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Why the Broncos drafted Lloyd Cushenberry in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft

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The Denver Broncos selected Lloyd Cushenberry in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft

Northwestern State v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos selected LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry with their 83rd overall selection in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Why the Broncos drafted Lloyd Cushenberry is pretty obvious. They needed a starting center and one of the better ones in the draft somehow fell to them in the middle of the third round.

Here is what Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway had to say about Lloyd Cushenberry in his post-draft conference call.

“Cushenberry is a guy that is very solid center. He played in the SEC and had a great career down there, so were excited about Lloyd also. We felt like it was a fairly good day today. Ultimately though they have to come in and play, but we felt good about when the day was over where we were.”

Cushenberry was expected by many to be a top 40 to 50 selection pre-draft, but he fell into the third round. Many hoped the Broncos would take him with their first of their third-rounders but they passed and selected Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia instead but had Cushenberry next on their board. So they ended up selecting him with their second third-round selection.

Did we think about taking him earlier? Obviously we had our picks and we had to game plan about how we thought they may fall. Our thinking going into the third, with the way the board was coming out, that we thought the number one thing we needed in the third was the corner. [CB] Michael [Ojemudia] was the guy we targeted there, so we were thrilled he was there. Then we had Lloyd and the center position was next. It fell pretty good for us. We’re excited about it. Lloyd is a guy who’s had success in the SEC. He’s big and very athletic. He’s long enough to where he’ll be able to play center and guard. We’re excited about both of those players.”

He won’t be handed the starting job right off the bat according to Head Coach Vic Fangio. He stated that Austin Schlottmann and Patrick Morris will get looks too but the expectation likely is that Cushenberry should earn it during Training Camp

“He is going to go in there and compete with [G/C] Austin [Schlottmann] and Pat (C Patrick Morris). Again, he has the license to go in there and compete and win the job if he can. We’ll see how he develops, but we do like his ability, his potential and the play he put on tape at LSU. He’ll go in there with those other two guys and compete for the job.”

The Broncos interior offensive line is suddenly looking very solid. 2019 second round pick Dalton Risner and free agent addition Graham Glasgow make for a solid guard tandem for them. The addition of Cushenberry just rounds out the group and gives them a solid upgrade over what they have had in the past.

I was stoked when this pick happened. Hell, I would have been happy if Cushenberry was selected with their second pick, or even if they traded back into the first round for him. So, getting him in the middle of the third-round is a giant steal. If all goes well, the Broncos should have a very solid interior offensive line for the next few years at least. Now, hopefully they can figure out their tackle situation.

So in the end, why did they draft Lloyd Cushenberry? Simple, they needed a starting center, he’s damn good and was a big-time steal in the third-down.