Both are available using ESPN Insider, so for those of you that don’t have it, here’s the rundown on their predictions.
The Broncos have four picks in the first three rounds — one of just two teams along with New England to have four picks among the first 70 — and Kiper and McShay have the club taking the same player on three of the four picks.
McShay and Kiper both see Alabama’s Marcell Dareus headed to Denver as the second overall selection.
McShay: “The Broncos are in desperate need of a true impact defensive tackle to anchor new coach John Fox’s 4-3 defense and will be holding their breath until Carolina picks. Denver will be thrilled if Dareus falls here because he fits the mold of an every-down difference-maker and also carries minimal baggage.”
Kiper: “There are several guys Denver could take here to bolster their defense, but Dareus makes a lot of sense. A scheme-versatile player who can be a disruptive, penetrating force as an interior lineman, or a fantastic pass-rusher as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, Dareus is a safe pick. He doesn’t have remarkable quickness, but his agility and versatility at a full 319 pounds is the stuff of an elite lineman. Denver could also consider a corner or linebacker here, but Dareus fills a significant, immediate need.”
In the second round, the Broncos have two selections — Nos. 36 and 46 overall.
With those picks, Kiper and McShay both see UCLA safety Rahim Moore and Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph donning orange and blue in the NFL. The only distinction is that Kiper sees Moore as the earlier selection, while McShay has Rudolph going at No. 36.
In the third round, the two ESPN personalities finally differ, as McShay sees Denver going with North Carolina inside linebacker Quan Sturdivant, while Kiper predicts the pick will be a defensive lineman — Christian Ballard, from Iowa.
As for some other updated mock drafts, Dareus seems to be the consensus.
Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks agrees that Dareus will be Denver’s pick.
“If anybody really is cooling on the draft prospects of the Alabama defensive tackle, I couldn’t uncover the origin of their waning interest,” he wrote. “As one talent scout told me: ‘He’s a great kid and he plays good. The rest is just agent talk.’ Works for me. Dareus to a Broncos team that is transitioning to a 4-3 defense under new head coach John Fox is as logical as any projection anyone will make this year.”
Reuter: “Da’Quan Bowers failed to put up the exceptional pro day needed to quiet fears about his health, so Denver instead picks the playmaker on the interior needed to play off edge rushers Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil.”
Rang: “The Broncos have a variety of needs, but none bigger than at defensive tackle. Denver finished 31st in the NFL in run defense last year and recently released former starters Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Dareus is the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in this class and among the safer picks. Barring a trade down, he should be a no-brainer here.”
As for FoxSports.com, Adam Caplan goes with Dareus as well.
“With the decision to go to a 4-3 scheme on defense, the need for interior defensive linemen like Dareus has taken on an increased importance in recent months,” he wrote. “He would come right in and start. Bowers also could come right in and play.”
FoxSports.com has also compiled a couple other mocks from Peter Schrager, Scout.com and WalterFootball.com. WalterFootball goes with Dareus as well, but Scout and Schrager are dissenters, going with Nick Fairley and Patrick Peterson, respectively.
Prisco: “You can never have enough good corners these days, and Champ Bailey isn’t a kid anymore. Peterson will be an elite cover player.”
Judge: “When John Fox took over Carolina he had the second pick and chose Julius Peppers. It’s deja vu all over again.”
With less than a month to go until draft day, there’s a pretty extensive update. We’ll see how many opinions change between now and then.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft