The Denver Broncos have been ridiculed in recent times for their inability to draft impactful collegiate talent.
President of Football Operations John Elway has caught the most flak for the Broncos draft woes, but the 2019 class is shaping up to be on the of the Broncos best in years.
Broncos’ rookies Dalton Riser and Noah Fant were named to the All-Rookie Team by The Pro Football Writers of America.
The 2019 PFWA All-Rookie Team and rookie honors: pic.twitter.com/mmHVHWWQFx
— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) January 14, 2020
Risner, a Colorado native, was selected by the Broncos in the second round and started all 16 games at left guard for his hometown team. Risner was an anchor on the Broncos’ line and provided relative to stability to all three of Denver’s starting quarterbacks in 2019.
Fant was the Broncos’ first-round draft choice in 2019. Denver drafted Fant with the 20th overall selection in an attempt to nail down the tight end position after years of fluctuation.
A product of the University of Iowa, Fant watched as his counterpart, tight end T.J. Hockenson, was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Detroit Lions. Many were skeptical of Fant given he was the second-best tight end on Iowa’s roster, and especially after the Broncos passed up the opportunity to draft linebacker Devin Bush.
Fant went through some growing pains at the start of his rookie season, but put together a splendid campaign when it was all said and done. He grabbed 40 catches and racked up 562 receiving yards, which set two rookie tight end records in franchise history.
Quarterback Drew Lock was not selected to the list, but his future is as bright as Fant and Risner.
Denver has found some gems in the draft over the last few seasons and Courtland Sutton became the third member of the 2018 draft class (Phillip Lindsay, Bradley Chubb) to make the Pro Bowl yesterday. Between Fant, Risner and Lock — along with that 2018 draft class — the Broncos have a solid nucleus to build off of moving forward.
The Broncos have the 15th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and will have an opportunity to add more young talent to their roster come springtime, in hopes they can develop like Fant and Risner.