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Mason's Mailbag: Draft day edition

As always, you can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase, use the submission form or scroll to the bottom of this page.

If you're talking second-day prospects, the top candidates appear to be Colorado State's Garrett Grayson and Baylor's Bryce Petty. Both have the skill sets to run the offense, but Petty requires a longer gestational period because he must learn how to take snaps under center, execute an offense at a more deliberate pace and call plays in a traditional manner rather than turning to the sideline and reading a poster board.

When you get into the third day, it's a bit more wide open. Oregon State's Sean Mannion, Washington State's Connor Halliday, East Carolina's Shane Carden, Colorado State-Pueblo's Chris Bonner and Old Dominion's Taylor Heinecke are some of the candidates who could be a fit, although all are projections. Bonner and South Alabama's Brandon Bridge are two high-ceiling Day 3 candidates, but there are questions about Bridge's accuracy and consistency.

Not so much a question, but planting an idea. I think the "Legends Announcement" for the second round has been great and this year's selection (Rick Upchurch) is equally as good. Just a suggestion for a future selection ... Rod Smith. Where Rod Smith went undrafted and was a great asset to the Broncos, I think it would be fitting to give him a draft experience as a Broncos legend. But there are always so many to choose from, including Meck or Dennis Smith or ????
-- Cody Cumpton

The Broncos do not lack for candidates; you could just cycle through Ring of Famers for potential presenters. I expect that you will be pleased in the legends that announce Broncos picks in future years.

The interesting thing about Smith is that the draft snub still irks him to this day, 21 years later. He never lost that chip on his shoulder, which is one of the characteristics that made him the most productive receiver in Broncos history.

It's not, and includes just four teams: the Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks. But the Jaguars have only existed since 1995, the Ravens since 1996 and the Seahawks since 1976, while the Broncos began in 1960 (although their common draft era began seven years later).

The Broncos did have a No. 1 overall pick in the 1961 AFL Draft (New Mexico State halfback Bob Gaiters, also picked by the New York Giants in that year's NFL Draft). But since the common draft began in 1967 in advance of the AFL-NFL merger, the Broncos' earliest pick is No. 2 overall (2011, Von Miller).

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Do you think we will draft Tyler Lockett in the first round if he's still available?**
-- Alex Wissing

I think that's a bit of a reach given his size, but the Kansas State product will provide outstanding second-round value, and he's the best kickoff- and punt-return prospect in the draft. Even if his development as a wide receiver takes some time, he will provide instant contribution.

The DL is strong with many playing the DE position. At NT in a 3-4 defense I question who they available for the largest percentage of plays in each game over the whole season. This player must be able to push the pocket, hold play at least on the scrimmage line on rushes. Once this player can't do this on a regular basis the 3-4 marches backwards.

I see this unit strong at each position except the NT. This is the anchor of defensive scheme of a 3-4 defense.

It is my belief this is a big need for the Broncos.
-- Tom Gormally

But Wade Phillips runs a different variety of the 3-4 alignment, one in which the nose tackle doesn't simply hold his ground, but tries to penetrate through the gap. Most of Phillips' nose tackles have between 300 and 320 pounds; the massive, 0-technique 330-to-340-pound guys are not a fit.

Someone who can use quickness and agility to attack off the snap and generate some interior pass rush could flourish. If Sylvester Williams can adjust, he could be that player; he jumped into the first round in 2013 because of his consistent pass-rush ability from the interior. But it would not surprise me to see the Broncos add a potential nose tackle at some point in the draft.

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I think they need to go after a running like Todd Gurley from Georgia and a linebacker.**
-- Kristopher McCray

I see a linebacker -- maybe multiple linebackers in the Broncos' first five picks, since they need some edge-rush depth (and an option for the future) behind DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.

But with a returning Pro Bowler (C.J. Anderson) at running back, a scheme that allows late-round runners to flourish and quality depth, there seem to be better uses of the Broncos' first-round pick than Todd Gurley -- if he even dropped to 28, which I doubt he will.


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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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