Outside of NFL.com’s Adam Rank, very few people would’ve predicted the Broncos coming out of the gate to drop four straight, including games to the Raiders and the Jaguars.
Each of the Broncos’ next three opponents were 9-7 or better each of the past two seasons and look strong again this year. With an 0-7 start potentially on the horizon, let’s take a look at some players the Broncos could eye with a top-five pick
1. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Cornerback should be the Broncos’ top priority in next year’s draft, and Jeff Okudah is a special talent at the position. With Chris Harris Jr. likely gone after the season, the Broncos should be connected to all the top corners in the class like C.J. Henderson, Bryce Hall and Okudah.
Okudah recently had a breakout game in the College Gameday game of the week against Nebraska, nabbing two interceptions along with two tackles. The two picks tied Okudah for the most in college football this season with three.
Ohio State has produced some of the best prospects at corner we’ve seen in recent years with Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore but Okudah figures to be a better prospect than both. He’s bigger, grittier and a better tackler than Ward, and he doesn’t have the injury concerns Lattimore did coming out.
2. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Two weeks ago, Andrew Thomas would’ve been a no-brainer at the top spot with how badly Garett Bolles was struggling.
After solid performances in back-to-back weeks though, left tackle becomes a less pressing need. That being said, unless Bolles stays on this trajectory for the rest of the season, the Broncos will be in the market for a tackle come April.
Enter Andrew Thomas, the best tackle prospect in years. He would be a great pick, given his rare combination of power, strength, speed and agility, but with Mike Munchak’s coaching, he could become an elite tackle very quickly. He’ll have to imporve in pass protection, but will be among the top-class of run blockers immediately.
3. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Whenever turning on Jerry Jeudy, it’s nearly impossible not to have visions of Odell Beckham Jr. enter one’s head.
Jeudy is a little bigger and a bit faster, and doesn’t have the insane, highlight-reel-grabbing catches that Beckham has, but the two’s playing style is very similar. They are a rare breed of athlete with incredibly polished route-running, making them every corner’s worst nightmare.
Usually, a receiver isn’t worth a top-five pick, but Jeudy is an incredibly special talent, and the Broncos will need another receiver with Emmanuel Sanders an even more likely departure than Harris.
4. Tu’a Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Yes, yes, yes, I know. We haven’t even seen Drew Lock yet, making it unfair to give up on him already, but that doesn’t mean Tagovailoa should be completely out of the picture.
The Broncos should see what Lock has this year, but if they somehow luck into the top overall pick, they should at the very least kick the tires on the Alabama quarterback.
Some will compare Tagovailoa to Russell Wilson, but Baker Mayfield is more accurate. Mayfield’s a little healthier and his arm is a little stronger while Tagovailoa offers more mobility and is less of a distraction off the field. But both rely on their pinpoint accuracy and feathery touch, along with good decision making.
5. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
A.J. Epenesa should also be in consideration, as he’s a very talented that could fill a more dire need, but Grant Delpit is too incredible a player to pass up.
Coming out of a school often referred to as “DBU” for their track record of sending high-end defensive backs to the league, Delpit is the best prospect they’ve had since Patrick Peterson.
Delpit plays like a suped-up Derwin James, which is lofty praise. He has incredible range and speed, allowing him to drop back and cover huge portions of the field, but he can also come down into the box, rush the passer and stop the run. He’d be an upgrade on either Will Parks or Justin Simmons, both of which have contracts expiring at the end of this season.