Earlier today, DNVR’s Zac Stevens on their daily podcast stated that he is “90 to 95 percent confident” that the Broncos will trade up from one of their third-round picks. He states it is unlikely they will move back into the first round, but potentially moving up five or so picks is possible.
As we know, the Denver Broncos currently have five draft choices and currently do not pick until the 67th overall pick in the third round. So, trading up would deplete their already lacking draft capital. However, trading back from 68th overall could help recoup the picks they lost in a potential trade-up.
"90-95 percent confident they will trade up"— DNVR Broncos (@DNVR_Broncos) April 25, 2023
Would you be a fan if the Broncos traded up in the draft?? pic.twitter.com/LtuSgFSXjW
The lead-up to the draft for the Broncos has been fairly uneventful, so let us pretend that Zac’s confidence in a trade-up happening ends up becoming a reality. What prospects could the Broncos be targeting in a potential trade-up?
Tight ends Darnell Washington and Luke Musgrave
There is some smoke out there that Sean Payton and the Broncos want a more in-line blocker at tight end. If that is the case, there are two tight ends they could target in a potential trade-up to fill that role on offense.
Georgia’s Darnell Washington, who some believe will go in the first round or early second round would be a name to watch. He is considered the best blocking tight end in the draft and is basically another lineman on the field who also offers upside in the passing game. At 6’7, 264 pounds with freakishly long arms and elite strength, he will not last long. If he starts to drop a little bit, I could see the Broncos pounce if they can on a player they likely have high on their draft board.
The other tight end is Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave who is a prospect we have discussed a good bit already. He has high-end receiving potential while also having blocking skills. However, he has some medical red flags that could allow him to slip a little bit during the draft. If he does, I could see the Broncos making a move for Musgrave.
LSU EDGE B.J. Ojulari
Earlier this offseason, the Denver Broncos hired former LSU defensive line/defensive run game coordinator Jamar Cain to be their pass-rush specialist coach. So now, could the Broncos target one of his former defensive players at LSU during the draft? If so, trading up for edge rusher B.J. Ojulari could make sense.
He is an explosive and bendy pass rusher who could help the depth at edge rusher for the Broncos. They currently lack answers for that position and could look to add some more competition during the draft. If they do decide to move up in the draft, trading up for a pass rusher like Ojulari makes sense to me, especially with the connections they have on the coaching staff.
Center’s John Michael Schmitz and Joe Tippmann
The Broncos have put an emphasis on the offensive line throughout free agency and could continue that trend during the draft. Both John Michael Schmitz and Joe Tippmann are considered the top centers in the draft and could be targets of the Broncos if they do indeed trade up.
Right now, Lloyd Cushenberry III is penciled in as your starting center, but he has struggled the past few seasons. Head coach Sean Payton did publicly praise him a few weeks ago and called him the starter, but things can change during the draft.
These two centers would be plug-and-play centers that would likely replace Cushenberry as the team's starting center if they made a move up for him.
Cornerbacks Cam Smith, Kelee Ringo, and D.J. Turner
Cornerback is arguably the Broncos' biggest need entering the draft and if they do trade up, it would make sense for them to make a move for one of the top corners.
Cam Smith would give them a plug-and-play corner who can play outside or inside for them and add some much-needed depth to their secondary. He is a potential top-50 selection, so he would be a solid trade-up candidate for the Broncos. Georgia’s Kelee Ringo is a good-sized corner who is another plug-and-play option who makes sense as a trade-up candidate. Michigan’s D.J. Turner is an explosive corner who is one of the faster players in the entire draft. He has the coverage skills that flourish in Vance Joseph’s scheme.
You need all the talented corners you can get when playing in the AFC West against Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert four times a year. So, I expect the Broncos to draft at least one corner and potentially even move up for one if one they like begins to slide.
Other trade-up candidates
- Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV
- Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson
- Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell
- Auburn EDGE Derick Hall
- Guard Steve Avila