The Denver Broncos have the San Francisco 49ers’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Based on what we’ve seen, what position should they target first? The 2022 season is showing the Denver Broncos’ front office and scouting department what positions need top priority.
There are two most logical positions that Denver needs to target with their first pick. Knowing George Paton, he may decide to try down from his first-round selection, which originally belonged to the 49ers.
Obviously, this means that the worse the 49ers do, the better the pick is. That is what we should be rooting for, at least. Offensively, you could argue that the Broncos need to get better at every position and should bring someone in.
Defensively the team does not have a ton of needs, in fact, I think they could fill most of what they’d need on defense in free agency. Which positions are most likely to be taken first by the Denver Broncos?
Most likely positions taken first in 2023 draft by Denver Broncos
1. Offensive line
The most likely position that the team will take with their first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft will be the offensive line. The line has regressed a ton this year under first-year offensive line coach Butch Barry, who should have been let go at this point.
Not only that but what we thought was solid depth is actually some subpar depth. Garett Bolles is out for the year; Cam Fleming is injured, Billy Turner left Sunday’s game along with Graham Glasgow, and Lloyd Cushenberry is on IR.
I could argue that the team has two, at most, starters on the line for 2023 in Bolles and second-year guard Quinn Meinerz. Outside of them, I think everyone else could easily be replaced. Taking a tackle prospect would make some sense here, but I also think taking an interior offensive line piece could make more sense as they can usually transition to the NFL quicker than a tackle could.
Either way, Denver needs to bring in some new life along the OL.
2. Wide receiver
There were a few people in Broncos Country including myself and Predominantly Orange Site Expert Sayre Bedinger who said that the team needed to get better and deeper at wide receiver this past offseason.
The room of Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler seemed good on the surface. The first major mistake was George Paton sitting on his hands when Patrick went down in the offseason. His failure to at least attempt to replace his production is noticeable.
Both Jeudy and Hamler were 2020 rookies and both have struggled with inconsistency, drops, injuries, or all three. There was no reason to believe they could be relied on in hindsight.
Now you also have Courtland Sutton having a case of the drops this season. He hasn’t been his normal self but is still putting up respectable numbers. I do think there is a scenario where both Jeudy and Hamler have new homes in the offseason. With Patrick coming off a torn ACL and entering his age-30 season in 2023, he can’t be relied on either until he proves he’s back to himself.
So, Denver is going to need to prioritize the position in free agency and the draft. I personally like DJ Chark and Jakobi Meyers as free agent targets if they hit the market, but I also think trying to find a perhaps more consistent and less injured version of Jerry Jeudy in the draft is a smart idea.
I think the secondary is a big need as well heading into the offseason, actually. I was tempted to put defensive line here, but secondary sticks out to me for a few reasons:
- Kareem Jackson is old and has lost a step, he isn’t going to be with the team in 2023
- Justin Simmons is all of a sudden getting injured and turns 30 in 2023
- Ronald Darby turns 30 in 2023 and will have played just 16/34 games in Denver
- K’Waun Williams turns 32 this summer
The secondary is old and banged up. Patrick Surtain II, Simmons, Darby, and Williams have all gotten hurt this year. It needs some love and I think taking a cornerback with their first selection could be a good idea.
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Perhaps Damarri Mathis turns into something. He seems rather solid. However, is Denver going to be comfortable with Darby off a torn ACL and a 32-year-old K’Waun Williams? I think there is a clear path to add a high draft pick here.