Last week, we got familiar with some names, albeit briefly, that we will see thrown around in 2018. That being said, that list of names is going to change DRASTICALLY over the next 12 months. Most of the names out there right now are the big names that you probably started hearing last year, mostly 4 and 5-stars. There are a few 3-stars on the list, so those would definitely be ones to follow more closely.
We are familiar with the names, but what if we don’t need them? Odd question, I know, but what if we don’t graduate anyone at a particular position? Let’s talk about who is graduating and what we might need after the 2017 season is over.
Right now, we will have 16 seniors graduating next year, 4 of them being true seniors and 12 being red-shirt seniors. In the event that one of those 4 is injured within the first 3 games, we could get them back next year. Let’s look at the list:
Ryan Wolpin, RB, 5’8 189lbs
Andrew Tercek, OL, 6’1 281lbs
Mason Hampton, OL, 6’3 296lbs
Archie Lewis, OL, 6’3 300lbs
Austin Silsby, DE, 6’3 258lbs
Daniel Auelua, DL, 6’2 293lbs
Gabe Perez, STUD, 6’4 234lbs
Jake Roh, TE, 6’3 227lbs
Alec Dhaenens, TE, 6’3 245lbs
David McKinzie, WR, 6’ 175lbs
Brock Barr, WR, 6’3 204lbs
Cedrick Wilson, WR, 6’3 183lbs
Austin Cottrell, WR, 6’2 202lbs
Joe Martarano, LB, 6’3 238lbs
Blake Whitlock, LB, 6’1 208lbs
Cam Hartsfield, S, 5’10 196lbs
What stands out here are WR and OL. We lose 4 players at WR, and while most of them haven’t been huge producers, that is still a good chunk of depth being lost. Losing 3 on an OL that just lost 3 is rough. Wolpin has been a great player for us. He runs extremely hard, he’s just been buried by some other talented backs.
We lose some production at TE and LB as well. Though we only lose 2 at each position, they are big names. Joe Martarano won’t be easy to replace and Whitlock has made great use of his time with the Broncos. Everyone knows Jake Roh, but Dhaenens has made some big catches the last couple season. We haven’t seen a ton of production from TEs the last few seasons, but it sounds like that should change in 2017.
We don’t lose anyone at CB, but Hartsfield will be missed especially with the dismissal of DSG. We have some talent there, but it’s young. 2017 will be the season to step up.
On the DL we lose Auelua on the inside and Perez and Silsby on the outside. Silsby had a solid season last year, but Perez has had a career marred by injury.
All in all, I think we should be ok after 2017. Losing 4 WR is a lot, but 3 haven’t been huge producers for us. The one who has, Wilson, will be a big one to lose. OL loses some stalwarts, but we have some kids in the wings waiting. Aside from that, we lose minimal players at most positions.
We have had some juniors graduating early lately to enter the draft. Will that trend continue this year? Not likely. The only player that even has the potential to do that is Rypien, but I don’t think he leaves. As far as other attrition, that remains to be seen, but we all know it’s inevitable.
So, I imagine we take 2-3 WR, 3-4 OL, 2-3 DL, 1 S, 2 LB, 1 TE, 1 RB, and 1 QB. That’s 16, which would be even smaller than the previous class of 19. I think we end up taking closer to 20, but I know just a shade over nothing. The key positions in this class will be WR, OL and LB. We need to keep the trend of solid D-line players and stellar TEs continuing.
Fellow Nuggies, any thoughts of your own? Who will we miss the most, if not Wilson? What is the biggest area of need? Leave your comments below! GO BRONCOS!