I’m back! As you may or may not already already know, I recently had back surgery to fix a herniated disk, so I have had a few delays. I also would have had this article out last week if it were not for finals! Either way, the Denver Broncos had an excellent draft, and here is a run down of each pick!
Round 1, Pick 20: Garrett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah: While many people think that Bolles wasn’t worthy of a early first round pick due to his previous off the field issues, mental health, and relative inexperience when compared with the other highly touted tackle in this class, Cam Robinson, he does have a lot of upside. Bolles isn’t an elite pass blocker, but he should be our immediate starter at left tackle. He is a good run blocker, and is very great at blocking on the move, which should help with the running game, which averaged a measly 3.6 yards per carry in 2016. He is also very quick on his feet, and ran a rather impressive 4.95 40-yard dash. Bolles definitely needs to work on his pass blocking, but he will immediately boost an offensive line that was easily the weakest part of the team in 2016. Overall, this was a pick that needed to be made. Grade: A-
Round 2, Pick 19: DeMarcus Walker, Defensive End, Florida State: While the Denver defense wasn’t horrible last year, it still was pathetic when compared to the championship defense of 2015. Another impact player on defense couldn’t have hurt, so Walker was a good choice. Walker is an elite pass rusher that will add another threat alongside Von Miller, and he can play either defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, defensive end in either a 4-3 or a 3-4, or he could make an excellent 3-4 outside linebacker. Walker’s versatility will easily make up for his lack of the perfect body for a defensive lineman. Grade: B+
Round 3, Pick 18: Carlos Henderson, Wide Receiver, Louisiana Tech: The Denver Broncos lack offensive players. The only reliable scoring threats are Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, but hopefully Henderson can change that. Henderson is a threat to hit the endzone whenever and wherever he touches the ball, be it as a receiver or as a return specialist. While Henderson needs to work on his fundamentals, his speed will make him a much needed playmaker that the Broncos have been looking for. Grade: A
Round 3, Pick 37: Brendan Langley, Cornerback, Lamar: Luckily, the Broncos didn’t especially need a defensive back in this year’s draft, as our current crop is fine, but Langley is a good fit for the Broncos as he will have time to learn, which he needs. Langley is a great cover corner, but is very raw and need work. I believe that if the Broncos give him that time, he can be an impact player in a few years. Grade: C+
Round 5, Pick 1: Jake Butt, Tight End, Michigan: The Broncos needed a tight end in the draft, as Virgil Green was a non factor in the receiving game and wasn’t a skilled blocker. With Butt, the Broncos get a very good value pick (Butt was predicted to go as high as the 3rd round) and a tight end with very good receiving ability. Butt is also a decent blocker, and if he can recover from an ACL injury he suffered in the Citrus Bowl, he could immediately be making an impact on week one. At the very least, he is the new starting tight end. Grade: A
Round 5, Pick 29: Isaiah Mckenzie, Wide Receiver, Georgia: The Broncos definitely need depth at receiver, and adding more than one from the draft probably wasn’t going to be a mistake. However, Mckenzie was drafted more so because of his return ability than his receiving ability. Mckenzie is a very explosive receiver that will likely immediately give the Broncos a better option on punt returns, as our top return was only 25 yards last year. In addition, he can be a decent slot receiver. However, I believe that perhaps a receiver that was more highly touted, such as Ohio State’s Noah Brown, might have been a better choice if the Broncos wanted to add pure depth at wide receiver. Grade: C-
Round 6, Pick 19: De’Angelo Henderson, Running Back, Coastal Carolina: As previously stated the Broncos only averaged 3.6 yards per carry last year on the ground. Henderson was an incredible college back and is as fast as they come, giving the Broncos a running back who can make plays for himself. Henderson could nab the starting position from Devontae Booker or C.J. Anderson this year, and could end up being a steal. Incredible value has often been found from late round running back picks, and this could be another example of that. Grade: B
Round 7, Pick 35: Chad Kelly, Quarterback, Ole Miss: I wasn’t impressed with Chad Kelly’s play in college, but there is no denying that he has some potential. He has a big arm, and since it was the last pick of the draft, why not take him? At the very least, the Broncos now have a third string quarterback. Grade: C-
Final Grade: B. While the Broncos didn’t add any of the big names in the draft, I feel that they did an excellent job of covering up some of the holes in the team. I would have liked to see one more offensive lineman be drafted, but, we did get some big playmakers and our offense could be on the rise. We even managed to improve our defense. Overall, we did a good job, and I think a return to the playoffs in 2017 could be in the mix.