The Broncos’ 2019 season is in the books. After a 4-1 finish to the campaign Denver is now slated to make their first choice at the 15th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. What does that mean for addressing their biggest needs?
To start Draft season off with a bang, I thought it was a good time to go over a scenario. Making the picks with teams 1-14 leave you a chance to evaluate who’s left on the board when Denver finds their way to the podium.
Let’s get started
1. Cincinnati Bengals - QB, Joe Burrow, LSU
The hardest part of draft season is going to be figuring out new ways to write about this pick every week. It would send shock waves around the league if Mike Brown blew this.
With that in mind, did you see Burrow and LSU’s first half against Oklahoma? Maybe we can finally stop this nonsense that every conference needs to make the playoffs.
2. Washington - ED, Chase Young, OSU
Ron Rivera deserves better than Dan Snyder, but at least he’ll have a quarterback in place and a chance to draft the best talent in this upcoming class.
Not only is Chase Young the highest-graded edge rusher in 2019 at 96.7, but he is on pace to be the highest-graded defensive player we have ever seen in the PFF College era. pic.twitter.com/ALAmDcrjmy— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 28, 2019
3. Detroit Lions - CB, Jeffrey Okudah, OSU
Few will be more deflated by Young’s selection than Matt Patricia. Detroit badly needs a legitimate edge rusher and with the Buckeye gone will need to pray someone’s there in the second or third round. That said, his teammate is one heck of a consolation prize.
One of the things that became apparent back when New England moved on from Chandler Jones after 2015 is how they place a higher premium on coverage players than edge rushers. While it remains to be seen if Patricia subscribes to that notion, Okudah looks like the next elite cornerback prospect to come out of Ohio State. He’s long and brings all of the tools to grow into a top tier starter on the boundary in the Lions’ system that calls for a heavy dose of man coverage.
4. New York Giants - OT, Jedrick Wills, Alabama
The smart move for New York would be auctioning off this pick. Already there’s been rumors that Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want up, in addition to the obvious teams in need of quarterbacks. Instead, Dave Gettleman continues to be play checkers.
As far as the actual pick, Jedrick Wills makes a lot of sense for a team looking to address their offensive line. He played right tackle for the Crimson Tide but many believe he can slide over to left tackle. With the Giants he may not need to in the short term if Nate Solder is retained.
Reminder that Gettleman has never traded down and didn't listen to offers for the No. 2 pick in 2018 https://t.co/uohvhLxUDF— Kevin Cole (@KevinColePFF) December 30, 2019
5. Miami Dolphins - QB, Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
If his medicals clear, I fully expect the Southpaw passer to be the apple of Miami’s eye. They’ve been reportedly locked in on him throughout most of their tear down. While questions about his durability may deter them, this looks like the pick unless someone jumps them.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - QB, Justin Herbert, Oregon
Did you listen to Philip Rivers’ post game press conference after
London’s LA’s loss to the Chiefs yesterday? When asked if retirement isn’t an option, he said he plans to play as long as somebody wanted him. It also sounded an awful lot like he knows he’s done with the Bolts.
Philip Rivers speaks to the media following #LACvsKC https://t.co/uJrTNp3QgW— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 29, 2019
7. Carolina Panthers - LT, Andrew Thomas, Georgia
The Panthers are one of the bigger wildcards right now. We don’t yet know who they’re hiring or what the systems will look like on either side of the ball. The way Kyle Allen and Will Grier flailed down the stretch makes it likely that Cam Newton is back on the table, but with a clear out built into his contract it’s no guarantee. Heck, even if he does come back there’s no real idea how close to 100% he’ll ever be again.
With the way the board fell in this scenario, it’d make sense to go best remaining player available. That left me choosing between two tackles, one on both sides of the ball. I went with Andrew Thomas because they were relying on Dennis Daley at the tail end of the year. Not ideal with a 30-year old passer who’s missed 16 games over the last two years.
8. Arizona Cardinals - X, Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Vance Joseph is an easy coach to beat up on, but the truth is Arizona’s defensive coordinator wasn’t given anything close to the tools he’d need to succeed in 2019. Zach Kerr was cut from the Broncos. Jalen Thompson was a fifth round pick in the supplemental draft. Michael Dogbe was a seventh rounder. Joe Walker was playing next to Jordan Hicks after the Cards picked him up off the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. All were starters in the desert by year’s end.
