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Broncos got some difference-makers that can ‘push the team up’ in the AFC West

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Analysts tell Orange & Blue Radio’s Ryan Edwards, Andrew Mason and Steve Atwater that this 2019 class has great potential to move the team forward.

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NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The First & 10 @ 10 crew on Orange and Blue Radio continued today breaking down the Broncos’ draft and had some interesting conversations with two college gurus - Ben Fennell of The Athletic and Chad Reuter of NFL.com.

Both agreed the Broncos drafted some really good players and both were particularly happy with John Elway’s second round - getting Dalton Risner at 41 and then Drew Lock at 42.

“I really like the potential of Drew Lock in Denver,” Fennell said, adding that he’s looking forward to Joe Flacco and Lock competing in training camp - not necessarily for the No. 1 QB position but just for seeing how Lock develops.

“You’re getting a veteran with a fresh scene and new start, and that could really reinvigorate him and get him refocused,” Fennell added. “It will be nice to have that veteran presence.” (Interestingly, Fennell was possibly most excited about the potential of Brett Rypien, a guy he considers a first or second-rounder by QB ability if not for his 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame.)

Reuter also likes having Lock in Denver and doesn’t believe fans should start expecting too much out of him in 2019.

“This is an investment. I wouldn’t be worried in 2019, but in 2020 he needs to show it was a good pick,” Reuter said. “And if it wasn’t, you trade him for picks and it was still a good move.”

When Andrew Mason asked if teams should always overdraft at the quarterback position (something Mase agrees with) until they get their guy, Reuter didn’t hesitate.

“Absolutely. If you don’t have a young QB on your roster in the NFL, you’re really in trouble,” he said. “It was a good pick and a worthwhile investment.”

Both draft gurus were a little perplexed at the Broncos not taking the freaky athletic Devin Bush - and opting to trade down and get the freaky athletic Noah Fant instead plus another pick that resulted in getting Drew Lock (as well as another third-round pick in 2020) - but neither thought it was a bad move.

“It’s a bit puzzling. Certainly had a need at inside linebacker and having explosive playmaker in the middle affects all layers of the defense,” Fennell said, pointing out that both the defensive line and the secondary benefit from linebackers who can chase down the ball carrier.

“But when you have some stout run-stuffers to keep the linebackers free on the second-level, suddenly you don’t need elite players,” he added. “You can plug and play average linebackers. Whether that’s Josey Jewell or Todd Davis - or even Dekoda Watson or Keishawn Bierria - there are quality players there.”

Reuter agreed that the decision not to get Devin Bush may be one the Broncos regret in the future, but “if you pass up one great player and end up getting two really good starters,” then it was likely worth it.

When it came to Dalton Risner, both analysts could not have been happier with the Broncos’ choice to go offensive lineman as their top pick in round two.

“You’ve got to love Risner in Denver,” Reuter said of the Colorado native. “It just makes too much sense.”

For Fennell, Risner is an instant impact player for Denver.

“Any time you have a big nasty mauling offensive lineman that can kind of play a multitude of positions on the offensive line, it just makes roster better, adds attitude to offense. ...It’s just a huge position the offense.”

And everyone knows the woes the Broncos have had recently on offense, and after letting the best offensive lineman go to Carolina via free agency two months ago, Denver needed that guy.

Which might be why Reuter picked the Wiggins native to be the biggest impact player for the Broncos of this 2019 draft class.

“He is just going to be a solid guy who will lead the team from the front,” Reuter said. “You could have the prettiest looking Tesstarosa (Ferrari), but if that engine’s no good, then forget it. It’s not going anywhere. I think he’s the guy that will lead this time for quite a while. I think Lock will be pretty good, but Risner’s the key to that whole thing for me.”

And Reuter definitely believes several of the Broncos new rookies are impact players who could mean the difference in two or three games going Denver’s way this season.

“If Noah Fant can make a catch in a crucial moment that helps win a game, or if Derek Wolfe or Adam Gotsis gets hurt and Dre’mont Jones steps in and makes some plays that helps them hold onto a win, or if Risner steps in and solidifies the line, that can make the difference,” he said. “This group could help them win two to three more games this year, which could push them up in the division.”

Poll

Which 2019 rookie do you think will have the biggest impact on this team in the long-term (not just next season)?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Dalton Risner, OL
    (949 votes)
  • 26%
    Noah Fant, TE
    (614 votes)
  • 24%
    Drew Lock, QB
    (548 votes)
  • 1%
    Dre’mont Jones, DT
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Justin Hollins, EDGE
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Juwaan Winfree, WR
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    Brett Rypien, QB
    (56 votes)
  • 1%
    "Shasta"
    (45 votes)
2281 votes total Vote Now