The Denver Broncos experienced one of their best NFL Drafts last night. At least, in the first round during the John Elway Era.
Elway and Co. watched as the receivers dropped down the board and fell into the Broncos’ lap at No. 15; Denver had a choice of arguably the two best wideouts in the 2020 draft class.
And considering Jerry Jeudy — a Day 1 starter who can play both in the slot and outside — was supposed to go in the Top 10 picks, landing him at 15 was a grand slam for Elway and the Broncos. Courtland Sutton is a rising star, and tight end Noah Fant likely is as well, but the Broncos were smart to continue surrounding second-year starter Drew Lock with as much talent as possible.
In 2019, Denver surged at the end of the season thanks to excitement on the offensive side surrounding Lock as well as Vic Fangio’s defense coming together as a cohesive unit. Without a doubt, Denver went 4-1 to end the season by being led by their defense, which is why adding an instant playmaker on offense was the right way to go.
But, now that we’re into Day 2 of the draft, and with the Broncos possessing four picks today (Nos. 46, 77, 83, 95) what positions should Denver fans keep an eye on?
There were rumors late last night that John Elway wanted to move back into the first round, and he confirmed them during his press conference. The likelihood was that Denver wanted to draft Cesar Ruiz, easily the best center in the 2020 draft class. But, Ruiz went No. 24 overall to the New Orleans Saints instead.
Many thought the Broncos should get one of the four best tackles on the board if they fell to the team in the first round, but the real need is at center. Look for the orange and blue to draft a center today, and possibly a backup tackle as well, to bolster that thin line. Lloyd Cushenberry III could end up being the man in Round 2.
If Denver doesn’t go offensive line in the second round, they need to be searching for a starting cornerback. The Broncos did well to trade for A.J. Bouye before the offseason started, as he’ll slot into Chris Harris Jr’s vacated position. But, even if Bryce Callahan is finally healthy this year in the slot, the Broncos still need another starting cornerback. Kristian Fulton was projected in the first round, so if he falls to 46 it should be the pick. Other possibilities there are Trevon Diggs or Jaylon Johnson.
The orange and blue seem to be set with Alexander Johnson, Todd Davis — who received an extension — and Josey Jewell inside. But, the Broncos would still be smart to draft a linebacker today and provide at least competition at the position.
Denver needs an inside linebacker that can do it all; rush the passer, stop the run and, maybe most importantly, cover tight ends. While the Broncos’ defense has been solid lately and very good in the second half of 2019, they still need to cover tight ends better with an athletic linebacker.
If they wait until Round 3, Willie Gay Jr. could be a perfect fit as he’s good in coverage and is a solid tackler.
Yes, the Broncos have their Nos. 1 and 2 receivers in Sutton and Jeudy, but they still need a No. 3 unless Tim Patrick will start there. Patrick is a solid player and deserves another shot, but he would be most useful as the No. 4 receiver with another, up-and-coming player at No. 3.
Simply, the Broncos need depth at wideout and there are still plenty of talented playmakers available. In Round 3, look for Laviska Shenault — a freak of nature from CU — or maybe a player like Tyler Johnson out of Minnesota.