Friday saw the NFL Combine shift from receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks, to halfbacks and offensive linemen.
That made it a huge day for the Broncos’ decision-makers, who are likely looking to upgrade both positions through the draft.
Which players might’ve caught John Elway’s eye and which ones crushed their stock? Let’s take a look
Phillip Lindsay is the unquestioned starter in Denver’s backfield, but the depth at the position could use some help, and based on recent history, it seems foolish to re-sign a halfback with as much mileage on him as Phillip Lindsay.
That being said, Denver’s top priority should be finding a back that can fill the role of thunder to Lindsay’s lightning. Some of the top backs who could fit that role at the combine are A.J. Dillon, Zach Moss and Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Dillon had a good day while both Vaughn and Moss struggled for the most part. Both ran sub-4.55 in the 40, which was impressive considering their build. And while Vaughn performed below-average in some of the other events, Dillon dominated the broad jump and vertical leap, finishing in first in both events.
Moss, on the other hand, disappointed. He turned in the fifth-slowest 40-yard dash time among his position group and the seventh-worst vertical. Vaughn performed well in the 40 but turned in a worse vertical than Moss and a bottom-four broad jump among his position.
While Denver does have their eye on some of the combine’s running backs, there’s no doubt that they’re far more interested in this year’s offensive line class, specifically at tackle.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, two of the tackles they were hoping fell to them, likely performed their way out of Denver’s reach.
Tristan Wirfs had an unbelievable combine performance which answered two of the biggest questions still surrounding his play. The first concern was that his length wasn’t what teams like to see from tackles, potentially forcing him to move inside instead. That fear was cast out when Wirf’s arms measured over 34 inches at the combine (33 inches is often viewed as the prerequisite for tackles).
Another one of the concerns with Wirfs was his movement ability, but he made it clear he can move, even if his footwork isn’t developed yet, at the combine. Wirfs outran every other linemen in the 40 by six-hundredths of a second, making his run the third-most dominant runner by position group (Henry Ruggs, .08 seconds ahead of the second-place WR; Albert Okwuegbunam, .17 seconds ahead of second-place TE). Wirfs then topped that by recording the third-best broad jump ever by an offensive lineman, and the best vertical ever by an offensive lineman.
Speaking of athletic marvels, it doesn’t get much freakier athletically than Mekhi Becton. Becton is a massive human being, who looks like he could make Godzilla run for the hills in terror. Standing 6’7″ and weighing almost 370 pounds, Becton managed to run a 5.10 40-yard dash, which isn’t a stunning time for the average linemen, but for one of Becton’s stature, it’s amazing. The five players with times within .02 seconds of his time way 57 pounds less on average, with the heaviest among them still being 54 pounds lighter.
Becton also did well in the other events which hurt the Broncos. With his limitless potential and the value of the position, it’d be incredibly surprising if he made it to the 15th pick. Denver’s best hope of landing a quality lineman in the first round now is Andrew Thomas.