The Denver Broncos have had a massive free agency so far in 2023. Almost every free agent coming in has noted that the presence of new head coach Sean Payton has been one of the biggest reasons why they chose to come and play for the Broncos. After addressing so many needs in free agency, what will the Denver Broncos do in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Needless to say, while they could still make some fun additions in free agency, the NFL Draft is going to only add excitement to this revamped Broncos roster. In this mock draft scenario, I traded down from the 67th overall pick to pick no. 75 overall with the Atlanta Falcons, also adding pick no. 110 in the process.
Although I left it at one trade for this scenario, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Broncos start with five picks (as they have right now) and end somewhere closer to eight overall selections after moving around the board. We're taking a look at all seven rounds here, with the Broncos having multiple picks (after this mock trade) in rounds three and four. Here are the picks we are working with in this mock draft scenario:
3rd round: 68th overall
3rd round: 75th overall
4th round: 108th overall
4th round: 110th overall
5th round: 139th overall
6th round: 195th overall
Denver Broncos 2023 mock draft: Sleeper QB late, starting in the trenches
3rd round, 68th overall: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos have an interesting situation going on with the defensive front right now. They obviously added Zach Allen in free agency after adding DJ Jones a year ago. They also drafted both Eyioma Uwazurike and Matt Henningsen last year, but they lost players like Dre'Mont Jones and DeShawn Williams in free agency -- two starters who will need to be replaced.
But what about on the edge? Where does this team stand with someone like Randy Gregory, who signed a big contract in 2022 and missed most of the season? What about 2022 second-round pick Nik Bonitto? I think the Broncos can bank on Baron Browning moving forward but he's going to need to show signs of development as well.
Ultimately, it's just been hard for this team to go wrong with the Ohio State program in recent years. Most of the picks the Broncos have made from this school have worked out well, including guys like Bradley Roby, Dre'Mont Jones, Jonathon Cooper, and Baron Browning. I would even argue that the Jeff Heuerman pick ended up working out okay for a brief time.
Why not dip back into this talent pool with an edge defender who is 6-foot-5 and change, 274 pounds, and has some of the longest arms in this year's class at over 36 inches? Zach Harrison might be the ideal pickup for the Broncos in this range because of his athletic traits and the ability to play multiple different positions on the defensive front. I don't think he would take the place of someone like Bonitto or Browning if those guys end up developing properly, but he could play inside of them as a defensive end and help cause problems for opposing offensive lines.
Edge may not be the Broncos' top need going into the NFL Draft, but my personal philosophy is that you shouldn't be drafting for "need" necessarily in the third round, anyway.