Meetings, measurements and Broncos tidbits we learned Tuesday at NFL Combine

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine was a colossal news dump for every team around the league, but the Broncos made more news than most.

Let’s take a minute together to sift through the most important storylines from Tuesday’s action before more gets piled on Sunday.

Justin Simmons will be a Bronco in 2020

Even though it came as no surprise, the most important piece of news Broncos fans received on Tuesday is that the team wasn’t letting Justin Simmons go anywhere.

John Elway and Co. have made little progress in negotiations with Denver’s free agents including Simmons, leading the first-time All-Pro to believe he was set to receive the tag.

This was confirmed during Elway’s presser on Tuesday when the general manager announced the Broncos would franchise tag Simmons if no deal was agreed to before free agency.

For a more in-depth look at Simmons’ contract situation, read this.

Offensive line remains in flux

The two most loathed offensive linemen in the state of Colorado are running out of time in orange and blue.

In the same presser that saw Elway announce the team would be tagging Simmons, he was less optimistic about the futures of Ronald Leary and Garett Bolles with the franchise.

He first announced that Denver would be declining Leary’s team option, sending him to the open market, while the team would “wait and see” until after the draft to determine if they wanted to pick up Bolles’ fifth-year option (you can find out more about Bolles’ future with the team here).

How Elway spoke about Bolles made it clear that the team would be targetting an offensive lineman early in the draft. Fortunately for the Broncos, the top tackle prospects all looked the part on Tuesday. Despite concerns surrounding the arm length of Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, the two tackles passed with flying colors, ensuring that at least four tackles will be selected in the first 20 picks of this year’s draft.

Fangio high on WR prospects

One of the positions most often connected to the Broncos in regard to the 2020 NFL Draft is wide receiver and Vic Fangio added fuel to that fire on Tuesday.

The Broncos head coach has clearly started doing homework on this year’s loaded class and is giddy with what he sees.

Considering Elway’s announcement on Bolles and Fangio’s belief in the depth of this year’s receiver class, the Broncos could be looking at the tackle position with the 15th pick instead, though this could all just be a smokescreen.

Elway bringing back two starting veterans

The Broncos may have decided to decline Leary’s contract, but the same can’t be said for starting linebacker Todd Davis and kicker Brandon McManus.

The McManus move was a no-brainer. He’s struggled with accuracy at times but he easily has one of the stronger legs in the game and he’s more reliable than what a lot of teams have at the position.

Picking up Davis’ option was a little more surprising, though still expected. He’s been average at linebacker for the Broncos in most phases but has been an absolute liability in coverage.

That being said, the Broncos have enough holes on defense to address already and adding more where there’s stability won’t help anything.

Meetings

Don’t read too much into every meeting the Broncos have with players, but they are worth noting.

Denver had extended interviews with Laviska Shenault, Brandon Aiyuk and Jedrick Willis after the Combine measurements on Tuesday per Mike Klis.

Denver’s met with a ton of receivers including Henry Ruggs, Denzel Mims, CeeDee Lamb and Shenault. The Broncos are expected to take a wide receiver or lineman in the first round, and Denver is exploring all their many options it seems.

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