So what do you give to a coordinator who kind of needs a little bit of everything? A player who can do a little bit of everything. No, but seriously. With the way Joseph tends to utilize base personnel more than most, he could get a lot of mileage out of a linebacker-safety backer hybrid.
Isaiah Simmons in unbelievable pic.twitter.com/9o41cmxybv— Tiger Commenter (@TigerCommenter) December 28, 2019
T-9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - QB, Jordan Love, Utah State
I suspect Jameis Winston’s contract demands and the Bucs cap situation will mean a franchise tag situation. That gives them another year to ride it out with the 30-for-30 passer. We’ve also entered into lying season in the last week, so rumors the last couple days that Arians wants up in the draft may not mean anything.
Still, if the 67-year old coach can get ahead of Indy and Oakland for a chance to grab the toolsy passer from Utah State he’d probably jump. Love is going to be a player who’s hype may surprise some in the draft community. He’s been a bit of a roller coaster this past year, but he has the kind of tools someone will fall for. Hard.
With Winston in front of him, he’ll have a chance to sit and learn ‘til a mind-bending interception breaks the last straw.
10. Cleveland Browns - OT, Tristian Wirfs, Iowa
Regardless of who Jimmy Haslam picks as his next victim, Baker Mayfield will need better protection next year.
Here's the video of Tristan Wirfs being an INSANE athlete. Wow. That's 6-foot5 320 pounds. #FREAK @marcmorehouse @ScottDochterman @BruceFeldmanCFB pic.twitter.com/cTQ8WaSt9v— Stuff 'N Things Podcast (@StuffNThingsPod) December 30, 2019
11. New York Jets - WR, Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The Jets look like they’re going to let Robby Anderson walk despite having almost $70 million in cap room. There’s rumors that Gase will look to trade LeVeon Bell at the first opportunity. Minus them, Sam Darnold’s top targets are Jamison Crowder and a 32-year old Demaryius Thomas.
Let’s at least give the 2018 first rounder a chance in year three.
12. Oakland Raiders - DL, Derrick Brown, Auburn
This may feel like a weird fit since the Raiders biggest needs look to be in the back seven on defense and the receiver spots. But year two of the Mike Mayock-Gruden marriage will probably continue an effort to buy talent on the free agent market for the offense and draft the best player they can on defense.
There is little doubt that’s Brown after he slid in this scenario. He’s a destroyer of worlds who would pair with Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrel, and Maurice Hurst to give them one of the scarier four man fronts in football.
13. Indianapolis Colts - WR, CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
If you’ve suffered through my draft stuff all year you’ll know I’m sky high on Lamb. One of the downsides to going 4-1 is how Denver now finds themselves behind the Colts in the draft order. Barring something crazy, Chris Ballard will prioritize upgrading the passing game this offseason.
He takes his eyes off the ball to press his man inside to create space, then reconnects with the ball— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 28, 2019
CeeDee Lamb is outstanding pic.twitter.com/TsXiO6jVZx
T-14. Jacksonville Jaguars - CB, Kristian Fulton, LSU
Another wildcard after a house cleaning. Right now what’s clearest is how the Jaguars will enter the offseason with a really tight budget. That means tough decisions are coming for a slew of veterans. Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell could both be gone if they prioritize resigning Yannick Ngakoue.
The Jalen Ramsey trade and A.J. Bouye’s cap number and creeping age also means cornerback is becoming a bigger need. Enter Fulton who has an enticing blend of size, athleticism, and big game experience.
15. Vote for who you would draft in this scenario Broncos Country!
Who should the Broncos draft?
This poll is closed
S, Grant Delpit, LSU
DL, A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
WR, Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
WR, Tee Higgins, Clemson
CB, Trevon Diggs, Alabama
DL, Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
WR, Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado
OT, Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
DB, Xavier McKinney, Alabama
QB, Jacob Eason, Washington
RB, Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
ED, K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Other (Please Comment)
Your Broncos’ Links
Denver Broncos: It took team effort to secure win over Oakland Raiders - Mile High Report
The Denver Broncos needed the entire team to overcome the Oakland Raiders in their 16-15 win on Sunday. Here’s who get our game balls for the win.
