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Mile High Morning: Mel Kiper Jr.'s new mock draft projects trade for Denver in first round


The Lead

Just in time for the start of the NFL Scouting Combine, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has unveiled a new mock draft. And while his projection of a trade for the Broncos may not come as a surprise — the trade partner may be.

Kiper's projection: Denver trading down four spots in the first round with the Browns and acquiring a third-round pick in the process.

"From Denver's perspective, this adds a valuable top-100 pick and still keeps it in the discussion for the best edge rushers in the class," Kiper writes.

Then, with the 13th pick, the Broncos take the third pass rusher off the board in Florida State's Jermaine Johnson II.

"Johnson is one of the biggest risers of the past month; he dominated at the Senior Bowl, showing that his 12 sacks after transferring from Georgia weren't a fluke," Kiper writes. "He destroyed offensive tackles in Mobile, Alabama. With Von Miller gone, this is a spot the Broncos can improve upon, especially with Bradley Chubb's injury issues. They finished the season ranked last in the league in pass rush win rate. Johnson has a big frame (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) and can play with his hand in the dirt or on his feet in a 3-4 defense. I'm a fan."

Johnson's name has gained traction in recent weeks;'s Daniel Jeremiah also projected him to Denver in his most-recent mock draft.

Below the Fold

On Monday, NFL on CBS' Twitter account posed an interesting question, asking people who they think the hardest hitter of all time is. Of course, how could we not chime in with the Smiling Assassin?

In Atwater's Pro Football Hall of Fame career, hard hits and game-changing plays were his calling card, and while none may be more famous than his hit on Christian Okoye, he had more than his fair share of plays like that one.

For Atwater's thoughts on other big hitters from throughout league history, click here.

The Unclassifieds

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