Broncos final two Zoom calls focus on draft prospects in the trenches
Mar 26, 2023, 10:18 AM
(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Denver Broncos are putting together their draft board over the next month. During this time, the Broncos are allowed to host 30 in-person workouts for the prospects on their radar. In addition to flying players out to UC Health Training Center for a workout, the NFL allows each team to host three Zoom calls with prospective picks.
The Broncos have already used their three Zoom calls over the last week. Earlier this month, the Broncos had a virtual meeting with Penn State QB Sean Clifford. Then, over the last few days, it has been reported the Broncos had two other virtual meetings with prospects they could be interested in.
I’ve already written up Clifford and why the Broncos could be interested in him. So, how about the other players they’ve had Zoom calls with? Let’s take a look.
Antonio Mafi | OG | UCLA
The Broncos want to build the interior of their offensive line. Under head coach Sean Payton, the Broncos should have plenty of power up front. In fact, Payton wants to run a “spread/power” concept on offense if he had his way. The Broncos won’t have all the talent necessary to do that quite like Payton wants in 2023, but you’ll see the team building that way.
It’s one of the many reasons why they had a Zoom call with UCLA offensive guard Antonio Mafi. He’s only been playing on the offensive line for three seasons, with one season of starting, as Mafi joined the Bruins as a three-star defensive tackle coming out of high school. Because of his limited playing time at guard, it’s no surprise that Mafi’s game is inconsistent. He’s not a plug-and-play type of prospect, but the developmental upside is there with Mafi.
He’s a huge guard, weighing in at almost 340 pounds. Because of his size, Mafi is difficult to move for opponents trying to get through. Also because of his size, Mafi has trouble moving himself so don’t expect him to move well laterally. Instead, Mafi is a mauler who wants to drive the defensive line into the ground. He doesn’t know yet how to use his hands, but I like the leverage that Mafi plays with.
Adding here: In addition to #Lions and #Commanders, Mafi has Top 30s with #49ers and #Cowboys, per source.
Mafi recently had dinner/workout with #Saints. Met virtually with #Colts and #Broncos. https://t.co/pjI3pkrQMa
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 24, 2023
It’s just like Payton to build the interior of the offensive line as strong as possible. That’s what he did with the New Orleans Saints, and that seems to be his guiding principle with the Broncos. Mafi was a player I was impressed with during the week of practice for the East-West Shrine Bowl earlier this year. He’s not ready to start, but he’s worth taking a chance on as a late-round pick or priority free agent after the draft.
Cameron Young | DL | Mississippi State
In addition to the offensive line, the Broncos need to find talent for their defensive line. They don’t have a pick until the third round, but I think they can and should emphasize the trenches when they get to pick in the second half of day two of the draft. On offense, the Broncos want to run the ball early and often. On defense, the Broncos need to be stout against the run – and they have their eyes on a perfect player to help them do just that.
Cameron Young was a fine player in college at Mississippi State in regard to stuffing the run. He’s got a large wingspan (82.3 inches) that allows him to gather in ball-carriers as they try to run away from him. With Young’s size (304 pounds), players certainly aren’t going to run through him. Young is one of the best run-stuffers in all of college football. He’s huge, and he can get off the line of scrimmage quickly. I also like the way Young can play with leverage even though he’s a taller (6-foot-4) prospect.
Young only had 1.0 sack in 25 starts for the Bulldogs. He’s not going to produce much as a pass-rusher right out of the gate. Young needs to learn how to stack his moves. He has a few different moves to get after the quarterback, but he usually pulls off one move and doesn’t quickly get to a secondary move when that is stunted. His size and quickness of the line was apparent when I watched Young during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl earlier this year. I can easily see the Broncos working with a player like Young. He can stuff the run immediately, and the team could try to develop him as a rusher.
There isn't a better run stopper in the 2023 NFL Draft than @HailStateFB DL @Cameron21Young.
Young met formally and virtually #Seahawks. Met virtually with #Packers and #Broncos. Recently visited #Falcons on a Top 30.
✍️ @TheDraftNetwork https://t.co/Kl23KrZoGl
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 23, 2023
Young would be a great addition on Day 2 of the draft. There’s a chance he goes off the board before the Broncos pick, but at no.67 overall Young could be there. If he is, then I think he’s a player the Broncos are considering depending on what other players are available at that time. I’m not sure why Young wasn’t invited for a top-30 visit, because he’s more than a late-round pick. However, I’m glad the Broncos seem to have interest because he’s one of the most interesting players in this draft class.