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3&Out with Justen Gammel: Can the Broncos find long term solutions in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Regardless of free agency, this Broncos’ roster needs some young talent. Can the draft provide it?

With the Broncos season speeding towards it’s finish with no playoffs in sight, it’s time to keep an eye on 2021. Thanks to some savvy cap management that included a couple of gambles on veterans from other locales, Elway has the Broncos in position to go a number of ways this offseason. Regardless of the direction, it looks like the roster has some serious long term needs. With that in mind, I reached out to Draft Brawl’s Justen Gammel to get his thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft class.

1st and 10

The Broncos are playing out the string with a rookie third rounder and two players who have logged snaps with two franchises this season. Even if A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan return next year, cornerback looks like a big need for the long haul.

Is this class a good one for Fangio to find a boundary corner? Who stands out to you?

Gammel: Derion Kendrick is young at the position after switching from WR, but he’s got phenomenal feet and easy hips to stay in phase with any receiver on any route. His long speed is excellent as well. Very reminiscent of Jaire Alexander. If the Broncos want some size and competitiveness, Jaycee Horn isn’t the fastest corner, but he’s physical and mean and loves being challenged. He’s a little grabby because he knows he’s not the fastest but he and Josh Jobe from Alabama play the CB position like bulldogs and would be fun to see in orange and blue

What do you think of their tackling?

Gammel: Kendrick isn’t the most ferocious tackler. He’ll get in the way but he’s not lighting anyone up. Same with Horn. He’ll drag down a receiver after a catch, but when the play is coming his way he does his best to not sacrifice his body. Jobe is the best tackler in the class and like former Bama great Marlon Humphrey, he will straight up depants anyone with the ball in their hands. A safety playing CB.

2nd and 8

Last year the Broncos showed a ton of interest in linebackers with strengths in coverage, even going as far as to almost trade up for Patrick Queen. Josey Jewell has played better than hoped and I know Justin Strnad got hurt, but it looks like that may become a priority.

Micah Parsons is the big name, but who else stands out that could thrive next to Alexander Johnson?

Gammel: Parsons is the big name, but he’s unusually raw at the position for a guy you’ll likely have to take so high. He’s new to off ball, and he doesn’t take on blocks well, or cover. Baron Browning was a top HS recruit coming out, and will likely run in the 4.4’s at 6-3, 240 and has covered slots and TE’s in man to man. He also has pass rush value. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him go top 10 when all is said and done. I know, that’s a hot take right now. Dylan Moses has been miscast at MIKE for Alabama, but he’s still a freaky athlete who can run and has flashes in coverage. Nick Bolton from Missouri is undersized but he’s very much a Devin Bush ‘hair on fire’ type at LB. Sleeper is Quay Walker from UGA. Big guy who pops all over tape. Runs with the best of them and hits everything. Also is really underrated in coverage. Georgia subs bodies so much that he’s overlooked.

3rd and 4

Drew Lock’s been a lightning rod debate all season. The 2019 2nd round pick looks like he’ll finish with 18 games played over his NFL career by the end of the year. He’s missed time due to injuries in each of the last two years. Brett Rypien, Jeff Driskel, Blake Bortles, and presumably Kendall Hinton are behind him on the depth chart.

I know it’s really early to project, but if the Broncos elect to chase a QB in the draft to start or compete in the room, who stands out that could be available on each day?

Gammel: The Broncos are in a tough spot if they want to draft a QB. Lawrence, Wilson and Fields will all likely be gone when they pick. They could maybe roll the dice with Trey Lance, but he’s the epitome of athletic project at QB. I’m not sure he fits the current Denver offensive philosophy but I could be wrong. Mac Jones is a great player but top 15 feels a little early for him and he needs more OL help than Denver has to give him. Slim pickens day 1 for Denver.

If Davis Mills from Stanford declares early, he’s worth the round one pick, it would just be a tough sell to Elway because Mills hasn’t been a super hyped up guy due to injury and lack of starts at Stanford. But he’s a big smart guy with arm talent and he’s a Stanford alum so... Elway may dig that?

Day 2 Desmond Ridder feels like someone who would be intriguing. Big athlete with a big arm and he’s more than capable of extending plays and making highlight reel throws. He’s just a raw passer and needs time learning the nuances of the position.

Day 3 I’d target Sean Clifford from Penn St or Jamie Newman from UGA (technically). Both have nice tools and have flashed at times, but really didn’t have the college careers anyone hoped or expected.

4th and inches

For my own sanity I’m predicting Elway brings back Justin Simmons, but everything’s cloudy beyond that. With what we do know right now, what do you believe the Broncos biggest draft needs are? What would you do if you ran the front office?

Gammel: I’m not familiar with all the contract situations on the Broncos, but in my opinion, QB, CB, LB are all big needs for Denver. If I could get my hands on Sam Darnold, I think I would. It likely wouldn’t cost a first round pick either. Denver has to move on from Lock imo. He wasn’t a star in college, so I’m not sure why anyone expects him to be a star now. In round one they need to address linebacker or cornerback. Take the best player available there. If Baron Browning or Derion Kendrick are on the board, you take one of those freaky athletes. I think I’d address defense in both rounds 1 and 2 this year because they have a lot of pieces on offense, and such a good defense that just needs some more pieces to it and it could be phenomenal. Good defenses can still dominate games and win. And Fangio is the guy to build and coach a dominant D.

Poll

What is the Broncos’ biggest long term need?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Quarterback
    (487 votes)
  • 0%
    Receiver
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Running back
    (8 votes)
  • 8%
    Offensive Line
    (103 votes)
  • 0%
    Tight end
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Defensive Line
    (19 votes)
  • 1%
    Edge
    (13 votes)
  • 6%
    Off ball backer
    (83 votes)
  • 40%
    Boundary corner
    (496 votes)
  • 1%
    Nickel corner
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Safety
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Kicker
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Punter
    (7 votes)
1234 votes total Vote Now

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