By Zack Kelberman
DENVER (247 SPORTS) – Nobody would complain about this haul, unrealistic as it may seem. In his latest 2019 mock draft for NBC Sports, venerable NFL reporter Peter King has the Denver Broncos selecting Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush with the No. 10 overall pick.
“There’s not a perfect player on the board for Vic Fangio’s defense, but so many teams need a rangy sideline-to-sideline linebacker (Pittsburgh would love for him to drop to 20, but I don’t see it), and many think Bush would be a great compliment to edge-rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb,” King wrote. “Four or five teams between 10 and 20 would have serious interest in Bush if he falls past 10.”
But, wait, there’s more!
King believes Broncos general manager John Elway stunningly will trade back into the first round, sending his second-round choice (No. 41) and a 2020 second-rounder to the Los Angeles Rams for — you guessed it — Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, the prospect he supposedly covets most.
“Feel bad about predicting this,” he wrote. “Sometimes in mock drafts, you want to get a player in the first round because you think he’s going to be a first-round pick, and you wedge him in and make the logic fit after that. I do not think the Rams want to pick at 31, and feel they can use a trade-down to get a two or three back after dealing fourth and second-round picks to Kansas City in 2018 for cornerback Marcus Peters. Denver likes Lock, and might be able to snag him as a two-year learner behind Joe Flacco while retaining the ability to use the 71st pick this year on a potential starter at a need position, like Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger. A move like this wouldn’t surprise me, but I also think the way Denver GM John Elway’s talking, he could punt on a young quarterback until the richer QB draft of 2020.”
Whew. Lots to unpack here.
First, Bush is certainly a plausible projection, one King indirectly made previously by claiming Fangio “froths” over the idea of sticking an elite off-ball ‘backer between pass-rushing phenoms Miller and Chubb. You can argue that Bush — not LSU’s Devin White, a top-five talent — is the best this class has to offer. He’s a tremendous defender who boasts elite sideline-to-sideline coverage ability, the solution to Denver’s longstanding woes.
Ten may be a little rich for Bush, but if the draft board breaks a certain way, he’d become the best player available at an area of immediate need. Elway could do worse than saddle defensive-minded Fangio with a new, shiny toy — capping a terrifying on-paper lineup.
Lock at 31? That’s harder to believe.
If Denver is as enamored as let on, they would simply snag him at 10 rather than run the risk of a wanting team like the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 11), Miami Dolphins (No. 13), Washington Redskins (No. 15) or New York Giants (No. 17) ruining their day.
Boom. Done. He ain’t falling to the penultimate pick.
A possible franchise QB trumps any other position. Always and forever. Good as Bush is, his best-case-NFL-career-trajectory pales in comparison to Lock’s. Elway, whose contract runs through 2021 — two short years, less if he again bungles the most important position in sports — has to get his next big move right. Has to.
Provided he trusts his scouts, eyeballs and intuition — and balks at the tempting 2020 class — Lock is that next move. And for two second-rounders? On which dotted line does he sign?
Mocks are mocks for a reason, however. They’re fun, entertaining reads to fill months-long dead space between regular seasons. They’re also predicated on hypotheticals, educated guesses and, in some instances, shock value. King takes a little from both categories to devise an unbelievable plunder for Denver.
Emphasis on “unbelievable.”