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Broncos’ pre-draft visits a clue or smokescreen?

George Paton plays his cards close to his chest, but the Broncos’ top-30 visits suggest a pretty evident focus in the draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve heard it all offseason how Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton likes to keep everything quiet and not tip his hand. The Russell Wilson trade broke virtually out of nowhere, much like nobody expected them to draft Patrick Surtain II last season at ninth overall till it happened.

However, the pattern of pre-draft visits the Broncos have shown a pretty evident focus in the draft. The Broncos, so far, have met with:

  • OT Tyler Smith
  • OT Abraham Lucas
  • C/G Dylan Parham
  • G/C Cole Strange
  • C Cam Jurgens, Nebraska
  • CB Cordale Flott, LSU
  • S Nick Grant, Virginia
  • RB Isaih Pacheco, Rutgers
  • TE Cole Turner, Nevada
  • QB/WR - D’Eriq King, Miami (FL)
  • WR Jared Bernhardt, Ferris State
  • WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor
  • CB Ja’Quan McMillan, East Carolina
  • OT Matt Waletzko, North Dakota
  • OT Braxton Jones, Southern Utah
  • EDGE - Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma
  • TE Grant Calcaterra, SMU
  • EDGE Deangelo Malone, Western Kentucky
  • TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland
  • RB Shermari Jones, Coastal Carolina
  • RB James Cook, Georgia
  • RB Zamir White, Georgia
  • S Tariq Carpenter, Georgia Tech
  • CB Daron Bland, Fresno State
  • G Thayer Munford, Ohio State
  • EDGE Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
  • CB Martin Emerson, Mississippi State
  • CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
  • S Smoke Monday, Auburn

Looking at this list of names, we have:

-4 OTs
-4 IOL
-3 WRs
-3 TEs
-4 RBs
-3 SAF
-3 EDGE
-5 CBs

At least two of those four offensive tackles are Day 3 prospects (Lucas probably should be), but all three of those interior offensive linemen are Day 2 prospects. To me, that tells me they’re definitely looking at upgrading the center spot at some point, even if they don’t necessarily draft those players, and that the center spot is a bigger priority than the right tackle spot.

All three EDGE prospects project to go Day 2 (and early on Day 2 with Bonitto and Malone), suggesting that they’re looking to add a significant boost to that room. Even if they don’t necessarily draft any of those edge rushers, there seems to be enough interest in those early prospects that it seems like they’re searching for one with one of their three picks on Day 2.

The CBs are a mixed bag, with McCreary the only one projected to go on Day 2. This should be a room where they add at least two players into, so it’s not a surprise that so many of their visits have gone to corners. We know the safety room boasts Justin Simmons and a promising young player in Caden Sterns, but it’s not a surprise they’re looking at Day 3 safeties to boost the depth of that room.

The coaching staff has repeatedly brought up them needing another back in the RB room, so the team meeting with four pre-draft is a rather obvious tell. It makes too much sense to add a cheap complement to Javonte Williams in the draft. All four are likely going to go on Day 3 as well, where the Broncos have the most capital and are the cheapest assets.

I’m not surprised by their interest in adding tight ends, so the team meeting with Day 3 options there isn’t a surprise. The WR visits are intriguing to me though. Bernhardt is a nice UDFA story to explore. Teams can say they’re looking at King at QB, but he’s 5’8 195. He’s a slot WR. Tyquan Thornton was the fastest player at the Combine, and the Broncos don’t have a speedster outside of KJ Hamler, who is recovering from injury.

To me, just guessing purely off of these visits, the Broncos are probably going

-EDGE/CB at 64
-C at 75
-CB/EDGE/OT at 96

and would then look at RB, TE, WR, and safety depth spread through Day 3, while also moving around the board.

Again, this is purely speculation based on their visits, and George Paton has his reputation for a reason. However, their visits do seem to suggest a trend on their interests.

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