Updated Denver Broncos Needs and Draft Targets
By Ian Walsh
After selecting Bradley Chubb with the 5th overall pick, the Broncos still have work to do in the NFL Draft…
The Denver Broncos have seven picks left in the 2018 NFL Draft. What positions and players should they target?
Here’s a quick look at their remaining draft picks:
Day 2, Friday Night
- Round 2, 40th pick
- Round 3, 71st & 99th pick
Day 3, Saturday Afternoon
- Round 4, 106th pick & 113th pick
- Round 5, 149th pick & 160th pick
Current Starter – Connor McGovern
Upgrading the right guard position has been discussed for much of the off-season. After passing on Quenton Nelson in round one, the Broncos are in prime position to land Will Hernandez. Denver may trade up to the top of round two for Hernandez, a powerful run blocker with impressive movement skills for his size.
If the Broncos miss out on Hernandez, the good news is there is a lot of depth on the interior offensive line in the 2018 draft class. Austin Corbett out of Nevada is a possible back up plan to Hernandez and should be available with the 40th overall selection. Other options in later rounds would include Tyrell Crosby, Braden Smith, Wyatt Teller or Alex Cappa.
Current Starter – Devontae Booker
By releasing C.J. Anderson, the Broncos running back depth took a hit. Booker has been an average running back for the Broncos and an upgrade is needed. Despite three running backs being drafted in the first round, a lot of talent is available including Derrius Guice from LSU, my second ranked running back.
In addition to Guice, Ronald Jones and Nick Chubb (Bradley’s second cousin) are interesting options on day two.
Current Starters – Emmanuel Sanders & Demaryius Thomas
While Sanders and Thomas are a good starting duo, the depth at receiver is lacking. The Broncos are currently counting on 2017 3rd round pick Carlos Henderson to contribute as the 3rd receiver. Adding another pass catcher is an option on the 2nd and 3rd days of the draft.
When looking for receiver depth, ability to play on special teams is a big bonus and the Broncos have lacked a consistent threat as a kick returner. Both DJ Chark from LSU and Dante Pettis from Washington have experience returning kicks. Pettis excels as a punt returner, having taken 9 punts back for touchdowns during his college career.
Despite having one of the best pass rushers in Von Miller, the Broncos finished 22nd in the NFL in sacks. Adding Bradley Chubb gives the Broncos the great pass rush duo they have been missing since Demarcus Ware retired. Despite adding Chubb, there are still holes that remain on the Broncos defense.
Current Starters – Chris Harris Jr, Bradley Roby, Tramaine Brock
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In today’s NFL, you can never have enough good defensive backs. The Broncos cornerback depth took a hit with the Aqib Talib trade and they must add to their cornerback group. Previously, the Broncos only used man to man coverage but mixed in more zone coverage last year, so any cornerback targets need to be able to do both.
Three names to keep an eye on are M.J. Stewart, Anthony Averett and J.C. Jackson.
Stewart has experience at both outside corner and in the slot, but his future is as a slot corner. Denver needs a slot corner with Harris playing more outside corner in 2018. Averett brings special teams experience, above average athleticism and a good all-around skill set. Jackson is already a polished zone corner with potential in press-man schemes.
Current Starters – Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis
Losing Corey Nelson hurts the Broncos special teams unit and defense. Nelson was a key contributor on special teams and a solid coverage linebacker. Two names should be high on the Broncos draft board in Malik Jefferson and Fred Warner to fill Nelson’s role.
Jefferson and Warner are both elite athletes as off ball linebackers that can cover running backs and tight ends as well as play on special teams. Eventually, whoever the Broncos select at linebacker will need to step into the starting lineup as Marshall and Davis are only signed for a few more seasons.