With the annual NFL Combine starting, it’s time to look at some of the later round prospects that the Denver Broncos could find staring at them when they are on the clock. The first round of the NFL Draft is comparably easy, but finding gold on the second day can make or break a successful draft.
The Broncos have fared rather well in the latter half of the draft under John Elway, with nuggets like Malik Jackson (5th), Danny Trevathan (6th) and Virgil Green (7th round). Last year’s 7th round pick, Punter Riley Dixon, started all 16 games in 2016 as well and Denver has had a long run of Undrafted Free Agents making the team in recent history.
Most Bronco fans could reel off the needs of the team this season: Both sides of the line, an Offensive playmaker, a Tight End and shore up the middle of the field on Defense, with a primary focus on stopping the run. However, this year’s draft has a lot of talent at the Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, or better yet, a plethora of pass rushers. Enough so, that the Broncos should have at least one close to the top of their Big Board each time they are on the clock. Seventeen DE/OLB prospects are ranked inside the Top 100 (cbssports.com), and 43 in the top 255. The chances are just too obvious that Denver will grab at least one.
Which brings us to an intriguing prospect currently projected as a 5th-6th round selection. Perhaps a longshot and most definitely a sleeper, Dylan Donahue, of West Georgia has put up good enough numbers in Division II football to have earned an invitation to the Combine. Dylan is a 6-2, 240 lb. Outside Linebacker who is expected to run a 40 Time around 4.73 seconds. Donahue is a speed rusher with a Production Ratio of 2.58. That’s a Sack or Tackle For Loss per game. J.J. Watt had a Production Ratio of 1.20 and Justin Houston’s (1.66) was pretty good too, so you can see why I am excited to see this kid perform.
The Billings, Montana native attended Junior College at Palomar in San Marcos, Ca. before transferring to West Georgia in 2015. Dylan made 131 Tackles and 19 Sacks at Palomar. As a sophomore, he hadded 22 Tackles For a Loss, a Forced Fumble, a Fumble Recovery as well as a blocked kick, earning him Southern League Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The story gets better though. Dylan’s father Mitch played Linebacker for the Broncos in 1993-94 after being selected 95th overall in the 4th round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Dylan says his father is his inspiration,
“Well, my dad played 6 years in the NFL …so really I accredit my motivation and success to the drive that my dad has always instilled in me.”
Donahue has an “explosive first step,” and uses speed and quickness as his tools. As former teammate Alex Armah put it,
“Dylan is more of a run-by-you, swat-your-hands type of guy.
The Combine will be Donahue’s chance to shine and perhaps John Elway and the Broncos staff will take notice. After all, this kid grew up a Broncos fan. He already has Orange and Blue running through his veins and isn’t Denver where dreams come true?
It happened for Elway. It happened for Peyton Manning. It happened most recently for Terrell Davis.
It could happen for Dylan Donahue. Or Christian McCaffrey.
– Kaptain Kirk