Denver Broncos 2020 NFL Draft: Take the Playmaker
The Denver Broncos will make the 15th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Every pick will be made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from either his or his mom’s basement. Mr. Commissioner will likely be wearing nothing but a suit jacket and boxers for this virtual draft. And this will also mark the first time since taking over the league that Goodell won’t be booed (to our knowledge) as he announces the first pick. All jokes aside, what the NFL and Goodell have done to ensure that we have a televised draft that the fans can watch is a sentiment to how hard they’re working to keep everyone safe and get back on the field at the same time.
Broncos General Manager John Elway has helped this team acquire a lot of assets through the draft since he’s taken over with the addition of guys like Noah Fant, Royce Freeman, Drew Lock, and Cortland Sutton over just the last two years. You can argue that Elway has really turned this team around for the first time since Manning took them to the Super Bowl just through these last few drafts. Since taking over draft duties in 2011, John Elway has done a phenomenal job at improving this defense but has essentially struck-out on quarterbacks since taking over. Lynch, Kelly, and Osweiler sounds AND plays a lot more like a law firm than a trio of QBs. Now, we are witnessing the Drew Lock experiment-something that has been successful up to this point thanks in part to the talented offense that Elway has built around the quarterback position.
What will the Broncos do with the No. 15 pick in the upcoming draft? I don’t see them trading this pick unless a team decides last minute to move up to the first half of the draft to ensure they get their guy. With their first-rounder in last year’s draft, Denver selected Noah Fant out of Iowa after trading with Pittsburgh to move down. Fant surprised a lot of people with how quickly he became one of the league’s top tight ends. It wouldn’t shock me if Denver invested another first-round pick to beef up their offense. They’ve been in connection with a few of the top receivers in the draft. And the talent at wideout is very deep this year. That being said, look for Denver to jump on one of the top receivers early in the draft.
Let’s dive into a seven-round mock draft to get a better idea of who’s going to hear their name called from Goodell’s basement come draft night.
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Team Needs: DL, OL, WR, LB, CB
No. 15: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
After hitting a home run with their second-round pick in 2018, Courtland Sutton, the Broncos have been heavily linked to a few of the top receivers in this draft including Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. If Jeudy, arguably the best route runner available, drops down to No. 15, I don’t see how Denver can pass on a Sutton/Jeudy wide receiver tandem for 2020.
Jeudy, who had a whopping 145 catches for 2,478 yards in his final two years at school, would be the first player ever taken out of Alabama in the John Elway era. I’m not really sure what the Broncos have against really talented football players playing for one of the best coaches in the game, but it sure is a bold strategy. I would bet my left index finger that the Broncos don’t pass on this guy if he’s there at 15.
No. 46: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Denver certainly could use another strong cornerback to complement A. J. Bouye on the other side of the field. Robertson would be a great addition to a defense that finished in the top half of the league in both points and yards allowed in 2019. This side of the ball wasn’t the biggest issue for Denver. But if they want to even have a shot at their division, Denver needs two solid cornerbacks if they’re going to hang with teams like the Chiefs this year.
No. 77: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Broncos’ defense needs an edge rusher and arguably the best defensive player out of Texas Tech in the last decade has a serious chance of being on the board come the 77th pick. Brooks led the Big 12 in tackles for loss last year and also had the 6th most total tackles out of any player in college football. Brooks is a versatile linebacker that has the unique ability to put pressure on the quarterback and cover receivers. All-in-all, Brooks would be a solid fit on an already-speedy defense.
No. 83: Nick Harris, C, Washington Huskies
Denver has built a solid offensive line through free agency and the draft. This position group took a blow last season when acquisition Ja’Wuan James got injured just 10 snaps into the year. At first, it appeared as if the Broncos had finally found the rock for their offensive line in James, but later, it came back to bite the Broncos when their $51M right tackle failed to see the field for most of 2019.
