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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock: Broncos

By Jeff Legwold

If they stay where they are in next month’s NFL draft, a lot will have happened by the time the Denver Broncos are on the clock with the 31st pick of the first round. There will be some trades above them and a few surprises, no matter how many times they think they have run the possible scenarios.

But the strength of the draft board should still offer them the chance to pick the best player available at what is also a position of need. That’s certainly the case in ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.

And in this effort, McShay doesn’t place the players by how he thinks the teams will select them. In this one, McShay's picks are chosen as if he were making the call for each war room.

And in that vein McShay said, at No. 31 and given the opportunity, the Broncos should take Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy. Ealy has certainly made some waves this week by offering his opinion that he’s the best player in the draft.

No NFL decision-maker holds that opinion, but they certainly see Ealy as a talented player in the pass rush. The Broncos did sign DeMarcus Ware in free agency and are confident in the recoveries of Derek Wolfe and Quanterus Smith -- both were on injured reserve last season, Smith for the whole year -- but executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway is always on the hunt for what he calls “edge presence" in the defense.

Couple that with linebacker Von Miller still recovering from ACL surgery, and the Broncos would give a long look at the pass-rush prospects with any of their picks in the first two days of the draft, including the first-rounder.

Ealy measured in at 6-foot-4 and weighed 274 pounds at the league’s scouting combine earlier this year. He also, with a 34 -inch arm, had one of the biggest arm spans among the pass-rushers invited to Indy, something Broncos coach John Fox has consistently said is an important piece of the pass-rush puzzle given the size of offensive tackles in the NFL.

Ealy’s 40-yard dash of 4.92 seconds wasn’t one of the best, but he consistently shows up on game video as quick off the ball and finished with eight sacks this past season in the Southeastern Conference.