Which Denver draft prospects play a position of need, met with the Broncos and have a high RAS?

NFL Draft News

Denver has had a big offseason.

However, the roster still needs a bit of tweaking. Likely topping the Broncos’ needs list is a defensive end for the Broncos’ 3-4 base defense, a right tackle and an inside linebacker, as detailed by the Broncos Wire’s Jon Heath.

Denver still has eight picks in the April 28-30 draft after trading for quarterback Russell Wilson, including five of the top 116 picks. But the Broncos won’t go on the clock for the first time until the final pick of the second round, No. 64 overall.

It shouldn’t be hard to find rookies at those positions who can start or at least contribute.

Start by looking for players with high RAS scores.

The Relative Athletic Score was developed by Kent Lee Platte as a way to measure a player’s athletic testing and comparing it to past scores to see how that prospect stacks up historically at his respective position.

How effective of a predictor of future success is it? Broncos general manager George Paton must believe in it, as he tends to draft players with high RAS coming out of college, according to The Mile High Report’s Tim Lynch.

Who’s available in rounds 3-4

How could that impact the Broncos’ draft plans?

Skip the second round (see note below). Instead, start in the third round with the number of players who are ranked in that round at those respective positions:

Third round (65-105)

Broncos picks: 75, 96

* Note: Harris, Muma and Mathis are ranked near the top of the third round; therefore, Denver might have to draft those players in the second round at No. 64 overall, which is the last pick of that round.

Fourth round: 106-143

Broncos picks: 115, 116

Breaking down the data

Now see which of those players had the highest RAS scores. (Mathis, Winfrey and Walker do not have a RAS).

  • DL: Butler (7.3), Uwazurike (6.5), Farrell (0.86)
  • OT: Burford (6.7), Mitchell (5.5), Faalele (2.41)
  • LB: Andersen (10), Chenal (9.99), Smith (9.97), Muma (9.77), Tindall (9.68), Rodriguez (9.28), Harris (9.07), Asamoah (8.9), Bernard (8.87), Domann (7.6), Luketa (5.65 as an Edge).

Next, see which of those players have met with or interviewed with the Broncos (courtesy of Scotty Payne of the Mile High Report). What’s left is interesting:

  • Of the 12 linebackers ranked in the third- to fourth-round range, Denver brought in two for an official visit: Alabama’s Harris and Wyoming’s Muma. Of the two, Muma had the highest RAS.
  • Of the five defensive linemen in that draft range (“Edge” players in Denver’s 3-4 defense), Mathis of Alabama was the only prospect who had an official visit with the Broncos.
  • None of the offensive tackles ranked in the third- to fourth-round range have come in for an official visit, according to information known to the public.

Just say no to BPA?

This method basically ignores the tactic of taking the best player available – which could come back to haunt the team.

For example, an official 30 prospect like Chattanooga’s Cole Strange could be passed up despite an impressive RAS of 9.95. The reason? Thanks to young interior linemen Dalton Risner, Quinn Meinerz and Lloyd Cushenberry, Strange doesn’t play a position of need.

Overall, 10 of the players who have visited with the team have quality RAS ratings.

From Lynch: “For those of us fans who are more NFL fans than college-level fans, this type of data is useful when trying to figure out what Paton might have seen in a mid- to late-round player they drafted. It’s not the end all be all, but it helps fill out the information void we often encounter when a guy gets drafted.”

Will Denver take a linebacker, edge or offensive tackle in the second, third or fourth rounds? Find out in Fanspeak’s latest Broncos mock draft.

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