Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft Recap

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft Recap

by May 2, 2021 0 comments

The Denver Broncos came into this draft with nine picks and ended with 10. They stood pat in the first round, but the trading fun began on day two, where they didn’t pick at either of their original spots and adding an extra pick on the day. They didn’t address their biggest needs at right tackle and the ever fan loving quarterback. Per the team, they didn’t seem to see the quarterback position that way. They couldn’t get a tackle they loved, unfortunately. That said, they got some tremendous value picks and addressed a lot of potential depth concerns, given they have almost all of their starters set up, which makes this draft nearly a slam dunk. 

Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.

Best Pick: Baron Browning (Round 3, Pick 105)

This is a value pick as much as anything. Browning was a guy I would have been comfortable taking at their original second-round pick (40 overall), and they got him 65 picks later. He’s an athletic, rangy linebacker with the versatility to play on the edge and in the middle. Most importantly, he addresses Denver’s need for a coverage linebacker. Head coach Vic Fangio said that he expects Browning to start playing inside linebacker and get him some edge time well. If he’s used right and in different ways, he could be a great pick. 

As with just about every pick, this is more to be a future impact pick. He’ll come in as the fourth linebacker behind Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, and Justin Strnad. There’s a realistic world where Strnad starts with Johnson, and Browning will rotate with Johnson. Based on value and future potential, this is a great pick. 

Grade: A

For more on Browning, check out our scouting report here.

Worst Pick: Jamar Johnson (Round 5, Pick 164)

Overall, I don’t see this as a bad pick, and I don’t think they made a “bad” pick. The only reason this pick is the “worst” is that they just drafted Texas safety Caden Sterns 12 picks earlier. Safety isn’t a glaring need this year. Next year, however, it gets interesting with Kareem Jackson in a contract year. These two picks of Sterns and Johnson felt like preparing for life without Jackson. All of that said, Johnson isn’t a bad pick, and it’s surprising he fell as far as he did. He was very capable of being a day two pick, which makes this good value overall. So for the worst pick, I have a hard time giving this a bad grade. 

Grade: C+

For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report here.

Sleeper Pick: Quinn Meinerz (Round 3, Pick 98)

As far as value goes, another tremendous value pick. Meinerz is an animal in all facets. I am fully bought in on everything about him. He has this natural charisma when he talks to the media, he is the legitimate peak male form, the redneck vibes, and the actual important part is he does the football thing well. The Meinerz pick gives them a surplus of very good interior lineman and a ton of options. 

He taught himself to play center, and according to Fangio, offensive line coach Mike Munchak wants him to start working at center. He will compete with second-year center Lloyd Cushenberry to start. Meinerz can play the guard spots if Graham Glasgow flames out and beats second-year guard Netane Muti. The other option that sold me was moving Dalton Risner out to right tackle in a year, as Risner was an All-American tackle in college. Meinerz was a DIII prospect and will surprise many with his physical style and abilities, setting up Denver’s offensive line for years to come. 

Grade: A-

For more on Meinerz, check out our scouting report here.

Summary

Denver pretty much went BPA for just about every pick, and it worked out well for them. Their first four picks of Patrick Surtain II, Javonte Williams, Meinerz, and Browning all have great chances to make legitimate contributions this year. Most of their selections should have opportunities as future value picks. Overall, this was a nice first draft for George Paton. Once fans take the emotion out of not choosing Justin Fields at nine overall, they’ll grow to see why this was an excellent draft. 

Grade: A-


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