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Mason's Mailbag: Inside linebackers on the brain

What should Denver do at pick 10 if both Devins are there and Drew Lock is there? It seems that a lot of draft boards are not addressing linebacker when it is such a big need for the Broncos.

-- Brent Pepper

If you pick strictly for need, you'll draft yourself into trouble. What you want is for the best player available to be at a position of need; then you're able to get value and fill a roster hole. It is possible that Devin White or Devin Bush Jr. could fit that description.

Unless you're in love with Drew Lock, pick one of the Devins, select either of the Iowa tight ends (T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant) or trade down to accumulate draft capital, perhaps including a first-round pick in the 2020 draft. As Ryan Edwards and I discussed on Orange and Blue 760 a few weeks ago, to pick a quarterback in the first round -- especially in the first 10 picks -- is to imply a significant commitment, basically the football equivalent of getting engaged.

If you believe in the young quarterback to that degree -- whether it's Lock, Dwayne Haskins or Daniel Jones -- don't hesitate to pick him. If you're not, and thus, you're "just not that into" a quarterback, you go in another direction.

With Flacco signed, it would be a shame to draft a QB in the first round in my eyes. Would you consider Trace McSorley in rounds 5-6-7 maybe for a role similar to Taysom Hill at New Orleans? It gives the team a lot of versatility which other teams struggle with and apart from that, Trace McSorley -- what a name, that should be a comic-book character.

* -- Jan Bergmans*

I want to like McSorley more; he's definitely a gamer. However, the Hill comparison falls short because McSorley does not possess Hill's overall athleticism. McSorley's Combine 40 time was 4.57 seconds; Hill ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds at his 2017 pro day. McSorley had a vertical jump of 33 inches and a broad jump of nine feet, nine inches; Hill was five inches better in each category. If you put Hill among this year's Combine quarterbacks, the measurable portion of Hill’s on-field work would have been the best across the board, and comparable to an above-average running back.

Further, when you go to the quarterback position, McSorley's completion percentage last season (53.2) and for his college career (59.3) are below the 60.0 baseline that you would like to see. While completion percentage doesn't always translate, the quarterback who drastically improves his accuracy after being a sub-60-percent passer in college is rare.

Would there be any chance that Denver would trade the 10th pick or a big package of picks to New England for the rights to TE Rob Gronkowski?

-- Scott Thielemier

No. Given Gronkowski's injuries, declining production and the fact that he has announced his retirement and may only want to return in a familiar environment such as New England, that sort of deal would be the equivalent of throwing a wad of $100 bills into a roaring fire.

I did my own 3-round mock for every team ... it took all day, and I know it's kind of a waste of time, but I did it, and I enjoyed doing it. Anyway, I had us getting Devin White, Chris Lindstrom and Lonnie Johnson. Just wondering what your opinion on that draft would be.

-- @Theamazingone9 (via Twitter)

Intriguing. Either White or Bush makes a lot of sense with the No. 10 overall pick. I wonder where you had Kansas State's Dalton Risner going, however ... if he is there at the No. 41 pick, he might be hard to turn down. Texas A&M center Erik McCoy and Wisconsin's Michael Deiter could also be in play on Day 2 if the Broncos look for an interior offensive lineman who could be a plug-and-play starter.

Last Friday on Orange and Blue 760, I argued for taking a cornerback on Day 3 of the draft, rather than in the third round, although Kentucky's Lonnie Johnson is a fascinating target. In the Day 3 range, I love the on-field tenacity of James Madison's Jimmy Moreland.

If the Broncos go for inside linebacker and offensive line with their first two picks, the best value in the third round could be at tight end and wide receiver. San Jose State's Josh Oliver, Texas A&M's Jace Sternberger, Massachusetts' Andy Isabella and Ohio State's Terry McLaurin could represent prospects who could give the Broncos a skill set they presently lack among their complement of healthy pass-catchers.

OK, Mase, Broncos Country wants to see your mock draft. Also, a lot of talent will go undrafted. Who do you predict the Broncos will sign as undrafted free agents?

-- James Cooksey

Listen to Orange and Blue 760 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. MDT this week. I'll be unveiling it then -- Round 1 on Monday, Rounds 2 and 3 on Tuesday and Rounds 4-7 on Wednesday (although I won't go through all of the picks; I'll just hit the high points and make projections for the Broncos).

That said, mock drafts are a crapshoot. They're fun and can be good discussion items, but that's all. Picking the potential undrafted players is even wilder in the speculation game.

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