Good morning, Broncos Country.
It will be several years down the road until we know whether or not the Denver Broncos struck gold or swung and missed big time in respect to their 2017 NFL Draft class. They entered the draft festivities with ten selections, but after several trades selected eight players to compete for spots on their final roster. On paper, it appears that the team addressed their biggest needs and found a few diamonds in the rough who can contribute immediately as rookies.
But which of the eight players they selected will have the biggest impact for the team in 2017?
I'm highly-intrigued with late-round picks Chad Kelly and De'Angelo Henderson, but due to the depth and other players ahead of them at the position, I'll dismiss them from having any sort of significant impact on the squad this coming season. Additionally, while I think Jake Butt has the potential to be one of the best tight end's from an epic 2017 draft class, I think it would be best for the Broncos to bring him along slowly as he recovers from an ACL injury suffered against the Florida State Seminoles in Michigan's bowl game.
Third-round pick and former Lamar standout Brendan Langley has impressive measurables, but with the amount of talent in the Broncos' No Fly Zone, I don't think we will see him having much of an impact outside sub-packages and special teams duties in 2017. While I'm extremely high on second-round pick DeMarcus Walker, history has proven that rookie defensive lineman don't make much of an impact in their first year. It's certainly possible that Walker, given his pass-rushing prowess and work ethic could buck this trend, but it's unlikely he will be the most productive player from the team's class in year-one.
After crossing off a few players from the list, that would leave Garett Bolles, Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie left to choose from. There's no doubt that if he works hard and performs well in camp, Bolles will likely be the team's opening day starter at left tackle. Former Louisiana Tech product Henderson is poised to earn the team's third receiver position, and should be an impact option in the passing game and offer help at kick returner as well.
However, I think that McKenzie could be the biggest X-Factor for the team this season. Not only was he an impressive return man at the University of Georgia, he also made an impact for the Bulldogs on the offensive side of the ball. It has been a long time since the Broncos had a player with his explosive nature and dynamic ability on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if he had several returns for touchdowns on special teams, as well as being a gadget player offensively seeing snaps at both wide receiver and running back for the Broncos in 2017.
And by the sound of it, he is more than ready to contribute in anyway possible to help the team become contenders. It's that type of team-first mentality that will help him make a name for himself in the NFL and I'm more than excited to see him help resurrect a special teams unit and offense that were beyond tragic in 2016.
Feel free to sound of in the comments section in regard to what rookie you think will have the biggest impact for the team in 2017.
As always, thank you for reading and here is today's offering of Horse Tracks.
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