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Mason's Mailbag: Who's at the top of the draft class?

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.

Who would be your top 10 draft prospects regardless of position? Who would be the best fit for Denver of those 10, in your opinion?

-- Ethan Cox

I haven't made a top 10 or top 100 list yet, so I'm not going to give you a list that has those names in order. But my personal top 10 at this point would include the following:

*Quarterbacks (2): *Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma; Josh Rosen, UCLA
*Running back: *Saquon Barkley, Penn State
*Offensive line: *Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
*Defensive line: *Maurice Hurst, Michigan
*Edge rushers (2): *Bradley Chubb, N.C. State; Harold Landry, Boston College
*Linebackers (2): *Roquan Smith, Georgia; Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
*Defensive back: *Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

As for the best fit ... when you're a top-10-caliber player, you can fit in almost any scheme. Lame answer, I know, but I think any of those players could potentially help the Broncos.

Why does the draft order change in the second round?

-- Hal Martin

It only changes for teams that have the same record. In the first round, the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker is used to determine the order of teams that share the same record. Then in the second round, the team that had the first pick of those clubs with the same record picks last, which is why the Broncos have the fifth pick of Round 1 and the eighth pick (No. 40 overall) in Round 2. In Round 3, the Broncos move up a spot, while the Jets -- who pick first among the 5-11 teams in Round 2 -- pick last of that quartet of clubs. The cycle continues for the rest of the draft.

**

Your thoughts on rule changes I'd like to see. **

*1) No coin flip before the game; the home team decides. It's now a strategic decision that teams should share equally throughout the season, and a home team in the playoffs deserves the advantage. The decision in the Super Bowl would go to the team with the best record with the tiebreaker being strength of schedule. *

*2) An inadvertent touch by the receiving team on a punt results in a ten-yard penalty. A turnover should not result because a lousy, short punt happens to take a crazy bounce that hits a blocker (and not returner, mind you) on the receiving team. A penalty seems more appropriate than a turnover. *

3) No more field goals longer than 35 (or 40?) yards with more than 5 minutes (or 2? or 3?) left in the half. This will force a team to go for a fourth down in an opponent's territory. Fourth downs are more exciting than field goals. Think back to the AFC championship game with the Patriots and the fourth downs in that game, for example.

My last rule change is a little more radical, but I like it -- more football, less kicking. Your thoughts?

-- D'Arcy Straub

No, no and no.

  1. I'm holding out for a rock-paper-scissors showdown. Until that moment comes, the coin flip is just fine as is. It's just football; it's not like we're deciding an election here. The only change I would make in regard to the coin flip would be to create an overtime that offers full equality of opportunity, because the coin toss still has too much of an impact on overtime's outcome.

Also, if you remove the coin toss, you will rob me of my favorite annual moment in American culture. This is the time just before kickoff when a massive percentage of the most powerful nation in human existence grinds to a halt to hear someone explain which side of a coin is heads and which is tails. Please don't deprive me of this simple joy.

  1. You're bringing an unnecessary judgment call into the picture. With the current rule, it is clear; if the returning team touches the football and does not secure it, the football is live and free for anyone to claim. It also rewards teams that have good coverage and plenty of players hustling downfield to be in position to capitalize off the bad bounce.
  1. You would remove a significant tactical decision: the choice of whether to kick from long distance or to try and punt or go for it. Part of what made the AFC Championship Game in 2016 memorable was the Patriots' decisions to go for it in the fourth quarter. You're taking part of the sport's inherent drama away. Furthermore, I don't support taking the "foot" out of "football."

Now, if you wanted to give a point for a kickoff that sailed through the uprights -- which could be the U.S. version of Canadian football's rouge -- I would offer my enthusiastic support.

What are John Elway's thoughts on Baker Mayfield? Do the Broncos think it's time to go from "win now" to "win from now on" with Baker Mayfield's ability to make plays happen and raise the playing level of players around even defense?

-- Devan A.

These are valid questions, but if you are a Broncos fan -- and since you are on this website and sending a question, it seems likely that you are -- you probably do not want Elway tipping his hand and publicly sharing all of his thoughts about a quarterback in this year's class.

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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