Broncos Pick (10): Devin White, LB, LSU
In Simone’s Mock 1.0 he had the Broncos picking up the “other” Devin at #10. With some early trades projected in his 2.0, Devin White generously lands right in the lap of Elway and Co.
White is the consensus top inside linebacker this year and, in most mocks, he is projected to be long gone before the Broncos pick.
The reason Simone sees White dropping to the Broncos is because of the New York Giants’ desperate attempt to get their quarterback of the future by trading up with the Jets to #3 and picking up Dwayne Haskins.
The Giants’ trade allows top defensive tackle Quinnen Williams to drop to Tampa Bay at #5, whom they elect to pick over White.
Two more trades happen in this mock before the Broncos pick (ATL move up to #7, and Miami jump up to #8, which further allows White to slide down to #10.
White is a beast at the position — he benched 22 reps at the combine — and is a tackling machine, with 286 total tackles during his time at LSU.
He won the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in the country as a Junior last year with 123 tackles, 12 of which went for losses, three sacks, six pass breakups, and three forced fumbles.
How does White fit with the Broncos?
Inside linebacker may not be the most pressing need on the Broncos right now since they still have Todd Davis and new-fan-favorite Josey Jewell, but White is much more talented than either of those guys.
Simone compares White to a young Patrick Willis, who found a lot of success under new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.
A talent like that with Fangio running the defense would be hard to pass up. White would probably start over Jewell, for now, as Davis is the more experienced veteran, but a White-Jewell combination could be an anchor to this defense for years to come.
White is a great fit for Fangio’s schemes because, for one, he can tackle but he is also a sideline-to-sideline player.
He has the speed (4.42 40-yard dash) to cover running backs and tight ends and is strong enough to take on would-be blockers on the line.
He is not a perfect linebacker but, with good coaching, he can still grow and become even better.
Who was still available?
With the trades that Simone projected, none of the “elite” QB prospects — Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, or Drew Lock — were still on the board by the time the Broncos picked.
White was the best value at #10, but players like T.J. Hockenson, Andre Dillard, Jonah Williams, and any of the top cornerbacks were still there.
With White, the Broncos get one of the more talented defensive players in the draft and give Fangio another weapon to unleash on defense.