Could the Broncos trade a WR for TE help in the 2023 NFL Draft?

Auburn v Georgia
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Do the Denver Broncos have some type of blockbuster trade in mind for the 2023 NFL Draft? Are we completely out of the woods regarding wide receiver trade rumors? As of this moment in time, two weeks before the 2023 NFL Draft, it's hard to say anything is definitive.

As definitive as it sounded when Sean Payton spoke on Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, their status with the team, and on the roster in 2023, it feels like that door for a trade has been left open a crack, if ever so slight. The Broncos have been doing a lot of pre-draft work on the tight ends in this year's draft class, which is very interesting in light of the not-so-flattering response Sean Payton gave when asked about 2022 third-round pick Greg Dulcich.

Are the Broncos plotting behind the scenes to make a deal to move up for a tight end in this year's draft, using one of their top receivers to seal that deal? Maybe. Maybe not. We know that this coaching staff, led by Payton, is planning on running the ball into the ground. They want to play with physicality. They want to wear teams down.

Their free agent acquisitions reflect that. But what about this year's NFL Draft class? The Broncos will almost undoubtedly follow up their free agent pickups with NFL Draft picks that continue to push the same type of agenda forward.

The Broncos brought in two very physical offensive linemen and at big prices. They brought in a big, powerful, physical running back. They brought in a traditional fullback. They brought in a blocking tight end. They basically went out in free agency and told everyone: "We are going to bully you in the trenches."

Why would that not continue in the 2023 NFL Draft? What am I even getting at with this?

What I'm getting at is that I think the tight end position -- specifically someone who can be a true dual-threat at the position as a receiver and blocker -- could be near the top of the Broncos' priority list. Would they be willing to do what it takes to get one of the best tight ends in this class? I wouldn't put it past them.

Since 2011, the New Orleans Saints have traded up in the NFL Draft 16 times. They haven't traded down a single time in that timeframe. That's a pretty staggering ratio, if you ask me. What does it tell us? It tells us that Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis prefer to identify specific guys in the draft rather than sit around and wait for players, or just trade down and accumulate picks.

That's a stark difference in the way general manager George Paton likes to operate, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the NFL Draft, but as it pertains to the tight end position in this year's draft, I think we could see Sean Payton really fall in love with someone like Georgia's Darnell Washington, specifically.

Washington is just a physical marvel at the position and he posted some absolutely silly numbers at this year's Scouting Combine:

Not only is Washington a freak in terms of his size and athleticism, but he's a rare tight end coming from the college ranks who can probably excel as a blocker early on in his NFL career. A lot of the college game is trending toward guys being big receivers, matchup players, similar to what Greg Dulcich is/was coming out of UCLA. Not as many guys are true "throwbacks" at the position like Washington.

And perhaps Sean Payton is seeing how NFL defenses are adjusting to more spread style offenses and he's going to zig while everyone else is zagging. While many NFL teams are building their defenses to defend against those speedy lineups with smaller, quicker defenders, perhaps Payton sees an opportunity to get bigger, stronger, and more physical on offense to combat against the way defenses have been built.

Making a move involving one of the team's top receivers (Jeudy or Sutton) would not be popular, but to add a player at tight end like Darnell Washington could take this offense to new heights.

Next. 7 free agents the Broncos need before the 2023 Draft. dark