The 2020 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 23. As a lead up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of each team’s current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. Find all teams and the rest of our draft content in our NFL Draft Hub.
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Denver Broncos 2020 Draft Picks Overview
Round 1 (15)
Round 2 (46)
Round 3 (77)
Round 3 (83)
Round 3 (95)
Round 4 (118)
Round 5 (178)
Round 6 (181)
Round 7 (252)
Round 7 (254)
Denver Broncos Offense
by Rich Hribar
2019 Denver Broncos Offensive Ranks
*denotes new addition
The Broncos are going all in with last year’s second-round pick Drew Lock (42nd overall) after his five-start audition to close 2019. Lock completed 64.1% of his passes for 6.5 yards per pass attempt over his small sample of start, throwing seven touchdowns to three interceptions. The team has opted to go without true insurance behind him, bringing in Jeff Driskel this offseason while undrafted 2019 rookie Brett Rypien is still with the team. The Broncos may be players for a veteran post-draft, but don’t factor to be in on this quarterback class.
Denver went out and singed Melvin Gordon to a two-year contract this offseason to go along with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Lindsay’s contract expires after this season, but he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year. Freeman is still on a rookie contract that runs through 2021. With a strong top three all under contract short term, the Broncos aren’t in the need to add to their backfield outside of potential late-round depth.
Here’s where Denver has a lot of work to do. Courtland Sutton broke out for 72-1,112-6 in his second season, but the remainder of this receiving corps provided next to nothing. After the team traded Emmanuel Sanders after Week 7, Sutton caught 36 passes for 548 yards and three touchdowns over the remainder of the season while all other Denver wideouts combined to catch 38 passes for 443 yards and one touchdown over those nine games. Adding another pass catcher here with significant draft capital should be anticipated.
Denver selected Noah Fant in the first round last year (20th overall). Fant led all rookie tight ends in targets (66), receptions (40), and yards (562) while averaging a robust 14.1 yards per catch. He’ll be expected to take another step forward in year two. Behind him, Denver has solid depth, although no strong pass catchers to fill a potential void should Fant miss any time. Vannett, Fumagalli, and Butt are under contract through the 2021 season, so Denver doesn’t have a need here.
LT: Garett Bolles/Jake Rodgers
LG: Dalton Risner/Austin Schlottmann
C: Graham Glasgow*/Patrick Morris/Nico Falah
RG: Elijah Wilkinson/Tyler Jones
RT: Ja’Wuan James/Calvin Anderson/Quinn Bailey/Ka’John Armstrong
The Broncos went out and added Graham Glasgow this offseason to an offensive line that ranked 25th in pass pro efficiency and 27th in pass block win rate per ESPN, but played better in the run game, ranking 11th in adjusted line yards created (4.45) per Football Outsiders.
Problem areas for the Broncos have been on the bookends, but the team will get Ja’Wuan James healthy this season after he played just three games in 2019. Garett Bolles has improved a bit in each of his first three seasons, but has still registered a negative overall grade per Pro Football Focus in all three seasons. Bolles enters the 2020 season on the final year of his rookie contract.
Denver Broncos Defense
by Dan Pizzuta
2019 Denver Broncos Defensive Ranks
interior defensive line
The Broncos got a steal with a trade of a seventh-round pick for Jurrell Casey. Casey had a four-year low in pressure rate during the 2019 season but he’s still an impact player along the defensive line. Shelby Harris was a productive pass rusher who had a similar pressure rate to DeForest Buckner last season, per SIS. Mike Purcell is exactly what a team would look for as a nose tackle in an odd-man front as a strong run defender. Dre’Mont Jones also gives pass rush upside as a rotational defender.
Von Miller and Bradley Chubb can be a dominant edge rush duo, though Chubb played in just four games last season. Malik Reed filled in and struggled with pass rush but had better coverage, which edge rushers do slightly more often in the Denver scheme. There’s some need behind the top two, especially since the Broncos might not be able to rely so much on Miller and Chubb going forward.
The Broncos have a pretty solid off-ball linebacker group. Todd Davis was an effective presence in the middle with just a 9.3% broken tackle rate per SIS and Alexander Johnson was a surprise impact player in both coverage and against the run. Josey Jewell also was a solid tackler on his limited snaps, though he was bumped from the rotation compared to his rookie season in 2018.
A.J. Bouye was the big addition and the Broncos will hope for a bounceback since Bouye was one of the most picked on cornerbacks in the league last season. Isaac Yiadom and Davontae Harris were also among the worst corners in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap last season. Duke Dawson produced when he was able to get on the field, but that was not often. The Broncos will miss Chris Harris, but a healthy Bryce Callahan should fill in that slot role he excelled in with Vic Fangio in Chicago. Denver could definitely use another outside corner to put across from Bouye and allow Callahan to play more often in the slot.
Justin Simmons has turned into a high-impact safety and the Broncos used the franchise tag to keep him in the secondary. Kareem Jackson also pivoted nicely to a safety role while also pitching in a bit at corner. With Simmons and Jackson, the Broncos have a strong starting pair of safeties, though there’s not a lot of experience behind them.