With the first major draft event, the Senior Bowl, now in the books, it’s time for Broncos Country to start fantasizing about which young potential superstars could one day be suiting up in orange and blue.

While it’s still incredibly early in the process, and impossible to predict what will actually occur once the draft is upon us, this is a fun, unserious exercise that can give us an idea of potential targets across a variety of team needs and draft positions.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into this first mock draft of the cycle.

Round 1, Pick 15: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The talent at the top of this draft is poor across the board, though most of the attention is focused on the lack of a true No. 1 quarterback. As a result, many of the top teams in this year’s draft will likely want to trade down.

With that in mind, and the board not falling in their favor, the Denver Broncos get a lucky trade opportunity from the Philadelphia Eagles, and trade the ninth overall pick for pick No. 15 and pick No. 51.

Despite trading back, the Broncos are still able to land a freakshow at a position of need in offensive tackle Trevor Penning. At 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, Penning is a mammoth that loves to bully and impose his will on opposing defenders.

Despite his extreme size, Penning has good movement skills — though balance issues do arise more frequently than one would like — allowing him to be a fit in Hackett’s scheme. In pass protection he uses his immense size and strength to anchor, making it impossible to beat him with a bull rush, and his outlying length makes it extemely difficult to beat him around the edge with speed too. Penning will make his money in the run game, where he’s a nasty road-grater that would instantly bring a physical edge to Denver’s offensive line.

Round 2, Pick 36: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Broncos find themselves in need of a quarterback entering a weak quarterback draft, and choose not to draft a quarterback with their original first round pick, or after they decide to trade back. Then, after seeing a gunslinging quarterback who struggles with decision-making fall into the second round, they choose to trade up and target the signal-caller.

Eerily familiar, right? One can only hope that if Matt Corral was a bad quarterback, that the Broncos wouldn’t give him three to four years to learn that interceptions are bad.

With the Ole Miss field general falling down the boards, the Broncos send the 51st overall selection (acquired from the Eagles in their initial trade down), their fifth-round pick and a seventh-round pick for pick No. 36.

Corral is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft class, and although the class’s quarterbacks are likely to get overvalued come draft night, finding Corral here feels like a bit of a steal. Corral is a good athlete at the quarterback position with adequate mobility and a fairly live arm. None of his physical traits will wow you, but they’re all plenty good enough. In a quarterback class with very few ‘high ceilings’ Corral’s traits are very appealing.

Corral also boasts multiple concerns though that could have led to him falling this far. First, he comes out of an RPO-heavy (to say the least) offense that is going to have an awkward transition to the NFL. There is also buzz in the scouting community that Corral might have some character red flags. He has a slight frame, and has already been banged up at the college level, leading durability to be a minor concern. He also sprained his ankle in the Sugar Bowl, though that shouldn’t slide him too far down the boards or impact his future career.

After seeing what happened with poor-character quarterbacks Drew Lock and Paxton Lynch, no one could blame Broncos Country for wanting to dodge a quarterback with these concerns. That said, the Broncos’ need for a quarterback is real, and Corral is a good fit for their offense who has the potential to be a long-term answer at the position.

Round 2, Pick 40: Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma

One need for the Broncos that isn’t discussed nearly enough is their need along the defensive line. Shamar Stephen and DeShawn Williams are due for new deals, while Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell showed signs of impactful decline in 2021, and McTelvin Agim was a healthy scratch for most of the season.

Enter Perrion Winfrey, who is fresh off of being named the Senior Bowl MVP, following a dominant performance in Mobile. Our own Joey Richards already took a more nuanced look at Winfrey, in case you’re curious.

Winfrey will bring a mean interior pass rush to the NFL, which could be nasty on Denver’s defense. He’s incredibly versatile, as he’s played all over Oklahoma’s line, and has impressive quickness and powerful hands, which he knows how to use effectively. One of his best traits are his rare 35.5-inch long arms, which allows him to out-reach any interior offensive lineman. He needs some time to develop, and to add some extra power to his game to impact the run-game more.

Round 2, Pick 64 (from LAR): John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton are locked up for the forseeable future, but the rest of the Broncos’ receiving room hasn’t come together as planned, leading for the position to be a need entering the offseason.

Sure, a lot of those issues are the fault of the quarterbacks and play-caller, but not all of the blame lies there.

Jeudy has been largely disappointing and failed to even score a touchdown in 2021. Maybe the lingering effects of the ankle injury he suffered in Week 1 were a major factor, but this complete lack of production is extremely surprising.

Hamler’s future feels in limbo following a grizly knee injury. As of now, it’s hard to know when he’ll return to the field for the Broncos, but even when he does, his injuries, drops, and tiny frame will still be concerns.

The Broncos need a speed element in their receiving room, so. they target John Metchie III as an insurance policy. Metchie tore his ACL this season, leading to him being an injury risk in his own right, but was turning in a solid season before that point. He’s an elite speed threat, but unlike Hamler, has a stockier build and the ability to run through tackles at points and he’s more sure-handed. That said, he doesn’t quite possess the same level of juice as Hamler.

Round 3, Pick 75: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC

One could easily argue that the Broncos’ greatest position of need outside of quarterback is at edge.

Von Miller is now gone, Bradley Chubb had an incredibly disappointing season and is entering the last year of his rookie deal, and Malik Reed continues to be woefully ineffective despite box-score scouts believing otherwise. Jonathon Cooper showed a lot of promise, but it also feels pretty unlikely that he’ll develop into a No. 1 pass rusher.

Jackson is an excellent pass-rusher and athlete who wins with his speed and impressive length. He has fantastic burst off the line and frequenntly wins around the corner. His combination of bend, burst, and length makes him a pain for any tackle to block. Jackson’s high-end athleticism flashes frequently when he’s asked to drop back in coverage and has to track down running plays directed away from him.

As of now, he would start his career as a pass-rushing specialist, as his ability to defend the run needs a good deal of work. The problem isn’t related to motor, but his lack of lower-body strength limits his ability to hold up against the run. He also relies too much on his athleticism to win off the edge, and as he faces more athletic tackles at the next level, he’ll have to develop his pass-rushing moves.

Round 3, Pick 96 (from LAR): Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

The Broncos have a considerable need at the position, so why not take two big swings at the position in the mid-rounds with some high-ceiling prospects.

This move would have the potential to revitalize Denver’s pass rush, much like how doubling up at safety in last year’s draft revitalized that position.

Much like Jackson, Mafe is an athletic, bendy edge with impressive first-step ability. One of Mafe’s best traits is his motor, which never cools. Fights hard through the whistle, allowing him to rack up clean-up and effort-based sacks.

Unlike Jackson, however, Mafe’s lacks power in his hands and length, which puts him at a sizable disadvantge once opposing tackles get ahold of him. Mafe also needs to improve his ability to defend the run quite a bit.