On April 4, I analyzed what I believed to be the Broncos’ needs as the NFL offseason departed from free agency and arrived toward the draft. As the draft has now concluded today, I’m happy to say that all of what I identified as “present needs” have been met. I’ll break down how those needs were met, and include a few general thoughts on the players the Broncos selected.
Quarterback: met by drafting Paxton Lynch. My belief is that he was the best quarterback in the draft, so suffice to say I’m very happy about this. Not only do the Broncos have a good chance to solve the position for the long term, they could do it at a cheap price.
Backup running back: met by drafing Devontae Booker. The value of where Booker was selected was excellent: the board shaped up very well near the end of the 4th round where multiple good running backs were falling down the draft. Booker looks to be a great fit for the zone blocking scheme, and I except that Booker will get some significant snaps alongside CJ Anderson.
Fullback: met by drafting Andy Janovich. I didn’t necessarily demand that a fullback be drafted (UDFA could have been another option), but I’m fine with the selection of Janovich at the top of the 6th round. Hearing that he has special teams experience is also encouraging, as this could solve two needs with one pick.
Right guard: met by drafting Connor McGovern. I don’t know whether or not McGovern can gain a starting job as a rookie, but at the very least, the Broncos had very few pure guards on the roster: Max Garcia, Robert Myers, and Cameron Jefferson. McGovern very much helps to fill that position out.
Defensive end: met by drafting Adam Gotsis. Gotsis was our mystery man selection of the draft, but John Elway has earned the benefit of the doubt to make such selections. Even if it takes Gotsis a while to develop, the combination of Vance Walker, Kenny Anunike, and Jared Crick should be able to fill the void left by Malik Jackson in 2016.
Backup safety (with an eye on possibly starting): met by drafting Justin Simmons and Will Parks. It’s certainly not unreasonable to consider Simmons and Parks the direct replacements for David Bruton and Omar Bolden. Both should be expected to help out on special teams in the short term, and if they develop properly they could be replacements for Darian Stewart and TJ Ward.
Punter: met by drafting Riley Dixon. Normally I’m opposed to using a draft pick on a punter, but in this case I’m fine with it as it likely hastens the end of Denver paying a premium on Britton Colquitt. And when the Chargers took a punter in the 6th round, and the Jets taking one a little after Dixon, the Broncos very well could have lost out on what they considered their top punter if they didn’t make the move.
It’s quite serendipitous that the seven primary needs that I identified were all met, and I don’t expect to do that well in future years. And considering that several of these players were ones that I read very good things about, I’m very happy with the job the Broncos did, and I think they had one of the best drafts in the NFL. John Elway, Gary Kubiak and company should given each other well deserved pats on the back.