Draft Wrap Up
After the Denver Broncos made a number of moves, including the trading of two prominent starters to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the #2 overall draft pick, it was expected things would return to their usual low-key self in the tradition of a GM Wade Pearce draft. Seasons of trading out the first had not prepared the Broncos' faithful for what happened on draft day.
1.2 WR Ferdinand Buford - Auburn
With CB Kyle Fuller now wearing a Steelers jersey, the expectations were high that the Broncos would be drafting a corner to replace him. But with the New Orleans Saints drafting highly-desired corner Tre Deveroux, the Broncos instead went for what many saw as the next-best player in the draft.
While the Broncos had been actively shopping Mark Perez around the league all off-season, the inability to move him (despite a good offer from the Minnesota Vikins) combined with the resigning of veteran Marvin Young had some thinking the chances of a new receiver would be low.
But Buford is a superstar in the making, with many comparing him to previous Broncos superstart Demaryius Thomas. With QB Ryan Tannehill throwing the ball and Marvin Young mentoring, Buford could be in for one hell of a season.
Trade - Indianpolis Colts
After missing out on Deveroux with the 1.2 pick, the Broncos entered trade negotiations with the Indianpolis Colts for the service of physically gifted corner Trae Waynes. The departure of Fuller to the Steelers had left a need at that position and the Broncos had previously tried to secure Waynes prior to the draft.
Waynes still needs a season to help his AWR boost and to get his morale back on track, but he is a physically gifted corner who has a number of seasons still left in the tank. Some will say the Broncos overpaid for his services, but as the corner stocks in the draft dwindled, it was a seller's market to secure a player like Waynes.
Future Broncos 1st
CB Trae Waynes
Future Colts 7th
Trade - Green Bay Packers
In a reversal of market trends, where superstar wide receivers just couldn't compete with the draft's availability of receivers this season, the Broncos farewelled WR Mark Perez to the Packers for a price that was lower than a rumoured offer from the Minnesota Vikings earlier in the season.
When questioned on the trade, GM Wade Pearce commented "We had a number of contract issues to address. Mark [Perez] would be competing with Trae Waynes for our priority signing next season and with a number of other last-year contracts to contend with, the Broncos had to make a hard roster decision. In hindsight, our market evaluation of Perez didn't pan out so we took what we could on the day."
WR Mark Perez
1.32 WR JuJu Smith-Schuste - USC
With Perez departed, the Broncos had a number of options to look at when their pick came around. Ultimately, they completed the reboot of their receiving corps, likely condeming Marvin Young to a slot-receiver and mentoring role for the 2023 season.
JuJu gives the Broncos a second tall target and while not as physically gifted as Buford, he is a perfect fit for the routes a #2 receiver will run. Oustanding agility, excellent hands and good acceleration combine with a decent speed that will only improve over the coming seasons to gift the Broncos a hopefully long-term, twin-tower receiving combo that can terrorise the AFC West for seasons to come.
Trade - Miami Dolphins
A simple future pick trade for the Broncos for the purpose of filling roster needs with viable starters now.
Future Broncos 2nd
Future Dolphins 4th
2.12 OT Iosefa Loto - LSU
The earlier off-season trade of OG Khalid Croons to the Steelers left the Broncos with a need on the offensive line. It wasn't sure if the Broncos would recruit from the draft or reach for a cheap trade or the UFA for a replacement. Loto provides the Broncos with a talented player on the line. Speculation is that current starting LT for the Broncos Oliver Zebedee may be moved into the current-vacant right guard position instead of forcing the new rookie to make the move.
4.12 SS Keith Scott - LSU
Iosefa Loto's fellow LSU graduate was picked up by the Broncos in the 4th round. While veteran Phillip Thomas was retained for one more season, it is obvious Scott is the next hopeful starter for the strong safety position. Some details over his abilities will be fleshed out during the post-draft training camp as some questions remain around his apparent foot speed.
5.12 DE Andres Coffin - Colorado
The drafting of Coffin raised some eyebrows from draft reporters, as the Broncos neither need a DE at this point in time or need one of his play style. However, a brief post-pick interview with GM Wade Pearce noted that he hopes Coffin will show potential to make the move into the defensive tackle position, providing a viable long-term mobile partner for last season's 2nd round pick, Caleb Brantley.
Some questions remain around his ability to hold the line and further training camp will determine if he's a boom or bust pick.
6.3 WR Eric Almquist - Louisville
Almquist became the third receiver to be drafted by the Broncos and is the third speculative pick by the team. Almquist appears to be on the precipice of great talent and with some extra training, his football smarts may be converted into a solid option at the receiver position, making him a sleeper-pick of the 2023 draft.
7.6 OLB Sabe Melong - Oklahoma St.
Melong fills the current vacant depth position for the Broncos. If his post-draft training camp reveals better capabilities than scouted, he'll be a steal this late in the draft. If they skew the wrong way, he'll be a worthwhile long-term depth player on the Broncos roster.
7.13 WR Ethan Beavo - Nebraska
Beavo, it appears, will not be signed by the Broncos.