If the Broncos had their first round pick, who would they take?

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The Denver Broncos do not have a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but if they did, who would they take? The 29th overall pick was originally the Denver Broncos' selection, but that now belongs to the New Orleans Saints as it was traded to NO in the deal for Sean Payton.

Denver does not pick until the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, so they'll be sitting around for the first day and a half unless they make a move up into the second round. I would expect that George Paton will work through the draft boards and I could see him moving up or down during the draft.

I don't think Denver will be picking at both 67 and 68, which are their first two selections. Paton has worked the draft boards before and I think he'll do it again.

Anyway, if Denver did have their first-round pick, I actually think their free agency period stays mostly the same. My reasoning here is that we've heard CEO Greg Penner speak and voice his impatient mindset. It's clear that he wants immediate success.

I also think George Paton is fighting for his job this season. After two losing seasons in his two years as a GM, Paton needs this year to be a winning one. With new ownership settled, I'm not so sure Paton makes it to 2024 if the Broncos fail to make the playoffs.

Signing starters in free agency allows teams to fill needs quickly. They are immediate impact players that usually bring improved play to their position. That cannot always be said by draft picks, so I reiterate, even if Denver does have the 29th overall pick, I still see them investing in guys like Ben Powers, Mike McGlinchey, and Zach Allen.

Who would they take with their first round pick if they still had it?

The top positions that I think warrant a first-round pick for Denver would be EDGE, offensive line (probably a center or left tackle), and defensive line.

If we use the PFN Mock Draft Simulator and use the Saints as the de-facto Broncos for purposes of the mock. Players available at 29 when I fire up the mock include EDGE Nolan Smith, tackle Darnell Wright, EDGE BJ Ojulari, and DT Calijah Kancey.

I refreshed and ran the mock again. Available at 29 now are Lukas Van Ness, an EDGE from Iowa, tackle Anton Harrison from Oklahoma, and tackle Dawand Jones from Ohio State.

Honestly, if the Broncos had any of these players available at 29, I'd be ecstatic. I think successful teams in the NFL are built from the inside, out, so prioritizing the defensive and offensive lines is a must. I think the most urgent need is along the EDGE, so I'd be comfortable with drafting Nolan Smith, BJ Ojulari, and Lukas Van Ness from Iowa if they were there at 29 in the real thing.

I also see a strong argument for taking an offensive tackle. Getting younger along the offensive line is smart, so perhaps resetting themselves at left tackle is a smart move.

The Broncos also need to get better at center, so I could see an interior player with this pick.

Furthermore, Denver needs another starter along the defensive line, and I think they need to prioritize the interior pass rush with their final starting defensive line spot.

What do you think? What position would Denver target if they had their first round pick in 2023?

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