Denver Broncos were big winners on day two of the 2021 NFL Draft

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Javonte Williams. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Javonte Williams. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos, Baron Browning
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Baron Browning /

3. Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State

Back in January, doing some scouting for the 2021 NFL Draft, I was watching Ohio State’s Baron Browning and wondering to myself — if Denver Broncos fans like the possibility of Micah Parsons in the first round, why would they not love the possibility of Baron Browning later on at a discounted price?

Just like Parsons in 2018, Browning was the top-ranked linebacker prospect in the country in 2017 coming out of the high school ranks. 247 Sports had Browning as the 11th-best prospect in the country overall, and you saw him utilized in some similar ways at Ohio State as Parsons was at Penn State.

Browning didn’t have the same type of production statistically as Parsons at Penn State, but he certainly has the potential to be as good (or better) in the pros given what we know about Parsons’ off-field question marks.

At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Browning looks a lot like Von Miller physically. Frankly, as a pass rusher, Browning might be one of the more naturally talented guys in the 2021 NFL Draft class.

He got the opportunity to showcase that some at Ohio State, but with the Denver Broncos, he’s going to continue to play a versatile role.

Not only will Browning play special teams (though I don’t think he’ll get a shot at kicker, which he said he would play), but he can be an inside linebacker, matchup player in space, he can drop into zone coverage, he can blitz from the inside, and he can rush the passer off the edge.

This guy is a weapon the Denver Broncos can use even if Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell remain in the starting lineup through 2021.

Just like the other selections in this class, Browning seems to have been drafted at least a round too late. There were some who projected him as a high third-round player, but there was plenty of second-round hype for Browning and because of his athletic upside, there was a time when I thought he’d go in the first round.

The value the Denver Broncos got at every turn on day two was outstanding.

Javonte Williams was a first-round pick in my final mock draft. Quinn Meinerz was a second-round pick to the Rams in my final mock draft. Baron Browning was a second-round pick as well.

To get all of those guys with picks 35, 98, and 105 while also collecting six picks for day three of the draft? Hat’s off to George Paton in his first draft as GM.