With the NFL draft just around the corner, here are some do’s and don’ts for the Denver Broncos come the 20th overall pick.
Talent over need:
In arguably one of the deepest and most talented drafts in NFL history, the Broncos are in dire need on the offensive line. That being said, if the best linemen are taken off the board, why not look to the multitude of talent in all areas and take the best available. Moreover, the signings of Menelik Watson and Ronald Leary have significantly upgraded Denver’s line. Nevertheless, a left tackle capable of becoming a franchise cornerstone is most likely where the Broncos will look in the first round.
In 2016, Denver ranked 27th in total offense, 21st in passing, and 27th in rushing, justifying the notion of quarterback Trevor Siemian in need of more weapons. Though with a potentially formidable one-two punch in the backfield with veteran C.J. Anderson and second-year back DeVontae Booker, venturing out on a limb for a running back may not be a bad idea in the long run, while Dalvin Cook and/or Christian McCaffrey may be available. Both are highly versatile, possessing speed and finesse, coupled with the essential pass-catching ability required of a modern day running back. Though Cook is more of a power back, McCaffrey could be lethal in the return game, following his father and former Bronco wideout Ed’s footsteps into the Mile High City, stealing headlines as the draft’s feel good story.
When it comes to the receiving game, Siemian has only so much to work with after star wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, with virtually little to no help in the slot and devoid at tight end. Projected in many mock drafts to be a top ten pick, it may be in Denver’s best interest to be aggressive and trade for former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who will make an immediate impact, adding hight and physicality at 6’6″ 242lbs. Wideouts are an entirely different story, in that the plethora available gives Denver the opportunity to address that need in later rounds. Having said that, names such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, Malachi Dupre, ArDarius Stewart, and even Dede Westbrook come to mind with the idea of a steal.
Build on an elite defense:
There is a reason for the Broncos secondary to have been deemed the “No Fly Zone”, as the NFL’s best against the pass in 2016 is in need of no help on draft night. Although placing fourth in total defense, the line has regressed, ranking 28th against the rush, thus exposing the losses and value of former defensive tackles Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams. Linebacker also lacks depth, as the Broncos could look for help on the inside, while Shane Ray is likely to take the place of DeMarcus Ware. To pair alongside Brandon Marshall, Denver should be on the lookout for a linebacker in round two at the latest, possibly snagging sleeper Haason Reddick or Jarrad Davis.
Plenty of teams will be looking to trade down, especially the Cleveland Browns who possess the first overall pick as well as the 12th from the Philadelphia Eagles, are always a wild card as it pertains to trades. Let’s also not forget about the New York Jets at six, in the midst of a rebuilding stage, exploring each and every possibility. Led by executive vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway , the Broncos are about winning now, having won their third Super Bowl two years ago, looking to regain control of the AFC West, ultimately setting the stage for a run at their fourth championship. Trading up will only act as a plus for Denver, as they have plenty of pieces to play with if entertaining the idea of a draft day trade.
Reach for a quarterback:
Trevor Siemian and backup Paxton Lynch are well aware of the battle to come in training camp, but may be in for a surprise if the Broncos select a quarterback late. There is no true standout in this year’s draft, though Denver could take a chance in hopes of increasing competition. Joshua Dobbs out of Tennessee brings mobility while former Ole Miss Rebel Chad Kelly brings arm strength. Other than for the reasons mentioned above, there is no need whatsoever to reach at any time.
Think too far into the future:
Although missing the playoffs and finishing third in the division at 9-7, the AFC West is by far the league’s most competitive. If put into perspective, the Broncos would be contenders in most, especially the AFC South. Win now should be the idea in the war room, as this draft is about adding requisite pieces and depth to a team in position to chase another title.
The Denver Broncos are a strong and valuable franchise, having established a winning culture on and off the field, led by a renowned staff, giving those throughout the Mile High City a reason to look forward year after year. Whether it be Bradley Roby, Trevor Siemian, Shane Ray, and most notably, the best pass rusher in the game that is Von Miller, Denver’s draft history puts forth a record that should only increase on April 27th.
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