Elway admits that the Broncos have focused more on character the last couple of years than previously.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 30, 2019
Plenty of optimism with how the Denver Broncos finished the 2019 season - Mile High Report
The Denver Broncos finished the 2019 season on a high note as rookie Drew Lock goes 4-1 in his five starts to lift Denver to 7-9 record.
Denver had the league's #1 red zone defense this year with a 39% TD percentage, the best mark for a Denver defense all decade, and the best mark for the entire league since 2017. Only 9 teams have had a sub 40% mark all decade.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) December 30, 2019
An improvement from 58% in the Vance Joseph era.
Denver Broncos have a Drewcember to remember! - Mile High Report
Drew Lock and the Broncos went 4-1 in December to bring hope to Broncos Country for the first time in four years.
John Elway, on how having some stability at QB with a young starter can open up possibilities for building other aspects of the roster over the next few months. pic.twitter.com/KtZ7oqKGTt— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 30, 2019
Denver Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders, the Big Takeaway - Mile High Report
The Broncos’ win over the Raiders was a fitting end to Drewcember in Broncos Country.
Garett Bolles availability is a big selling point to the #Broncos. "He was there. He got off to a slow start but got better and better and better as the year went on," Elway said. Gave credit to Risner for helping him as well.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 30, 2019
I wouldn't count on a first round tackle, gang.
Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller: ‘We’re done with this losing shit’ - Mile High Report
The Broncos finished the season 4-1 after starting it 1-4. It was a hell of a turnaround, and for the first time in years, the team is excited about the future.
Typically the Broncos have gone straight into evaluations of their own players at the end of a season. This year, they're pushing those back a month.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) December 30, 2019
This was suggested by Vic Fangio and John Elway, obviously open to make adjustments, agreed with the move.
Fangio's reasoning: pic.twitter.com/yAWbLvTm2U
Broncos’ celebration after beating the Raiders carried from field to locker room to Twitter - Mile High Report
It was a good way to end a tough season.
Most sacks this decade with 106. @VonMiller is the https://t.co/6k68p3DHoR— Adam Malnati (Mr. Broncos Fan) (@AdamMalnati16) December 30, 2019
Predictions for the New Year: After bizarre finale to Broncos’ season, a look ahead to 2020 – The Athletic
1. Drew Lock is their starting quarterback
2. Joe Flacco is gone
3. They place a nonexclusive franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons
4. Special teams coordinator Tom McMahon is gone
5. Chris Harris Jr. is gone
6. They draft a cornerback in the first round
7. Garett Bolles returns
8. Derek Wolfe stays
9. Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis are gone
10. There won’t be a decision in the ownership dispute
11. They do exercise the contract options for Von Miller and Brandon McManus
12. They do not exercise the contract options for Ron Leary or Todd Davis
13. They place a second-round restricted free-agent tender on Mike Purcell
Is the arrow pointing up for the #Broncos in 2020?— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 30, 2019
-Roughly $70 M in cap room after Flacco & Leary are cut.
-5 picks in the top 100 picks of the NFL Draft.
-Fangio calling shots on D.
-Youngest starting offense by end of '19
-Bradley Chubb returns.
-Oh yeah, and Drew Lock https://t.co/VDaH8HseQK
NFL Draft Links
2020 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller’s Post-Regular-Season Predictions | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
General manager John Elway has received his share of criticism in this space before, so let’s take a second to praise his selections of Drew Lock (4-1 this season), Courtland Sutton (one of the NFL’s best young receivers) and Bradley Chubb, who looks like he’ll be a future star once he returns from a torn ACL in 2020. There’s a foundation here that’s promising; now Elway must add to it.
The offensive line is an area of concern, even after the Broncos drafted Garett Bolles in 2017’s first round and paid Ja’Wuan James in free agency last year. Bolles hasn’t been the answer at left tackle and could be upgraded. That’s where Tristan Wirfs should intrigue Elway.
