NFL DRAFT 2023
The Broncos’ Day 3 picks have echoes in the team’s recent draft past
Apr 29, 2023, 8:29 PM
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With just two Day 3 picks — neither of which came before the sixth round — the Broncos lacked the capital to have much flexibility.
That they came out of the day with a potential immediate starter at tight end was a mild upset — and helped buoy their spirits. But at the same time, it was interesting to see that the Broncos’ two Day 3 picks — Boise State safety JL Skinner and Oregon center Alex Forsyth — were at positions the Broncos selected on the third day of the 2022 draft.
In the fifth round last year, the Broncos took safety Delarrin Turner-Yell and offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg. Turner-Yell didn’t start a single game last year; Wattenberg started once, playing 90 offensive snaps — all but one of which came in three games after the bye.
Late-round picks don’t have the same intent as early-round selections, of course. Broncos coach Sean Payton refers to the increased “spray” as the draft progresses. That means that you can’t narrow your focus to one player or position as the rounds accumulate.
So, the picks of Skinner and Forsyth in the same draft range and position as two of last year’s Day 3 picks is likely more coincidence than anything. But it also reflects their stated sentiment to select what the team believed to be the “best player available.”
And it was a bit of a surprise that Forsyth fell to pick No. 257.
“We felt really fortunate to have a chance at that center that late in the draft, considering that was a pick that we had swapped for the for the tight end (Adam Trainman),” Payton said.
“In some of our mocks, we had actually seen that center possibly as a sixth-round player. It works out where you end up with the tight end and you still end up with the center. It doesn’t always work out that way.”
As for Skinner, he was a player that both Payton and Paton liked.
“That was kind of our ‘joined at the hip player’ that we just kept looking at,” Payton said.
“When this process takes place, you have certain players you gravitate to. His length is something that stood out and the way he can catch the ball.”
Skinner had four interceptions last year. Now, his task will be to distinguish himself among a group that includes two recent Day 3 picks — Turner-Yell and 2021 fifth-rounder Caden Sterns.
“We heard it a million times: ‘We got our guy today,'” Payton said. “Half of them are lying. But I would say — and I don’t want to speak for George — but, man, I was excited.”
“… If you started, really, at the beginning of it all, and said, ‘Here’s free agency, here we are, the draft just ended,’ I’m really excited.”
So, was Payton among the half that were truth-tellers?
This time, he was.
“We didn’t lie,” he replied as he left the media room. “That’s not to say that we won’t sometime.”