Are the Denver Broncos looking to buy a defense (through free agency) and build the offense (through the NFL Draft)?
It sure seems that way.
And, if things stick to that plan, Denver’s lining up to take a wide receiver and not an offensive tackle at No. 15 overall.
There’s no doubting the Broncos have a ton of pieces, helping them get to that goal of making it back to the postseason. On defense, there’s Von Miller, the return of Bradley Chubb, Kareem Jackson, Justin Simmons and possibly a few of those big-name free agents, too. Offensively, Drew Lock has the “it” factor and will be the guy in 2020, Phillip Lindsay is a stud and Courtland Sutton is a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
However, there are still a lot of weak points on Denver’s current construction of a want-to-be contender.
The offensive line is the biggest glaring need, with receiver depth an important spot which is lacking of talent, and then there’s also the defensive line, cornerback and inside linebacker.
Simply, the Broncos could go a vast number of directions with the No. 15 pick, but signs are starting to point that they will go receiver instead of offensive tackle.
Why? First and foremost, the three best offensive tackles — Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas — will almost certainly be gone at 15 when it’s Denver’s time to select. CBS says they will all three be gone at 13, while The Draft Network says Thomas will hang around until No. 20. However, the Draft Network says Denver will take Justin Hebert at 15, which seems incredibly unlikely.
Another reason why it’ll be difficult for a top tackle to fall to the Broncos at No. 15: Seven other teams ahead of Denver are tackle-needy.
Combine that with the fact that this class of wideouts is likely the deepest we’ve ever seen and all signs are pointing to Denver drafting a game-changer on the offensive side of the ball.
Henry Ruggs III, a speed demon who wants to set a new record for the 40-yard dash, is one huge name to keep an eye on. Ruggs, a 6′ 180-pound receiver out of Alabama, is the 11th-best prospect in this year’s draft, or, the 17th, depending on which experts one references. Ruggs’ speed is determined as “game-breaking,” something the Broncos have missed for a while, and he scored not only on receptions but also on a kickoff and a run last season.
Adding fuel to the Ruggs fire is Benjamin Allbright, who always seems to have a solid source with the Broncos:
Henry Ruggs is gonna look really good in orange and blur.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 26, 2020
If it’s not Ruggs, because he’s gone, there’s CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Tee Higgins and even Laviska Shenault who could all go in the first round. Lamb and Jeudy will likely be gone at 15, leaving a handful of playmakers still there.
Shenault, like Ruggs, had a lengthy meeting with the Broncos at the NFL Combine; could he be the guy?
Shenault is built like a running back, at 6’1″ and 227 pounds, but he’s speedy and electric with the ball in his hands. Those who reside in this great Centennial State likely already know of Shenault because of his career at the University of Colorado, where the Broncos found the sensational Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent a few years ago.
After a strong sophomore campaign, which was only slowed by injury, Shenault was in the running for the Heisman last year before again being sidelined due to injury. Still, he was the only player to receive and run for at least five touchdowns last year; the dude can score from anywhere on the gridiron. But, with his injury history, is he really worth the rest at 15 or would Denver be smarter to see if he falls to the second round?
Speaking of the second round; if the Broncos don’t go receiver at 15, keep an eye on Jalen Reagor, another speed demon, in the second. Like the other men mentioned above, he could take some pressure off of Sutton while stretching the field vertically and helping the Broncos become a more explosive offense overall.