The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets. The Denver Broncos are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The Broncos finished the 2020 season a disappointing 5-11 during head coach Vic Fangio’s second year. This was, perhaps, due in part to the heart and soul of the team, Von Miller, missing the entire season after a “freak” ankle injury. He was brought back for the final year of his contract for the 2021 season, however.
Their first round selection, Jerry Jeudy was one of the few bright spots on the team, along with Pro Bowlers Bradley Chubb and Justin Simmons. Offensive tackle Garrett Bolles was given Second Team All-Pro honors as well.
Apart from those players, the Broncos have a lot of work to do to catch up to the now-perennial contender Kansas City Chiefs and the upstart Los Angeles Chargers in their own division. Here is how they can start gaining ground with their first three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 NFL Draft Picks
The Broncos have three picks in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick) – No. 9
Second Round (one pick) – No. 40
Third Round (one pick) – No. 71
Linebacker- Pass rushing is Fangio’s forte, but it was not as potent in 2020, thanks in part to Von Miller being absent. The team needs someone coming off of the defensive line to rush the quarterback, so an inside linebacker/edge rusher would not go amiss.
Defensive line- Denver has some decent starters in the interior of the defensive line, but they desperately need depth at the position. Fangio is a fan of getting after the quarterback and disrupting the offense. That kind of disruption can be even more frequent if the offensive line is being bullied by defensive linemen that can be kept fresh with personnel swaps.
Running back- The Broncos let go of undrafted phenom Phillip Lindsay in the offseason. He was streaky, but well loved by the fanbase. Now they need a decent backup for Melvin Gordon. Running back talent is losing value in the draft, so they may be able to grab a good one with a later pick.
2021 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 9: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
This pick would be a reach at number nine, meaning the Broncos could feasibly trade down if they want Parsons. Either way, he fits a need in a big way and has talent to boot. Reports have surfaced in regards to alleged character issues with Parsons, but there is no denying he is a pass rushing force. Fangio likes an explosive defense that can harass the quarterback and he has that exact explosiveness coming from the inside linebacker position.
Pick No. 40: Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
There are better interior defensive lineman in the class, including Christian Barmore, who is the ideal pick if he falls to Denver. Onwuzurike is a great consolation prize, however.
He has the flexibility to be moved to more of a nose tackle role in the Broncos’ 3-4 defense. This may hamstring his pass rushing skills just a bit, but Onwuzurike is athletic enough to not devolve into simply a run-stopper/space-eater type of player. He could end up being a defensive coach’s dream if he proves to be a flexible player.
Pick No. 71: Michael Carter, RB, UNC
The Broncos need a backup after sending away Phillip Lindsay. The third round may be the best place to grab one. Michael Carter out of North Carolina can serve as a third down back with his speed and also has some receiving prowess. Not to mention he had a knack for getting in the end zone during his college career.
Sure, Lindsay was undrafted and serve the Broncos well, but they should not count on signing a free agent with that kind of talent to back up Melvin Gordon next season.
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