Wade Phillips is now coaching defense for the Denver Broncos, and his sustained success in the NFL has been built on his own system, and the right type of personnel to execute it. Kyle Montgomery of Mile High Report added end Arik Armstead to the fold for that defense in Round 1 of our 2015 NFL mock draft, and he's targeting that side of the ball again with his second-round pick.
59. Broncos: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
Montgomery: The Broncos are moving to a 3-4 defense, and while they have many pieces of this puzzle in place, they can’t ignore when the highest person on the board is someone who could compete for a starting job under Wade Phillips from day one. That’s the case with Benardrick McKinney; he was the highest-ranked player on Dan Kadar’s big board, and is of good value here no matter who you ask.
McKinney will add size to the Broncos’ linebacker corps and compete at inside linebacker. Both Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan are in the 6’1, 230-pound range; McKinney will stand tall at 6’4 and 246 pounds. Both Marshall and Trevathan are also coming off injuries (Lisfranc foot sprain and two knee surgeries, respectively). While the Broncos have talent here, they don’t have depth or experience in the middle, and McKinney will give them that. McKinney will also give them someone capable of owning one of the gaps in Wade Phillips’ 3-4. His less-than-stellar agility isn’t a problem here. The Broncos need someone who can take a hit and still deliver one, and McKinney fits the bill.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: Even though McKinney has some warts in his game, it's hard to ignore the sheer value of getting him at No. 59. McKinney is an imposing figure on a defense. He comes down and supports the run and has the size to shed, or at last avoid, blockers. For a player of his size, McKinney has good straight-line speed and enough lateral agility. He's good at maintaining a single gap on the defense and does good enough in zone coverage on passing plays. McKinney made the calls on Mississippi State's vaunted defense and plays with a lot of energy. The pieces are all there for McKinney to be a very good player as long as he figures out how to put it together.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 47. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
- 50. Markus Golden, DE, Missouri
- 53. Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
- 54. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
- 55. Grady Jarrett, DT, Wisconsin
- 1-28: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
- 2-59: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State