The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, and it was one for the ages.
Teams making wildly aggressive moves and poor decisions characterized the deeply memorable day.
But now, it’s the Broncos’ turn to make a splash. Who could they target on day two of the draft if they’re gonna trade up? Let’s take a look.
Round 2, Pick 50: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Woody Paige, the Denver Broncos will be trading up in the second round for a player they have a first-round grade on.
The Broncos will trade up in the second round to get a player they have listed as a first rounder.
— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) April 29, 2022
The timing of the tweet makes it seem as though this was an adjustment in the Broncos’ draft plans, maybe as the result of someone unexpectedly falling into the second round.
Like every year, there are a number of surprise fallers that could fit the bill, like Travis Jones, Arnold Ebiketie, Roger McCreary and maybe even David Ojabo, but here, we’re betting on Bernhard Raimann being the target.
We’ll say the Broncos trade 64, pick 116 and pick 234 to the Chicago Bears for pick 48. Maybe that doesn’t line up on Jimmy Johnson’s 30-year-old trade value chart, but guess what, that trade value chart one guy cooked up three decades ago, when drafting a running back first overall was a brilliant idea, might not be the best resource.
As the draft neared, Raimann was consistently mocked around the top 20, but instead fell out of the first round entirely. The Broncos should be highly intrigued by this option.
Raimann is new to the offensive tackle position, after transitioning from tight end, but his physical gifts at tackle are special, particularly his movement skills. He’s not just some unbelievably raw project though, as he’s picked up some nuances of the position unexplainably quickly.
This is a tackle prospect worthy of going in the first round, and certainly worthy of going before a project like Tyler Smith, who Dallas selected 24th overall.
Round 3, Pick 75: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
The rest of these sections will be considerably shorter, as there won’t be a trade to outline, but that doesn’t mean Cam Jurgens wouldn’t be a remarkable pick for Denver.
Most people are concerned about the cornerback position, and rightfully so, but center might be the biggest concern on the roster right now. All it takes for that to be the case is Denver’s front office viewing Graham Glasgow and Quinn Meinerz as guards, which should be the expectation, and them believing Lloyd Cushenberry III will struggle even more in this new offense, which isn’t much of a leap either.
If that’s the case, the Broncos need to make certain that they’ll be able to get Jurgens in this year’s draft, which might be difficult given the surprising early run on centers.
Jurgens is a similar prospect to first-round pick Tyler Linderbaum, in the sense he’s a fantastic zone-blocking center who lacks some power, weight, and length in his arms, however, these concerns are lesser in Jurgens than they are in Linderbaum. Presently, Linderbaum is the better player, but Jurgens could catch him in the pros.
Jurgens will need to be coached up by Butch Barry and might need his guards to protect him early on in his career, but he’ll be ready to start from day one at a position of serious need for Denver.
Round 3, Pick 96: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
The Broncos get lucky as Marcus Jones miraculously falls to the backend of the third round in this mock draft simulation, and Denver can’t race up to the podium fast enough to turn the card in.
Marcus Jones is an underdeveloped, undersized nickel corner who plays with a 10-pound chip on his shoulder, has tantalizing physical gifts, and would rejuvenate the Broncos’ special teams overnight.
Jones is one of the most dynamic return men in this draft, which is a need for Denver whether or not they just signed a former Mr. Irrelevant in Trey Quinn.
He’s also a terrific nickel corner, which is another area of need for Denver. Presently, Jones relies far too heavily on his high-end athleticism to win coverage reps, which will be harder to get away with at the NFL, but Denver can afford to limit Jones’ snaps on defense early if necessary.
Normally, Jones’ small frame would be a concern in this defense that requires tackling from its corners, but Jones has demonstrated that size won’t prevent him from being physical.
Round 4, Pick 115: Dominique Robinson, EDGE, Miami (OH)
The Broncos find their help at edge a little later than expected here, but don’t let that fool you into thinking Robinson wouldn’t be a terrific selection considering Denver’s edge-rushing woes.
Robinson is a super bendy, highly twitchy edge, that could be an excellent depth piece and potential long-term starter at the position for Denver.
Robinson is new to the position, and that shows in his lack of refinement and his reliance on the winning with athleticism, but he is certainly a prospect worth the dice roll.
Round 5, Pick 152: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
Some members of Broncos Country might be upset linebacker wasn’t targeted earlier, but the need at linebacker has been greatly over-exaggerated.
Along with Baron Browning and Josey Jewell — a pretty rock solid starting linebacker duo — they have Alex Singleton, who led the Eagles in tackles last year, and Jonas Griffith, a hyper-athletic special teams ace who did well in limited starts last season.
The Broncos are drafting inside linebacker no. 5, so it doesn’t make sense to spend one of their few primo picks on luxury depth at a non-primo position.
Enter Damone Clark, a linebacker prospect better than your favorite mid-round linebacker, who Denver can get two-or-more-rounds later, purely because he’s going to miss the 2022 season rehabbing an injury.
Guess what? As we just discussed, the Broncos don’t need that linebacker right now, they’ll need them in 2023, and that’s why Clark is so perfect for them.
Round 6, Pick 206: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego St.
There’s more pressing needs, but Matt Araiza can be a legitimate game changer in the punting game and it’s a surprise to see him this late.
If Araiza lives up to his pre-draft billing, he’ll be able to consistently force the opponent to gain an extra first down per possession to reach scoring position, and that provides a large amount of value.
Let’s see the “Punt God” at mile high elevation.
Noah Elliss, DT, Idaho
The Broncos need some help finding a run-stuffing lineman who can serve as a longterm Purcell replacement, and Elliss fits that bill to a tee.
He also has some pass rush upside, making it surprising to see him at this stage in the draft.
Coming from Idaho makes Elliss a tricky projection, but at this stage, who cares?