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Is C.J. Mosley the top target for the Denver Broncos?

By Cecil Lammey
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley stands on the sidelines as the teams plays against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 19 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley stands on the sidelines as the teams plays against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 19 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos/NFL Insider
ESPNDenver.com
 
The Denver Broncos are preparing feverishly for the 2014 NFL draft. Selecting near the end of the first round, the team needs to be prepared for many different scenarios.
 
At No. 31 overall there could be a value player that falls to them unexpectedly. Last year, that exact scenario unfolded when defensive tackle Sylvester Williams was available with the 28th overall pick. The same thing could happen this year.
 
The Broncos have a great need at the middle linebacker position. A fine answer could be C.J. Mosley (Alabama) in the first round. Mosley could very well be the top target for the Broncos in the draft because of his skill set and because of the team need.
 
According to Mike Klis, from the Denver Post, the Broncos are set to work out Mosley at Dove Valley before the draft.
 
 
Mosley is arguably the only middle linebacker in this draft class who can play on all three downs. Two-down thumpers can be found all the way through the draft, but finding a guy in the middle who can cover is more difficult.
 
While at Alabama, Mosley was known as a strong leader on the field. As the starting middle linebacker, Mosley was essentially the quarterback of one of the nation’s best defensive units. Mosley is well respected by his teammates because of his physical attributes, but also because of his high football intelligence.
 
Mosley understands where a play is going as it unfolds in front of him. He can “scrape and flow” down the line of scrimmage when the ball-carrier is going away from him. By avoiding trash at the line of scrimmage (and at the second level), Mosley can arrive at the fulcrum of the play and many times will make a tackle near the line of scrimmage or in the backfield.
 
He has the athleticism to turn and cover in the open field. In today’s NFL many teams use athletic move tight ends to attack the middle seam of the field. Mosley has the fluidity in his hips to turn and cover these type of players downfield. This is a great asset for any middle linebacker, but especially on a team like Denver. Their offense is going to build leads early in games which will force opponents into passing early.
 
Denver must have a middle linebacker who doesn’t have to come off the field.
 
Mosley could very well be their top target in the 2014 NFL draft. However, in order for him to fall to the Broncos teams like the Bears and the Ravens are going to have to pass on the future Pro Bowler.

Denver Broncos visit with three prospects

By Cecil Lammey
Ryan Shazier (2) of the Ohio State Buckeyes awaits the start of play against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 16 in Champaign, Ill. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ryan Shazier (2) of the Ohio State Buckeyes awaits the start of play against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 16 in Champaign, Ill. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Broncos/NFL Insider
ESPNDenver.com
 
The Denver Broncos are feverishly putting the final touches on their board as they prepare for the 2014 NFL draft. The all-star games, scouting combine and pro days have already wrapped up in the pre-draft process. The only thing remaining before the draft are private workouts with prospects at the team facility.
 
The Broncos have been hosting a few players over the last couple of weeks. Recently, linebacker Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), wide receiver Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss) and quarterback Stephen Morris (Miami) have worked out at Dove Valley per Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
 
Shazier is an electrifying outside linebacker who some feel could play middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense. His game is all about speed, speed and more speed. He’s a rangy athlete with the lateral quickness to play from sideline-to-sideline. Shazier has a good first step when rushing the passer, and his closing burst gets him to the quarterback in a hurry.
 
He’s a bit undersized at 232 pounds, but in an NFL weight program he should be able to put 10 pounds of muscle on quickly. Shazier prefers to go around blockers rather than go through them, and he can be engulfed at the line of scrimmage.
 
His best pro comparison is Lavonte David (Buccaneers). Broncos fans will remember that David was selected one pick behind Brock Osweiler in the 2012 NFL draft. While Osweiler has been developing behind Peyton Manning, David has become a star inside linebacker for the Bucs. The Broncos could add an impact player in Shazier, and there’s a good chance he could win the middle linebacker job over Nate Irving or Steven Johnson.
 
Moncrief is a big-bodies wide receiver with speed to attack a defense on downfield routes. He’s coming into the NFL after a disappointing 2013 season. Many in the scouting community will blame his down season on poor quarterback play at Ole Miss.
 
He has the wingspan to be a quality red-zone target, but Moncrief also has the body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes. While not a burner, Moncrief can track passes nicely over his shoulder. He also does a good job of winning at the point of the catch.
 
He needs to be a more consistent player in order to play up to his potential as a pro. At times in college it seemed like Moncrief was trying to do too much before and after the catch. As the only skill position player who could threaten the defense, it’s not surprising he would take that approach.
 
Moncrief is similar to Josh Gordon (Browns) because of his size/speed combination and ability to make big plays. He should be a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
 
Morris is an athletic quarterback who is an intriguing developmental prospect. He never quite played up to his potential in college, but there are several things to like about his game.
 
His mechanics as a passer are sound. Morris gets proper depth on his drop-back, he zips the ball quickly out of his hands and his release point is high and over his head.
 
However, regardless of his sharp mechanics Morris is not an accurate passer. His accuracy is all over the place on seemingly every other throw. One pass will be perfectly placed in stride or over the shoulder of his target. The very next pass could sail out of bounds by 10 yards. He’s really that inconsistent. It’s reminiscent of Jake Locker (Titans). Like Locker, Morris suffers even worse accuracy when asked to throw on the run. Unlike Locker, Morris is likely to be a seventh-round pick or priority free agent.
 
All three of these prospects have varying draft grades. The draft is set to unfold in front of us in a couple of weeks, so don’t be surprised if one (or more) of these guys are added by Denver.

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