The Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos own the 28th pick in the 2015 draft. The Broncos are coming off one of the more disappointing playoff losses in franchise history when they were defeated by the Colts in last year’s divisional round. This loss ultimately resulted in the “parting of ways” with head coach John Fox. Former Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was hired to be the replacement. Kubiak spent last season with the Ravens after being fired from his first head coaching gig in Houston. Peyton Manning is a slightly better starting quarterback option than Kubiak had with Matt Schaub during his time in Houston. I expect there to be a few growing pains since Kubiak runs the stretch style, zone blocking running game and more plays will be under center than Peyton is accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong it’s still Peyton Manning and he will make the adjustments at the line he needs to, but I envision more of an emphasis on the running game similar to what the Broncos morphed into near the end of last season. CJ Anderson had a breakout season for Denver once previous starter Montee Ball and then his replacement Ronnie Hillman went down with injuries. The undrafted rookie out of Cal became the workhorse for the Broncos and even forced Manning to audible into running plays of all things. Anderson should be licking his chops to run in Kubiak’s offense. Last season Ravens journeymen running back Justin Forsett had a career year with Kubiak as his OC and before that Arian Foster put up great numbers during Kubiak’s time with the Texans. This could be a make or break year for former 2nd round pick Montee Ball who has had issues with fumbling and injuries during his time in Denver. I view Anderson as more of the style Kubiak will be looking for in his starter and he had no draft ties to Ball so don’t be surprised if he’s moved at some point. Fellow undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson was also a nice find out of Duke and could be the power backup to Anderson. Much like the situation in Dallas with Dez Bryant, John Elway and company were not able to reach an agreement on a long term deal with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. There have been rumors Thomas will pass on offseason workouts and possibly hold out from training camp as well until he gets his deal. Thomas was given the franchise tag this year just like Bryant. Emmanuel Sanders will be back on the other side after his fantastic first season in Mile High. Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas was not resigned and took his talents to Jacksonville instead. This is a clear shift in the focus of the offense as Kubiak will place more emphasis on the blocking tight end rather than as another wide receiver which Julius basically is at this point in his career. Owen Daniels was signed to most likely be the featured tight end along with Virgil Green and former Eagle James Casey. Daniels has played with Kubiak in Houston and last year in Baltimore so he’s very familiar with the system. The Broncos lost guard Orlando Franklin who signed with San Diego. Franklin was a key piece to the Broncos ground game and they will need to find a way to adequately replace him. The defensive side of the ball saw a few changes as well. Former DC Jack Del Rio is now the head coach of the Raiders, probably not for long. Long time NFL assistant and coordinator Wade Phillips was brought into run the defense which was a nice hire by Kubiak. Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton signed with the Redskins and veteran Antonio Smith was signed for defensive line depth. Safety Rahim Moore left during free agency and signed with Houston. Darian Stewart was signed and will likely be the fill in for Moore unless the Broncos draft a suitable replacement. I think the days of ridiculous fantasy football type numbers for the Broncos offense are in the rearview mirror, but with Kubiak now in charge they might have a better shot for playoff success. With the 28th pick in the 2015 Birds Scoop Mock Draft the Denver Broncos select…
Ereck Flowers- Offensive Tackle (Miami)
Flowers is a powerful 320 pound linemen who is a finisher in the run blocking game. He has been described by scouts as a mauler in the run game. This would fit the style of offense Kubiak is looking to run with more emphasis on the running game. He played the last two seasons with the U at left tackle, but many around the league view him as a guard to start off his career. Coincidentally this also fits a need for Denver following the departure of guard Orlando Franklin in free agency who is a very similar style player and also from Miami. Flowers would more than likely slide into the left guard spot next to Pro Bowl tackle Ryan Clady. Chris Clark and Louis Vazquez would be in some combination for guard/tackle on the right side. Manny Ramirez will handle the center duties for Denver. The switch to guard for Flowers would be made much easier playing next to Clady and running the zone style running scheme that will work well with his athleticism for a bigger man. The area that needs work in Flowers game is his pass protection. His footwork tends to get sloppy and he becomes undisciplined which was part of the reason for his six holding penalties over the past two seasons with the Hurricanes. His balance also needs work as he knocked off by smaller pass rushers far too often because of his alignment. On a team with less playoff and Super Bowl aspirations, Flowers would probably be a starter at either tackle position. The Broncos need to win this year and Flowers will benefit them more as a guard rather than learning on the fly at tackle in his rookie season. The Broncos would do well to pick Flowers 28th overall as he would fill an immediate need and barring unforeseen circumstances start from day one of camp.
Next Pick: 29th overall Indianapolis Colts
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