With the Denver Broncos signing Melvin Gordon in free agency, here is how I believe the team should tackle the draft with another need taken care of.
The Broncos made quite the move in free agency on Friday. The team signed former Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon to help complement Phillip Lindsay. Gordon will be suiting up for the orange and blue for the next two seasons.
So, where do the Broncos go from here? The team has so far acquired a cornerback, backup quarterback, an offensive guard, and a defensive lineman. Add Gordon as one of your running backs and they are just about set.
There are still a couple of needs as the Broncos are still searching for a wideout to complement Courtland Sutton. There are also a few other moves that need to be made. So, how would the draft go for the Broncos? Let us take a look.
As the first round was going on, I started getting a bit concerned. However, the New York Jets made a surprising move by taking an offensive tackle in the first round. That secured at least one of the three projected wide receivers to be taken first. With Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy taken ahead of the Broncos, there was no doubt who the Broncos should take with the 15th overall pick.
CeeDee Lamb was a superstar for the Oklahoma Sooners. He really started to showcase his skills in his final two seasons with Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray and Heisman runner up Jalen Hurts as his quarterbacks.
Lamb is a deep ball threat who can separate from the cornerback and get open. He is also one of the more solid route runners in this draft. A no-brainier with what was on the board.
While the Broncos did tender Todd Davis and have Alexander Johnson in the fold, there is not a lot of depth behind them. The team could also consider other plans for Davis if they can find a player in free agency or the draft.
With the inside linebacker position still in question, that could be a need. And the Broncos found one as Zack Baun dropped to them in the second round.
His ability to stop the run and get to the quarterback makes him quite a force on the defensive side of the ball. He can also drop back in coverage. It ended up working in a contest against Michigan State as he was able to return it for a touchdown.
Having the linebacker position taken care of early will help the Broncos on the defensive side for a long time coming.
With the uncertainty of the Broncos bringing back Derek Wolfe or Shelby Harris, the Broncos look to address the defensive line with this pick. Jordan Elliott can provide that help the Broncos need on the line. He is currently a player who has a lot of promise once he gets adjusted to the NFL level.
As mentioned with the Baun pick, Elliott also can help stop the run. With Jurrell Casey on the defensive line, the Broncos could have a strong defensive line to help against the run and linemen that can get to the quarterback.
The Broncos will need some help on the offensive line. Graham Glasgow will certainly help on the inside of the line, but with the uncertainty of Garett Bolles and the injury history of Ja'Wuan James, the Broncos will need to be prepared.
Isaiah Wilson is another prospect that can be ready for starter status in about a year or two once he gets adjusted to NFL life. But looking at his tape, he can certainly be a starter within a year or two.
Troy Pride Jr.
The final pick in the third round sees the Broncos addressing the cornerback position. With A.J. Bouye in and Chris Harris Jr. moving on to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Broncos are going to need a player who can fill in at the second cornerback position.
Troy Pride Jr. has a knack for breaking up passes and creating turnovers. Whether he is tackling to force a fumble or intercepting passes, Pride Jr. can easily fill in as the cornerback opposite Bouye.
There is some uncertainty about the safety position as well. Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson are the starters without question. Will Parks signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. So, behind the two starters, there is not a lot of depth.
The Broncos traded down in the fourth round to get some more draft capital. And with their only fourth-round pick, they decided to address the position and get Geno Stone from Iowa.
Geno Stone is quite the prospect for the Broncos. He is a sure-fire tackler and his speed can be utilized for safety blitzes. If Denver were to select him, I would be intrigued to see how the Broncos utilize him.
While the Broncos were able to sign Gordon, the Broncos could use this pick to add depth to the running back position. I project that the Broncos will trade Royce Freeman at some point before or during the draft.
That would pave the way for A.J. Dillon to become the third-string running back. He could be a solid contributor to the Broncos offense. He keeps his legs moving even on contact. And it is almost like watching a pinball regarding him bouncing off. Catching out of the backfield will be beneficial to him as well.
The Broncos did acquire Nick Vannett in free agency. However, outside of Noah Fant, there are not a lot of options out there. The acquisition of Vannett could put one of the current tight ends in Denver on notice.
If the Broncos were to use a pick on a tight end, that could put another tight end on notice. Dalton Keene could be a solid option here for the Broncos. This could be a best player available position. He has the ability to catch out of the backfield, which could provide a security blanket for the quarterback.
This is one of the most exciting late-round picks that I am certain that I have ever drafted. Hightower is a player who could play in the slot and get some reps in the return game. While the Broncos do have Diontae Spencer, it would not hurt to have a little competition.
It would be amazing if the Broncos were able to draft Hightower. Having some extra speed on the offense would really help out Drew Lock and evolve the offense.
The move here is most likely going to be for depth purposes. Colton McKivitz could be a diamond in the rough at this stage of the offensive line. He does a solid job blocking in the running game. The Broncos could see some potential there.
If you want a cornerback that can hit hard, force turnovers and is a sure-fire tackling machine, Trajan Bandy is the guy for you. His speed could certainly be utilized for corner blitzes. From the snap, he could get to the quarterback in a matter of seconds.
Having a fast defense can really help. Look no further than Bandy.
There is no secret that Colby Wadman did not have a great year. The numbers speak for themselves. While the Broncos did pick up a punter as part of their futures contracts, it would not hurt to check in on Braden Mann at this point in the draft.
A little over half of his punts in his career went over 50 yards, which is something that Denver could seriously need. Being able to control field position can go a long way. Especially with how many times a Broncos opponent scored touchdowns due to great field position after punts.
If all the needs are met by this time in the draft, I would take a chance on Mann.