2015 Draft in Review: Denver Broncos
We saw every FBS player play every snap of every game last season and we’ll watch every snap of them again when they take the field for their respective NFL teams in the fall. For now it’s time to project how each will fit in to their new teams and some key stats that could factor into their role. The Broncos won’t have Peyton Manning around for much longer, so let’s take a look at what they did to improve their 2015 squad.
Round 1: Shane Ray, ED, Missouri
I’m of the opinion that you can never have enough pass rushers and obviously so are the Broncos. They saw Ray still on the board at 23 and even with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware in tow, found the value too good to pass up. They gave up quite a bit to trade up for Ray, but he was our second-highest graded pass rusher in this class. His 27 total sacks and hits were the most in the power 5.
Depth Chart Fit: Third down specialist who sees some early down snaps on a rotational basis.
Round 2: Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State
A curious pick that doesn’t quite fall in line with the Broncos ‘win now’ philosophy of late. Sambrailo has the coveted movement skills for an offensive lineman, but his functional strength is a serious issue. That issue was obvious against Nate Orchard who beat Sambrailo for five pressures in their bowl game. He may start out as a guard, but that won’t make the strength concerns suddenly disappear.
Depth Chart Fit: Elway mentioned him as a tackle, but glaring need at left guard could see him moved inside.
Round 3: Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State
A blocking specialist that wasn’t featured heavily in Ohio State’s offense. Saw just 24 targets all season on 708 snaps and didn’t drop a single pass. Came away with the eighth-highest blocking grade in the class against power five competition. Showed competent athleticism at his pro day, but he won’t be replacing Julius Thomas’ production any time soon.
Depth Chart Fit: Buried on the depth chart at the moment with Virgil Green, Owen Daniels, and James Casey all signed this offseason. Best chance to see field is as a blocking tight end in two tight end sets.
Round 4: Max Garcia, C, Florida
It was inevitable that the Broncos would address the center position after flipping Manny Ramirez to move up in the first round. Garcia was the most productive player on a Florida line that saw four of its members get drafted. Yielded six total pressures on the season with the majority coming in just two games against Kentucky and Missouri. Showed well at the Senior Bowl where he graded positively.
Depth Chart Fit: Will likely come down to a training camp battle for the starting center position with Gino Gradkowski. Broncos fans should hope for Garcia to win out in the end.
Round 5: Lorenzo Doss, CB, Tulane
Graded negatively against three of the more talented passing attacks Tulane saw all season (Duke, Cincinnati, and ECU). Came on strong down the stretch for the Green Wave only allowing 174 yards in his final seven games. Doss was completely exposed against Rutgers where he allowed 191 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches.
Depth Chart Fit: Will compete for nickel spot if Bradley Roby is moved to safety for good.
Round 6: Darius Kilgo, DT, Maryland
One utterly dominant game against Iowa was all it took for Kilgo to find himself a sixth-round draft pick. There weren’t many other redeemable qualities for the Maryland defensive tackle outside of his eight pressure, four stop performance against the Hawkeyes. The ability to dominate a talented line is certainly intriguing, but it will have to happen far more often at the next level for Kilgo to find playing time.
Depth Chart Fit: Likely to make team, but may start the season buried at fifth on the defensive tackle depth chart.
Round 7: Trevor Siemian, QB, Northwestern
Athletic project at the quarterback position, Siemian didn’t do much as a pass that got us excited. His 68.9 Accuracy Percentage was 25th out of 41 starting quarterbacks in this draft class. If there was any positive in his game it was that his Accuracy Percentage stayed steady under pressure and only dropped to 60.8%
Depth Chart Fit: Will compete with former seventh round pick Zac Dysert for third-string quarterback position.
Round 7: Taurean Nixon, CB, Tulane
Played in just 504 snaps last season and didn’t show well in that limited time. Covered the slot on 79% of his snaps as a senior, but was rarely effective there grading out negatively against run and pass. His 1.74 yards per coverage snap allowed from the slot was the fourth-worst in the class. Nixon also missed 10 tackles in 42 opportunities.
Depth Chart Fit: Could struggle to find a spot on the roster with the Broncos’ depth at corner. Will have to compete with Lorenzo Doss for a fifth corner spot.
Round 7: Jush Furman, DB, Oklahoma State
Played the hybrid nickel back/outside linebacker role for the Cowboys that currently doesn’t exist in the NFL. He was very productive in that role and showed a propensity as a pass rusher where he collected 22 pressures on just 79 rushes. His skill set translates most similarly to a strong safety.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup safety and immediate core special teams contributor.
Kalon Davis, OT, Clemson: Played 146 snaps at guard and 772 at tackle for Clemson. Graded positively in all but one game (Louisville) and only allowed 11 pressures on the season.
Matt Miller, WR, Boise State: Racked up big numbers at Boise State in only 318 snaps before an ankle injury ended his season. His 2.73 yards per route run was higher than the likes of Jaelen Strong and Vince Mayle.
Josh Watson, DI, Clemson: Already 25 years old, but very productive player in limited playing time on stacked Clemson front. His 6.8 pass rushing productivity on 162 snaps equaled that of Malcom Brown.
Dillon Day, C, Mississippi State: An accomplished run blocker last season for Mississippi State. Fell in the draft due to poor performances in all-star games and multiple stomping incidents in college.
Zaire Anderson, LB, Nebraska: Graded out positive against the run, pass, and rushing the passer for Nebraska. Went undrafted due to physical limitations.
Chuka Ndulue, DI, Oklahoma: Racked up 24 run stops on the season, two more than his Oklahoma teammate Jordan Phillips. Inconsistent as a pass rusher with 26 pressures on 407 rushing snaps.
Connor Rains, OT, Wyoming: Has good size for a tackle and came on strong for Wyoming the second half of the season. Only allowed three pressures over his final seven games after allowing 15 in his first five.
Kyle Roberts, OT, Nevada: Graded out as a below average tackle for the season after getting dominated for seven pressures in Nevada’s bowl game.
Jordan Taylor, WR, Rice: Big 6-foot-5 target from Rice had an 11.5% drop rate last season in 628 snaps.
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