Broncos could consider some surprise WRs with their top pick

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver Justin Jefferson #2 of the LSU Tigers reacts to a play during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver Justin Jefferson #2 of the LSU Tigers reacts to a play during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos could consider some surprise wide receivers with their top pick if their board lines up with Daniel Jeremiah’s in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Denver Broncos need playmakers on offense. John Elway has repeatedly emphasized the team’s need to get points on the board and while they can’t literally do that by making moves in the offseason, they have a great opportunity to bring in big-time players with their 2020 NFL Draft picks and free agency cap space.

The last time the Broncos had a quarterback to build around and a need in the offseason to add playmakers at receiver was too long ago for most to remember, but this is a fun position to be in considering the Broncos already have a top playmaker in Courtland Sutton and a young star at tight end in Noah Fant.

We could see some other player emerge besides those two guys in the passing game, namely DaeSean Hamilton in the slot, but the Broncos definitely need to find a way to add a couple of playmakers at receiver in the 2020 offseason, hopefully in the NFL Draft.

This year’s class is so much fun, so talented, and has a diverse set of players all with different strengths and ways they could help the Broncos.

As of right now, I would say it’s at least decently likely the Broncos will be targeting a wide receiver with their first-round selection, and there have been a number of popular candidates there. The three most popular guys in the last few months have been Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama’s duo of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

Most people have determined that Ruggs is the most likely of the three if Lamb and Jeudy are priced out of Denver’s range (which may not end up being the case), but even if all three are gone, are the Broncos out of options?

Maybe not…

Some have suggested Colorado’s Laviska Shenault as an option with that 15th pick, as well as TCU’s speedy Jalen Reagor (son of former Broncos second-round pick Montae Reagor).

If you ask Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network, you might get a different answer completely. This is part of what makes draft season so much fun.

Jeremiah is a former scout and front office personnel man himself, so his scouting opinions and player evaluations are some of the best out there. On his top 50 list, he has five receivers in the top 19, including Lamb, Jeudy, and Ruggs.

The other two may be surprising to some…

Jeremiah lists LSU receiver Justin Jefferson as the 17th-best player in the 2020 class, and Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk as the 19th best player in the class.

This means that if the Broncos were to take one of Jefferson or Aiyuk with their top selection in 2020, at least Daniel Jeremiah would not think it was that big of a reach to do so.

I threw this idea out there on Twitter and most fans came back and felt like the idea of Jefferson or Aiyuk in the first round was way too rich for Denver, which at this point is probably fair. I have been on the Jefferson-is-a-first-rounder train for a while now, but I’m still in the early evaluation period for Aiyuk.

I have seen Aiyuk in more first-round mock draft projections than Jefferson at this point, but it seems like we could start seeing Jefferson a lot more than we have in the past, and perhaps a lot higher.

Maybe the Broncos could trade down a few spots and still manage to grab a wide receiver of their liking, but the idea of a player like Jefferson or Aiyuk in that 15th spot is not completely without merit, at least not according to one of the best talent evaluators in the business.

Jefferson, to me, is kind of the complete package as a receiver right now with his hands, route running abilities, after-the-catch abilities, and his ability to get vertical with good (not great) speed. He may not set the track on fire, but Jefferson can run and most importantly, he catches everything and he’s a natural in space.

Aiyuk is a more explosive athlete with long limbs and better deep speed than Jefferson, but not quite the same well-rounded package at the position. Aiyuk is more athlete than receiver in comparison to Jefferson, but he put some electrifying plays on tape at Arizona State over the past couple of seasons.

Many have been saying that Aiyuk is a better overall prospect than his former teammate N’Keal Harry was last year.

Given the Broncos’ desperate need at receiver, I’m not at all opposed to ideas beyond what has been mostly just the result of The Draft Network’s mock draft machine predictive rankings at this point. It seems like there is a notion that no one besides Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs is worthy of that 15th overall pick but that doesn’t involve enough of an evaluation in my opinion.

Every game I saw this year from Jefferson made me think he was going to be a top-flight receiver in the NFL, even if he wasn’t a Julio Jones type of guy or would be a better value in round two.

We’ve seen crazy things like Courtland Sutton, Dalton Risner, and Drew Lock falling to the second round of the last two draft classes, but the Broncos shouldn’t avoid getting a guy they feel can help them score points on a regular basis if they like him enough.

Next. Broncos get Ruggs in Kiper Jr.'s mock draft. dark

This draft is deep at multiple positions of need for the Broncos, and no position is deeper this year than wide receiver. There are a number of options beyond what have been thrown out there for the last couple of months and it’s time we started exploring them more in-depth.