Denver Broncos: “Way-Too-Early” Needs for the 2022 NFL Draft
By Noah Smith
The Denver Broncos have concluded the 2021 NFL Draft, and look to have a strong roster entering the NFL Season. However, it’s never too early for Draft Season, right?
Led by George Paton, the Denver Broncos finished their draft of ten players including Alabama star Patrick Surtain II. While many first-time General Managers look back with regret on their first draft, George Paton should feel confident about his haul.
The Broncos added depth throughout the roster for this year, and for the future. Ultimately, the Broncos’ fate will rest in the hands of their quarterback Drew Lock, but the supporting cast around him is one of the best in the NFL.
But what about this time, next year? The 2022 NFL Draft is just under one year away, and it’s never too early to begin planning for Draft Season.
Here are some “Way-Too-Early” needs, and players to fill those needs, for the 2022 NFL Draft:
The Worst-Case Scenario, Picks 1-11
The Scenario: After passing on quarterback Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, Drew Lock enters the 2021 NFL Season as the starter. Lock quickly shows that he has not progressed, despite having the experience and reps under his belt.
Regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Broncos, picking in the top eleven picks would be a major letdown for the franchise. George Paton has had a strong offseason, acquiring talent all across the board. This team is in “Win-Now” mode.
But after five years of unstable quarterback play since Peyton Manning retired, the trend continues for the Broncos as another set of quarterbacks joins the revolving door of failed players. It’s time to look elsewhere for Paton and the front office.
Denver Broncos Needs for this scenario: QB
If the Denver Broncos find themselves picking in the top 10 again, a quarterback must be the pick. George Paton and Vic Fangio have assembled too good of a roster to be held back by subpar quarterback play.
The 2022 NFL Draft does hold some intriguing options at quarterback. While the top end is not as extensive as the 2021 class, there are certainly some names to work with for Paton and Pat Shurmur. Here are a few quarterbacks at the top of the draft who should interest the Denver Broncos:
"Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma- Oklahoma has had a recent history of producing quarterback talent, and Rattler is next in line. Several teams may be “bottoming-out” in 2021 like the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, so Rattler may be off the board by the Broncos’ pick. However, Rattler’s arm talent and experience at Oklahoma would certainly play well with Pat Shurmur."
"Sam Howell, North Carolina- Neck-and-neck with Rattler is Sam Howell from UNC. Howell has shown the ability and comfort in a downfield passing attack at North Carolina, and has pushed himself into the top-tier of quarterbacks in 2022. The question for Howell is can he continue his impressive production without his top two weapons in Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome."
"JT Daniels, Georgia- A former USC starter before transferring to Georgia, Daniels has struggled to see the field due to an ACL injury in 2019, and quarterback competition at Georgia. After finally inserting Daniels into the starting lineup, the Bulldogs finished the season 4-0. Can Daniels boost himself into the top-tier of quarterbacks with a strong 2021 season?"
"Kedon Slovis, USC- After Daniels suffered a season-ending injury, Slovis took over the USC offense and showed out, finishing with 3,502 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, per SportsReference. Slovis didn’t match his strong 2019 performance in 2020, but will enter the 2021 College Football Season with a chance to be a top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft."
The Broncos need to find their guy at quarterback, whether it’s Drew Lock or a trade candidate. If the quarterbacks fail to establish themselves as legitimate options in 2021, look for George Paton to swing the bat on a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft.