As opposed to giving a list of top players overall, I decided to approach this year by giving a short synopsis of players who I believe would be quality selections in the rounds the Broncos are currently slated to pick.
The “best” prospects aren’t going to be around when Denver is on the clock. At least, we don’t think they will be. Therefore, it’s not your typical big board. More emphasis and thought were given to positions where I think the Broncos are likely to utilize draft capital. It’s an amalgamation of prospects whose league-perceived and media-perceived value are within the range of Denver’s top selections and Day 3 picks.
Maybe, just maybe—a few of these guys end up being Broncos.
The Broncos have no shot at Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or the rest of this year’s top QB crop. That being said, I’d expect the Broncos to look around for a developmental quarterback on Day 3.
Per Peter King, they allegedly have interest in Aidan O’Connell out of Purdue. This makes sense considering his efficacy in the short and intermediate game and football intelligence. A few other names I’d like them to consider is Dorian Thompson-Robinson of UCLA and Fresno State’s Jake Haener. They will likely never be the “guy”, but all have traits and high flashes which merit backup consideration. I think DTR could find a home somewhere in the fourth-round, with Haener’s value about a round or so later.
I expect the Broncos to come out of this year’s draft by selecting one running back and adding one as an undrafted free agent. A handful of quality backs should be on the board when the team is currently slated to pick in the early third-round. Here are some of my favorite options for them at #67 and #68, but my personal preference would be for them to trade down and use one of those selections on one.
Whether or not Charbonnet will be available when the Broncos are on the clock remains to be seen. After Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs, he is my third-ranked back in this year’s draft. One of collegiate football’s most productive contributors over the past few seasons, I believe he a legitimate bell-cow back in Denver’s offense.
One of this draft’s most electric playmakers, Achane is small in size but boasts all-world athleticism and the capability to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He’s a weapon as a rusher, receiver, and a returner and the Broncos could use help in every area. He might be one of the best value picks (if available) for the team in the early third-round.
Bigsby is one of this draft’s most well-rounded backs who has true three-down potential in the National Football League. I value him as a third-round selection who could immediately pay big dividends for the Broncos’ offense as a rookie. Even in a split role, I expect him to have to be a 1,000 all-purpose yard player routinely.
Other Prospects to Consider: Tyjae Spears, Tulane - 4th Round [Medical], Dewayne McBride, UAB - 4th Round, Zach Evans, Ole Miss - 4th Round, Keaton Mitchell, ECU - 5th Round
Regardless of what has been stated by the team, I still think there is a chance Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy end up being dealt. If so, I’d fully expect Sean Payton to tell George Payton he would like to get a rookie who can learn his system in right away.
This year’s draft lacks elite talent at the position, but a myriad of players who will be drafted outside the top two rounds will become quality NFL players. Here are some of my favorites for Denver in the third-round and some other options on Day 3.
Rice shares a similar outlook to Mingo, but boasts more experience and production. Rice’s elusiveness and ability to accumulate yards after the catch are pluses in his favor. He is a three-level threat with slot and outside capabilities.
Consistency will be key for his development. He had a lot of drops over his career, but also had a lot of balls thrown in his direction. A high third-round investment seems reasonable for Rice, who could very well end up being one of the best receivers to come out of this year’s class if he puts it all together.
Mingo isn’t the sum of all his parts, but he has a great athletic profile and reminded me a bit of Anquan Boldin when I watched him play. If he can stay healthy and smooth out the rough edges, he will merit #1/#2 looks in the NFL and give Payton’s offense a tough receiver who isn’t afraid to go over the middle. I think he has third round value.
Every offense needs speed and Jarrett offers that. If the Broncos are in pursuit of a receiver who can stretch the field, Jarrett gives them an option who should be available on Day 3. I’d expect him to go off the board in the Top 150 selections.
Other Prospects to Consider: A.T. Perry, Wake Forest - 3rd Round, Marvin Mims, WR - Oklahoma - 3rd Round, Michael Wilson, Stanford - 4th Round, Tyler Scott, Cincinnati - 4th Round, Jayden Reed, Michigan State - 5th Round, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, 5th Round, Dontayvion Wicks - West Virgina, 5th Round, Justin Shorter, Florida - Late-Round to UDFA
I’m a big fan of Greg Dulcich, but Payton’s recent comments and a history of acquiring and utilizing tight ends means the Broncos are adding to that room. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is one of the first positions they address if they hold on to both their third-round selections. Heck, I could even envision a scenario where they trade up for a tight end.
This year’s tight end crop is one of the draft’s greatest strengths. Given such, I expect a lot of tight ends to be taken in the first several rounds. Could Georgia Bulldog Darnell Washington be one of Denver’s most-desired prospect? If so, just how far would they move up to get him? Would the Broncos really move up and spend a Top 50 pick at the position? Perhaps.
Given the depth of this year’s class, I don’t think they need to move up to find a good player. South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Iowa’s Sam LaPorta and Michigan’s Luke Schoonmaker will all hear their names called on Day 2. A handful of them should be available at #67 or #68 if the Broncos wanted to take one.
Even Old Dominion’s Zack Kuntz could be a darkhorse option [preferably in a trade down] who had the highest RAS of all-time at the position. But maybe it makes sense for them to wait until Day 3. Prospects to consider in this range are Purdue’s Payne Durham, Cincinatti’s Josh Whyle, and North Dakota State’s Noah Gindorff.
The Broncos spend big on Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey in free agency, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them target a center to compete with Lloyd Cushenberry, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Minnesota’s John Michael-Schmitz would likely require a trade up from the third-round, but could challenge and beat out LCIII to start this season. TCU standout Steve Avila, who has center/guard flexibility has risen and would likely merit a move up too. Maybe North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch sits near the top of their interior OL board.
Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann and Ohio State’s Luke Wypler could be primary targets for the Broncos at #67 and #68. If they decide to wait a bit, Penn State’s Juice Scruggs, Ricky Stromberg of Arkansas and Olusegun Olutwatimi of Michigan would all be worth considering. I have a feeling most of them will find a home in the Top 125 picks.
We didn’t do a deep dive on our scouting reports at Mile High Report on offensive tackles, but I’d still be interested to see if they add a swing and developmental tackle. Pittsburgh’s Carter Warren would be a viable Day 3 option.
Alabama’s Tyler Steen, Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris, Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan, and BYU’s Blake Freeland are Day 2 options. Old Dominion’s Nick Saldiveri might be a name you want to put in your back pocket as third-round target for Denver. Pittsburgh’s Carter Warren and Georgia’s Warren McLendon deserve early Day 3 consideration.