Look for the Broncos to take another shot at finding a strong, young offensive lineman. They took lineman Dalton Risner with their second-round pick last year, who was voted to the All-2019 Rookie Team. Nick Harris is a 6’1’’ 302-pound tank who also had one of the best 40 times amongst offensive linemen. His size has been a worry for scouts looking for versatile guys on the line capable of playing any position. But Harris would be a solid pick here for Denver.
No. 95: Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State Wolfpack
The Broncos have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL. While they did lose Derek Wolfe to the Ravens this offseason, they added pro-bowler Jurrell Casey to beef up this defensive line. Between Casey, Shelby Harris, Mike Purcell, and Von Miller, the Broncos have a very stout line to build around and add depth to.
After playing junior college for two years, Murchison redshirted his first year with NC State, was named the team’s best defensive lineman in 2018, and was nominated to the second-team All-ACC team after he led the team in both sacks and tackles. He would add some nice talent to a solid defensive line.
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No. 118: Terrell Burgess, DB, Utah Utes
Look for Denver to take another defensive back late in the draft to develop behind Bouye even if they try to jump on a starter early. Burgess is a speedy 5’11’’ safety who ran a very impressive 4.46 40-Yard Dash at the combine. He started 14 games for one of the top defenses in the NCAA. While I don’t expect Burgess to jump on the field immediately, Broncos defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill will certainly do what he can to get someone with Burgess’s raw talent on the field. His speed and agility would also make him a solid special teams’ weapon in the meantime.
No. 178: Lamical Perine, RB, Florida Gators
With Melvin Gordon added to a backfield that already had Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, the Broncos run game is as good as it’s been on paper since C.J. Anderson helped take them to the Super Bowl. The speedy back out of Florida not only led the team in rushing last year, but was one of the team’s top receiving targets with 40 catches, 262 yards, and 5 receiving touchdowns.
It’s unlikely that Denver takes a running back in this draft with the plan of putting them in a starting role, so look for Denver to draft an elusive back late in the draft who has the ability to make noise in special teams and the passing game. While not as fast, Perine is a Darren Sproles-like running back who would be a threat every time he gets his hands on the ball.
No. 181: Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse Orange
This team desperately needs to add an edge rusher to their defensive line. I expect them to take a shot at this position early in the draft with Jordyn Brooks, but wouldn’t be shocked if they try to add more depth as we get into the later rounds. Born in Texas, Syracuse’s Alton Robinson received all-conference honorable mention honors last year. However, his off-the-field issues from before college actually cost him an offer to Texas A&M years back.
I like Robinson for Denver at this point in the draft, but whether his 4.6 40-yard dash trumps his potential off-the-field issues or not will be left up to the Broncos.
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No. 252: Solomon Kidney, OL, Georgia Bulldogs
Solomon Kidney was a respected veteran and captain for Georgia where he helped guide the team to 11+ wins in his last three years at the school. Kidney isn’t one of the highest-rated players in the draft but did a phenomenal job of staying on the field, playing 15 games in 2017, 14 in 2018, and 13 last year. Kidney is a large presence that would add some more depth to an offensive line that certainly needs it.
No. 254: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane Green Wave
Look for Denver to add at least two wide receivers in this draft. I’d be pretty shocked at this point if they don’t have a top receiver of their choice. At the 254th pick, Mooney isn’t what you’d call a “standout” receiver heading into the draft, but he led Tulane in essentially all receiving categories last year and can run with some of the top receivers in this draft.
The 2019 Denver Broncos had one of the NFL’s more interesting seasons. They started the year at an abysmal 4-8 with Joe Flacco under center for a majority of those games. Enter Phillip Lindsay. Enter Drew Lock. Denver has themselves an offense. They have the pieces to build around a successful quarterback, as their strong offensive line combined with young guys like Fant and Sutton in the pass-catching game is a recipe for disaster for opposing defenses. The Broncos won three of their final four games after Lock took over, including a division victory over the Los Angeles Chargers and an impressive road win in Houston.
Denver would be smart to build around the quarterback position. The tools are there for Denver and they’re likely to stock up on more offensive assets in this year’s draft. If Elway can help surround Drew Lock with talented players, the young guy could make a name for himself in 2020.