Denver Broncos: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Garett Bolles

After trading up to land their hopeful franchise quarterback in Paxton Lynch during last year’s draft, it’s now incumbent on G.M. John Elway to find a pair of bookend tackles to protect his young signal-caller and help open up the running lanes for an offense that needs to start doing their part if the Broncos are going to be a factor for years to come.

Key additions

  • DL Zach Kerr
  • DT Domata Peko
  • OG Ronald Leary
  • OT Menelik Watson

Key subtractions

  • CB/ST Kayvon Webster
  • DT Sylvester Williams
  • OLB DeMarcus Ware
  • OLB/ST Dekoda Watson
  • OT Russell Okung

Priority needs (Offense)

QB…With ten draft picks the Broncos should entertain the thought of adding a late-round player here like Chad Kelly, Taysom Hill, Kyle Sloter, Sefo Liufau or Brady Gustafson.

OT…This is clearly their top need. So much so that they need two new starters and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them use their top two picks here.

RB…C.J. Anderson wasn’t able to stay healthy last season and it was a key factor as to why the Broncos offense struggled. Due to his short stature and physical running style it is difficult to imagine Anderson can be counted on in a full-time role. There is hope that second-year rusher Devontae Booker will improve off a disappointing rookie season, but with those questions in mind it makes sense to add another runner in the middle-rounds like Kareem Hunt. Of course Joe Mixon could also be on the table if the Broncos brass feels they can handle the PR questions. Christian McCaffrey would be more than ideal here, but I just don’t see him lasting this long.

TE…Jeff Heuerman was a nice addition to the team last year, but he’s a better blocker than a difference-maker. That’s where a player like David Njoku comes in. With Virgil Green set to become a free agent after the season it would give the inexperienced talent an opportunity to work into the rotation and provide the Broncos offense with an excellent combo at this spot.

Priority needs (Defense)

CB…Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are as good as they come, but Bradley Roby has yet to distinguish himself. They have to add another player here.

DT…If the Broncos want to be serious about getting their defensive mojo back they can’t be serious about letting Domata Peko get ample playing time. Dalvin Tomlinson would be smart in the second-round or they could wait and grab a few other talents in the third or fourth rounds like Montravius Adams, Caleb Brantley, Eddie Vanderdoes or Carlos Watkins.

Final analysis

It’s all about the offensive tackles and with ten picks in this week’s draft, Elway and company better find some. The last time Denver used their top pick on this position was in 2008 when Ryan Clady was taken 12th overall and that pick worked out pretty good until injuries took their toll. Now Elway needs to find the next Clady x 2.

Top first-round options

  • CB Chidobe Awuzie
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • TE David Njoku
  • OT Garett Bolles
  • OT Antonio Garcia
  • OT Ryan Ramczyk
  • OT Cam Robinson
  • RB Christian McCaffrey
  • RB Joe Mixon
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