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Denver Broncos : 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Hello Mile High,

Not only has Denver been smokin’ (hot) the last few seasons, they haven’t had a losing record since the 2010 season. A large part in that has been their defensive unit who could go down as one of the best starting groups in NFL history when it’s all said and done. Although the Broncos missed out on post-season play last season they were still a good team. Denver needs to find an offensive game-plan that will work for them and move the ball down the field and instead of relying on their defense to keep them in games. Did first year head coach Vance Joseph do a good job in his first draft as the guy. Let’s ride along and get right into it.

-1st Round, Pick #20: Garrett Bolles – Offensive Tackle (Utah)

  • Was not my first choice at the tackle position, but still a very talented and athletic player. Garrett had the best footwork out of any offensive lineman in the whole draft class and he’ll look to build upon that in order to earn a starting job along the Denver front. Only one year at a power five conference, he didn’t bulk up nearly enough to where he could be, but surely his current coaches will get him on a diet plan that will bulk him up in the areas he needs to compete at the next level. Had early character issues early in life, but has since overcome them and it showed when he brought his son on stage. It was truly an amazing moment for Garrett to celebrate with his family to celebrate after hearing his name from Roger Goodell. Garrett will be a day one starter and might not start the season on the left side, but will more than likely end on the left side protecting the blind side of the quarterback.

-2nd Round, Pick #51: DeMarcus Walker – Defensive End (Florida State)

  • Some question his enthusiasm towards the game label him overrated, but I just don’t see it. It’s funny to see DeMarcus Ware retire and then Denver draft a new DeMarcus to help the defense. Not quite at the same position, but DeMarcus Walker will most definitely create havoc on the defensive side of the ball. Anticipate DeMarcus Walker starting opposite of Derek Wolfe and sandwiching Domata Peko in the middle of the 3-4 scheme. This front seven is looking scary top to bottom and DeMarcus can only benefit from having all-pros surrounding him on every level. Give him one on one match-ups and he’ll show you just how he got 25 sacks during the last two seasons at Florida State.

-3rd Round, Pick #82: Carlos Henderson – Wide Receiver (Louisiana Tech)

  • Outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders the Broncos don’t have a reliable pass catcher. Cody Latimer hasn’t blossomed into the receiver they thought they were getting in the second round yet and Jordan Taylor has been a guy to make a play here and there, but no one has really stood out to really grasp the slot job or to be in a rotation behind the ladder. Carlos is a shorter receiver and may not get the nod right away on the offense, but his strength is on special teams and he will surely make is mark there right away. Give him time to learn the playbook and develop his route tree and then he’ll attempt to make plays from the slot for Denver.

-3rd Round, Pick #101: Brendan Langley – Cornerback (Lamar)

  • You can never have enough corners in this new era of the NFL. It is a passing league now and even though Denver has arguably the best trio within their cornerback group, it’ll never hurt to bring in more talent and depth to this stout defense. Brendan started his college career as a top 25 recruit at the corner position committed to Georgia. Wanting more playing time he transferred to Lamar and was a stud. Not to mention he played some wide receiver at both universities, so he isn’t the typical corner that can’t catch. This is a perfect fit as Brendan is still raw and needs to be molded into a player that can magnify his talents and can sit and develop behind the great trio of Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby. Give him time to develop and learn behind these great veteran leaders and he could turn out to be a stud and continue the pressing coverage within the secondary.

-5th Round, Pick #145: Jake Butt – Tight End (Michigan)

  • This was my personal favorite selection from the Broncos. Denver does not have a real threat at the tight end position. Virgil Green is the current starter and he is nothing more than just a solid guy that does what is asked of him. Jeff Heuerman had high hopes as a potential guy, but has struggled to stay on the field. Jake was one of the nation’s best tight ends last year at the collegiate level and could have gone higher if not for an ACL injury in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Jake is known more as a pass catching tight end and he does a swell job at doing so. If he wants to be a three down tight end, he’ll have to get better in all areas of blocking, but at 6’5″ and almost 250 lbs Jake can learn the right technique in order to improve. Like we said with Carlos earlier, Denver wouldn’t mind having another pass catching play-maker to contribute and Jake can do just that.

-5th Round, Pick #172: Isaiah McKenzie – Wide Receiver (Georgia)

  • Similar to Carlos Henderson, Isaiah is a smaller receiver with kick return abilities. Although with Isaiah, he averaged a touchdown every seventh time he touched the ball, that is impressive in itself. Like we talked about earlier, Denver doesn’t have much reliable depth behind Thomas and Sanders, so Denver felt the need to bring in competition to find a clear cut player to take over and help contribute behind the two starters. Isaiah will also compete for special team kick returns and has been a tremendous player in all aspects of his game. However, with all this talent, one might wonder why he fell to the fifth round. Well, despite his 5’7″ size, he has smaller hands and didn’t show much toughness as he was taken down by many arm tackles throughout his career. No matter how it turns out, he’ll come in and compete for a role on this team, whether it is on special teams or on offense.

-6th Round, Pick #203: De’Angelo Henderson – Running Back (Coastal Carolina)

  • This kid looks good and is a lower the shoulder kid of runner, but when you look at the roster it makes you wonder why Denver made the selection. With established players like CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles as the clear one-two punch options, while last year’s impressive rookie runner Devontae Booker is sure to lock up the third spot. Even the remaining runners of Juwan Thompson and Bernard Pierce have shown flashes in their career. It’s hard to see the writing on the wall with this pick, but as of right now it looks as if De’Angelo will push the other veterans on the roster to their limits in order to earn their keep or be pushed out. Denver could also look at their top two play-makers in Jamaal and CJ and think that they have had health issues that they should be cautious with, so this could be a fresh set of camp legs and someone to keep in the rotation as the pre-season games go on.

-7th Round, Pick #253: Chad Kelly – Quarterback (Mississippi)

  • Surprisingly, this Mr. Irrelevant may not be so irrelevant in his career. If not for an injury Chad could have gone a lot higher than the seventh round. He showed promise in his football abilities, but also had some consistency and character issues. All of that can be fixed with the right coaching and good people around you. When it comes to the current Broncos quarterback group we just don’t how it’ll play out or if anyone is destined to be the long-term guy, but we do know they have three talented guys that could make an effort for the starting gig. Last year’s starter Trevor Siemian was up and down all season and didn’t take many chances down field and it seemed to limit the offense mightily. With Paxton, we are still unsure what he brings to the table, but if he can’t beat out Trevor for the second consecutive year then the questions will surely come on if he can play at the NFL level. Chad may have to sit awhile to recover from his injury, but when he is ready and gets a chance to showcase what he brings to the team, they might not take him off the field.

At first glance this draft class just looks solid and added some talented players, but when you look on paper and the roster, Denver filled some holes and received some players that’ll step up right away to make an impact along with some sleeper picks that might not look fancy, but could turn out to be a real bargain. If Vance constructs a season in which he leads the Broncos back to the post-season, he can get on his high horse prove the negative critics wrong that labeled him a bad coach and that he was non-deserving of a head coaching gig. Vance added some players to surely help the defensive depth and some offensive players that can one day contribute. Nonetheless, this draft class is a lot better on paper than what it appears to be in real time. Look for Denver to bounce back, or rather continue, to have a good regular season run in attempt at a playoff push. Until next time, have a great day!

-Austin Thomas

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