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Mile High Morning: Who the favorites and the underdogs are for the Broncos' first-round pick


The Lead

Can you feel it?

Do you feel the excitement?

There's less than 12 hours until the Broncos are scheduled to make their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, and after months of wild, wonderful speculation, we'll know who the Broncos' newest top college prospect actually will be.

But before the draft begins, let's take a last look at the mock drafts to see what we can learn.

The favorite: As has been the case since we started closely tracking mock drafts, former Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III is the most popular pick for the Broncos at 15th overall. Analysts just view his talent as too alluring to pass up, especially as a complementary receiving threat next to Courtland Sutton. Fellow former Crimson Tide WR Jerry Jeudy and former Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb were close behind, though several of those who picked Jeudy did so after predicting a mock trade to get the Broncos in position to draft him.

The underdog: Though Ruggs is the favorite, it's not as clear-cut as it once was. Still, picking a receiver is still the overwhelming favorite in the first round. In spite of this, former South Carolina DL Javon Kinlaw has emerged as perhaps a dark-horse prospect. Even though the Broncos bolstered their line by trading for Jurrell Casey and re-signing Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell, Kinlaw could be a valuable pick for the future of the defense. Picked just as often was former Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. Murray was a talented three-year starter for the Sooners and set a school record for tackles in a single game with 28.

The consensus: Despite all the chatter about trading down allowing the team to pick up a quality receiver in the second round, 19 of the 27 mock drafts I looked at had the Broncos picking a receiver in the first round. Of the other eight, none picked another offensive player. If this holds a kernel of truth, it's that if the Broncos want to add help for their offense through the draft, the biggest piece will most likely be with a receiver as their first pick.

Below the Fold

Peyton Manning will be back on our TVs playing live sports in May. No, not football — golf. Paired up with Tiger Woods, Manning will face off against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in "The Match: Champions for Charity." TNT will broadcast the event.

Former Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn — whose uncle is Hall of Famer Steve Atwater — could be rising up the draft boards, Jason La Canfora writes.

Mike Band of breaks down who could be sleeper picks on the second and third days of the draft based off of Next Gen Stats.

The Unclassifieds

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