The Denver Broncos just missed the playoffs after a 9-7 season. The 2015 Super Bowl champions were plagued by below-average quarterback play while their star-studded defense wasn’t quite as good in 2016. With the retirement of Gary Kubiak, the Broncos also have a new head coach intact with Vance Joseph. Legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips also left town which begs the question of whether this defensive will remain elite heading into 2017? Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, what can we expect from the Denver Broncos?
Denver holds the 20th pick in the draft and should try to make the offensive line a priority. Menelik Watson, Donald Stephenson, and Michael Schofield are the only tackles on the roster and can’t really be counted upon as blindside pass protectors. Cam Robinson of Alabama would give the Broncos exactly what they need as Robinson is realistically the only pure left tackle prospect in the entire draft. Robinson, (6’6″, 320) had a really nice showing at the combine and proved he has the movements skills to stick at left tackle. The thing you worry with about Robinson is that he has a bit of a lazy streak to him but Denver’s winning culture should clean that up quick.
In the 2nd round, 51st overall, Denver could look to upgrade the defensive tackle position. Demata Peko is the only one even listed on the roster as of now. Caleb Brantley from Florida could be a wise choice. Brantley has some bust potential attached to him after a poor combine showing in my eyes but had flashes of brilliance at Florida. He also has some question marks in terms of motor but when he is lasered in, look out. Brantley’s biggest strength is his heavy hands and excellent hand fighting technique but his initial off the ball get off is questionable. Brantley truly is a boom or bust prospect but again Denver is the place to go in terms of developing players.
The 3rd round could be a place where Denver upgrades the linebacker unit. With the new installed 4-3 system, Shane Ray and Von Miller will shift to permanent defensive ends. Kendall Beckwith of LSU is a tackling machine that could be a nice addition. Beckwith did not work out at the combine waiting to likely show off his talent at the pro day. Whether he plays inside or outside, Beckwith is a downhill player that always finds the football. He does struggle in coverage at times but is highly instinctive.