The Denver Broncos are in a unique position heading into the NFL Draft. After wandering the wasteland of quarterback purgatory for a few seasons, the Broncos suddenly find themselves in a position they haven’t been in for some time: owning no first-round picks and owning a franchise quarterback. legit.
Any team or fan base with any semblance of an understanding of the value of a great quarterback game in today’s NFL would hand out draft capital for an infallible franchise quarterback like Russell Wilson almost every time. However, the trade of pick 9 and pick 40 overall, as well as Denver’s 2023 first- and second-round picks, puts general manager George Paton in a tough spot: finding young players at controlled costs.
Given Wilson’s impending mega-contract extension, it’s extremely important to find these cheap players with an advantage at positions in the draft where there is a strong correlation leading to NFL success.
NFL NetworkThe James Palmer insider recently said on a show that while the Broncos feel pretty good about their current roster, Paton is indeed building scenarios in order to advance into the second round of the draft by targeting the rusher, cornerback and offensive tackle. .
“(Paton) doesn’t expect to get the Broncos in the first round at all. Their first pick is pick 64, but they have nine picks and five picks in the first four rounds. You can see some movement, though, to my knowledge from George Paton, as the Broncos, along with many other teams, think you can always find yourself a tackle early in the second round. It’s a position you could potentially see Denver progress to the first part of the second round, because you know the tackle is a need for them. They have Billy Turner who knows Nathaniel Hackett’s system well. But they need help to help Russell Wilson.
While the consensus top six offensive tackle prospects may drop out of the board in the top 32 draft picks, leaving Denver with no worthy hope of using multiple picks to move up the board and select, there’s a chance some of the level -2 and 3 tackles such as Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan or Tyler Smith of Tulsa could slip within striking distance leading the Broncos to move to select the hot commodity.
As Paton said in his pre-draft press conference, the team believe there are several quality tackles in the first round and early in the second round. It would make sense that if Denver really relished a split, the Broncos could be aggressive in stepping up and grabbing him rather than risk waiting until Day 3 for the next wave of draftable talent. If tackles fly off the board, could the Broncos still look to move to the edge or corner? Palmer responds.
“The corner is definitely in play in those picks they have, two third-round picks and pick 64, that’s one place they could get some cornerback depth. And I mention depth because they believe they have a very strong roster now that they’ve put the last piece in their mind in Russell Wilson. They’re not going to reach, they’re going to try to take the best player available as best they can, but keep an eye out for George Paton potentially moving in the second round to tackle a potential target on that offensive line.
Scroll to continue
“(Paton) also thinks the edge rusher is very deep. Recall that Bradley Chubb, their former fifth-overall first-round pick, is entering the final year of his contract. They would like to keep him there long-term, even though he has struggled with injuries. They just got Randy Gregory. They would also like to deepen the pass rush point. So look for them not to reach them by all means (but to target the edge). They also don’t believe they are looking for guys who need to play right away. That’s the depth I’m talking about, they’re comfortable getting the best player even if he’s not ready for the NFL right away.
It looks like the Broncos could bide their time and drop cornerbacks and edge rushers at picks 64, 75 and 96 rather than trade for an offensive tackle simply because there are more quality options at those positions. in this draft. classroom. However, don’t think Paton wouldn’t trade if the cost was acceptable.
The Broncos are in a very strong position to enter the 2022 draft despite not having a pick until the 64 draft. Denver won’t at least think about advancing to the second round.
If an offensive tackle, rusher, or cornerback that the Broncos deem valuable begins to slip, and given how much harder it is to find quality players at those specific positions, the more a team drafts the position at Starting in the first round, don’t be surprised to see Denver move up the roster to select a player they believe can’t be found later in the draft given the historical context of the draft.
There are always outliers for anything. The Patriots found Tom Brady in the sixth round. Denver has found exceptional point and cornerback talent in the undrafted group, bringing in Shaquil Barrett and Chris Harris, Jr. Smart teams know that finding positions as quarterback, point guard, cornerback and offensive tackle after the first 40 draft picks is historically unlikely.
Measurables like body types and athletic testing are directly tied to success at those specific positions, so it’s no surprise that most draft hopefuls who go on to become strong starters in the league are picked up quickly. Positions where athleticism and physical “traits” are secondary to instincts, intelligence and toughness such as linebacker, safety and center, may be drafted later.
The Broncos are in dire need of depth at the three value positions of rusher, cornerback and offensive tackle with possible huge holes on the roster in those places for 2023, so it would make sense that if the team sees a player he identifies with the rare combination of body type and athleticism, Paton could pounce. So the Broncos could leverage some of their draft capital to go up and pick a player they know they have an astronomical chance of finding later in the draft.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickKendellMHH.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on Youtube for daily live Broncos podcasts!