- The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Broncos should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
Two weeks ahead of the NFL draft, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.
Biggest Need: Interior O-line
2016 fifth-rounder Connor McGovern, who struggled a few times in one-on-one scenarios at guards last year, is the new center, with Matt Paradis not being re-signed. That’s a downgrade. So is undrafted third-year pro Elijah Wilkinson in McGovern’s old right guard spot. And at left guard, Ronald Leary is coming off an Achilles injury and can be cut in 2020 for a cap savings of $8.5M. New QB Joe Flacco, at this point, is only comfortable playing from a clean pocket. Denver needs at least two new blockers inside.
Hidden Need: Linebacker
Run thumper Todd Davis has improved to become adequate in pass defense, and 2018 fourth-rounder Josey Jewell, while not the greatest reactor in coverage, showed flashes as a downhill attacker last year. Neither of these men, however, are pure passing-down linebackers. And remember, even on third down, new defensive play-caller Vic Fangio prefers to keep two linebackers on the field. It’s an important position in Fangio’s nuanced scheme, which is why Fangio’s 2018 Bears addressed it with the eighth overall pick (Roquan Smith).
Also Looking For: Quarterback
Flacco will almost certainly be The Guy on opening day; the fact that he’s here, and that he’s playing for a new 60-year-old head coach, tells you GM John Elway believes his club is a contender right now. But Elway also understands that you can’t be a contender long-term if you’re not set under center. Flacco, 34 and with a history of injuries, is not a long-term solution.
Who They Can Get
If they go offensive line, Denver might have their choice of the top OL prospects, many of whom are collegiate tackles who profile as NFL guards. Alabama's Jonah Williams and Oklahoma's Cody Ford are a bit of a reach at 10. If they wait until 41, they can cross their fingers that Kansas State's Dalton Risner is still on the board. And while he'd be a bit of a reach in the top 50, Boston College's Chris Lindstrom would be a perfect fit in Rich Scangarello's outside-zone scheme. Linebacker would be easier, where both LSU's Devin White and Michigan's Devin Bush bring the kind of three-down skillset Fangio needs. Missouri QB Drew Lock—something of a young Joe Flacco—would be an excellent fit in their offense.
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