John Elway and the Broncos have been on an incredible hot streak with their drafts, ever since bombing their 2017 class.
Now, as they try to transform from a rebuilding squad to a perennial playoff contender, it is more important than ever that they continue to replenish their roster with young talent. Here are five players that could fit the bill for the Broncos in next year’s draft.
Penei Sewell, Oregon, LT
To find a tackle prospect as good as Oregon’s Penei Sewell, you have to go back to at least Laremy Tunsil in 2016, though Sewell’s probably even better than that.
Sewell is a bruising, powerful left tackle that moves more like a new-age tight end than an offensive lineman. He’s also polished enough that he likely would’ve been the top tackle in this year’s class too, as an underclassman.
When the Broncos declined to pick up Bolles’ fifth-year option, it made the 2020 season a one-year trial period for the 2017 first-round pick. If he doesn’t finally turn the corner this season, Elway should seriously consider trading up for what should be a franchise left tackle of the same breed as Jason Peters and Walter Jones.
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama, CB
Patrick Surtain isn’t quite Jeff Okudah-level good, but who is? He’s also a picture-perfect example of what Vic Fangio loves in his corners. He’s incredibly long and has great size for a corner at 6’2″ and 203 pounds and as far as physicality is concerned, he’s too physical if anything.
He’s also got excellent quickness, that when paired with his length, allows him to bait quarterbacks into throwing interceptable passes his way.
Considering the Broncos are currently relying on two veterans each coming off the worst seasons of their respective careers as their top two cornerbacks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Denver heavily invest in the defensive backfield next offseason.
Micah Parsons, Penn. St., LB
Some Broncos fans are still upset with John Elway for passing Devin Bush in the 2019 draft, instead opting to trade down to select Noah Fant. Elway could rectify that decision for those fans by selecting Micah Parsons, an even better prospect than Bush, in next year’s draft.
Parsons is the best of both worlds. He has the freakish athleticism for the position that saw Devin White selected fifth overall in that draft by the Buccaneers but he also has the instincts that made Bush a top-10 pick.
With the emergence of Alexander Johnson, inside linebacker isn’t as big of a need for the Broncos as it once was, but they could still use an upgrade on Todd Davis and Parsons would give them one of the best, exciting, young inside linebacker duos in the league.
Samuel Cosmi, Texas, LT
Samuel Cosmi probably would’ve been a top-20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had he decided to come out, but after deciding to return to school to polish his game up, he has an opportunity to become a top-10 pick.
He’s not a freak of nature like Sewell, but he has ideal size, length and athleticism to be a Day 1 blindside protector. His technique needs some work, but that should improve over another year of development.
Even if Bolles hits his stride in 2020, the Broncos could still be in the tackle market depending on how Ja’Wuan James plays, and Cosmi looks like he could play on either side.
Shaun Wade, Ohio State, CB
Like Cosmi, Shaun Wade could’ve been a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but chose to return to school in order to solidify his status as a top-10 pick and get a chance to star in Ohio State’s loaded secondary.
Wade was terrific for the Buckeyes on their route to the College Football Playoffs, but it’s fair to wonder how much he was protected by playing in a secondary with two other first-round corners. Now, as the undisputed top dog, he’ll be tested more.
SHAUN WADE SHOULD BE PLAYING TONIGHT pic.twitter.com/VyWqooN9Xx
— Arrogant Urban Meyer (@ArrogantUrban) January 14, 2020
Like Surtain, Wade doesn’t lack physicality, which he proved on this cornerback blitz that temporarily knocked Trevor Lawrence out of the game. Hits like that are a common occurrence for Wade too, and he had several like it against the rival Wolverines earlier in the season.
Unfortunately, Wade is lacking when it comes to his technique in coverage. There’s nothing that isn’t correctable though, and if he’s able to correct those issues you could easily rank him ahead of Surtain by the time the 2021 draft comes around.