Could the Broncos go for an edge rusher in Round 1?

Feb 20, 2024, 11:08 AM

Jared Verse is one of the top edge rushers in this year’s draft class. He stands as one of a slew of stellar edge-rushing prospects. And oh, by the way, edge rusher is a Broncos need — although it’s not THE need.

All of those reasons are why taking Verse at the No. 12 slot could make sense. It does to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who mocked the Florida State product to the Broncos in his second mock draft of the offseason.

Verse’s 2023 pass-rush win rate of 21.8 percent ranked sixth among FBS edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rush opportunities, according to the data compiled by Pro Football Focus.

Writes Jeremiah of Jared Verse:

Denver is another potential landing spot for a quarterback. In this exercise, though, they complement some of the young talent in the secondary with a difference-maker up front.

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


The Broncos need pass-rush punch. According to ESPN Analytics, the Broncos ranked 30th as a team in pass-rush win rate during the 2023 season.

Twenty-two teams had at least one edge rusher with a pass-rush win rate greater than 13.0 percent on at least 100 pass-rush snaps, per the data compiled by Pro Football Focus. The Broncos just missed that cutoff, with Nik Bonitto checking in with a pass-rush win rate of exactly 13.0 percent.

That placed him 43rd among 129 edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rush snaps.

So, while the Broncos were one of 10 teams without an edge rusher with a win rate of greater than 13.0 percent — they were one of 11 teams to feature three edge rushers who boasted win rates of at least 12.0 percent:

  • Nik Bonitto, 13.0 percent (34 of 261)
  • Baron Browning, 12.5 percent (29 of 232)
  • Jonathon Cooper, 12.0 percent (47 of 392)

So, they have good pieces in the room. But they don’t appear to have an alpha. Verse could fit that bill.


Jeremiah projected four quarterbacks to go off the board in the first eight selections, with Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy going with the No. 8 pick to the Atlanta Falcons.

McCarthy is the last quarterback on his first-round mock. He has Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. falling into Day 2. Getting McCarthy may require a trade up, and while the Broncos probably wouldn’t have to sacrifice significant player capital, their still-compromised draft capital might make even moving up a handful of picks more painful than they would like.

It’s a scenario Broncos Country must consider: that even in a QB-rich draft, their team does not select a quarterback in Round 1. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find help.

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Could the Broncos go for an edge rusher in Round 1?