BRONCOS

The Broncos plan for the 2024 NFL Draft is becoming clearer

Feb 28, 2024, 11:42 AM

I’m in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. I’m here to talk to players, coaches, and general managers from across the league. In doing so, things become clear as the new league year draws near.

After only two days here, I believe I know what the Denver Broncos want to do in the NFL Draft. It’s a tall order, but the Broncos are not backing down from the challenge.

They have a lot of room for improvement. And they don’t have that much salary cap space. So any and all picks must be solid – at the very least – and/or hits if at all possible.

So, what’s the plan in the draft? Let’s take a look.

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All About Quarterback

As I wrote earlier this week, finding a quarterback is personal for Broncos head coach Sean Payton. They have to find a quarterback. Payton has a timeline he wants to follow for success, and that means building with a young quarterback to crescendo at the right time. This is not a “it would be nice” situation. Finding a quarterback is a must. So, now we wait to see if Payton falls in love. I believe he will. I believe I know which way his heart may be leaning. However, quarterbacks have yet to throw at the Combine, pro days haven’t happened yet, and other quarterback dominoes around the league (Justin Fields, Kirk Cousins) have not fallen. We just need a bit more patience. Then, things should become clearer.

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Playmaker Please

The Broncos need more playmakers on offense, and if they have a young quarterback, they need the security blanket that a playmaking tight end can provide. I’m not sure if they would go with a tight end in the first round, but NFL history dictates that you don’t have to do that to find an elite tight end. I have some mid-round tight ends I love, and I will nose around to see if the Broncos feel the same way. If someone like Sam LaPorta or Trey McBride (I’m not going to start with George Kittle or Travis Kelce) can be available later in the draft, I feel certain others are out there to help the Broncos in a similar way.

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More Stuffing

There is no doubt the Broncos were bad against the run in 2023. That’s why this offseason, I feel that adding more run-stuffers on the defensive line is the top priority on defense. Denver’s offense is going to be a work-in-progress with a rookie quarterback starting (at some point in 2024), so their defense had better improve. They were weak against the pass (more on that later), but first and foremost they must get stronger against the run. Teams who get a lead on them can just grind out the clock if they want. More “beef” up front should help that. Based on the players they’ve shown interest in, I believe run-stuffer is a priority.

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Backed into a Corner

It may not seem like it to some, but the Broncos need more help at the cornerback position. Yes, Pat Surtain is arguably the best corner in the league. Yes, they don’t want to trade away Surtain in a move up to get a quarterback. Surtain isn’t the problem. It’s the players behind him that concern me – and the Broncos. That’s why they’ve shown interest in rookie cornerbacks this offseason. This is a good class, and even if they waited until the third or fourth round to draft one, I feel they could find a quality player who could push for a starting job. Oh yeah, they’ve been backed into this corner because Riley Moss did not play enough as a rookie. If Moss can be a solid starter, more depth at corner is still needed.

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On the Inside

In addition to strengthening the defensive line, the Broncos are looking for linebackers. I believe Josey Jewell will be allowed to move on in free agency. They did draft my No. 1 inside linebacker last year in Drew Sanders, but he might be best played on the edge. If Sanders moves outside, they’ll need better depth (and perhaps a starter) on the inside. From the players the Broncos are interviewing at the Combine, it seems like they want a linebacker who can move around the formation. They’re not just looking for a two-down player to stuff the run, the Broncos want to find players who can cover in space.

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The Broncos plan for the 2024 NFL Draft is becoming clearer