The Denver Broncos do not select until day 2 of the NFL Draft and are on the board at pick number 67 overall via the Indianapolis Colts. While the lack of draft capital is a concern, Denver has not had a problem finding underrated talent in the later rounds.
I would say that the biggest impact George Paton’s had on the team is his draft classes over the past two years. He selected Patrick Surtain Jr. which at the time was viewed as a questionable decision with the quarterbacks available. Now, the Broncos have Russell Wilson and arguably the best cornerback in the league. Additionally, he was able to find Denver’s new running back, Javonte Williams.
In his two drafts so far with the Broncos, George Paton has made a total of 19 picks, and 10 of them are currently starters. Even with limited draft capital last year, he still managed to find starting-caliber talent. I expect him to do the same in this upcoming draft.
What prospects would fit in Denver?
QB Hendon Hooker- Tennessee
While I’m sure many would question Denver selecting a QB, Hendon Hooker does make sense. He is projected to fall in the third round due to a torn ACL but has an endless amount of potential. If Russell Wilson fails to bounce back this season, it looks like Sean Payton will not waste time and move on from him.
The Broncos would be able to sit Hooker this season, allowing him to fully recover from his injury. Sean Payton would be able to unlock his potential and turn him into a top quarterback. Again, Hooker is here as an option for Sean Payton, giving him more flexibility in 2023.
DE Zach Harrison- Ohio State
Zach Harrison is a dominant force along the defensive line. Harrison has a great frame and is very similar to Baron Browning when it comes to speed in the pass-rush. He is also very agile, allowing him to get pressure in the pocket quickly.
Denver has made it a priority to strengthen the defensive line to get pressure on opposing offenses. Harrison would fit nicely alongside Zach Allen and Randy Gregory. Especially if Gregory suffers another injury let alone anyone else, this would add depth if another injury occurred.
C John Michael Schmitz- Minnesota
While Sean Payton said he views Lloyd Cushenberry as their starting center, there needs to be competition. Schmitz is a good center who really started to turn heads at the Senior Bowl.
Lloyd Cushenberry hasn’t done enough for me where he can go into next season being the starting center. He needs to be pushed and prove he has what it takes in training camp as well as during the pre-season. Schmitz is someone who would create a good race for the position and could be developed into a solid starter with a new coaching staff.
WR Rashee Rice- SMU
The Broncos have already added to the wide receiver room in free agency, but I do believe they’ll keep adding during the draft. Rashee Rice is a threat to defenses in so many ways, having great size, and excellent speed. He was very productive during his time at SMU and would be a great fallback option.
While the Broncos have limited draft capital, I have no doubt they will be able to find reliable starters. Sean Payton and George Paton have already done an amazing job in free agency, and are expected to be very active when draft day comes around.