Broncos: 5 options to fill Phillip Lindsay’s shoes in 2021

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Najee Harris. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Najee Harris. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos, Najee Harris
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft option Najee Harris. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

3. 2021 NFL Draft: Day 1 types

If the Denver Broncos aren’t plotting to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft for a quarterback, I have a sneaking suspicion they will be players early on for a running back.

Does that mean first-round early?

At this point, who knows? It wouldn’t be shocking, however, as the most successful teams George Paton was part of in Minnesota had a big-time running back prospect leading the offense (Adrian Peterson, Dalvin Cook).

We also know that Pat Shurmur has been involved in selecting running backs very high (Saquon Barkley with the Giants in 2018) recently and the Broncos’ offensive line has taken a substantial couple of steps forward with Mike Munchak as their position coach.

This offense could be primed for a higher draft selection at the running back position, though some are vehemently against a first-round running back on principle.

That’s understandable, given the shelf life of running backs in the NFL is relatively short for the most part.

With that being said, there are three guys in this 2021 NFL Draft class — Alabama’s Najee Harris, Clemson’s Travis Etienne, and North Carolina’s Javonte Williams — who might be worthy of first-round status.

Taking a running back in the first round is rarely if ever “best practice” when it comes to team building and positional value, but some players might be worth the investment.

In particular, Najee Harris seems like a rare breed at the running back position, capable of being a lead ball carrier as well as splitting out and playing any wide receiver role asked of him.

Not only that, but he’s good in pass protection as well. He’s just a smart player overall and is going to make an NFL offense instantly better.

Traditional running backs seem like they are a dime a dozen, but guys like Harris are rare.