The 2021 NFL Draft brought its fair share of highs and lows for the Denver Broncos. First-time general manager George Paton managed to get great value for his picks. But there was a brief time where the news of a trade for Aaron Rodgers dominated the feelings of all Broncos fans.
With the ninth pick in the draft, Paton selected Patrick Surtain II. The cornerback represents great value and is arguably the most NFL-ready talent in the NFL. His exceptional football IQ, combined with his impressive ball skills is enough to get any defensive coordinator excited about his potential.
There were also some great picks in the later rounds; picking up Baron Browning with the last pick of the third round and Jamar Johnson with the 164th pick represent great additions to the defense. The two could also feature on a special teams unit that has struggled in large stretches over the last few years.
Despite the qualities of Patrick Surtain, and the acquisition of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater many have questioned the decision to pass up on Justin Fields. Whether that decision will come back to bite Paton is yet to be seen, especially with the decision on Aaron Rodgers not expected until the start of June at the earliest.
Elsewhere in the draft, they picked up offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz. The DIII interior lineman out of Wisconsin-Whitewater could help to add depth across the guard and center positions. However, there will be questions around that right tackle position, with Ja’Wuan James returning from a year out, there are concerns over the level of play he will bring.
The addition of Browning to the linebacker room is a shrewd move. The Broncos match up with Darren Waller and Travis Kelce at the tight end position twice a year and have needed some extra athleticism in the middle of the field for a few years now. It is hard to keep up with the Chiefs at the best of times and especially when Travis Kelce is allowed to run roughshod.
As the dust settles on draft weekend, Paton can be pleased with the work he has put in. But that has not left the Broncos without a few holes to fill.
Here are the positions they will need to address.