BRONCOS

Mel Kiper’s first mock draft has Broncos going defense in Round 1

Jan 23, 2024, 12:56 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2024, 11:57 am

Many people want the Denver Broncos to take a QB in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft, but according to the first mock from a top expert in the field, that might not be the case.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. dropped his first stab at a mock draft on Tuesday, and he has the Broncos taking UCLA outside linebacker Laiatu Latu with the No. 12 overall pick.

Denver definitely needs help sacking the quarterback, as guys like Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper all look like fine players, but probably not future NFL stars.

In his last two seasons with the Bruins, Latu has combined for 23.5 sacks and came in first or second in all of colloege football in both total pressures and pressure rate. There’s no doubt Latu has a nose for getting after the quarterback.

Kiper, though, points out something very interesting and potentially concerning when it comes to his injury history.

“The questions with Latu will come at the NFL combine in a few weeks, as he medically retired from football because of a neck injury when he was at Washington in 2021,” Kiper wrote. “He was cleared to play for the Bruins, but what will his medical checkups show?”

The draft analyst also knows that edge-rusher will be a tempting position for head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton to potentially add.

“For Denver, adding Latu would be a boost to a pass rush that was just OK last season. The Broncos tied for 21st with 42 sacks, but overall they ranked 30th in yards per play allowed (5.8) and 32nd in yards per carry allowed (5.0). Latu has the potential to become a 10-sacks-per-season defender,” Kiper wrote.


Who are the Broncos taking at No. 12? Get all the latest mock drafts here!


There’s a reason for the Broncos to give Latu a long look. But if the selection isn’t quarterback, fans will wonder what the plan is at the most important position in sports.

Almost anyone can write a mock draft, but Kiper has the credentials and resume that his version shouldn’t be ignored. This is a curious pick for Denver, one Broncos Country might not exactly embrace.

Broncos

Sean Payton...

Andrew Mason

The QB trait Sean Payton wants is the hardest one to evaluate

Sean Payton is looking for a quarterback who is a quick processor. The problem is that college film and study rarely reveals it.

1 day ago

Russell Wilson...

Cecil Lammey

How does the NFL record salary cap increase help the Broncos?

The NFL raised the salary cap by a record number on Friday. How does this increased number help the Denver Broncos? Watch Orange and Blue Today with Cecil Lammey and Andrew Mason. Follow @CecilLammey

2 days ago

Terrion Arnold Broncos mock draft...

Will Petersen

CBS Sports has Broncos going corner from Alabama in latest mock

Terrion Arnold is a good player with five interceptions last year, but with the obvious need at QB, Broncos Country might roll their eyes

2 days ago

Broncos...

Andrew Mason

NFL salary cap rising to $255 million gives Broncos a bit of relief

The NFL salary cap will rise by a league-record $30.6 million for 2024, which provides the Broncos some short-term relief.

2 days ago

Jerry Jeudy...

Will Petersen

ESPN’s “bold move” for the Broncos is trading wideout Jerry Jeudy

Both sides would probably benefit from a fresh start, and this won't be the last time a media outlet predicts that Jerry Jeudy may be traded

2 days ago

Chad Kelly...

Andrew Mason

Chad Kelly, former Broncos backup QB, sued in wrongful-dismissal case in Canada

Former Broncos backup QB Chad Kelly was named in a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit filed by an ex-strength coach with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

2 days ago

Mel Kiper’s first mock draft has Broncos going defense in Round 1