NFL Draft expert predicts Broncos to make colossal mistake at 12th overall

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Chris McGrath/GettyImages

In his Mock Draft 4.0, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has the Broncos making arguably the worst selection that they could in the first round: a mid-major cornerback. Kiper projects the Broncos selecting Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell, a corner out of the MEAC conference.

To no fault of his own, Quinyon Mitchell would be a brutal selection for the Broncos. More than almost any other team, the Broncos need strong production from value positions by players on rookie contracts. Namely, the Broncos need strong quarterback production next year and need quarterback production and good financial value given their dead cap situation following the release of Russell Wilson.

Kiper projected this selection to the Broncos during an ESPN Sports Center special, in which Kiper revealed his 4.0 mock draft. The most notable quarterback sitting on the board at 12 for the Broncos was Oregon's Bo Nix, who Kiper had going to the Giants in a trade at number 33 overall. On the broadcast, Kiper made no mention of the Broncos eventually taking a quarterback in the later rounds but did mock Michael Penix Jr. to the Rams in an early-2nd-round trade-up scenario.

While Quinyon Mitchell will likely become a strong starting corner in the NFL, he is exactly what the Broncos don't need. The Broncos already have two strong starters at corner next year in Pat Surtain and JaQual McMillian. Beyond the two, the Broncos have 2023 draft pick Riley Moss and former starter Demarri Mathis on their bench. While the Broncos likely need another starting corner, the team thrived with starter Fabian Moreau last season, who they did not sign until August 2nd 2023.

Simply put, the Broncos need to go anywhere else other than corner with the 12th pick overall. If the Broncos were able to move down in the first and acquire a second first in the process, taking a corner in the first might make some sense. However, it's largely unimportant how the second corner would fare in a game where the Broncos quarterback might cap out at 160 passing yards.