Charting every 2019 mock draft is a useless exercise since most inevitably (but justifiably) tie the Denver Broncos to a quarterback. The ones connecting dots to other names, though, are more interesting since they bring about additional draft-day scenarios.
Such as the Broncos nabbing LSU linebacker Devin White in the first round, a projection aided by the expert opinion of NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, who released his first mock on Jan. 18. He foresees John Elway passing on QBs Daniel Jones (No. 13 to Dolphins) and Kyler Murray (No. 31 to Patriots) to nab a defender for the second straight year.
“White is the ideal modern linebacker. He can run, cover and blitz,” Jeremiah wrote.
One of the best athletes, regardless of position, among the incoming class, White was an extremely productive three-year contributor for the Tigers, recording 114 solo tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, nine passes defensed, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception across 34 career games. He earned the Butkis Award in 2018 and was a consensus All-American. His 123 total tackles this past season led the team and made him the seventh player in LSU history to notch back-to-back 100-tackle campaigns.
A three-down ‘backer and aggressive blitzer who covers lots of ground — quickly — White (6-0, 240) is a little rough around the edges, mentally-speaking, and will require some fine-tuning at the next level. But his sheer talent and upside is undeniable, making the former four-star recruit a top-10 lock. He’s drawn NFL comparisons ranging from Myles Jack to Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis.
Devin White has the ceiling of a star in the NFL. White’s explosive range, hitting power and explosiveness compliment a sturdy frame and some awesome reps of reads at the LOS. The contact balance issues with White may scare some teams, but provided he’s able to square up his challenges with more consistency it’s difficult to project anything less than Pro Bowls in his future. White plays through contact and trash well, he’s a viable starter in any system.
The Broncos squared away their outside linebacker corps for the next half-decade last year, taking Bradley Chubb to pair with perennial Pro Bowler Von Miller. But they should have a massive hole at inside linebacker, with current starters Brandon Marshall (and his $9 million salary cap number) a prime release candidate and two-down run-stopper Todd Davis an eventual cut down the road.