Leading up to Thursday, April 28, when the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft will kick off, we will take a look at who some of the “experts” have the Broncos selecting with the No. 2 overall pick.
In the first batch of mock drafts, four players are mentioned at Denver’s position — Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.
On CBSSports.com, Rob Rang sees Fairley swapping out his orange-and-blue national championship jersey for orange-and-blue Broncos duds. He calls the defensive lineman “the most talented player in this draft.” Chad Reuter puts Peterson at that spot.
On SI.com, Andrew Perloff has the Broncos taking Bowers.
He writes: “John Fox’s first pick as Carolina head coach was Julius Peppers. The 6-foot-4 Bowers led the nation with 15.5 sacks last season and could have a Peppers-like impact on a defense that ranked last in the NFL in sacks.”
ESPN.com’s Todd McShay forsees Fairley heading to Denver, while Mel Kiper predicts that Peterson will be the pick. (Note: Both McShay and Kiper’s mock drafts require ESPN Insider to access the full list)
Their respective explanations:
McShay: “Denver needs to overhaul its defensive front, and while new coach John Fox has not yet named a defensive coordinator, Fairley has the versatility to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 front. Fairley is quick, disruptive and plays with an edge, and he could not be blocked by one man during the college season.”
Kiper: “Denver CB Champ Bailey is a future Hall of Famer, but he’s a free agent entering his 13th NFL season and Peterson has the physical skills to be an immediate starter in the secondary and a force in the return game. Denver has enough needs where it could go several directions with this pick, but getting the best size-speed combo in the draft, a guy who can help immediately, is a smart play. Simply an electrifying talent.”
White says pairing Amukamara with Bailey would “immediately give the Broncos the best corner tandem in the league.”
We’ll keep tabs on the mocks as they progress and the draft draws closer.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com