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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: AFC West

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: April 18, 2020, 2:25 pm ET

The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Denver Broncos

Notable Offseason Additions: QB Jeff Driskel, RB Melvin Gordon, TE Nick Vannett, C Graham Glasgow, DT Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, P Sam Martin

Starting Offense

QB: Drew Lock
RB: Melvin Gordon
WR1: Courtland Sutton
WR2: DaeSean Hamilton
WR3: Tim Patrick
TE: Noah Fant
LT: Garett Bolles
LG: Dalton Risner
C: Graham Glasgow
RG: Elijah Wilkinson
RT: Ja’Wuan James

Starting Defense

DE: Jurrell Casey
NT: Mike Purcell
DT: Shelby Harris
LOLB: Von Miller
ROLB: Bradley Chubb
ILB: Alexander Johnson
ILB: Todd Davis
CB: A.J. Bouye
CB: Isaac Yiadom
SCB: Bryce Callahan
S: Justin Simmons
S: Kareem Jackson

Team Needs

Mensio's Analysis

Wide Receiver: The Broncos traded Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers at the deadline last season, and DaeSean Hamilton never realized his second-year leap, leaving Courtland Sutton as a virtual one-man show at wideout. Tim Patrick has some skill, but he’s only shown flashes while battling injury in 2019. Denver needs to surround Drew Lock with as much talent as possible. This receiver-rich draft should provide a jolt to the Broncos’ wideout room.

Offensive Tackle: LT Garett Boles is one of the worst left tackles in football. GM John Elway needs to figure this out if Drew Lock is going to have his best chance at success in the big leagues. Elijah Wilkinson could be ticketed for the opening at right guard, but word is big-money pickup Graham Glasgow may get that spot. If Glasgow goes there, it will leave a hole at center where Connor McGovern left for the Jets. RT Ja’Wuan James played just three games in his first year with the Broncos and wasn’t able to finish any of them due to injuries.

Cornerback: The Broncos have good depth at corner despite losing Chris Harris to the Chargers in free agency. They sent a mid-rounder to the Jaguars for A.J. Bouye to take Harris’ spot on the boundary. 2018 third-rounder Isaac Yiadom struggled in 2019, and nickel man Bryce Callahan missed the entire season with a foot injury. That’s a big concern. DeVante Bausby, Trey Marshall, and Duke Dawson round out the group, but Denver could use a reliable starter.

Broncos’ Draft Picks

Norris’ Options

1 (15). WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama - Imagine pairing the speed of Ruggs with the talent of Courtland Sutton. With the Broncos adding a corner, lineman, running back and interior disruptor in free agency, targeting another offensive playmaker in the draft is likely a priority. Think rookie season Tyreek Hill in terms of Ruggs’ potential usage as a rookie. It wouldn’t be a stunner for him to be the first receiver off the board.

WATCH NOW: Check out who our experts thought the Broncos would land in our First Round Mock Draft Show! 

2 (46). C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan - As Nick pointed out, the Broncos have versatility along the interior with players possessing the ability to start in multiple spots. In this case, Glasgow moves over to guard with Ruiz sliding into the pivot role. 

3 (77). CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa - Ojemudia did play mostly off coverage during his time at Iowa, but he does possess great length and route recognition to match up with receivers. Footwork is very nimble to undercut routes while keeping eyes on the quarterback. It’s a projection, yet the tools are there to be both a press man and off coverage corner.

3 (83). WR Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky - The Broncos attempted to draft a run after catch threat a few years ago in Carlos Henderson. That failed. But looking at this hypothetical group of Sutton and Ruggs, Bowden could be a very fun player closer to the line of scrimmage with the ball in his hands.

3 (95). LB Davion Taylor, Colorado - When looking at the Broncos depth chart, they seemed to lack a second linebacker that was comfortable in coverage. Enter Taylor who has the athleticism to cover ground in space.

4 (118). T Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas - Another offensive lineman, this time on the edges. The Broncos might be in a position with multiple options at each position. Hopefully all of them are “good” options. Adeniji definitely has the athleticism to hold up on a pass protection island.

5 (178). S Julian Blackmon, Utah - Mostly a free safety during his final season at Utah, Blackmon is the type of player you see fly down into the box and make plays on the ball carrier on the edge.

6 (181). DL Raequan Williams, Michigan State - Interior defensive line depth from a player who played as a 1-technique, 3-technique and played over top of the tackle. 

7 (252). EDGE Tipa Galeai, Utah State - The Broncos certainly possess two outstanding edge rushers. I certainly don’t expect Galeai to contribute, but he could grow into a rotational role. Possibly in the vein of Shaq Barrett during his time with Denver.7 (254). RB Rico Dowdle, South Carolina - It’s clear John Elway values big backs. That’s why he signed Melvin Gordon as his feature player over sticking with Phillip Lindsay. Elway’s pick history also includes Royce Freeman and David Williams. Dowdle possesses similar size.

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