Denver Broncos top 3 biggest needs after blockbuster Bradley Chubb trade

Sep 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos general manager George Paton before the game against the Houston Texans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos general manager George Paton before the game against the Houston Texans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos made arguably the biggest trade at the 2022 NFL trade deadline, sending pass rusher Bradley Chubb and his expiring contract to the Miami Dolphins along with a future late draft pick in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick, 2024 fourth-round pick, and running back Chase Edmonds. It was a massive deal with massive implications for both teams, not just in the 2022 NFL season but beyond as well.

The Broncos readied themselves for a Bradley Chubb trade all the way back in April when they made Nik Bonitto their top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The selection of Bonitto was not exactly made out of necessity — the Broncos had already signed Randy Gregory in free agency as well as moved Baron Browning from off-ball linebacker to the edge position. Once Bonitto entered the fold, it was clear that the clock was ticking on Chubb’s time in Denver.

Although an extension was not impossible, the Broncos couldn’t turn down a first-round pick for their former top-five pick, and they got one of the best values you will ever see at the NFL trade deadline. Only five players in the last 10 years of the NFL have been traded for first-round picks in-season.

So where do the Broncos find themselves now? What are the team’s top needs going into 2023 now that the Chubb trade is said and done?

Denver Broncos top 2023 needs after Bradley Chubb deal

1. Offensive Line

Don’t be surprised if, come time for the 2023 offseason, the Broncos are looking for four new starters along the offensive line. That is assuming that Quinn Meinerz has a starting role locked up for the future. Think about where the Broncos are at right now at each position up front.

Left tackle Garett Bolles has a massive cap number and is recovering from a broken leg. Left guard Dalton Risner is a free agent, and not overly likely to be retained with the way he’s played in the last couple of years. Lloyd Cushenberry III is also hurt right now but he has simply not proven to be starter-worthy going forward. Right tackle has been a revolving door although Billy Turner could be brought back on another one-year deal.

Start scouting offensive tackles for the 2023 NFL Draft, says Benjamin Allbright.

2. Wide Receiver

This will once again not be an overly popular take, but the Denver Broncos have to have receiver near the top of the list in the 2023 offseason. Russell Wilson is your guy at the QB position. You’ve got to do anything and everything to invest in talent around him. As of right now, the projected top five at the position are:

  • Courtland Sutton
  • Tim Patrick
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • KJ Hamler
  • Montrell Washington

On paper, it looks like the Broncos are set at the receiver spot, but on the field, we’ve seen something else entirely. How much are you banking on Patrick after the ACL? Sutton has struggled badly this season with drops and has not been a go-to for Russell Wilson like many thought. Jerry Jeudy has been the team’s best receiver but hasn’t been consistently utilized as such. KJ Hamler seems to be progressing slowly but surely, but will be in a contract year next year.

The hit rate on receivers early in the NFL Draft has been staggering of late, and the depth at the position coming out each year is pretty crazy. This position will be on the list, or should be.

3. Cornerback

The first and perhaps only defensive position that will go on the list of “top needs” going into next offseason is cornerback, and simply because Ronald Darby’s status is in question. The Broncos could look into re-signing Darby at a cheaper rate due to his injury history, but they would need to protect themselves in any case by adding more depth out there.

Damarri Mathis has another nine games to prove he can be a starter going into next season. K’Waun Williams has been fantastic and will be the projected slot once again in 2023. Outside cornerback needs to be addressed given Darby’s ACL injury, and thus this premier position will be one of the Denver Broncos top needs in 2023.