Once again I will be back in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. This is the biggest job interview the incoming class of college players has ever had. At the Combine they will be medically checked, interviewed, tested, and go through a series of different workouts to gauge their draft stock. The Combine is a place where players can elevate their draft stock and impress teams in a number of different ways. The Broncos are likely to be fairly active in free agency, and may even try to trade for a guy like Jets CB Darrelle Revis
. One thing is certain, the Broncos won’t rest on their laurels in 2013. In order to get to the Super Bowl they need additional impact players and a strong draft class. Here’s a look at some potential first-round picks the Broncos could be keeping an eye on at the Combine.
Manti Te’o (Notre Dame), Kevin Minter (LSU), Alec Ogletree (Alabama)
Te’o is going to have to answer a lot of questions about the Catfish situation that broke last month. On the field there are only a few questions about his game. Te’o understands play design and can quickly diagnose where Running Backs are going. With zero career interceptions before this season, Te’o showed better coverage skills as a senior notching seven interceptions in 2012.
Minter is considered undersized by some but he more than makes up for lack of size with heart, hustle, and aggression. He plays like a wrecking ball in the middle of the defense and can shed Offensive Linemen who get to the second level. Minter has high football intelligence and can be a good chase down tackler if the play goes away from him.
Ogletree was recently arrested and charged with a DUI
which has some thinking his draft stock will fall
to the late first-round. The former Safety has incredible range and athleticism as a Linebacker but some feel he may be too small to take the NFL beating he’ll get on Sundays. Ogletree has had prior run ins with the law before and could be flagged as a character concern by some teams. In coverage he can make plays because of his quick closing burst and long arms.
Tavon Austin (West Virginia), DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson), Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech)
Austin is a big time playmaker who reminds me of Packers WR Randall Cobb because of his speed and athleticism after the catch. He has rare change of direction skills and can frustrate defenders trying to cover him. Austin can also relied on as a dangerous return man.
Hopkins has drawn comparisons to Colts WR Reggie Wayne from some in the scouting community. Like Wayne, he can get into his route quickly, beat press coverage, and have the concentration to haul in contested passes.
Patton impressed me in January during the week of practice for the Senior Bowl. He has long arms to snare passes away from his body consistently and he knows how to ‘box out’ defenders for the ball. Patton doesn’t have elite straight line speed but has the burst to eat up cushions quickly.
John Jenkins (Georgia), Kawann Short (Purdue), Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State)
I saw Jenkins back in January at the Senior Bowl and came away impressed by the big man. He weighed in at 359 pounds but is quicker and more athletic than some give him credit for. Jenkins is not going to chase down plays but he will eat up double teams in the middle of the line and can generate QB pressure from the middle with his quick get off.
Short is a mountain of a man who can be an immovable object in the middle of the D-Line at times. His effort is inconsistent but scouts like his long arms and ability to move more than one opponent at a time with his strong upper body.
Some think Hankins is going to be the Broncos pick in the first-round. He has good first step quickness and scouts are impressed with his footwork, understanding of leverage, and technique. However, some fear Hankins can only be used as a part time player as his motor will wear down as the game goes on.
It will be interesting to hear the buzz at the Scouting Combine this year. I’ll be tweeting my thoughts so make sure to follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/cecillammey