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How would you rank the Broncos’ options at 9?

What should George Paton do if he doesn’t trade in the NFL Draft?

After taking a dive at who look like the Broncos’ most realistic options at the ninth overall pick, I spent the weekend ruminating on how I view each prospect. What follows are some thoughts about each. Obviously this is a subjective exercise and I expect we won’t see eye on eye on every option, but I hope to hear where you land on the road ahead for the Broncos.

Quarterbacks

  • Mac Jones
  • Justin Fields
  • Trey Lance

While we can debate the merits of each individual player until we’re blue in the face, I think most understand that if Paton takes a quarterback at nine it would mark a clear move to a new era. Drew Lock may stick around as a stop gap in the short term and given a chance to fend off the inevitable, but odds are he’d eventually become swept under the tide of change and eventually traded.

Tackles

  • Penei Sewell
  • Rashawn Slater
  • Teven Jenkins

I added Jenkins since last week if only because I’d consider him at the ninth overall pick if the other two prospects were gone. Taking a tackle at ninth overall means the Broncos line could turn into a “best five” situation in 2021 as Munchak tries to get the best players on the field even if a rookie is out of position early. It could also be a redshirt year where some corners of Broncos Country complain about a high pick that doesn’t provide immediate impact. The pick could also provide valuable depth behind Garett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James as well as the interior line.

Edge rushers

  • Jaelan Phillips
  • Kwity Paye
  • Azeez Ojulari

Prior to the allegations against Deshaun Watson, taking an edge looked like it could make sense as Bradley Chubb appeared to be a potential trade chip that’d appeal to Houston. Taking an edge rusher at ninth overall would likely mark a looming end to Von Miller’s time in orange and blue. In the short term the rookie would fight for snaps with Malik Reed and serve as insurance against the starters’ medical histories.

Corners

  • Patrick Surtain II
  • Jaycee Horn
  • Caleb Farley
  • Greg Newsome

I added both Caleb Farley and Greg Newsome from the original list because both look like better scheme fits for the Fangio defense, though it’s important to note that the Broncos head coach has adjusted to his talent across his time in the NFL. Corner does not look like a pressing need following the Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby signings, so it’d be a controversial selection. Personally I’m on open to it because both Darby and Bryce Callahan have lengthy injury histories. Cornerback also looks like it could become a rather large need in 2022.

True curve balls

  • DeVonta Smith
  • Jaylen Waddle
  • Ja’Marr Chase

This is a good opportunity to admit that I’ve done painfully little scouting on this year’s receiver class because the Broncos currently run five deep at viable options. Add in Diontae Spencer’s value as a return man and it’s hard to buy that taking a pass catcher at nine is a smart decision, barring zero faith in Courtland Sutton’s recovery from a torn ACL. You could make an argument Sutton, Tim Patrick, and DaeSean Hamilton’s expiring contracts are a big enough question to chase the position on the second day of the Draft, but I doubt George Paton wants to be Matt Millen.

BPA at low value positions

  • LB Micah Parsons
  • RB Najee Harris

Micah Parsons has been a popular pick because he’s a freaky size speed athlete who projects as a four down type of linebacker. While I have qualms about off field concerns and think this NFL draft is deep enough at the position to find a starter further down the board, I can see the appeal of the Nittany Lion.

Drafting a running back in the first round would be a startling mistake by George Paton. It would signal the Broncos’ new general manager does not understand positional value in the modern NFL.

Joe’s Ranking

  1. Justin Fields, QB
  2. Penei Sewell, OT
  3. Trey Lance, QB
  4. Patrick Surtain II, CB
  5. Rashawn Slater, OT
  6. Teven Jenkins, OT
  7. Azeez Ojulari, ED
  8. Kwity Paye, ED
  9. Jaelan Phillips, ED
  10. Jaycee Horn, CB
  11. Greg Newsome, CB
  12. Caleb Farley, CB
  13. Micah Parsons, LB
  14. Mac Jones, QB
  15. Ja’Marr Chase, WR
  16. Jaylen Waddle, WR
  17. DeVonta Smith, WR
  18. Najee Harris, RB

How would you rank the options? Let me know in the comments.