ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With the NFL draft just over a week away, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. continues to see the Denver Broncos aiming to fill some specific needs over the event’s first two days.
In Kiper’s three-round mock he sees the Broncos looking to fill their still-vacant left tackle position, this time with Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk. Ramczyk is one of the top three tackles on the board and in four previous mock drafts Kiper has given the Broncos a tackle in the first round three times -- Ramczyk once and Utah’s Garett Bolles twice. The biggest pre-draft issue concerning Ramczyk is that he had hip surgery just after the Badgers' bowl game in January, so the Broncos' medical staff could impact the team's decision.
Ramczyk has told teams he believes he'll be ready to participate by training camp.
Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway has said “we’ll get it fixed" when asked about the team’s plan at left tackle. Coach Vance Joseph has said the team has “four or five" players already on the roster who could compete for the job and that the Broncos could even see if any veteran tackles become available later this summer when rosters go to 53 players just before the regular season.
In-house the Broncos believe Donald Stephenson, who has started some games at left tackle in his career, could get a look in the offseason workouts, as could Ty Sambrailo and Michael Schofield. Ramczyk, Bolles and Alabama’s Cam Robinson are considered the best tackles on this year’s draft board and all three have met privately with the Broncos in recent weeks.
In the second round, Kiper sees the Broncos selecting Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen, who might be the best blocker/receiver combination in a deep class at the position. Shaheen is 6-foot-6½ and weighed 278 pounds at the scouting combine before he ran a 4.79 40-yard dash.
And in the third round, Kiper gave the Broncos Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson. In addition to what he did on defense, Hendrickson was a force on special teams this past season as he blocked two field goals, an extra point and a punt.