The first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft is just days and hours away from beginning. Soon we will be finding out which prospects will be joining the roster and filling the holes that the roster currently has. Like most years, General Manager John Elway has plugged a decent amount of these holes via Free Agency, but some do remain. So let us take a position by position look at the current needs the Broncos have.
Need: Quarterback of the future/Developmental quarterback
As we know, the Broncos traded a fourth-round selection to the Baltimore Ravens for quarterback, Joe Flacco. This secured their starting quarterback for 2019, but what about beyond? Flacco’s deal has no guaranteed money remaining so he can be easily replaced after this year freeing up plenty of cap with zero dead money penalities.
It is pretty much a guarantee that the Broncos will draft a quarterback during the 2019 NFL Draft, but when is the big question. Will they select a Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock at 10th overall? Plenty of rumors say they like Lock so we shall see. Or will they get a developmental prospect to learn behind Flacco?
If they truly believe in Flacco, they will go the developmental route. If they want to replace Flacco in a year or so, they will take a Lock or Haskins. This likely will be the biggest story-line for the Broncos prior and after the draft.
Need: Depth only
The Broncos are set at running back and should only add depth in the later rounds at he earliest. Phillip Lindsay flourished in 2019 and Royce Freeman should see a bigger workload next season as well. Former fourth-round pick Devontae Booker is a solid third back who can do a little bit of everything for them if needed.
Adding depth and some competition on the back end of this positional group is all they really need to do here.
Need: Depth and competition
Wide receiver isn’t the biggest immediate need for the Broncos, but could be a darkhorse early round pick for the Broncos. Emmanuel Sanders is coming off an achilles injury and is entering his final year of his deal. They do have youngsters Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and Tim Patrick behind him, but depth and competition likely will be added.
You probably won’t see anyone added until day three, but if someone falls to them on day two, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them pull the trigger there.
Need: Starter and depth
This might be the Broncos biggest need entering the draft. They did re-sign Jeff Heuerman, but he’s nothing more than a depth piece really. Jake Butt is recovering from his third ACL tear and really can’t be counted on at this point and Troy Fumagalli is basically a rookie for the Broncos. So a starter/impact player is needed here, especially in this offense.
A T.J. Hockenson is in play for the Broncos in the first-round and I wouldn’t be shocked to see multiple tight ends added during the draft. A move tight end as well as a run blocker could be added. Josh Oliver is a name to watch in the mid-rounds for the Broncos.
Need: Starter at guard or center and depth
The Broncos have four starters set in place right now on paper. Bolles at left tackle, Leary at left guard, McGovern at center or right guard, and James at right tackle. They need to find someone to start at either center or guard and likely will add that person during the draft.
If they trade back, center Garrett Bradbury figures to be play since he is a perfect fit in a zone-blocking offense. Guards Chris Lindstrom and Dalton Risner will be in play as well. Look for the Broncos to add one sometime before day two ends.
Depth is needed because Leary has a long injury history and is coming off an injury as is. So you may need to find two potential starters there. Also, you can never have enough tackle depth and the Broncos are kinda lacking there after losing veteran Billy Turner.
Need: Potential starter at nose tackle and depth
Shelby Harris is currently listed as the Broncos starter at nose tackle, but will they add some size to that position? Vic Fangio’s history says yes. In his past two stops, his defenses have had a big traditional nose tackle in the middle of his defenses. Harris is a very good player, but he is not a big traditional run stuffer. So I would expect them to add a big nose tackle at some-point during the draft.
Big Dexter Lawrence could be play if he remains on the board in the second-round. Another name to watch is Khalen Saunders and Daylon Mack. They are two nose tackle prospects that the Broncos have shown some level of interest in.
I would also keep an eye out for a 5-technique defensive end to be added as well. Harris and Gotsis are entering the final year of their deals and replacement could be added. I’d keep an eye out for Kingsley Keke as a potential mid-round selection for them.
Need: Rotational pass rusher/depth
The past few seasons the Broncos have had an embarrassment of riches at the edge rushing position, but that depth took a bit of hit with Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray leaving via Free Agency. This left 2018 UDFA Jeff Holland as the Broncos lone reserve at this position.
I’d look for them to address this need as early as the third-round of the draft. You can never have enough pass rushers and a rotational edge rusher is a nice luxury to have to spell your starters. The Broncos currently do not have one and I believe they will add one during the draft.
Some names to keep an eye on are Justin Hollins, Ben Banogu, Jalen Jelks, and Maxx Crosby.
Needs: Athletic starter or sub-package piece
Vic Fangio’s defenses routinely feature a pair of athletic linebackers who cover a bunch of space, total a bunch of tackles, stuff the run, and hold their own in coverage. Well, right now they have two solid run defenders in Josey Jewell and Todd Davis, but not an athletic cover guy. This will be something that will be likely added as early as the first-round of the draft.
The first-round names to watch as well known and fan favorites for the Broncos. Those two being the Devin’s. LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush, both of whom figure to be early first-round picks. Unfortunately for the Broncos, White figures to be off the board by the first six picks leaving Bush as their best option at 10th overall. Like the tight end Hockenson, Bush is in play for the Broncos 10th overall pick.
Some other names to watch during day two and three are Mack Wilson, Blake Cashman, Jahlani Tavai, Germaine Pratt, Bobby Okereke, and Terrill Hanks.
Need: Potential starter/depth
The Broncos have a holding out Chris Harris Jr. entering the final year of his deal, newly signed slot corner Bryce Callahan, 2019 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom, and newly signed corner/safety Kareem Jackson at cornerback right now. With Jackson looking to be more of a safety, it opens up a potential starting spot at outside corner.
Isaac Yiadom had his ups and downs as a rookie but could be counted on as a starter for Vic Fangio’s defense. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some early round depth added to compete for that job as well.
Some names to keep an eye on are Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, DeAndre Baker, JoeJuan Williams, Isaiah Johnson, Amani Oruwariye, and Sean Bunting for the Broncos.
Need: Depends on Kareem Jackson
If Kareem Jackson is a safety, then the Broncos are set with Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, and Will Parks are your trio with Dymonte Thomas and Su’a Cravens pushing for a roster spot. However, if Jackson plays more corner, they could add a safety early on to push Parks for that other safety spot.
I originally viewed Jackson as a corner, but it appears he will be the Broncos other starting safety who can be a matchup corner in certain spots. This likely removes safety as a potential early round draft pick for the Broncos.
What is the Broncos biggest draft need during the 2019 NFL Draft?
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