The 2018 NFL Draft is now a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will continue with the Denver Broncos 2018 NFL Draft profile.
A colossal disappointment is the best way to describe the Denver Broncos in 2017. Denver won just two additional games after a 3-1 start. A quarterback carousel featuring Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch was the biggest reason for their 5-11 mark. It was Denver’s first losing season since 2010.
The offensive line continued to be a problem for Denver as well. Much was expected of free agent acquisition Ronald Leary, but he could not stay healthy. Fellow free agent signee Menelik Watson also dealt with injuries as well as poor performance. Last year’s top pick, Garett Bolles had an inconsistent rookie year. The unit as a whole ranked 30th in sacks allowed. The winless Browns were also the only team that turned the ball over more than the Broncos last year.
The good news for the Broncos is that the defense is still one of the best around. Von Miller and company struggled to force turnovers last year, but that is really the only negative on that side of the ball. The unit was put in many bad situations by the offense and still ranked third in total defense. The secondary will look a bit different for the upcoming season, but defense is still what the Broncos are about.
Picks and needs
The Broncos have nine total picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. That is ample opportunity for John Elway and second-year head coach Vance Joseph to improve the roster.
First round (1 pick): 5
Second round (1): 40
Third round (2): 71, 99
Fourth round (2): 106, 109
Fifth round (3): 142, 160,163
Sixth round (0):
Seventh round (0)
Offensive line – If Leary stays healthy, a line featuring him, Matt Paradis, Bolles in his second year and the recently acquired Jared Veldheer is formidable, but left guard is still a huge question mark.
Tight end – Virgil Green left in free agency. Also, Denver has not had significant pass-catching production at this spot in a very long time. Former Michigan standout Jake Butt essentially red-shirted his rookie season due to injury. He should be ready to produce this year, but how confident are the Broncos in him and his health? Regardless, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders need a third pass-catching option to emerge on this team in order to make their lives easier.
Running back – Denver wants to get the running game going, but the Jamaal Charles experiment failed and there is talk of C.J. Anderson being traded or let go. If that happens, Devontae Booker is going to need more help than the current roster can offer.
Quarterback – With Case Keenum entering the fold via free agency, this need is just not as pressing as most people think. Also, the Broncos do not seem to have given up on Paxton Lynch or Chad Kelly yet. It is hard to imagine four quarterbacks on a roster that has more immediate needs, but it is not entirely out of the question that Denver goes here early.
Linebacker – Todd Davis returns to Denver on a team-friendly deal, but he was just okay last year. Von Miller and Brandon Marshall could use a more dynamic teammate at this position. Denver has had a knack for turning linebackers and defensive ends into sack artists in recent years. You can never have too many pass rushers.
Cornerback – With Aqib Talib now on the Rams, Bradley Roby becomes the cornerback opposite Chris Harris Jr. Roby should be fine as a full-time starter, but there is no longer a slam dunk option for third cornerback on the roster.
Pick No. 5: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
If Keenum can be half the player he was last year in Minnesota, quarterback is not an issue for this team for a couple years. The issue becomes the guys protecting the quarterback. If the best offensive lineman in the draft is still on the board, this is a no brainer for Denver.
Pick No. 40: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Oliver is a raw talent that would be helped greatly by being drafted to Denver. That secondary is loaded with talent for him to learn from. He would also fill an immediate and potentially long-term need for the Broncos.
Pick No. 71: D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
He is not a tight end, but there is a need for a third pass catcher to emerge in the Broncos offense, even if it is at wide receiver. Chark is an interesting combo of size and speed.
Pick No. 99: Oren Burks, ILB, Vanderbilt
Burks is not yet NFL ready yet, but doesn’t need to be right away for the Broncos. He made his way on to the stat sheet quite a bit at Vanderbilt, and he checks the boxes in terms of size and quickness.
The Broncos are not used to picking this high in the draft, but having nine picks is a great asset. If they are used properly, the Broncos won’t be picking this high again anytime soon.
Enjoy the days of Draftmas here at The Game Haus! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Indianapolis Colts 2018 NFL Draft profile.