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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Options for adding depth at outside linebacker

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is slated for April 23-25, providing seven rounds for the Broncos and other teams to find their stars of the future. At this point, Denver is slated to have 11 total picks, five of which will fall within the first 95 selections. In other words, John Elway will have plenty of assets to work with throughout the weekend.

What will he do with those picks? That’s anyone’s guess. But in the coming weeks, will provide an overview of the best prospects.

Today, we continue by looking at a position that is arguably the strength of the Broncos defense – outside linebacker. Von Miller is coming off of a slightly down season, but he’s still one of the best pass rushers in the game. And Bradley Chubb is returning from a torn ACL that cost him most of the 2019 campaign, but the third-year player looks to be a star in the making. As a result, Denver is looking for depth if they draft an outside linebacker. Here are the players to consider for the job:


Top Five on the Board

1. Patrick Queen – At LSU, Queen lined up in the middle of the Tigers defense. Given his size (6-foot-1, 225 pounds), however, a lot of scouts project him to be an outside linebacker in the NFL. Wherever he winds up playing, he’ll be a force. Queen has speed to burn, making him a terrific sideline-to-sideline player and a good pass rusher. His ability to stop the run would make him great on the outside.

2. Zack Baun – Effort and versatility. That’s what jumps off the film with Baun, two traits he showed repeatedly at Wisconsin. Most likely, he’ll be listed as an outside linebacker at the NFL level, but whoever drafts him would be smart to move him all over the defense. He can play outside and inside, with his hand in the dirt and standing up. Smart teams will see that as an asset, not a liability.

3. Josh Uche – The concern with Uche is his lack of playing time. During his career at Michigan, he was only on the field for a total of 647 snaps, sidelined by injuries to his foot and knee. But when he was on the field, he showed a lot of potential. He has great burst, length and flexibility, three attributes that make for a good pass rusher. Early on, look for Uche to be a specialist, someone who can get after the quarterback.

4. Anfernee Jennings – Despite not possessing the great first step that typically goes with being a great outside linebacker, Jennings has the potential to be productive at the next level. He makes up for his lack of speed with strength and great hands; he’s able to shed blockers and get to the quarterback. Putting those skills to use on a consistent basis will be the key at the next level, however.

5. Davion Taylor – Taylor is shooting up draft boards, in part because he ran a sub-4.5 40 at the Combine. That shouldn’t have been a huge surprise, however, given that he was a track star in high school and at Colorado. Still a bit of a work-in-progress, Taylor will need to find a position at the NFL level, although most project him to be an outside linebacker. And he simply needs to get reps, as he hasn’t played a ton of football due to religious beliefs preventing him from participating in games on Fridays or Saturdays while in high school.

NOTE: Isaiah Simmons is listed as an inside linebacker in these rankings, while K’Lavon Chaisson is a defensive end.