Denver Broncos: Top 10 Prospects
Ryan Clady (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Ryan Clady (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst
Posted Jun 19, 2010
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Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series, and starts his breakdown of the AFC West by profiling the Denver Broncos. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Broncos top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-6
325
3
23

Already a two-time All-Pro, the first round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2008, Ryan Clady, is one of the NFL's premier left tackles and should be recognized as a perennial Pro Bowl player. Displaying tremendous durability in his first two seasons, Clady has started every game and has been a reliable blind side protector. Unfortunately, this offseason, Clady suffered a setback when he injured his patella tendon playing basketball and may not be ready for the start of training camp. But, when he returns, expect Clady to be his dominant self.

Drafted by Denver in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
RB
5-11
210
2
22

It was an up-and-down rookie campaign for Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos first round pick in last year's draft. Playing in all 16 games, Moreno started nine and rushed for 947 yards on 247 carries (3.8 YPC) and seven touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Moreno is expected to be the featured back this season and could have a breakout season. But, some of his carries will be spread out between veterans Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington.

Drafted by Denver in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
QB
6-3
236
R
22

Tim Tebow had a storied career at the University of Florida. He’s a three-time All-American, a two-time winner of the Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year), a Heisman Trophy winner and a two-time National Champion. Now, it’s Tebow’s turn to show what he can do at the next level and develop into the Broncos franchise quarterback. Tebow has what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL, but it will take time. With Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn ahead of Tebow on the depth chart, Head Coach Josh McDaniels can groom Tebow into the quarterback he wants. And in time, with the help of McDaniels, it’s likely that Tebow will prove all of his doubters wrong.

Drafted by Denver in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-3
224
R
22

After trading Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins this offseason, the Broncos entered the 2010 draft in need of a big play threat at wide receiver; enter Demaryius Thomas. Coming from an offense at Georgia Tech where they ran a triple option, Thomas wasn't a focal point since they were a run first team. But, when the ball came his way, he made tremendous plays down field. This past season, Thomas hauled in 46 passes for 1,154 yards (25.1 YPC) and eight touchdowns. He was slowed by a broken foot this offseason, but barring any holdout, Thomas should be ready to go for training camp and could emerge as a starter.

Drafted by Denver in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-3
274
2
24

The highlight of Robert Ayers' rookie season in '09 was the fumble recovery he returned for a 54-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Playing in 15 games and starting one of them, Ayers failed to standout making the transition to linebacker after playing defensive end at Tennessee; he finished with just 19 tackles. Ayers has talent, but the biggest knock against him in college was his effort and production.

Drafted by Denver in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
CB
5-9
190
2
24

A controversial move by the Broncos in the '09 draft was the decision to trade their '10 first round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 37th overall pick to select Alphonso Smith. An undersized cornerback with great playmaking ability, Smith was used primarily on special teams in the 15 games he played in as a rookie and recorded 14 tackles. It's expected that Smith will compete for the nickel corner job this preseason, but he will have to beat out veteran Nate Jones and rookie Perrish Cox.

Drafted by Denver in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
5-10
180
3
24

To say that Eddie Royal went through a sophomore slump last season is an understatement, considering the success he achieved as a rookie in '08. As a rookie, Royal caught 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns in 15 starts. And, this past season, starting 12 of the 14 games he played in, he caught just 37 passes for 345 yards and no touchdowns. Royal's struggles on offense were a concern last season, but he was reliable as the team's kick and punt returner. He will be the team's return specialist again this year, which could affect his role and play on offense.

Drafted by Denver in the 2nd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
C
6-3
300
R
23

After the Broncos released veteran center Casey Wiegmann, it was apparent that they had to draft a young center. There were rumblings that they were considering Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey with the 11th overall selection. But, after they traded down in the first round, their plans changed, as they knew Pouncey wouldn’t be available. So, they turned to the alternative, and selected a player they had rated just below Pouncey on their draft board, Baylor’s J.D. Walton. A three-year starter at Baylor, Walton is the favorite to assume the starting center job from day one and be entrenched there for the next 8 – 12 years. Walton was a steal in the third round and fills a crucial position on the Broncos offensive line.

Drafted by Denver in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
FS
6-1
198
2
24

A surprise second round pick in the '09 draft, Darcel McBath spent most of his rookie season as a special teams contributor and a situational defender, before being placed on injured reserve prior to Week 15 with a broken forearm. McBath finished his rookie campaign with 26 tackles, which included a team-high 11 special teams tackles and two interceptions. He's expected to backup Brian Dawkins once again this season.

Drafted by Denver in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-3
217
R
23

There were a few players that could have been positioned in the 10th spot on this list; it came down to Eric Decker and Zane Beadles. While Beadles offers much needed depth on the offensive line, Decker is an intriguing receiver that will remind fans of former Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey. Just like Demaryius Thomas, Decker was slowed this offseason with a foot injury, and if he's healthy, he could compete for the No. 4 or 5 position on the depth chart.

Drafted by Denver in the 3rd Round (2010).


For more on the Broncos, check out Broncos Update.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.



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