Although the fanbase and many in Denver media, including a few of us here at Mile High Huddle, are pining for GM John Elway to take a wide receiver in the first round of next week's NFL Draft, the truth is, we have no idea how it's ultimately going to shake out.
The Denver Broncos have a few glaring needs and one of them is the offensive tackle position. The Broncos believe they can get by with Garett Bolles and Ja'Wuan James (health willing) but the former's lack of discipline and development, coupled with the latter's injury history, could see Elway prioritize the position high in the draft.
ESPN's Jeff Legwold surmised just that in a Bolles-focused article last week.
Although the Broncos have used a first-round pick on a tackle just five times since 1967, this year's board is vastly different. The Broncos will almost certainly be looking at the possibility of one or two of those top tackles when the 15th pick arrives.
While I understand fans' amorous focus on WRs like Alabama's Henry Ruggs III, the truth is, this is a class replete with talent at the position. To those who say that any team wanting to land a bonafide stud WR has to do so as early as possible, I point to Courtland Sutton as good example of why that's not a football absolute.
The Broncos landed Sutton with pick No. 40 in the 2018 draft and by the end of his rookie season, he was the team's WR1. Emmanuel Sanders would have a little something to say about that, as exemplified by his training camp scrap with Sutton the next summer, but there's a reason Sanders is gone and Sutton remains.
Of course, the flip-side is that when it comes to Elway drafting WRs, yes, Sutton is an exemplary 'hit' in round two, but we can't forget the Cody Latimer swing-and-miss back in 2014. The Broncos bet on the depth of that class and took a cornerback in round one (Bradley Roby), nabbing Latimer on day two. Suffice to say, Latimer was a colossal bust in Denver.
There are cautionary tales on both sides of the issue when it come to taking a WR in round one or two. But it's safe to say, considering that guys like TCU's Jalen Reagor, LSU's Justin Jefferson, and Baylor's Denzel Mims are likely to be available on day two, the Broncos don't have to bet the farm on a WR at pick 15.
As Legwold theorizes, it could be an OT. There are a handful of candidates who not only would upgrade the Broncos' depth but immediately put Bolles out of a job. They are:
Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Georgia's Andrew Thomas. The odds that all four of those OTs will be off the board by 15 are slim, so as Legwold surmises, it's almost certain that Elway will be considering at least one or two of them alongside whichever WRs prospects are still on the board.
But don't sleep on cornerback as a possibility at 15 either. CB, OT, WR are all bonafide needs and an argument for why it's the No. 1 team need can be made for each.
We won't have to wait much longer to see how it all shakes out. The NFL Draft is scheduled to kick off next Thursday night, April 23. If the Broncos don't take a WR at 15, just remember that it won't be the end of the world.