There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a Denver Broncos fan. Fresh off a season that saw them win five out of their last seven games, the Broncos are armed with a dozen picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. While they will use the picks several positions of need, Denver is not expected to spend one of their top picks on a quarterback after watching Drew Lock display great promise during his time as starter in 2019, his rookie season.
Here’s a look at how the Broncos can pull off a perfect 2020 draft.
1. Grab the best available WR
While the Jets and 49ers are also in need of a receiver, the Broncos should still be able to secure one of the draft’s top receivers with the 15th overall pick. That could very well be Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III, the fastest player in the 2020 draft. Denver may decide to trade a few of their picks to grab another receiver (possibly Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb) if there is a specific player they feel is best for their offense. It’s hard to imagine the Broncos being disappointed if Ruggs is there at No. 15, as he averaged 17.5 yards per catch while scoring 24 touchdowns during his years with the Crimson Tide.
2. Trade up for Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray
Denver should find a trade partner that will allow them to make two first-round picks. With their second pick, they should acquire either Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray, the two highest-ranked inside linebackers in the draft. One team that may be willing to trade with them is the Vikings, who own the 22nd and 25th picks. The Broncos could be able to acquire the 25th pick in exchange for the 46th and 77th picks in this year’s draft, plus a 2021 third-round pick. Denver may have to willing to trade the 95th overall pick in this scenario if the Vikings don’t want to wait a year to acquire the pick.
While it’s a gamble, there’s a good chance that either Queen or Murray will be available with the 25th pick. In Saints with the 24th pick and Murray to the Ravens with the 28th pick. Another option here could be Zack Baun, who piled up 12.5 sacks during his final season at Wisconsin., CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Ryan Wilson has Queen going to the
Not all is lost if Denver is not able to trade up to acquire one of the top linebackers in the draft. If they decide to wait it out, a possible option with the 77th overall pick is Appalacian State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither, an extremely versatile linebacker who totaled 101 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, one interception and eight passes defensed last season while being tabbed as the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.
3. Take advantage of a deep CB, WR class
While A.J. Bouye and De’Vante Bausby will help make up for losing Chris Harris Jr., in free agency, Denver still needs help at the cornerback position heading into the draft. Fortunately for them, this year’s class is considerably deep at that position.
Possible Day 2 options at cornerback include Ohio State’s Damon Arnette, Mississippi’s Cameron Dantzler, Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson, and Notre Dame’s Tony Pride Jr.. Day 3 cornerback options include Nebraska’s Lamar Jackson, Michigan’s Lavert Hill, Georgia Southern’s Kindle Victor and Penn State’s John Reid, among others.
After taking a receiver in the first round, Denver has plenty of other receivers to choose from later in the draft. Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool would be an ideal pick with the 83rd overall pick, while Ohio State’s K.J. Hill could be another option with the 118th overall pick. Claypool, a big target at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds, caught 13 touchdowns while averaging 15.7 yards per catch last season. Hill, a slot receiver, caught half of his 20 career touchdown passes during his final season with the Buckeyes.
4. Don’t forget about S and OL
While Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson is a solid safety duo, the Broncos could definitely use some reinforcements here. If they hang onto the 46th pick, an option here could be Cal’s Ashtyn Davis or Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. CBS Sports’ R.J. White, in his , has the Broncos taking Utah’s Terrell Burgess with the 95th pick.
Denver could use an infusion of talent on the offensive line, particularly at center after parting with center Connor McGovern and guard Ronald Leary. Expect the Broncos to draft several linemen in the draft.
It’s hard to envision the Broncos passing on Michigan center Cesar Ruiz if he somehow manages to fall to the 46th overall pick (which is unlikely). A more realistic option with this pick is LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, a 2019 All-American who started at center for the Tigers’ national championship-winning team. A Day 3 option for Denver’s offensive line could be Ball State’s Danny Pinter, a former tight end who didn’t miss a start at right tackle during his final two seasons while earning All-Mid-American Conference First Team honors last fall.