NFL Combine only hurt Denver Broncos at No. 15

Henry Ruggs III runs the 40 at the NFL Combine. Credit: Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports.
Henry Ruggs III runs the 40 at the NFL Combine. Credit: Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports.

The 2020 edition of the underwear olympics is officially over.

And before we discredit the importance of the NFL Scouting Combine, we actually learned a lot this weekend.

Namely, there are four offensive tackles which are better than any we’ve seen come out of college the last two years. And, there’s a handful of receivers so talented it’s difficult to determine which one is the best.

Yes, this 2020 NFL Draft will likely be one of the deepest in years in both offensive tackle and the receiver positions, and that’s a great thing for the Denver Broncos, who are needy in both spots.

However, the bad news is Denver probably won’t end up with one of the game-changers because many studs improved their draft stock at the combine.

At wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III dominated the rest of the field in the 40-yard dash at 4.27 seconds. That actually fell short of his goal of being the fastest man ever at the combine (4.22), but some still believe he could become Denver’s version of Tyreek Hill on the field.

Those hopes are likely gone now, even though Brad Kelly still thinks Denver will take him, others believe he’ll go far before 15.

Ruggs is that game-changing vertical threat Denver needs to take the heat off of Courtland Sutton, who emerged as a legitimate No. 1 receiver last year. But, what about the other guys?

Some believe the Broncos will take CeeDee Lamb (ahead of Ruggs?), and that could end up being a superb pick. Lamb is 6’2″ and 198 pounds, a little tall but still fitting the mold of the “Z” receiver and even though he only ran a 4.5 40, his NFL comparison is Chad Johnson.

However, most of the draft experts have the receivers ranked as follows: 1. Jerry Jeudy, 2. Lamb and 3. Ruggs. All will be gone by the time Denver drafts at 15.

Laviska Shenault, the CU prospect, is a definite possibility for the Broncos. However, he ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, which was much slower than expected, and news came out after he ran that he has an abdominal injury. After a knee and then foot issues the last two years, and now that injury — which he’s been dealing with since last year — Shenault’s durability is in question. Even if he is the only player to rush for five touchdowns and receive for five-plus (six) last year.

Plus, he’s 227 pounds; he’s massive, and special if he’s at full speed and full health. If the Broncos aren’t sure of that, they can’t gamble a No. 15 pick on him. However, if they can somehow land “Viska” in the second round, that would be magic.

So, what about offensive tackle?

The Broncos’ four-year experiment is entering the last year of the rookie deal with Garett Bolles, and Denver is waiting until after the draft to decide on his fifth-year option.

For many Broncos fans, drafting an offensive tackle isn’t sexy, but does seem necessary given Bolles’ little growth over the years. To wit, his 10 penalties last year were eighth-most in the NFL.

Going into the combine, Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas seemed to be head and shoulders ahead of their competition. But then Mekhi Becton and Jedrick Wills emerged as among the group of four tackles which should anchor offensive lines across the league for years to come.

Wirfs showcased amazing athleticism at the combine, running a 4.85 40-yard dash, which is phenomenal for a 320-pound man. He simply knocked the testing out of the park, likely cementing a top-10 draft spot.

Jedrick Wills is expected to go in the top-5, so don’t even dream about him in orange and blue and Becton’s incredible 40 for a 364-pound man means he’ll be gone by the time Denver’s on the clock, too.

About the only one the Broncos could really land is Thomas, Bleacher Report thinks so but, it seems like a long shot. That’s because there are seven-to-eight teams who go go for an offensive tackle and are slotted to pick before Denver.

If Ruggs falls to the Broncos at No. 15, it should be a no-brainer at that point for John Elway and Co. He’s the perfect pic for a play-making needy offense and a young quarterback in Drew Lock. Really, if any of the players named in this piece are there, it’ll be a win for Denver.

But, will any actually fall that far?

And, if not, will the Broncos look to trade back and acquire more picks?

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