That is all the more reason why George Paton and the franchise’s scouting department must be diligent and leave no stone unturned at this year’s combine.
With no picks in the first two rounds, the Broncos are in a tough spot to acquire players who can have an impact right away. But history shows gems can be unearthed and you can find quality contributors at any point in the draft.
Paton and Co. should keep an open mind approaching this year’s draft. They should look at players who can contribute immediately, but shouldn’t shy away from a good player who might not be ready to contribute in 2023.
Here is a list of five offensive prospects I believe the Broncos should take a hard look at during this year’s combine who could be potentially available when the Broncos are on the clock in the third round.
Devon Achane, RB — Texas A&M
This year’s NFL Draft is loaded at the running back position, but one of my favorite prospects is Aggies star Devon Achane. A former four-star recruit, he excelled in his three seasons at Texas A&M and has a bright NFL future ahead of him.
In just 28 collegiate games, he amassed 2,376 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns, with a combined 6.4 yards per carry average. Additionally, he has some chops as a receiver, demonstrated with his 65 catches for 554 yards and 5 touchdowns.
At 5’9 and 185 pounds, his size might bring some concerns, but his top-tier athleticism and electric speed will make him a highly-coveted player for teams across the league. Achane, who is also a world-class sprinter, is expected to run in the 4.2-4.3 range in the 40-yard dash.
Adding a playmaker like Achane to Denver’s running back room would give Sean Payton a player with tons of ability to jump start their offense. It’s rare to find a prospect that has his athletic gifts, vision, and ability to create in the open field.
At the top of the third round, Achane would be a dynamite selection for the Broncos. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a supreme combine performance skyrockets him into the Top 50 picks in this year’s draft. His talent and skills seem too great to slip in the draft, but stranger things have happened.
Devon Achane said he is targeting to run in the “4.2’s” in the 40-yard dash.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) February 18, 2023
Achane holds an all-conditions personal best 10.02 in the 100m dash.
The fastest time an NFL player has ever officially recorded in the 100m dash is 9.95 by Jim Hines in 1968.
The Aggies RB will be a… https://t.co/DclQ07VDH2 pic.twitter.com/Q5qexF8SMe
Carter Warren, OT — Pittsburgh
Broncos Country has been pounding the table for the franchise to select a developmental offensive tackle for years, but they haven’t delivered in that respect. With ambiguity across the entire offensive line, I expect that to change and believe selecting a tackle in this year’s draft seems more important than ever.
Pittsburgh’s Carter Warren is a name to definitely place on your list. At 6’5 and 320 pounds, Warren has prototypical size for the position and athleticism to boot. Over the course of his career, he had 39 starts at left tackle and played in 40 games for the Panthers. Prior to his injury-shortened 2022 campaign, he did a tremendous job protecting Kenny Pickett’s blindside and was on pace to be considered among the best tackles in this year’s class.
When healthy, Warren’s tape shows he has the ability to be a starter in the National Football League. Over the course of his career he held his own against some of college football’s best pass rushers. He also showed promise in the running game, has good movement skills, and the ability to climb to the second-level effectively.
These are all quality aspects to his game, but like most prospects, Warren has his flaws. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack and clean up some technical issues, but the upside is clear. If the Broncos are looking to upgrade their tackle position and find a prospect who can eventually become a legitimate NFL starter, Warren is that guy.
His injury might cause him to slip down draft boards, but given the fact tackles are picked early and often, I believe he merits late Day 2 or early Day 3 consideration.
Dontayvion Wicks, WR — Virginia
The Broncos have invested heavily at the wide receiver position over the past several seasons, but the production from the unit never matched the hype. Truth be told, Denver’s entire receiving corps could be in for a significant makeover after the 2023 season.
On the outside looking in, I’d wager that no receiver slated to be on this year’s roster is a guarantee to be in Denver come 2024. With that in mind, one of the smartest moves Denver could make in this year’s draft is adding a talented pass catching to their ranks.
