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2016 NFL mock draft: Denver Broncos select Jihad Ward

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We close out this year's SB Nation NFL writers mock draft with the Super Bowl champions getting help up front.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We're down to the final pick in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft. With the final selection, the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos have a lot of options. They could get an upgrade on the offensive line. There are some playmakers on offense still out there. There is a pass rusher or two available as well. Scotty Payne of Mile High Report is here to submit his pick to close things out.

63. Broncos: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois

Payne: After I went with a quarterback in the first round of this draft I decided to address the defensive line with this pick and went with one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft.

The Broncos let Malik Jackson walk in free agency and will look towards the athletic Jihad Ward to replace him at defensive end. He has ideal size (6’5, 297 pounds) to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense, and could look to replace Jackson’s pass rush ability.

Ward is full of potential and the Broncos have one of the best defensive line coaches (Bill Kollar) to get the most out of him. Kollar has coached J.J. Watt, Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe, so I am excited to see what he can do with a guy like Ward.

Analysis: It's fitting that our final pick in the mock hits on the strength of this year's draft. In other years, a player like Ward would have a higher rating and likely get picked earlier in the second round. Ward has experience playing in a 3-4 defense, so he's a good system fit in Denver. He specializes in getting in the backfield, while also having the strength to hold the edge and occupy blockers. Like the Panthers pick before this one, I may have considered Texas Tech offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark, but there's nothing wrong with getting Ward at No. 63.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 46. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
  • 51. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
  • 53. Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
  • 57. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
  • 60. Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State

Broncos picks

  • 2-31: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
  • 2-63: Jihad Ward, DL, Illinois

Complete draft results:

First round

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Link)
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Link)
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (Link)
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama (Link)
20. New York Jets - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Link)
21. Washington - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (Link)
22. Houston Texans - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (Link)
23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (Link)
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (Link)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - William Jackson, CB, Houston (Link)
26. Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (Link)
27. Green Bay Packers - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (Link)
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (Link)
29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss (Link)
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson (Link)
31. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Link)

Second round

32. Cleveland Browns - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Link)
33. Tennessee Titans - Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State (Link)
34. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (Link)
35. San Diego Chargers- Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State (Link)
36. Baltimore Ravens - Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (Link)
37. San Francisco 49ers - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Link)
38. Jacksonville Jaguars - Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia (Link)
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State (Link)
40. New York Giants - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia (Link)
41. Chicago Bears - Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (Link)
42. Miami Dolphins - Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame (Link)
43. Los Angeles Rams - Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (Link)
44. Oakland Raiders - Darian Thompson, S, Boise State (Link)
45. Los Angeles Rams - Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Link)
46. Detroit Lions - Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (Link)
47. New Orleans Saints - Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford (Link)
48. Indianapolis Colts - Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (Link)
49. Buffalo Bills - Kamalei Correa, DE/OLB, Boise State (Link)
50. Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, S, Florida (Link)
51. New York Jets - Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn (Link)
52. Houston Texans - Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas (Link)
53. Washington - Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame (Link)
54. Minnesota Vikings - Su'a Cravens, LB/S, USC (Link)
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA (Link)
56. Seattle Seahawks - Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M (Link)
57. Green Bay Packers - Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State (Link)
58. Pittsburgh Steelers - Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State (Link)
59. Kansas City Chiefs - Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Link)
60. New England Patriots - Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma (Link)
61. New England Patriots - Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers (Link
62. Carolina Panthers - Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame