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2018 NFL Draft grades: Denver Broncos continue to receive high marks for their picks in Day 2

NCAA Football: Oregon at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

John Elway and the Denver Broncos are hitting it out of the park in the 2018 NFL Draft. By avoiding the kneejerk option of overdrafting at the quarterback position, they have instead stood firm by selecting the best talent at various skill positions.

After killing it with their first pick and receiving plenty of A+ grades from around the NFL for getting Bradley Chubb, the A grades continued to roll in for their Day 2 selections. Here are some of the more prominent grades from the national media. grades

N.C. State edge rusher Bradley Chubb (No. 5 overall), SMU WR Courtland Sutton (No. 40 overall), Oregon RB Royce Freeman (No. 71 overall), Boston College DB Isaac Yiadom (No. 99 overall).

Day 1 grade: A

Day 2 grade: A

Overall grade: A

The skinny: Chubb was the best value on the board for this team. Putting him and Von Miller on the same defense makes them dangerous again, like when DeMarcus Ware and Miller were doing their thing. Case Keenum’s two-year deal took QB out of the equation here, and Paxton Lynch still has an opportunity to grow into a starter. Sutton’s going to be a playmaker at the next level because of his quick feet and size. The Broncos also needed a running back after letting C.J. Anderson go, and found one in Freeman, who looked more explosive later in the 2017 season. He might be getting back to his former self after struggling through injury; if he returns to form, the team got a steal. Trading Aqib Talib meant the Broncos were in need of a corner with length. Yiadom is a good fit. grades

Denver got the new version of Demaryius Thomas by taking SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton with the 40th pick in the draft. Sutton is a big, physical wide out and makes some highlight reel catches. In other words, he’s the type of receiver the Broncos were hoping they had when they drafted Cody Latimer in the second round in 2014.

The Broncos got another weapon on offense in the third round with Oregon running back Royce Freeman. He’s a power back who can carry the load for Denver. He’s a better runner on the edge than you’d think. Most thought he’d be a Day 3 pick, though, because he doesn’t make defenders miss. Cornerback Isaac Yiadom is a nice back of the roster dime player, at worst.

Grade: B+

CBS Sports grades

40. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Grade: B-

I don’t think he runs well enough and some scouts question if he’s tough enough.

71. Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Grade: B+

I like this pick for the Broncos. They need a back and he is a tough runner who will help Case Keenum.

99. Isaac Yiadom, CB, Boston College

Grade: B+

He is a long corner, and they need a replacement for Aqib Talib. Can he hold up playing a lot of man like they do?

Sports Illustrated grades


Today’s NFL requires at least three quality pass-catchers, and Denver had no options behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The Broncos got a sizable WR who can adjust to difficult balls, which is important when playing with Case Keenum, an aggressive but not always precise passer.



C.J. Anderson was cut for financial reasons, and as much as they love him, the Broncos feel that Devontae Booker, needs to share reps with someone. So they drafted a second runner of similar makeup. Simple as that.



It’s hard to know what to make of this one given that Denver invested a third-rounder last year in Brendan Langley. Perhaps GM John Elway believes cornerback is a position that must always have replenished talent and depth.


If I had to agree with just one of these sets of grades, I’d probably go with the last from Sports Illustrated. It is easy to get caught up in the fan excitement of these new players, but if we’re to be realistic the picks of Sutton and Freeman will likely have immediate impacts on the offensive side of the ball in 2018, while Yiadom will likely need a year or so before he will be in the discussion on game days.

Overall, through the first two days of the NFL Draft, I would have to give Elway and his staff a solid A for this draft class. That is significant, because just this week I hammered the Broncos front office for their draft failures over the last five years. My biggest complaint was the fact that Elway seemed to be reactive drafting which led to some questionable reaching at many picks.

In this draft, the word of the day is steal. The Broncos got a steal with the fifth pick in Chubb. They got a steal with the 40th pick in Sutton and again with their 71st pick with Freeman.

How would you grade the Broncos second and third round picks?


How would you grade the Broncos second and third round picks?

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