The 2021 Senior Bowl is happening this week down in Mobile, Ala. That’s why I’ve made the trek down south to take a look at some of the top incoming seniors as they prepare to make the leap to the NFL.
For 15 years, I have made this journey a big part of what I call the “All-Star road trip.” This year, due to COVID-19, it’s the only part of my pilgrimage.
The teams who have the best scouting departments can find gems here at the Senior Bowl almost every year. The Broncos have a new front office commander, and they have a new direction to hopefully get things back on track. This team may be a “sleeping giant,” but there are still glaring holes on the roster that must be filled – and they could be best-filled by draft picks.
What the positions the Broncos need to be watching closely at the Senior Bowl? And, who are some of the best players at position of need that the Broncos should be interested in? Let’s take a look.
Position of Need: Quarterback
The Broncos did not find out if Drew Lock could be the franchise quarterback in 2020. They are going to bring competition in at the position, and that could come in the form of a draft pick. Fans may want the team to trade for Matthew Stafford, but new general manager George Paton may decide that a younger quarterback to challenge Lock is better.
Senior Bowl Prospect to Watch: Kyle Trask, Florida
There is potential for Florida quarterback Kyle Trask to benefit more than any other player from what he does at the Senior Bowl this week. Trask is seen as a mid-round pick with the chance of working his way into the second round if he tests well. He’s incredibly accurate as a passer and does a good job of getting rid of the ball on time. He’ll stay in rhythm as a passer and has a higher understanding of concepts, both offensively and defensively. Trask is not athletic and will not threaten a defense with his legs. That’s a problem in today’s NFL where pass-rushers are more dangerous than ever before.
Position of Need: Running Back
Even though Melvin Gordon is the starter, the Broncos could be in the market for a running back. It remains to be seen what happens with Phillip Lindsay as he’s set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. Gordon could be suspended for a few games to begin the 2021 season and Lindsay may just be with another team, so that means the Broncos will be looking for running back talent.
Senior Bowl Prospect to Watch: Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
Some things in the pre-draft process require teams to dig a little deeper into a player’s background. That’s what any team is going to have to do with Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill. He was a 1,300-yard rusher with the Bulldogs in 2019. But in 2020, he quit the team after getting suspended over a locker room incident. On tape, Hill stands out with explosive traits. He’s tough to bring down, has great footwork and vision as a runner, plus he can eat up yards quickly even though he doesn’t have long speed. If his background checks out, Hill could be a mid-round prospect with the upside to be a solid starter in the NFL.
Position of Need: Inside linebacker
Any Broncos fan who is being honest knows there is a problem at inside linebacker. The team hasn’t had a dominant force at that position since the days of “Smoke Dog” Al Wilson, and players like Alexander Johnson or Josey Jewell are replaceable. The Broncos have passed on taking ILBs in the past few drafts, as head coach Vic Fangio seems to be picky about what kind of player he likes at that position.
Senior Bowl Prospect to Watch: Baron Browning, Ohio State
One of the top-rated ILBs in this draft class is Baron Browning from Ohio State. His film is one of the most interesting to watch because he rushed the passer a lot in college, but his best fit is at inside linebacker in the pros. Athletically, Browning is incredibly gifted and is an explosive playmaker from the snap. His play speed improved in the 2020 season, so his game is trending the right way, but many scouts are going to look at his potential instead of his on-field production.
Position of Need: Cornerback
The Broncos could lose two of their top cornerbacks this offseason. A.J. Bouye has an $11.9 million cap hit in 2021, but there is no dead money remaining on his contract. That means the Broncos could move on, free up nearly $12 million in cap space and look for a replacement in the draft. Bryce Callahan has never played a full 16-game season in the NFL. He has missed most of the last two years with the Broncos due to injury and moving on from him would save around $7 million.
Senior Bowl Prospect to Watch: Elijah Molden, Washington
Versatility is one of the best traits a player can have entering the NFL. Washington’s Elijah Molden is a player who can line up as a slot corner, but also has experience playing as a safety if needed. Molden loves to strike a defender down, even though he’s not the biggest player. His instincts are off the charts and he does a good job of anticipating where a play is going to wind up. He will be one of the most interesting players to watch down here, especially against some of the best receivers in the nation. The Broncos should be watching him closely.
- Clayton: Elway's "steals" a year ago didn't pan out for the Broncos
- The Broncos would be wise to enter the Russell Wilson sweepstakes
- NFL players need to be better prepared for life after football
- Denver Broncos release defensive tackle Jurrell Casey
- Three most-underrated Denver Broncos in the 2021 season
- Reports: Ex-Broncos DB Darrius Johnson passes away at 47