BRONCOS

Cecil Lammey highlights draft fits for the Broncos at OT, DL and edge

Apr 16, 2022, 7:15 AM
Nik Bonitto...
(Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This week, Cecil Lammey continued his position-by-position breakdowns of the class of 2022. The series will lead all the way up to the NFL Draft and is a must-read every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He offers a look at the market as a whole, offers his list of sleepers and provides recommendations on who would be a good fit for the Broncos.

This week, Cecil focused in the trenches and on defense. He looked at offensive tackles, defensive linemen and edge rushers.

The Broncos may have needs at those positions. Right tackles has been a concern for years. D.J. Jones was a nice addition on the d-line, but Denver needs more help. And Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb look good on paper, but there are question marks about their availability on a weekly basis.

Who did Cecil think would make sense in orange and blue. Here’s a breakdown:

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Offensive Tackles

The Broncos are bringing in some tackles for top-30 visits, and they’ll continue examining who could be available for them in the draft. Bringing a player in to the facility isn’t a guarantee a team will select that player, but it’s something important to note.

Tulsa’s Tyler Smith has been to UC Health Training Center for one of those private visits. Smith was a defensive player in high school before injuries forced him to the offensive line where he took to his new position like a fish to water. His size and athleticism combination make him a great potential fit for the Broncos zone-blocking system.
Smith is a powerful and aggressive player – and he has violent striking hands. His punch can be devastating to opponents, and he knows how to hand fight with the best of them. Smith does need to work on his technique because he will too often rely on his aggressiveness, and this gets him in trouble with the referees. He had 16 penalties in 2021, 12 of them being holding calls. Obviously, that’s the part of his game that needs to the most work.

Adding Smith, moving him to the right side and having him learn behind Billy Turner sounds like a good plan to me.

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Defensive Linemen

There are various types available for the Broncos, but I think we’re looking at day three of the draft if the Broncos take a defensive lineman – and that’s a big if. Instead, they might choose to add talent at the position from this class after the draft as priority free agents.

Jayden Peevy (Texas A&M) is not going to be undrafted, but he could go off the board in the sixth round of the draft. He fell in love with basketball early in his athletic career, and Peevy didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. Even with five years of college experience with the Aggies, Peevy still is a work in progress as a player.

Peevy is big, weighing in at 307 pounds, and he has a wide stance which makes him difficult to block. He’s got long arms and uses them well against opponents who can’t get a solid grasp on him. I like the way Peevy peeks into the backfield while the play unfolds in front of him. He diagnoses quickly and does not stop hustling. He’s a high-motor player who can be a better pro than he was a collegian. If the Broncos were to add him in the fifth or sixth round, I would be pleased.

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Edge Rushers

I would love the Broncos to scoop up Myjai Sanders and DeAngelo Malone in the third and fourth round of the draft, but there are other options I need to highlight, as well. Any of these guys would be fine picks for the Broncos, and again – I think they need to add two edge defenders as soon as possible.

Nik Bonitto (Oklahoma) will be a late second- or early third-round pick in the draft. The Broncos should see him on the board when they pick at No. 64 overall, but he won’t be there much longer (if he’s even on the board) much longer after that. Bonitto is a “moves” guy and not a “power” guy. However, he has the athleticism to turn in coverage and make plays downfield in addition to what he can do from the edge.

Cameron Thomas (San Diego State) was a player I wanted to see at the Senior Bowl, but a hamstring injury on the first day of practice knocked him out of action early. On film, Thomas is one of the most consistent players I’ve watched – regularly making plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He’s versatile and can move across the defensive line. He played nose tackle for the Aztecs before moving outside to rush the passer over the last couple of seasons. Even dealing with the injury at the Senior Bowl, I think he’ll be a second-round pick.

Josh Paschal (Kentucky) is a player we all can root for. He came back from a cancer diagnosis in 2018, requiring multiple surgeries and having to learn to walk again. Paschal returned from cancer and set records with the Wildcats. He understands plays and diagnoses quickly as he’s fighting off the block. He’s a smart player with a ton of heart – and I would love if the Broncos picked him up in the second or third round.

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Check out DenverFan.com next week, as Cecil breaks down inside linebackers (Tuesday), cornerbacks (Wednesday) and safeties (Thursday).

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Cecil Lammey highlights draft fits for the Broncos at OT, DL and edge