Enter Virginia’s Dontayvion Wicks.
Wicks had an incredible 2021 season for the Cavaliers, with 57 catches, 1203 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Many draft gurus were expecting that success to continue in 2022, but the Cavaliers’ offense underwent major changes and struggled, leading to decreased production from Wicks and the rest of their skill position players. In just eight games as a senior, Wicks caught 30 balls for 420 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite Wicks’ sub-par season, the talent on tape is still profound. He has legitimate number one receiver traits and his ability to accelerate and gain separation of the line of scrimmage is among the best in this year’s class. Wicks can win on all levels of the field and most importantly, stretch the field vertically, evident with his ~ 19.0 YPC average over the past two seasons.
Does that sound like something the Broncos need? I sure think it does and believe Wicks is a prospect who could flourish in Sean Payton’s offense and add some much needed juice to the team’s receiving corps moving forward. I wouldn’t expect Wicks to crack the top three rounds of the draft, but should garner consideration early on Day 3 come April.
● WR Spotlight ●— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) July 6, 2022
Dontayvion Wicks - UVA
• Wicks is a big play threat who's caught 60 passes for 1,264 yards 10 Touchdowns in his career averaging an impressive 21.1 yards per catch. I expect another big season in 2022 from Wicks. pic.twitter.com/n1EjX31jfk
Andrew Vorhees, OG — USC
Expect a changing of the guard in Denver this coming season. As of now, it appears that third-year pro Quinn Meinerz is the only interior offensive lineman slated to be a starter this coming season.
Graham Glasgow appears to be a likely cap casualty and it’s uncertain whether or not the team has any interest signing Dalton Risner to a long-term deal. If the Broncos are looking to upgrade their interior offensive line, especially the guard position, Andrew Vorhees from USC should be near the top of their list.
Vorhees has a lot of experience under his belt and has played right guard, left tackle, and left guard for the Trojans since 2017. Since 2020, his primary position has been on the left side of the line. Vorhees’ 6’6, 320 pound frame immediately pops out on tape, but the power and brutality he brings in the run game is certainly the most impressive aspect of his game.
He does a fantastic job at the point of attack and has no issues overpowering opposing defensive linemen. His prowess in run blocking has earned him top marks from PFF over the past few seasons. With respect to pass protection, he is no slouch, and has also registered high marks and reviews there as well.
If the Broncos are interested in adding a versatile offensive lineman to their unit, Vorhees would be a great selection at the top of the third round in this year’s draft.
Highest pass block grades last season among returning OL:— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 1, 2022
Blake Freeland: 91.6
Connor Galvin: 91.2
Andrew Vorhees: 90.7 pic.twitter.com/KOB0uycVm7
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB — UCLA
Russell Wilson is the clear cut starter for the 2023 campaign, but whether or not he gets back to playing at a Pro-Bowl level remains to be seen.
Perhaps the Broncos find someone to back him up in free agency, but why not roll the dice somewhere on Day 3 and get a developmental prospect in the fold for the next four seasons? Perhaps UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson could be that guy.
After several up and down seasons with the Bruins, he saved his best for last, finishing the their 2022 season by completing nearly 70-percent of his passes for 3,169 yards, 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. A proven dual-threat QB, DTR added 645 yards rushing and twelve touchdowns on the ground.
His arm strength isn’t elite, but it’s above-average and good enough to hit marks all over the field. He is adept at getting the ball out quickly and showed a lot of improvement in his short-to-intermediate accuracy this past season. His mechanics need a lot of work and he has a habit of throwing off his back foot or unbalanced too often, but that’s a correctable flaw that can be improved with quality coaching.
It’s unlikely that he ever rises to the occasion of being a franchise-caliber signal caller, but his unique traits and dual-threat capabilities make him an intruding developmental option in this year’s class.
In my opinion, the Broncos have absolutely nothing to lose by bringing in someone like him to develop. Let Payton and Davis Webb work their magic and get someone in the room immediately. That seems like the smart call.