5 Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Draft predictions: Finding value
5. Broncos will come away with 3 guys who can factor in as possible starters
This might be my "boldest" prediction of all. I think the Broncos, armed with only five selections right now, will ultimately come away with three selections who will be able to contribute in the starting lineup as soon as 2023.
That's a lofty and optimistic idea, but I think the team has set itself up to land some significant contributors with this particular class. What position groups would have the best groups of "starting" or playing substantial snaps in 2023?
- Tight End
- Offensive line
- Running back
I think if the Broncos use three of their five picks on any combination of those position groups, we could realistically see a trio of rookies playing starter snaps for the team in 2023, even if they are not a starter in title.
We've already talked about the team prioritizing tight end relatively early, but what about the other positions.
At cornerback, the starter opposite Pat Surtain II is 2022 fourth-round pick Damarri Mathis. Is that an issue? No, not based on what we saw from Mathis as a rookie in 2022. But the depth behind him is non-existent. A corner drafted with one of the team's top three picks would have a real shot to play a lot this coming season.
On the offensive line, the Broncos have a question mark at their starting center spot with former third-round pick Lloyd Cushenberry III. There are a few people who feel like a variety of interior linemen in this class could come in and start immediately over Cushenberry.
The same could potentially be said if the team goes after a swing tackle with one of those top three picks. What happens if Garett Bolles goes down with an injury again? Who is this team's primary backup guard? If the Broncos could land an offensive lineman with multi-position versatility, that guy could end up playing quite a bit in 2023.
And the running back position might be one of the clearest paths to immediate playing time on this roster currently. Sean Payton wants to establish the run, but do the Broncos have the horses in the stable? Samaje Perine was added in free agency, but Javonte Williams is still recovering from a serious knee injury.
Whoever the Broncos draft at RB, and I think they will absolutely draft one, should be a factor for the team in 2023.