After long last, the sporting world is back underway with the NFL Draft.
And, after waiting for months, the draft broke perfectly for the Denver Broncos. At least, it seemed that way. Only one tackle was taken in the top nine picks, and no wide receivers were selected, ensuring the Broncos would be able to take one of their most pressing needs at No. 15. With three picks to go, they knew they could land one of either Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Tristan Wirfs; talk about a dream scenario.
That pick at 15 ended up being Jeudy.
Because there was never an early run on receivers, Denver was able to land the sensational Jeudy, arguably the best wide receiver in the entire 2020 class. Some call him the most refined route-runner of the group and he could be the most ready to impact the NFL immediately. Surprisingly, Henry Ruggs III went first of all the wideouts even though most draft scouts had him as the third-best receiver in the lass. Lamb remained on the board when Denver selected.
Jeudy isn’t just a superb route-runner, he also possesses top-end speed which will help the Broncos stretch opposing defenses. Interestingly, he can play both in the slot as well as outside, although he did line up in the slot 60 percent of the time in 2019. Of his 10 touchdowns scored last year, seven of them came from the slot. And, he’s a run-after-the-catch receiver as well as a deep-ball vertical threat.
At 6’1″ and 195 pounds, Jeudy does possess the type of body that works well either in the slot or as the No. 2 receiver opposite of rising superstar Courtland Sutton. He’s not a freakish athlete, but did run a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. And he’s likely the most polished receiver entering the draft in 2020, giving Denver a playmaker to add to Drew Lock, Sutton, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
Coming into the draft, we knew the Broncos were in search of a few positions of need. Wide receiver, center and cornerback were atop the list, while Denver also could have gone linebacker or even defensive line.
Elway and Co. were smart to go receiver in the first, even if talented wideouts can be found in the second and third rounds, with consistency. It was the biggest of their needs and they were lucky to watch Jeudy fall to them.
Some fans wanted John Elway and Co. to take one of the four best offensive tackles, even though Garett Bolles will be the starter on the left side at least for this, the final year of his rookie contract. Andrew Thomas kicked off the tackle selections at No. 4 to the New York Giants, then Jedric Wills went at 10 to the Cleveland Browns and Mekhi Becton went 11 to the Jets. Finally, Tristan Wirfs went at 13 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Taking a tackle would have been solid, at least from a future perspective, but if the Broncos want to make the playoffs in 2020, they need more playmakers for Drew Lock to go to.
Looking forward, the Broncos are loaded with picks, five in the Top 100, in fact. Tomorrow, for Rounds 2 and 3, Denver has selections No. 46, 77, 83 and 95, which is a boatload of possibilities. Since they weren’t able to land one of the top three wideouts, expect the Broncos to take at least one, if not two more receivers on Friday.
Possibilities for the second round include LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor, formerly of TCU and Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk. In the third round, Denver could find Laviska Shenault from CU or Denzel Mimms from Baylor.
Of course, they will likely now turn their attention to the offensive and defensive lines, linebacker and cornerback as well.
Round 2 kicks off at 5 p.m. MT on Friday.