The 2019 NFL Draft concluded this past weekend and the Broncos filled some of their biggest remaining needs during this period. They found their potential starting tight end, their potential starting right guard, their potential quarterback of the future, an interior pass rusher, some edge rusher depth and wide receiving competition. However, they still do have some remaining needs that will likely be addressed before the start of Training Camp.
1: Inside Linebacker
The Broncos nearly drafted Michigan’s Devin Bush at 10th overall, but the Steelers offered them a deal they just couldn’t pass up. Many assumed they would address this need in the remaining rounds, but they did not. They did draft Oregon’s Justin Hollins who is mainly an edge rusher, but he could see some time at inside linebacker. However, he doesn’t seem like an immediate answer to that need right now regardless. This leaves us with New York Jets inside linebacker, Darron Lee.
The Jets would love to trade Darron Lee. The problem? The rest of the NFL knows it https://t.co/qV0L8ogig5— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) April 30, 2019
Lee has been on the market since the start of free agency but has yet to be traded. This likely means the Jets have been asking for too much in return for the former 20th overall selection. However, with the draft now here and gone and the Jets drafting another inside linebacker(Blake Cashman), Lee’s asking price is likely dropping.
This is where the Broncos should swoop in. Lee is an athletic linebacker who could live up to his potential in Vic Fangio’s defense. He fits what Fangio looks for in a linebacker, he has turned career’s around in the past, and a change of scenery is likely best for Lee.
Through three NFL seasons, Lee has totaled 238 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 3 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, 4 sacks, and 11 quarterback hits. This past season, Lee totaled 74 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 5 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions.
The Broncos have been rumored to be interested and I can imagine they still have interest in Lee.
Another name to keep an eye on is former Washington linebacker, Zach Brown. He is one of the better remaining NFL Free Agents and could be an instant upgrade for the Broncos while also being a good scheme fit.
2: Nose Tackle
It is possible that Shelby Harris could be the Broncos full-time nose tackle, but I imagine Fangio will want to add a more traditional nose tackle to his defensive line rotation.
This is where veteran Domata Peko could come in play, Back pre-Free Agency, it was reported that the Broncos would seek to find Peko’s replacement. However, we are here on May 1st and the Broncos really haven’t signed anyone to fill that role. Those reports back then also didn’t close the door on a potential re-signing and that door remains open as well.
Peko became a bit of a defensive leader for the Broncos these past two seasons and would likely be welcomed back into that locker room. I also imagine Head Coach Vic Fangio would love to have someone like Peko in the middle of his defense as well.
Another name to watch is former first-round pick. Danny Shelton. He is a big two-down run stuffer/blocker eater who could fill that role as well.
3: Offensive Tackle depth
The Broncos signed Ja’Wuan James to a mega-deal this offseason to fill their right tackle need. However, they lost swing tackle Billy Turner to free agency when he signed with the Green Bay Packers. This left the Broncos without a swing tackle and they have yet to fill this role.
Currently, the Broncos tackle depth consists of Elijah Wilkinson, a couple UDFA’s, and probably second-round pick Dalton Risner. I have confidence that Risner and Wilkinson could hold their own there, but Risner is starting and Wilkinson is likely your top interior backup. They need a reliable veteran swing tackle who can start at either tackle position in a pinch.
Some of the top remaining tackles on the market include Jermey Parnell, Donald Penn, Jared Veldheer, Joe Barksdale, and Chris Clark.