Report: Broncos, Jets Draft-day trade fell through at last second

Matt Hennessy at the Senior Bowl. Credit: Vasha Hunt, USA TODAY Sports.
Matt Hennessy at the Senior Bowl. Credit: Vasha Hunt, USA TODAY Sports.

John Elway and the Denver Broncos front office crushed the NFL Draft this year. At least, it seems that way at first glance.

Jerry Jeudy, the unquestioned best receiver in the draft, fell to Denver at No. 15. He was a no-brainer. In the second round, Elway continued to revamp his team’s offense by taking speedster K.J. Hamler to play alongside Jeudy and Courtland Sutton.

Keep winding through the picks, which Denver had five of in the top 100, and surprisingly they didn’t make a single trade. But, according to the New York Daily news, they had a deal in place to swap pick No. 83 with the Jets for No. 79. Denver likely would have also included pick No. 178 or 181 to move up four spots in the third round.

According to that report, the Broncos were eyeing center Matt Hennessy out of Temple. But, the Atlanta Falcons swooped into take him at No. 78, killing the trade at the last second.

The Broncos ended up taking Lloyd Cushenberry at No. 83 and he’s expected to be Denver’s new full-time starter at center from Day 1. Some wanted the Broncos to take Cushenberry as high as No. 46 in the second round, and once he fell all the way to 83, Cushenberry was the steal of Denver’s draft. Most had him projected into the second round.

However, it’s a bit concerning that all other teams also let him fall that far.

Maybe they know something the scouts don’t? Cushenberry has longer arms than Hennessy and bigger hands and the former’s blocking is basically impenetrable to bull-rushes. However, Hennessy possesses better lateral agility.

Cushenberry was expected to be a starter within his first two years — Denver will throw him into the fire immediately — while Hennessy is projected as a backup who could become a starter eventually.

Overall, Cushenberry seems to be the better prospect as he’s expected to become a long-term starter as the anchor of the offensive line for many years. Hennessy is no slouch, either though, and it will be interesting to keep an eye on both their developments going forward.

What did Elway see in Hennessy that fit with the Broncos better than Cushenberry? We’ll have to wait and see for that answer.

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