The best players still on the board after round one of the draft
Apr 30, 2021, 6:20 AM
The Denver Broncos finished Thursday with a new cornerback for the defense. With the No. 9 overall pick, the Broncos selected Pat Surtain out of Alabama. He’s my No. 1 cornerback in this class and has the upside to be a perennial Pro Bowl player.
The draft moves quickly, so now it’s on to day two. The second round starts on Friday, and the Broncos have a premium selection at No. 40 overall. As with every draft, some players who should have gone on day one fall to the second round.
After day one wrapped, Broncos GM George Paton admitted the team had some first-round graded players left over on their board.
“We do. I think we have three or four left on our board, so let’s hope they fall.” Paton said.
Here are the best players left over after day one of the NFL Draft. In addition to snippets about the player, I’m also going to include whether or not I think the Broncos should be interested in selecting them.
Tevin Jenkins | OT | Oklahoma State
I thought Jenkins would go to the Raiders in the first round, but he’s going to be available on day two and should come off the board quickly. He’s a wide-bodied power player who started primarily at right tackle for the Cowboys. He didn’t allow a sack in his junior or senior season and is known as one of the smartest players at his position.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? Yes. They still have question marks at the tackle position. Ja’Wuan James is going to play in 2021, but nobody knows how many games he’ll get through. Jenkins is a road grader at right tackle, similar to the way Orlando Franklin was back in the day. That’s a good call to take him in round two if you’re the Broncos.
Trevon Moehrig | S | TCU
There were zero safeties selected in the first round of the draft, and Trevon Moehrig – the best safety in the class – is still on the board. Moehrig was incredibly productive over the last two seasons with 26 pass breakups, six interceptions and only two touchdowns allowed. He can start from day one in the NFL and can line up at either safety position.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? Yes. I like Moehrig, and it would be fun to think about him playing in the defensive backfield with Justin Simmons. Since Kareem Jackson only has a one-year deal, it would make sense to target Moehrig early in the second round.
Javonte Williams | RB | North Carolina
The best running back in this class is Javonte Williams, in my opinion. I love big backs and I cannot lie, and Williams fits that bill at nearly 215 pounds. He runs with plenty of violence as evidenced by his 75 broken tackles for the Tarheels in 2020. Williams worked better as a receiver last year and could be a lead back in the NFL.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? Yes. They have Melvin Gordon as their starter, but he’s average at best. The team needs an upgrade at the position. Williams could work as a complementary back with Gordon in 2021 and then take over the backfield as the primary player in 2022.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | LB | Notre Dame
I was shocked that Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was not selected on day one. He’s listed as a linebacker, but has the size and game of a safety. JOK is one of the most explosive players in the draft, regardless of position and would have no problem covering the best tight ends in the league. He’s not a “thumper” as a run-defender but is a sound tackler.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? Yes. Alexander Johnson struggles in coverage and should come off the field on third down. He could work with JOK on run downs and then the rookie could take over as the coverage linebacker.
Azeez Ojulari | Edge | Georgia
There was buzz before the draft that one player who could fall out of the first round was Azeez Ojulari from Georgia. Ojulari has the speed to get around the corner and the closing burst to get after the quarterback. He’s got more moves than just speed and has active hands to knock blockers paws away from him. Ojulari was a part-time player and a one-year wonder, but the tools are there for him to consistently put quarterbacks under duress.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? Yes. You can never have too many pass-rushers, and Ojulari might end up being the best of the bunch from this draft class.
Christian Barmore | DT | Alabama
Alabama dominated the first round with six players selected from the Crimson Tide. This is not a great defensive tackle class, but Christian Barmore is the best of the group. He’s an active player who likes to get upfield and make quarterbacks uncomfortable.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? No. Barmore is talented and certainly had his best games in the College Football Playoff last year, but the Broncos are set on interior defensive linemen.
Creed Humphrey | OC | Oklahoma
A player some thought would sneak into the first round was Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma. Humphrey is a former wrestler who understands leverage and doesn’t give up much ground as a blocker either at center or guard. I like his work ethic and strength at the point, plus Humphrey did not give up a sack in 37 career starts for the Sooners.
Should the Broncos Have Interest? No. When the Broncos selected Lloyd Cushenberry last year in the third round, they committed to him as the center for some time. Cushenberry had an up-and-down rookie season, but I believe in his long-term upside.