waun Williams in free agency, it could be worth bolstering their depth.
"I think Roger McCreary would be a really good fit if he were still available," McShay said. "Tariq Woolen, who's 6-3, about 205 pounds, up-and-down tape at UTSA, but he was a wide receiver for two years, converted to corner, struggled his first year. Got a lot better at tackling and more physical this past year. Great ball skills. Exceptional workout; I think he had a 40-inch vertical and ran in the 4.3s. I mean, he's got a lot of tools to develop as a late second-rounder, as well."
At linebacker, McShay said that he thinks there's "a lot of great depth in the second round."
"Christian Harris could be around later in the second, from Alabama," McShay said. "He's still kind of a tick late in terms of recognition skills, but he flies around the field, is good in coverage, is powerful and explosive and is an occasional blitzer in pass-rushing situations. And then Leo Chenal is, I think, the most underrated linebacker in the class from Wisconsin. Great instincts, tough player, covers better than people want to give him credit for. Chad Muma from Wyoming is just an absolute animal the way he plays the game. He plays fast and he plays hungry. I love his style. Troy Anderson had a great week at the Senior Bowl — probably, I would say, the best defensive player just in terms of catching eyes and standing out. And then he put on an absolute clinic at the Combine with his workout numbers. I think he's going to be a late second, early third. He's going to be great on special teams right away, maybe has a chance to start. And if not, I think he can be a sub-package guy. But Troy Anderson's 6-3 and a half, 243 pounds, ran a 4.42. I mean, think about that: There are a lot of wide receivers that would kill to have that number next to their name, and Anderson did that at his size. So there's a lot of good linebackers. … And even beyond, going into the third and fourth round."
A year ago, the Broncos found remarkable success in the middle and late rounds. Offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz, Baron Browning and Jonathon Cooper all were drafted after No. 64 and played in 14 or more of the Broncos' games. Meinerz and Browning each started nine games, too.
Even though their draft positioning isn't the same as a year ago, Denver's picks could make an impact beyond the initial expectations..