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What if Justin Fields falls to the Broncos?

A full Mock to look at how the 2021 NFL Draft helps the Broncos.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
Could Justin Fields fall to the Broncos?
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

With free agency in full swing it’s hard to say with complete certainty what the Broncos needs will look like in a months’ time. George Paton may trade for Kyle Fuller and Deshaun Watson tomorrow and the 2021 Broncos become a Super Bowl contender, he may wait until draft day to take a quarterback, or he might roll with Drew Lock and make this upcoming season a sequel to the “Locked in or bottom out” strategy Elway seemed so keen on last year.

We simply don’t know.

Smart general managers don’t rely on the draft to fill immediate short term needs, but instead look to take the best talent at areas of relative need. This idea bolsters the talent level of the whole team and takes into consideration that nothing lasts for long in the NFL outside of elite quarterbacks.

It also means we can rip off a mock draft while the Broncos are still chasing veteran talent.

So for this mock draft I plan to go forward based around what the Broncos currently have on their roster. I’m not accounting for the remainder of free agency at all, but instead ignoring it as if the Broncos did nothing with their roughly $30 million in cap space. I will be using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine, so send any complaints about the board their way.

My best guess at the Broncos current depth chart.

1.9. Justin Fields - QB- Ohio State

It didn’t take long for a curve ball in this mock. Robert Saleh must have heard the talk about how good Trey Lance would look in Kyle Shanahan’s offennse as The New York Jets took him second overall. I expected the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, or Cincinnati Bengals to trade down with a team in search of Zach Wilson, but he fell to the Eagles. The Detroit Lions replaced Kenny Golladay with Jaylen Waddle and all the talk about Carolina’s displeasure with Teddy Bridgewater went up in smoke when Kyle Pitts was available.

So I ran to the podium to grab the second player on my initial big board.

Fields will enter camp behind Drew Lock and it will be an open competition. If Lock wins and plays well we can reevalute the position after the season. If he falters or Fields beats him out early we’ll look to move him once another team needs an extra arm. There’s always someone.

2.52. Jevon Holland - S - Oregon

There enough prospects on the board when I pick at 40 that it makes sense to try and work my way down for more picks since I couldn’t with 9. My first call is to Ryan Pace since he’s on one of the hottest seats in the NFL. He bites and the Chicago Bears trade me 52 and 83 for 40, a sixth, and three seventh rounders. I’ve read enough by Jason Fitzgerald at Over the Cap to know I won the trade. The odds at truly hitting with late day three picks is miniscule, and I believe the Broncos will be a big draw in the post draft frenzy with college free agents.

Moving down the board costs me Baron Browning, Javonte Williams, Jamin Davis, and Alex Leatherwood. For an extra third I’ll gladly take it.

Holland’s a bit of a risk on this side of the Oregon Pro Day in April as there is some concern about his long speed. He also opted out of the 2020 season so it will be important to see where he’s at a year since his last games. It’s something I’m looking for, but keep in mind Kareem Jackson was closer to a 4.6 than his listed 4.48 last year. On tape Holland displays the ball skills, tenacity, and instincts to become a top safety in the Fangio defense.

3.71. James Hudson - OT- Cincinnati

Both the Seahawks and Steelers call to try and trade a fifth and third to get back up into the second round. I decline. Thanks to opt outs and how weird the pre-draft process was this year, I have a feeling there will be some intriguing prospects around the middle of day three.

Grabbing Hudson serves to address two big needs. He’ll compete with Calvin Anderson to backup Ja’Wuan James and Garett Bolles in training camp and also serve as a high ceiling prospect for Mike Munchak to develop into a standout down the road. The Bearcats a former defensive linemen and plays ticked off. He needs seasoning, but Denver’s a paradise for developmental talent right now. Let’s take advantage.

3.83. Paulson Adebo - CB - Stanford

There’s going to be some ticked off Bronco fans because I didn’t take a corner before the third round and that’s okay. Some will be mad half the draft is 2020 opt outs. That’s okay too if he shows up at his Pro Day. Adebo’s ball skills in a Fangio defense could be special. I’m willing to take that chance.

4.114. Kylin Hill - RB - Mississippi State

Phillip Lindsay’s a Texan and Melvin Gordon’s contract could be moved if the NFL disciplines him for his October arrest. Royce Freeman’s vision and physicality have been a disappointment so far and he could be pushed in camp. If Hill beats him out the 2018 third rounder can create almost one million dollars in cap space if moved.

Hill played early in the 2020 season before opting out and rarely got to show his full talents in the Mike Leach offense. The short stint did give the Bulldog a chance to display his route running and third down skillset. Looking back at his 2019 tape displays an aggressive runner who can bang inside.

5.152. Simi Fehoko - WR - Stanford

There are questions about the X. Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick are both set to become free agents after the 2021 season. Sutton’s also dealing with a return from a season ending ACL tear and could be on a pitch count early, so it pays to reinforce the depth in the short term.

Long term? Fehoko is the kind of freaky prospect who probably goes earlier than this now that he’s blown up at his Pro Day. His best chance to fall this far in April is due to the sheer number of receiver prospects in this draft class. We take advantage and give Fields a big target who can run past or highpoint defenders.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day the draft is about laying the foundational talent of your franchise. I think I did just that. Fields will eventually become the starting quarterback, Holland gives us a suitable replacement for Kareem Jackson who should excel in the Fangio defense, while Hudson can eventually take over for Ja’Wuan James. Hill gives me a way to potentially turn Freeman into a 2022 pick, and Fehoko is a freaky size speed prospect that Coach Azzani could turn into a star.

Poll

What grade do you give this draft?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    A I want to marry it.
    (168 votes)
  • 29%
    B I liked it.
    (454 votes)
  • 27%
    C This is fine.
    (422 votes)
  • 13%
    D Okay this isn’t fine.
    (208 votes)
  • 19%
    F You’re fired!
    (297 votes)
1549 votes total Vote Now

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