The 2022 NFL Draft is officially in the books. With the picks being locked in, we can begin to examine how these players will fit and where they stack up compared to the players already on the team.
The Denver Broncos have undergone a significant roster overhaul over the last two seasons with George Paton, and that means that there will be guys who get their jobs taken from them by new players. Yet, there will also be guys who get to stick around. So who is each? Who should feel more comfortable after the draft, and who should be feeling the heat?
The Broncos made it abundantly clear they wanted a stable of running backs, but they ended up not drafting a single one in the 2022 NFL Draft and so far haven’t brought one in in the UDFA period. That leaves the RB3 job virtually all to Mike Boone, who has flashed but never remained a consistent runner. He’s a scheme fit for what the Broncos are aiming to run with outside zone. With little competition for that last spot, Boone could be a solid contributor for the Broncos when spelling Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.
The Broncos said they wanted to find their long-term right tackle this offseason. If they were looking for him, it certainly wasn’t in the draft, as they didn’t spend a pick on a single OT. Billy Turner, Calvin Anderson, and Tom Compton can rest easier, as the competition for the right tackle and swing tackle jobs remain open.
Justin Strnad & Alex Singleton
Surprisingly, the Broncos elected not to draft a single linebacker in the 2022 NFL Draft. While that worries me to no end, it means less competition for Alex Singleton and Justin Strnad to make it onto the bottom of the linebacker room. Strnad was likely going to be pushed out by any rookie the team drafted, but instead, he feels more like a certainty to make the roster as the LB4.
There was some talk about the Broncos drafting or signing a rookie to push Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien, but that didn’t happen. Thus, that leaves the battle between Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien to be duked out alone. We’ll see if the Broncos add a player or two for camp arms in the coming weeks, but I doubt any they sign will push either of those guys out of the QB2 and QB3 spots.
Ojemudia’s spot on the depth chart was precarious anyways, but with the Broncos drafting of Damarri Mathis and Faion Hicks, his spot on the depth chart looks even murkier. He was drafted by the previous regime and isn’t a great scheme fit moving forward. We’ll see if he can battle through and lock down a spot over the summer.
Tyrie Cleveland’s best opportunity for 2022 was going to be as a special teams playmaker. Yet, the team drafted Montrell Washington in the 5th round and then spent a good chunk of change on Jalen Virgil as a UDFA, both of whom are more explosive returners. Already buried on the depth chart for snaps as a receiver, two guys who could lock up the returner spots cloud his outlook for 2022 with the Broncos.
A preseason darling, PJ Locke has always flashed NFL ability at the safety position. However, the Broncos already had Caden Sterns and Jamar Johnson over him last year, brought back Kareem Jackson, and spent another fifth-round pick on Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell. That safety room is already very crowded, but Locke doesn’t have the draft capital behind him the other safeties do.