7 free agents the Denver Broncos need before the 2023 NFL Draft

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1. Denver Broncos should sign RB Ezekiel Elliott

Alright, let's start off with a hot take, because why not? The Denver Broncos should consider signing Ezekiel Elliott if he's open to the idea, and the reasoning here is multiple.

First of all, I think it can't be overstated at this point that Javonte Williams' health and readiness for the 2023 NFL season should be considered one of the major question marks of this roster right now. The Broncos went out and prioritized running back in free agency by signing former Bengals backup Samaje Perine, who will eventually pair quite nicely with Javonte Williams.

Perine is a capable three-down back. He's going to be an upgrade to the Denver Broncos over what Melvin Gordon was to start last season, there's no question about it. But what if Javonte Williams is not healthy to start the year? Of course, there's still the 2023 NFL Draft where the Broncos could add someone, but at best they will be adding a third-round pick to the position group.

It's not out of the question to think a third-round player could play a substantial role this coming season. Or even an undrafted player at this position group. How many backs have we seen in recent years, including undrafted Phillip Lindsay in 2018, seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco last season in Kansas City, sixth-round pick Tyler Allgeier in Atlanta last season -- how many guys could we throw out there who have played big roles as rookies, even as late-round picks?

At this position, the list is long.

However, I don't think there's any harm in the Broncos bringing in an accomplished back like Ezekiel Elliott, especially after the debacle we saw at this position last year. Not that you can afford to approach every position group in a "worst case scenario" kind of mindset, but at running back, you sort of have to.

What happens if Javonte Williams isn't ready for the start of the season and opens up on the PUP or IR? What happens if Williams opens up the year on IR and then something happens to Samaje Perine? Sean Payton wants to put an emphasis on running the ball, and he's going to need the horses in the stable to get that done.

Elliott is coming off of a year in which he had the fewest touches of his NFL career to this point at 248. He's still taking on a very heavy workload, but perhaps a change of scenery and the committee approach Sean Payton wants to see come to life in Denver will be good for Zeke. He might even be able to rehab his overall value by playing in this offense. Although he's taken on a ton of work in his NFL career, Elliott is shockingly only going to be 28 this coming season.

This is a one-year investment I would love to see the Broncos try to make, giving themselves a running back room of Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Ezekiel Elliott, and a rookie to give teams fits and dominate on the ground all season.