The Denver Broncos bolster their secondary in both the NFL Draft and Free Agency

When your division includes the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, you will need guys to help take away their receiving targets consistently.
2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games
2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games / Michael Owens/GettyImages

To the surprise of no one, Patrick Surtain II is still a Denver Bronco. I know there was some chatter in regards to Surtain II being used as a trade-up piece for a quarterback. Luckily for us in Broncos Country, that didn't happen. But, the question that still needs to be answered is who will start opposite of him? 

Denver runs a base 3-4 defense which in simplistic terms means they will have two cornerbacks and two safeties on the field most of the time. The second cornerback spot has been spotty, to say the least, since drafting Surtain II back in 2021. Most thought that position became filled with the 2023 NFL Draft when the Broncos selected Riley Moss out of the University of Iowa. However, he battled injuries this past season so no one truly knows what he will bring to the table at this time.

That brings us to the additions they've made this offseason. They brought in Levi Wallace as a free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as drafted Kris Abrams-Draine out of the University or Missouri. They also signed Quinton Newsome out of the University of Nebraska. Additionally, the Broncos still have Damarri Mathis, Tremon Smith, and Ja'Quan McMillan on the roster as well. 

That gives a total of eight cornerbacks currently with the team. I would highly doubt all eight of them are left on the active 53-man roster come the season's start. So with all of this laid out, who should be the starting cornerback opposite of Surtain II? Well, at the moment I would begin with Levi Wallace. He's a 29-year-old veteran who has been a solid player throughout his career. He should have a leg up in this competition purely from a production standpoint given the other players are either rookies or career backups at this time. 

However, the Broncos still used valuable draft picks to select Riley Moss last year. Given that Wallace's contract was a single-year deal, I could see Moss rotating in consistently and eventually overtaking the starting spot if his production warrants it. I just don't see how the Broncos would immediately give up on a top-100 selection after only one injury-riddled season.