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Future Broncos: Denver’s preliminary 2024 NFL Draft needs

The Denver Broncos have their team set for the 2023 season. Let’s take a look at the state of Denver’s roster and what positions need to be improved in the 2024 NFL Draft.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are just a day away from kicking of their 2023 campaign against the Las Vegas Raiders, but it’s never too early to analyze the roster and think about the future of the franchise.

For my first installment of my Future Broncos series, I am going to highlight several positional groups on the roster that I feel need to be scouted heavily and upgraded in the 2024 NFL Draft. Let’s just say they are my preliminary big three as of right now.

In the weeks to come each Saturday, I’ll be highlighting positional groups, players, and key games to watch during the college football season, so you have the early scoop on the best players available next April. But for now, let’s focus in-house on some areas Denver needs to consider investing picks toward.

Offensive Tackle

The Broncos are hoping Mike McGlinchey provides them with a long-term option at right tackle which has evaded for franchise for virtually a decade. On the other side of the line things are far less certain. The future of Garret Bolles isn’t set it stone, but if he fails to impress in 2023—I’d venture the team moves on from him for 2024.

While fans should be high on undrafted rookie free agent Alex Palczewski as a developmental prospect, they can’t bank on him being a future starter just yet. Last but not least, Cam Fleming is currently the team’s backup and swing tackle at both positions on the line. Given such, it’s safe to say that Denver’s depth at the position is quite questionable.

Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis put a priority on solidifying their trenches in New Orleans and that’s an avenue I believe the Broncos would be wise—and ultimately will address early on in the 2024 NFL Draft. They’ve ignored it for far too long and it’s about time they used premium draft capital to upgrade the position.

Draft Priority Ranking: 1st Round Consideration

Wide Receiver

Before training camp and the preseason started, the Broncos appeared to have a loaded wide receiver corps for the 2023 campaign. That is the case no longer.

I’d have to wager the franchise looks to move on from Tim Patrick—unfortunately due to season-ending injuries the past few years. Because there is absolutely no way he sticks on the roster with his salary cap hit for the 2024 season unless he agrees to a restructured contract, but even if he does—we can’t really count on him given his major injuries the past two years.

How about Courtland Sutton? After signing his lucrative contract after a breakout 2019 campaign he has failed to meet the mark as a true number one receiver by virtually every measurable category. Injuries have set him back, as well as poor quarterback play, but this year Sean Payton and Denver’s staff have high expectations for the former second-round pick who needs to show flashes.

I’d say it’s 50-50 as to whether or not he remains on the team next year. After all, he was floated in trade talks all offseason and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Denver severed ties if he fails to perform at a quality level in 2020.

The next big question for me is what will become of Jerry Jeudy? He is set to embark on his fourth season in the National Football League but has failed to reach his full potential. Can he finally stay healthy and make the impact we all thought he would when John Elway drafted him in the first roun? We will just have to wait and see, but nevertheless, the franchise did exercise their fifth-year option on him, so for now, he can be penciled in on the Broncos’ early 2024 roster.

If the Broncos’ wide receiver room was an album it’d be named “Marvin Mims and Anyone Else” — because he may just be the only surefire lock for next year’s squad pending some of the variables I listed above. Denver doesn’t have a second-round pick in next year’s draft due to trade for Payton, but they still have one third-rounder (their extra was sent to acquire Riley Moss), which would be about when I’d want them to consider drafting one.

Draft Priority Ranking: Day 2 Consideration

Defensive Line

The Broncos added Zach Allen this off-season to replace Dre’Mont Jones and have one of the best nose tackles in the league in D.J. Jones. But in my eyes, after those two their depth and overall quality is quite questionable.

Perhaps he is in for a career year, but Jonathan Harris could certainly be upgraded upon and I don’t view him as a long-term fixture or answer in a three-man front for the Broncos. Mike Purcell is likely in his last year with the team, and Elijah Garcia and Matt Henningsen are likely developmental backup players at best.

All things considered, coupled with the fact I’m a firm believer in adding to the trenches year in and year out, I think the Broncos would be wise to consider upgrading their defensive trenches early on in next year’s draft. If it’s the right player, I wouldn’t be against them using a first-round pick on one. At the very least, it merits Day 2 consideration.

Draft Priority Ranking: As early as possible, but likely Day 2 Consideration

What do you think Broncos Country? Are there other positional groups that you think should be addressed in the draft other than the ones listed above? Do you have any players on your watch list that you would love the Broncos to draft? Let me know in the comments below!