After being projected to compete for the AFC West title, the Denver Broncos were a disappointment last season, finishing with a record of 5-11 With last season at the back of their minds, the team is looking to rebound this upcoming season with a solid draft class and solid free agent signings, which includes quarterback Case Keenum.
Round 1, Pick 5: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Outside of Von Miller, who recorded 10.0 sacks in 2017, no one in Denver recorded 6.0+ sacks last season. Even though Miller is the best pass rusher on the team, it’s no excuse for the rest of the defensive unit. The Broncos are hoping to find the solution to that problem with Bradley Chubb on the opposite side of Miller.
At NC State, Chubb has shown potential to becoming a dominant pass rusher in the NFL, recording 198 tackles, 25.0 sacks, 1 interception and 6 forced fumbles in 40 games played. With the lack of pass rushers, Chubb has the potential to have double-digit sack seasons.
Round 2, Pick 40: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
One problem on the offensive side of the ball for the Broncos (outside of quarterback efficiency) was the lack of playmaking wide receivers. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 7 touchdowns, which isn’t enough to being taken seriously.
In his four seasons at SMU, Courtland Sutton recorded 195 receptions, 3,220 receiving yards, and 31 touchdowns in 39 games played. Sutton has the potential to become a deep threat in the NFL. It might take Sutton a few games to get used to NFL defenders, but once he gets used to them, he will make an immediate impact on the field.
Round 3, Pick 71: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
For the second consecutive round, the Broncos focused on the offensive side of the ball, which makes sense after averaging 115.8 rushing yards per game. In addition, Denver lost starting running back C.J. Anderson to the Carolina Panthers in free agency, so this was an appropriate time to select Royce Freeman.
In 51 games played, Freeman recorded 5,621 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns in 947 attempts with the Oregon Ducks. The only thing standing in Freeman’s way of starting in the NFL is Devontae Booker, who is also looking for his chance to becoming the starter in Denver.
Round 4, Pick 106: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
In the fourth round, Denver focused on adding to their linebacker core, which already consists of Shane Ray, Von Miller, Todd Davis, Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis. This allowed for Iowa alum Josey Jewell’s name to be called
In 50 games played, Josey Jewell recorded 437 tackles, 10 sacks, 6 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered. With 120+ tackles in three straight seasons, Jewell could be utilized as an important piece to this elite defensive unit. While there is competition at hand, Jewell should have very little issues finding playing time in select weeks.
Round 4, Pick 113: DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
Once again, Denver selected another wide receiver in the recent NFL Draft, as DaeSean Hamilton will represent the Broncos franchise. With a lackluster 2017 for Denver wide receivers, Hamilton and Sutton will look to give the offense a fresh face.
In 53 games played, Hamilton recorded 214 receptions, 2,842 receiving yards, 18 touchdowns, and averaged 13.3 yards per catch at Penn State. Having never caught more than 6+ touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, Hamilton will have a workload ahead of him. If he can improve upon his game, Hamilton could be utilized as a filler receiver for select reps.
Round 5, Pick 156: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
With Jeff Heuerman expected to win the starting job, considering Jake Butt is rehabbing a torn ACL, Denver elected to select an insurance policy in their tight end department in Troy Fumagalli.
At Wisconsin, Fumagalli recorded 135 receptions 1,627 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and averaged 12.1 yards per reception. Although he is effective in the blocking game, Fumagalli will be forced to climb up the depth chart before he sees any time on the field. Currently ranked fourth among Denver tight ends, don’t expect for Fumagalli to make any immediate impact in 2018.
Round 6, Pick 183: Sam Jones, G/C, Arizona State
Outside of Connor McGovern, Denver’s right guard position has been weak as of late. By selecting Sam Jones out of Arizona State, he could plug a much-needed hole for the Broncos offensive line.
With his strength and ability to block, Jones could be a staple of the team’s offensive line. With McGovern projected to start week one, it’s important to note that it’s still early in the offseason, and depth charts are always changing.
Round 6, Pick 217: Keishawn Bierria, LB, Washington
With their final selection, Denver continued to add to their linebacker core by selecting Keishawn Bierria out of Washington. With the current talent at linebacker, this seemed to be the best player available on the Broncos board.
At Washington, Bierria recorded 240 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 7 fumble recoveries in 50 games played. He may struggle to make the active roster by week one, but Bierria has shown flashes of talent throughout his college career, and should manage to land on his feet.
Photo Credit David Zalubowski/Associated Press