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Bye week banter: what can the Broncos do with their new first-round pick?

The Denver Broncos are back in the first round of the NFL Draft after trading Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins. Where do they look?

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the Denver Broncos’ inept start to the 2022 regular season, there has been pain, frustration, anger, thirst for alcohol, and the reality that the team couldn’t even stink their way into a good draft pick because they sent the first and second-round picks away for Russell Wilson.

Enter George Paton. The Broncos’ general manager threw a lifeline to a fan base who has been drowning for 6 years in mediocrity. He sent away pass rusher Bradley Chubb, who had been having arguably his first season that wasn’t either average or marred by injuries, to the Miami Dolphins for their first round pick (which they acquired from the San Francisco 49ers).

Now, the Broncos have a better building block for the immediate future, and for a team sitting at 3-5 and looking at very difficult final 9 games, it’s a building block they may very well need.

The 49ers are a bit of an enigma at the moment. They acquired Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers, have plenty of offensive and defensive firepower, but they could just as easily finish in the bottom half of the league as the could the top half.

It’s unlikely, if not downright fantasy, to expect the Broncos to end up in the top 5 or 10, but there is still plenty of talent to be had in the upcoming draft, so for a team with several needs, where do they turn?

Offensive Line

Perhaps the most glaring weakness on the team right now, the offensive line following the exit of Mike Munchak looks much like the Simpsons household following the exit of Sherry Bobbins. They are a mess.

Garrett Bolles, especially coming off an injury, is not the player he was under Munchak, but can still be serviceable. Quinn Meinerz looks like a fixture at the guard position, but the other three spots are in terrible need of upgrades. Wilson is getting no time, communication is completely lacking, and the running backs are getting hit behind the line of scrimmage more often than not.

And while the unit did move better with Graham Glasgow under center, remember, it was just the Jacksonville Jaguars. There isn’t reason to believe that will be a permanent fixture, nice as it would be.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks:

  1. Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
  2. O’Cyrus Torrance, G, Florida
  3. Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Running Back

Javonte Williams looked to be the future following a promising rookie season, but his devastating week 2 injury offers no guarantees that he will return to form. Even if he does, his bruising running style will need a counterpart.

Melvin Gordon, Latavious Murray, Marlon Mack, and possibly Chase Edmonds (though he’ll be under contract) will not be on the roster next season. Picking a running back in round 1 has become increasingly risky year after year in a more pass-happy, running-back-by-committee league, but make no mistake, a difference maker in the backfield is a major asset.

The Broncos haven’t had one 20+ rushing attempt by a back this season and cannot afford to be one-dimensional next season, especially when that one dimension, the passing game, isn’t exactly setting the NFL world on fire.

Should the team choose to go running back, it will be a good year for it.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks:

  1. Bijan Robinson, Texas
  2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
  3. Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Defensive Back

Pat Surtain II may finish the season with the recognition of best defensive back in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use help on the other side of the field.

The defense is the strength of the Broncos, and the secondary has been good outside of Surtain, but Ronald Darby isn’t a long-term option and is coming off injury. K’Waun Williams is showing out, but can he sustain it. Damarri Mathis is talented, but he is having trouble keeping his hands to himself, so upgrading wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

There is never any fault in making a rich group richer.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks:

  1. Joey Porter, Jr., Penn State
  2. Cam Smith, South Carolina
  3. Eli Ricks, Alabama


Josey Jewell is an excellent glue guy for the Broncos defense, but he has trouble shaking the injury bug. Jonas Griffith is a nice story, but while effective, he isn’t exactly irreplaceable. Alex Singleton is a guy who will get plenty of tackles but whiff on just as many, depending on the day.

Don’t think for a second an elite linebacker wouldn’t be of use to this defensive unit. The Dallas Cowboys seem to be doing pretty well with Micah Parsons.

Again, defense isn’t an issue for the Broncos, but shoring up the one question mark on the unit could make this team the ultimate force in the league.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks:

  1. Trenton Simpson, Clemson
  2. Noah Sewell, Oregon
  3. Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama


Hear me out! While I would love to see Russell Wilson get it together and show that his 3 touchdown drives against Jacksonville were a sign of things to come rather than “as good as I once was” moments, what if they were the latter?

What if Wilson remains stubborn and insists on staying inside the pocket and running a style of offense not suited for him? What if he continues to struggle with injuries along the way and become a liability?

The Broncos are going to owe him a chunk of change whether he stays and figures it out or finds himself on the outs with ownership, and this ownership group doesn’t seem like one who is going to tolerate mediocrity. And to follow up on that, what if they fire Nathaniel Hackett and bring in a coach who wants his own QB not named Wilson?

It isn’t out of the realm of possibility, albeit it would take a lot, to see the team eat Wilson’s salary and start fresh.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks:

  1. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  2. Will Levis, Kentucky
  3. Tanner McKee, Stanford

Head Coach

Went there! Yes, it’s possible to trade for a head coach in the NFL, although it is a rare occurrence. In this case, though, a certain head coach is under control of the New Orleans Saints, and given how they look in 2022, they may find the prospect of an additional first-round pick mighty tantalizing.

Prospects to keep an eye on who could be available when Denver picks

  1. Sean Payton
  2. That’s it
  3. No, seriously, that’s it.

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