Denver Broncos: Grading John Elway’s last 5 draft classes

Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports /

Draft Classes – Grading 2019 Broncos draft

The Broncos entered 2019 with a new coaching staff and a clear direction in building a strong foundation for the team. The Broncos had moved on from veterans Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas, leading to a new-look team.

The Broncos were again lined up to choose a new quarterback at the #10 overall selection. However, the team moved back and accumulated more selections. They nabbed a dynamic tight end, a plug-and-play offensive lineman, and a potential quarterback of the future.

Additionally, the team grabbed a potential long-term defensive lineman in Dre’Mont Jones.

Rd 1 – Noah Fant TE – Iowa

Rd 2 – Dalton Risner OL – Kansas State

Rd 2 – Drew Lock QB – Missouri

Rd 3 – Dre’Mont Jones DL – Ohio State

Rd 5 – Justin Hollins Edge/IOL – Oregon

Rd 6 – Juwann Winfree WR – Colorado

Best Pick – Drew Lock

Drew Lock may or may not turn into a long-term solution at quarterback for the Denver Broncos. However, selecting a player that shows promise at the most crucial position in sports in the middle of Round-2 is quite a value selection.

Elway wanted to move to the back of the Round 1 to select Lock and was lucky to select him later in the draft.

Worst Pick – Juwann Winfree

Juwann Winfree has failed to catch on to a team that could have used a WR3/4. Winfree was often injured in his time with the Broncos and was cut before the 2020 season. He landed on another practice squad later but may never maximize his physical capabilities.


John Elway received a lot of criticism for not selecting Devin Bush at the 10th overall selection, but instead trading back and receiving two selections in the 2019 draft (Fant and Lock) along with a 3rd round selection in the 2020 draft.

Adding in the quality play of Dalton Risner (plus his positive impact on Bolles). Jones has shown flashes of brilliance and is a favorite of one of the league’s best defensive line coaches Bill Kollar.

In the end, Lock will make or break this class but it’s not a bad risk for a guy with his talent you picked up at number 42 overall.

Grade – B+

The grade will go up and down based on Lock. If Lock solidifies himself as the “guy” in 2021, this will be an A grade as Fant has all the skills of being an elite tight end in this league and Risner should be with this franchise for many years to come.

Lastly, Elway’s move back netted this team additional ammo to get some big pieces in the 2020 draft class.