Broncos' Post-Free Agency 7-Round Mock Draft | Version 4.0
The big waves of free agency are in the books. We saw the Denver Broncos make multiple moves to improve the roster.
GM John Elway has put the Broncos in position with very few major roster needs heading into the NFL Draft. With the Broncos bringing in DL Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, P Sam Martin, QB Jeff Driskel, TE Nick Vannett, RB Melvin Gordon, and all the other moves they made including re-signings, tenders and tags, the roster is looking solid. However, there are still areas that need to be addressed.
The wide receiver position is still lacking talent behind Courtland Sutton and the Broncos must improve that room. The cornerback depth chart can use another piece, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising if Denver brings in another prior to the draft.
The center position is complicated because the Broncos believe in Patrick Morris, but it's questionable to rely on him, due to his inexperience, without more competition than Austin Schlottmann. A coverage linebacker, a third safety, and added depth on the Broncos' defensive line are also needed. Of that, only wide receiver is a major need.
There Will be Trades
In this mock draft, there are trades and they were done through a simulation to pick for the other teams. The trades are made using what the sim would allow, based on realistic draft value charts and in comparison to past real-life trades on draft day.
TRADE: The Broncos move up to the No. 11 overall pick. Denver sends picks No. 15 overall, 95, 178 and a 2021 fourth-rounder. The value of the trade, without the future fourth-rounder, is 61 points in the Broncos' favor.
Round 1, Pick 11: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Ruggs is not just a speed receiver. He's not John Ross or Darius Hayward-Bey, or Will Fuller. Ruggs presents more than any of those three did and can win in ways that aren’t just due to speed.
Ruggs doesn’t run just a go route, like Ross did coming out. Ruggs runs better routes than Hayward-Bey did coming out, and doesn’t have the injury history or drops as all three of them did entering the draft.
Yes, Ruggs' speed would add a lot to the Broncos' offense. Even with Fuller, the Houston offense in 2019 was dramatically different when he was on the field compared to when he was off it. Ruggs still has some work to do as a route runner, but the promise is there.
His hands are some of the best in the draft and he can go compete for contested catches. This is a selection that will open up spacing for the Broncos' other weapons and let OC Pat Shurmur unlock the vertical passing game with Drew Lock's arm.
TRADE: Denver sends picks 46 and 83 overall to Seattle for picks 59, 64, and 144 overall. Using the draft value chart, it is a plus-one value for Seattle. It is also the only other trade made in this mock, giving Denver a total gained value of plus-10 factoring both trades.
Round 2, Pick 59: Jeremy Chinn, LB/DB, Southern Illinois
The nephew of Broncos Hall-of-Famer Steve Atwater, Chinn isn’t a safety nor is he a linebacker. He is a weapon on defense and can be used in many different ways in the Vic Fangio scheme.
The fit is one of the best in the draft because of everything Chinn can do and how much Fangio loves versatility. Chinn would add a lot to the Broncos' defense.
He can play deep safety, will-linebacker, the slot, and he can even play on the boundary in some instances. Chinn's athleticism is outstanding and in a normal year for the draft process, it would see him going higher.
However, there are some people in the NFL who believe the impact to the draft process caused by Coronavirus is going to cause some small-school players, like Chinn, to slide in the draft. Despite that, I think if he does slide, it’ll only be from the mid-second round to later second round.
Round 2, Pick 64: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Denver has to be ready for life after 2020. At that point, Garett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James may both be on their way out of town. If Denver can land a developmental tackle in this draft to have waiting in the wings ready to take over for one of them, that would be optimal. Instead of needing both tackles potentially replaced, the Broncos would only have to worry about one.
With Wilson, Denver gets that developmental tackle prospect, but one that can also come in and play this year. Pairing Wilson with his tools and traits with Mike Munchak to develop would be a match made in heaven. Wilson is the type of blocker the Broncos can use to eventually replace James on the right side of the line.
Round 3, Pick 77: Matt Hennessey, IOL, Temple
Center is one of the positons of concern for the Broncos, though the team likes Morris a lot, as mentioned. Had Michigan's Cesar Ruiz fallen to pick 46, he would’ve been the selection because it's hard to trust Morris with how little play-time he got last year. Instead, Hennessey fell here to pick 77.
Hennessey has positional and scheme versatility, though center is his best spot. Denver lands a center that can start on day one, while providing competition to Morris and allowing the coaches to go with whomever wins the job. With Hennessey, provided he develops and wins the job, Denver would have their interior line set for a few years at least, with Dalton Risner and free-agent pickup Graham Glasgow already in the fold.
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Round 4, Pick 118; Devin Duvernay, Wr, Texas
Denver needs to add a couple of receivers to really improve the unit. With Ruggs already selected, Denver needed someone to fully maximize the threat of Ruggs presents and that is Duvernay.
Duvernay's hands are outstanding and he has good speed. He also plays like a running back after the catch to make big plays happen from short catches.
Duvernay would also offer up the threat of speed himself. Sutton, Ruggs, Duvernay, Noah Fant, and the Broncos' running backs, would be very hard to defend against because they'd have threats attacking the defense everywhere.
Round 5, Pick 144: Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
Mike Purcell is a fine nose tackle, but Denver does need to improve depth there. Fotu has a lot of potential for the NFL, and Elway loves Utah as a pipeline. With Fotu, his tape is really good, but he has some medical concerns that are going to cause him to fall because of the lack of draft process this year.
Round 6, Pick 181: Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Jackson works so well when keeping the play in front of him and reading the quarterback. He would be an outstanding fit for Fangio and for a defense that needs more corner help as the Broncos do. Denver does have some talent with Bryce Callahan and A.J. Bouye, but the former has medical questions and the latter may be on the decline.
Round 7, Pick 252: Malcolm Roach, DL, Texas
Denver got a nose tackle to push Purcell, but Roach comes in to boost the depth at defensive end. Roach has a good skill-set for the NFL, but doesn’t really possess starter traits. With Purcell Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, Jurrell Casey, Joel Heath, and DeMarcus Walker, the Broncos may look set upfront, but Roach has more upside or is a better fit than two of the players already on-roster.
Round 7, Pick 254: Dele Harding, LB, Illinois
Even after adding the versatile Chinn, the Broncos can still upgrade the linebacker corps and special teams. Harding is a good athlete and has a lot of potential for the NFL, but he just needs to be developed. Denver can work with him, while having him help out their special teams unit.