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Denver Broncos visit with three prospects

Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:21pm
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)
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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