Denver Broncos: Donte Moncrief

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos were open to spending a little draft capital to move up in Thursday night's first round of the draft. They tried to do that, but in the end the Broncos couldn't get anybody else to go along for the ride.

"We were trying to move up, the price was too high to move up, there really wasn't the opportunity for us to move up, but we tried," said executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway. " … it was prohibitive for us to move up."

The target was Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley. But the Broncos knew what many in the league knew: If Mosley started to fall down the board he wouldn't make it past the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 17 pick. Mosley didn't as that's exactly where the Ravens selected him.

But clinging to the mathematical belief they could get as many as four compensatory picks in the 2015 draft, they were willing to move some picks this year to move up if they could.

After that was no longer an option the Broncos still tried to move out of the No. 31 spot, including several calls about moving down and out of the first round entirely. But when the Philadelphia Eagles reached a bit at No. 26 to select Marcus Smith and the New England Patriots took a chance on Dominique Easley at No. 29, the move-down market dried up.

"But then, all of a sudden at the end of the draft with some of those other picks that came that started coming in, the teams said, 'no, we think we can still get our guy where we are'," Elway said. "Because it pushed some people down to where they were."

That left the Broncos sitting at 31 with the 14th player on their draft board still available -- Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. Roby entered the draft as one of the most athletic players available at any position, but also with some maturity and off-the-field questions in tow.

But the Broncos had their eye on the cornerbacks in the first round having released Champ Bailey and Chris Harris Jr. still working his way back from a partially torn ACL he suffered in January. Elway said he believes the team did its due diligence on Roby.

It all means the offense will likely get some attention in Friday's action -- the second and third rounds. The Broncos will give wide receivers and right tackle prospects a long look.

Without a move they will pick at the bottom of the second and third rounds Friday. Players like Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief, LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry or Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews should be there for them.

At tackle Nevada's Joel Bitonio is a possibility, but he would need an unexpected drop in the second round to be available to the Broncos as would a player like Virginia's Morgan Moses. A running back like West Virginia's Charles Sims could cross their radar in the third round as well.

The Broncos will also be looking at middle linebacker candidates throughout the second day like Louisville's Preston Brown.
The Denver Broncos continue to get face-to-face with prospects who have piqued their interest for next month’s draft.

They have been in front of their allotment at the college all-star games, the scouting combine and continue to do their homework as they bring many into their Dove Valley complex to meet with coaches and executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway.

Here is the second of an occasional look at the prospects who have attracted Denver's attention as it moves toward the May 8-10 draft.

In a class of wide receivers with as much depth and talent as is on this draft board, the Broncos will likely have several picks in which the best available player will be a receiver. They added Emmanuel Sanders in free agency, but lost Eric Decker. Also, there is Wes Welker's concussion history, which includes two this past season.

Most folks following the draft know about Clemson’s Sammy Watkins or Texas A&M’s Mike Evans along with Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr.

But when a run on the top receivers comes, and it could come and as early as the top half of the first round, the Broncos aren’t expected to have a chance at any of the names on that short list when their pick rolls around at No. 31.

But at least one receiver they’ve met with who will be worth a long look with that initial pick is Mississippi’s Donte Moncrief. Moncrief is 6-foot-2 3/8-inches tall, 221 pounds and blistered the turf inside Lucas Oil Stadium at the scouting combine with a 4.40 40-yard dash on the electronic clock -- a 4.35 hand-time for some scouts.

That’s one of the bigger pass-catchers in a class full of them with elite speed. Moncrief’s catch radius is enormous as well with a 77 7/8-inch wingspan, and he has the ability to stress a defense deep. Thirteen of his past 16 touchdowns catches for the Rebels went for 20 yards or more with seven of those having gone for at least 50 yards.

Some of his routes in the short and intermediate areas need polish and occasionally you see a "double-catch" bobble or two on the game video, but his athleticism gives him a chance to contribute quickly.

Scouts have said he’s a hard worker and a willing blocker in the run game. In short, there’s plenty to like.

Down the board another receiver to keep an eye on is Wyoming’s Robert Herron. At 5-9 1/8, Herron would seem undersized at first blush, but he’s a solid 193 pounds and played some at running back in his first season with the Cowboys, including a nine-carry, 122-yard day again New Mexico. He runs through contact, makes catches in traffic and would be willing to battle physical corners.

He also ran 4.48 in the 40 at the combine and battled some of the best defensive backs in this draft at the Senior Bowl. In 2012 he had five catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns against a Texas secondary that included current New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro.

The Broncos have dipped into the Kentucky defense with great success at linebacker in recent years -- Wesley Woodyard in 2008 to go with Danny Trevathan in 2012 -- and have another former Wildcats linebacker on the front burner.

Avery Williamson is a 6-1, 246-pound inside linebacker with plenty of athleticism -- a 4.66 40 at the combine. Williamson didn’t quite lead the SEC in tackles like Woodyard and Trevathan did in their careers in Lexington, but he was fourth in the league in ’13 with 102 tackles.

The Broncos have taken a long look at plenty of inside linebackers because it is still very much a need position on their depth chart. And while it’s a lot to ask for a rookie to play in the middle of their 4-3 look, Williamson is one of the prospects who would have a shot to do it.

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