Phil Savage gave his 2017 NFL draft insights

Today, in a group conference call with reporters around the league, Reese’s Senior Bowl , Executive Director, Phil Savage, answered questions about the draft.

Unfortunately, when I asked about who he thinks Denver selects in the first two rounds, he didn’t feel we could avoid picking offensive line help.  In his opinion, the top three Offensive Linemen he put in the 15-30 selection range, which is where Denver’s current draft position is.

Since Savage believes that this draft class was not a stout one, except in quarterbacks and offensive linemen, that’s not encouraging. Which is probably why he laughed when I said, ‘do not include an OL.’ Sigh.

He believes that if Christian McCaffrey is gone by pick 20, Denver needs to focus on the running back position. When it came to McCaffrey, Savage doesn’t see him as a bell cow back, but a versatile player who would be in a “role by committee.” Meaning, McCaffrey would likely share rushing duties with Denver’s other RBs.

Dalvin Cook, in his estimation is an everything RB, but Savage did say that McCAffrey had the best hands of all the RB’s in this year’s draft, and almost as good as most of the Wide Receivers and tight ends.

Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams and D’Onta Foreman were Savage’s choices for third round. He could also see Alvin Kamara go in the second. He considered Hunt and Williams value picks in the third round. He remarked that Hunt has a great personality (I agree, he was a fun interview) and that Hunt would do what you want.

Additionally, Savage spoke about Ryan Anderson, and Dalvin Tomlinson (who lost both his parents), as one of his favorite players. He could see Rueben Foster taken in the 10-20 range, even with his injury and off field questions. I’d be thrilled with any of the three becoming a Broncos player.

When it came to Hassan Riddick, Savage loved his versatility and mentioned some scouts saw him as a Will linebacker in a 4-3 or as a pass rusher in a 3-4. Go here for easy explanations on those terms.

In case you were wondering, he wasn’t a big fan of Jabrill Peppers.

“Jabrill Peppers is not a pure anything. Needs a team that will make a role for him. Needs a specific plan on how to use him.” -Phil Savage

The ‘however’ is, he did say on a team with an established defense, he could be plugged in on nickel and dime formations.

He spoke at length about quarterbacks as several of the reporters wanted to know more about this draft class. None of the players fell below round three, so I won’t waste time going into the details, except to add Savage felt that Dak Prescott found himself in the ideal situation. Most new quarterbacks won’t be as fortunate as he was his rookie season, and shouldn’t be expected to live up to the same standards.

When I asked him about where TE Michael Roberts could go, he said this TE group was the deepest in his twenty years of doing draft analysis. Because of the sheer volume of TE’s, Savage could see him in rounds four through six.

Jeremey Sprinkles and Roberts are huge guys who can run, and Savage considers them equally talented. Following up on the TE’s, he felt that from OJ Howard to the 6th or 7th round, there was value. Even though Jake Butts is injured, he still felt he could go late second round or third if a team had the patience to wait on him to heal.

As an aside, Dear Elway, please don’t do it for the Broncos–step away from another BIG-10 TE with an injury. We’re still waiting for Heuerman to reach the potential you thought you saw, we don’t want to wait with another.

A sleeper player Savage identified in the draft was WR Chad Williams (whom I liked, too).  Other than Williams and a question about John Ross’ injury, it seems like there was little interest from the reporters concerning the WR position going into the 2017 draft.

Finally, when it came to OL, he felt Dan Feeney and Pat Elflien were second rounders as long as teams felt Feeney’s concussion history was acceptable. Dorian Johnson, likely falling between rounds 3 to 5, would need a WCO, so count the Broncos out.

Savage concluded that Forrest Lamp should be moved inside to guard and that he, Dawkins and Feeney were considered round two guys.

With one week until the NFL draft, there is so much analysis and speculation to consider.  The hope is that the Broncos are able to find an excellent balance of the available talent to suit our team’s needs and weaknesses.  Given our recent drafting history, with less than stellar success in translating draft picks to men on the team roster (read here)  hopefully some fresh and skilled perspective will lead the Broncos to some exciting new talent.

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