With the NFL draft just around the corner, plenty of fans are speculating on who their team could take in the first round. There’s an abundance of talent in that first round and, as a Denver Broncos fan, I’ve got my eye on a few.
Denver have some serious needs, but these are the three I think they could address in the first round.
At the moment, the Broncos don’t have an abundance of talent in the receiver positions. In 2019, Courtland Sutton enjoyed something of a breakout season but could do with a partner to help him out.
A feature of the Denver offence during the Peyton Manning years was the two top quality receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. At the moment, depth in that position is weak with only Daesean Hamilton and Tim Patrick as backup.
In 2019, Emmanuel Sanders had the second most receptions of any Broncos receiver with 30, and he was traded to the 49ers after seven games. Meanwhile, Hamilton had just 28 total receptions for an average of 10.6 yards and just one touchdown.
In the first round of the draft, it’s expected that we should see at least three receivers off the board. Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy are all set to be top 15 picks, but will Denver make a move?
Given that the Raiders, Jets and 49ers are directly ahead of Denver and all need a wide receiver, it’s possible they could miss out on one of the top three talents.
As a result, they may need to trade up a few spots to take a receiver in the first – this week, Bleacher Report had reported they were looking to trade with the Browns and move up to 10.
Personally, I think Denver will be able to stay at 15 and take a receiver. I can see one of Ruggs or Jeudy falling to Denver at 15 and, if that does happen, Denver will surely go for it. If not, they’ll address something else and take somebody like Laviska Shenault Jr later on.
The defensive back positions are something that Denver really could do with addressing at some point in this draft. Justin Simmons currently tagged and more talent in that area is necessary.
Simmons enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 and was awarded a PFF Overall Grade of 90.8, second overall of all NFL safeties with 300+ snaps in 2019. The problem is, there’s not much help in that secondary for Simmons at the moment.
Will Parks has left to join up with the Eagles and Trey Marshall played just two games in 2019, so a first round pick on a Safety could be a good call. There are two very good options expected to go in the first round too.
Alabama’s Xavier McKinney and LSU’s Grant Delpit both look like very good options and would both be a great pick for the Broncos.
Personally, if John Elway and the team do decide to go for a Safety, I think they’ll trade back to do it. I can see somebody like the Eagles, who need a receiver, offering Denver a trade to get that 15 spot and thus give themselves a shot at picking up one of the top three.
That would put the Broncos at 21 and, in my opinion, in prime position to take either McKinney or Delpit. For now though, tying up a new deal for Simmons must be the priority.
The O-line has been a much talked about position of need for the Broncos with many fans unhappy at the performance of left tackle Garrett Bolles in 2019.
There has been talk this week of Elijah Wilkinson, who is primarily a guard, being moved to the tackle position to directly compete with Bolles for the starting spot – despite the fact he’s never really played in that position.
As a result, the Broncos could opt to strengthen the o-line in the draft. The obvious choice at 15 looks to be Josh Jones, a left tackle out of Houston with a very high ceiling.
If the Broncos miss out on Jones, they could opt to take Austin Jackson, a left tackle out of USC with a lot of talent, albeit very raw. He has the talent, but may need to sit during his rookie season – which would allow Bolles to have one final make or break year.
By my estimations, Josh Jones will still be there at 15 so, if Denver do decide O-line is the positional need they want to fill, they should be able to pick up a very good option without the need to trade.
Author prediction for Broncos first pick
Personally, I see the Broncos taking Henry Ruggs III at 15. I think the Jets take CeeDee Lamb at 11, the Raiders take Jerry Jeudy at 12 and the 49ers address either their O-line or D-line at 13.
Then, with the Bucs at 14, they need to primarily focus on defence so I can see them taking a linebacker – someone like Kenneth Murray or Isaiah Simmons, if by some miracle he’s still there.
That means Ruggs falls to Denver at 15 and sets the team up with a tasty looking receiving corp going into 2020. I’d be very pleased with that on a personal level.