During this week’s NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos built up assets to help construct the future of their franchise.
With the 2019 NFL Draft in the books, will those chosen by the Denver Broncos lead the way to great reward?
Only time will tell.
Going into the draft, most analysts agreed that the Broncos needed to supplement their roster with those in the following positions: OL, LB, WR TE. The Broncos appeared to be confident in their choice of Joe Flacco at the quarterback position, so selecting players to compliment him on the offense was a high consideration. They also were looking to add to the defense as well, looking at the future for replacement players and bringing more youth and talent.
With a new head coach in Vic Fangio, the defense was certain to be a high priority. However, there was also the thought that the Broncos might take a QB as a possible back-up for Flacco, and to see if they might go the way of the Kansas City Chiefs by having Flacco be a mentor.
Round 1, Selection 20
Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa
Fant was considered to be the second-best tight end in the draft, with only his teammate T.J. Hockenson ahead of him at the position. At 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, his speed on the field is not in doubt, especially since he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds at the combine. His speed was also there for all Iowa fans to see every game. Having a record of 78 receptions for 1,083 yards and 19 touchdowns over three years, he will prove quickly to be a great target for Flacco. If he continues to improve, there’s the possibility he’ll become the number one tight end for the Broncos.
Round 2, Selection 41
Dalton Risner, Offensive Tackle, Kansas State
At 6-foot-5 and 308 pounds, he will be able to offer versatility to the team by his ability to play guard or even center. Since the Broncos have Ja’Wuan James at right tackle, it’s a possibility they might move him to the interior offensive line. His time spent as captain for the Wildcats will hopefully bring maturity to understand what needs to be done, no matter where on the offensive line the Broncos put him.
Round 2, Selection 42
Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri
Looking at his stats, the first thing that stands out is that his overall pass completion percentage was 56.9 percentage, but it doesn’t show the improvement year by year once you break that score down. This could be why the Broncos chose to take him, as they see a lot of potential in him. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he is an ideal size for a quarterback, and if you combine that with his arm and ability to make a play, the Broncos just might have their future starting quarterback.
Round 3, Selection 71
Dre’Mont Jones, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
Despite being considered undersized as a defensive tackle at 6-foot-3 and 283 pounds, Jones will be able to provide depth behind Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis. His 2018 season was his best overall, so it’s a gamble for the Broncos to bet on Jones being able to improve even more to become the defensive player they need. Jones has the athleticism they need upfront, but consistency will be the question going forward.
Round 5, Selection 156
Justin Hollins, Linebacker, Oregon
At 6-foot-5 and 242 pounds, Hollins is considered a good 3-4 outside linebacker, but it’s possible in the Broncos defense he might be able to be an outside linebacker. He needs improvement in coming off blocks and needs to show more consistency and strength to be able to earn any time on the field for the Broncos. Hollins does have good speed, and that is something the Broncos need to work on with him. That speed just might be able to get him to be a good pass rusher in the NFL.
Round 6, Selection 187
Juwann Winfree, Wide Receiver, Colorado
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Winfree has the size and speed to be a good wide receiver, however the concern will be with the injuries he’s sustained during college. If the Broncos keep him healthy and develop him through their system, he might prove to be the receiver needed for the offense in a few years.
Overall the Broncos seemed to have chosen players to help them both now and in the future. Fans have to remember that John Elway, and the rest of those who have decision-making skills and powers, are trying to not only navigate choosing players who can start now, but can also grow and become effective in the future. Elway has filled some needs for both offense and defense, but now it’s up to the coach and staff to make sure the players develop and are ready to fulfill the roles they were picked for.