2017 Broncos Season, Draft Prospects
The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Broncos picked up eight players to try and help fill the holes on the squad. I looked at the first round pick, Garrett Bolles, a couple days ago. But what about the rest.
The Broncos have had one of the top defenses in the NFL the past few seasons, so it makes sense that they like what they have there. Of the eight picks, only two were on defense, and both addressed an area of need.
The Broncos' one glaring weakness on defense was an ability to stop the run, and a main cause of that was the defensive line. The Broncos let Sylvester Williams go and signed a pair of defensive tackles. But in the second round they grabbed DeMarcus Walker, a defensive end from Florida State. Walker can help bolster the line, which hasn't gotten much outside of Derek Wolfe the past two seasons. He could also play some on the inside.
The other defensive selection was in the third round, cornerback Brendan Langley from Lamar. He will add depth to the No Fly Zone, which lost Kayvon Webster this off-season, and he's a speedy return man who can help on Special Teams, another area of weakness.
The rest of the draft was offensive for the Broncos, mainly focused on the biggest glaring needs — playmaking and speed. The steal of the draft might have come in the fifth round, as the Broncos drafted tight end Jake Butt from Michigan. Butt is a second round talent, but a knee injury suffered in his final bowl game put teams off. Their loss was the Broncos' gain. If Butt recovers by the start of the season — and all the reports suggest he is right on track to do so — Butt could be the dominating force over the middle the Broncos have missed. If comparisons to Tyler Eifert are accurate, this will be a huge win for the Broncos.
The other great pick was Carlos Henderson, wide receiver from Louisiana Tech. Outside of Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos lack playmakers in the passing game. No one has established themselves as a third receiver, though Jordan Taylor and Bennie Fowler have had their moments. Henderson has big play ability and speed, traits the Broncos need. That could also help on Special Teams.
The Broncos' second fifth round pick, Isaiah McKenzie, was all about special teams. As a receiver for Georgia he made more of an impression as an exceptional return specialist. Expect him to be eyed for kick offs and punts.
The other two selections for the Broncos are more of reaches for depth. As part of the draft process, Denver dealt Kapri Bibbs to the San Francisco 49ers. That leaves them with just CJ Anderson, Devontae Booker and Juwan Thompson at running back. The Broncos went and grabbed De'Angelo Henderson, out of Coastal Carolina, to add some depth and speed to the backfield.
The final selection for the Broncos, and indeed for the entire draft, was quarterback Chad Kelly from Ole' Miss. The pick was controversial, but I think it makes sense for the Broncos. He's a young passer that provides and arm and body in camp, and somebody they Broncos can likely keep on the practice squad rather than burning a roster spot.