Much like last year’s second-round pick, Dalton Risner, Wirfs is rock-solid and ready to come into the NFL as a starter at multiple positions. He moves well enough to make a transition from college right tackle to NFL left tackle look possible, and that’s where he would slot in as the Broncos’ protector of Lock for the foreseeable future.
PFF 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys land LSU safety Grant Delpit in the first round | College Football and NFL Draft | PFF
15. DENVER BRONCOS — WR LAVISKA SHENAULT, COLORADO Battling through injuries, Shenault didn’t produce quite like he did in 2018. However, Shenault was in the conversation for the Biletnikoff Award as a true sophomore after hauling in 87 passes for 1,019 yards and breaking 29 tackles in the process.
Which NFL Playoff Team Has the Best Chance to Win the Super Bowl? - The Ringer
The postseason field is finally locked, which means it’s time to handicap all 12 teams and determine which is most (and least) likely to hold up the Lombardi Trophy come February
NFL Black Monday Tracker: Latest news & rumors from around the NFL
Here’s the latest on what PFN Insiders Ben Allbright and Tony Pauline are hearing regarding the staus of NFL head coaches, coordinators, & general managers.
The 10 least consequential athletes of the decade - SBNation.com
Maurice Simpkins was a computer programmer who made some extra cash playing linebacker for the Green Bay Blizzard, an Indoor Football League team. A block up the street, the Packers were plagued by injuries. Desperate to shore up their special teams unit, they signed Simpkins.
Texans with a playoff-low 4.2% chance of making the AFC Championship game, 0.6% of making the Super Bowl, 0.2% of winning the Super Bowl. https://t.co/riXhDOAG62— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) December 30, 2019
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to interview with Browns – ProFootballTalk
Add Brian Daboll’s name to a growing list of candidates for the Browns’ head coaching vacancy. Tom Pelissero of the NFL reports that the Browns requested permission to interview the Bills offensive coordinator.
Adam Gase doesn’t answer when asked if he wants Le’Veon Bell back – ProFootballTalk
Jets coach Adam Gase is declining to say whether he wants running back Le’Veon Bell back on the team in 2020. Gase was asked today whether he wants Bell on his team next year, and he said only that it’s a question for General Manager Joe Douglas.
Dolphins fire Chad O’Shea – ProFootballTalk
The Dolphins won’t be making a head coaching change this offseason, but they are going to be looking for a new offensive coordinator. According to multiple reports, the Dolphins have fired Chad O’Shea.
Big takeaway here is that someone is hiring Josh McDaniels to be their HC and he was planning on plucking Schuplinski (Dolphins QB coach) who was headed to Indy with McDaniels. Miami did what they had to do to keep Schuplinksi. https://t.co/yZQvRXWAoQ— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) December 30, 2019
Cowboys will have no announcement on Jason Garrett’s future today – ProFootballTalk
Cowboys players talked about Jason Garrett as if he no longer is coach of the team. Garrett, though, will remain in his office for at least another day. The Cowboys announced they will have no announcement Monday. Garrett met with Jerry and Stephen Jones earlier in the afternoon.
Dallas fans should quit freaking out over the Jason Garrett thing. They're just trying to let his contract "run out" instead of "firing" him.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 31, 2019
A dignity thing. Garrett is like a son to Jones.
It'll all work itself out in a couple days.
Jerry, Stephen Jones cancel their early-week radio interviews – ProFootballTalk
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and COO Stephen Jones spend plenty of time talking to the media. On Monday and Tuesday, they won’t be. Jerry had a segment scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. He canceled it.
Arians: We can win with QB other than Jameis Winston - NFL.com
”With another quarterback? Oh yeah,” Arians said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.”
‘Everything’s an option’ for Manning but being backup - NFL.com
Eli Manning has likely played his last game for the Giants, but is still mulling over his future in the NFL. However, being a backup again isn’t all that appealing.
McCoy: Panthers would be stupid to let Cam Newton go - NFL.com
The Carolina Panthers are searching for a new head coach and are uncertain about what to with Cam Newton. Several teammates said that it would be a horrible decision to let the MVP quarterback walk away.
The Loss Vegas Raiders.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 30, 2019