Every year after the draft I feel like I learn more about the Broncos. Given that there are always changes in direction, front office, coaching, and personnel we get to see through the lens of the NFL draft what the Broncos think about their team and their future.
I’m not going to bore you with grades on picks or anything like that. What I want to do this week is point out the major takeaways I see from who the team picked.
1) Denver needs a QB, but didn’t love Justin Fields
With the team trading for Teddy Bridgewater right before the draft, George Paton, Vic Fangio, and the Broncos showed unequivocally that they are far from impressed with Drew Lock as a long-term prospect at starting QB.
So the logical choice is when Justin Fields falls to spot 9, you take him, right?
I think that line of thinking is a very “fan-oriented” one. I liked what I saw when I checked out the film on Fields, but I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not an NFL scout, coach, or front office employee. The depth they go into is exponentially deeper than what anyone in media does and includes factors that most of us don’t think of.
Justin Fields for some reason or another didn’t impress the Broncos.
2) The Broncos wanted a serious upgrade in talent at RB
Ask any NFL draft fan or media writer when you should take a RB and I bet you maybe 1 out of 100 will say, “2nd round.” That’s just not meta for what the position brings to the table in the NFL. You can get RB talent later in the draft that ends up being cheaper.
Nevertheless, the Broncos traded draft capital to move up and snag Javonte Williams before Miami could take him. This tells us that the Broncos REALLY liked him as a player. This also tells us that George Paton very clearly recalls what an impact a high talent RB can make to a team since he witnessed firsthand what Dalvin Cook brought to the table for the Minnesota Vikings.
3) Paton is setting up Fangio to succeed
Anytime a new GM gets hired, we talk about looking for them to bring in “their guys.” That means new coaches. That means new scouts.
At least for this year, the way the draft went shows me that George Paton was about making the Denver Broncos a better team with who they are and what they have right now.
With the past few years really trying to build an offense in the draft, Vic Fangio finally got to shore up the roster depth that was lacking. I don’t see Fangio as a lame duck. Sure, if the team stinks again he will likely be looking for a new job. That being said, I really don’t know how between the free agency moves and the NFL draft that Fangio is going to stink again.
4) The offensive line is in a good place
Nary a tackle was drafted by the Denver Broncos and I don’t for one second buy that they just had “bad luck” in landing tackles. There were tackles to be had in rounds 2 and 3 that Mike Munchak could have rounded into NFL form if it were a dire need.
Understanding that the refs changed how they called holding last season, the Denver Broncos offensive line was not the cause of our offensive woes last year. We didn’t have sack numbers through the roof like prior years and from what my eyes saw, the core issues had to do with some pretty atrocious passing by our quarterbacks.
The Broncos either really like who they have down the depth chart and think Munchak can get them ready in short order, or had a lot of faith in Ja’Wuan James. We may now need to make a free agency move to shore up the position with his season-ending early, but the Broncos didn’t see some big problem there that needed to be addressed.
5) That smoke about Aaron Rodgers is real
I’m not sure how things are going to turn out, but let me assure you that from everything I have seen, heard, and sniffed into the drama that happened on draft day with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers was not just NFL news flair.
I am very hopeful that we can put to bed any talk of a QB competition this year and that we won’t be writing about Teddy Bridgewater after each game. Much like when the Colts pivoted on Peyton Manning, I see the Green Bay Packers making some really grave mistakes dating back more than a year. I think the Broncos are once again set up to be the perfect destination for a future hall of fame QB.
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