Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Drew Sanders Exudes Defensive Versatility

Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Drew Sanders Exudes Defensive Versatility

The Denver Broncos need a new direction. They can only do so much without their original first-round pick, but in this Broncos NFL Mock Draft, George Paton gives his team enough talent to work with in 2023. In these scenarios, trades were active among others via the Mock Draft Simulator, but the Broncos held steady and did not make any moves.

Latest Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas | Round 1, Pick 28

Sometimes when a prospect is talented enough, at a position of great enough need, you just add him and figure it out later. Obviously, that sentiment is a bit dramatic. Ideally, teams always have plans for NFL draft prospects they’re considering. But with some prospects, like Drew Sanders, those plans can be very wide-ranging.

Sanders is a freak athlete at 6’5″, 230 pounds, who amassed 103 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, a pick, five pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 2022. He has the range and instincts to play in space but can also rush the edge with his burst and bend. He’s a chess piece who can change Denver’s dynamic.

Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State | Round 3, Pick 67

Right tackle is one of the more glaring needs on Denver’s roster. Seeing that the Broncos are stuck with Russell Wilson for the time being, they should try and build an environment as conducive to his success as possible. Shoring up the protection is imperative on that front.

There are a number of quality right tackle prospects to draw from in the 2023 NFL Draft. And at the top of Round 3 in this Broncos NFL Mock Draft, Dawand Jones makes a lot of sense. He’s a 6’8″, 359-pound behemoth with menacing power and strength, and he’s a lot quicker out of his stance than you’d expect.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh | Round 3, Pick 68

Playing the value of the board, the Broncos now move to the other side of the trenches, where there’s a potential catalyst in waiting at No. 68 overall. This time, Denver takes Pittsburgh defensive lineman Calijah Kancey, adding to their defensive line rotation.

MORE: Top 10 DTs in the 2023 NFL Draft

Kancey is noticeably undersized at 6’0″, 275 pounds, but don’t let his listed size fool you. He has exceptional proportional length and strength for his size, with the elite explosiveness, twitch, and flexibility to compensate. He’s a ruthless pass rusher, who could dominate alongside D.J. Jones.

Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska | Round 4, Pick 105

It’s widely known that Wilson struggles throwing to the middle of the field. Often, in his first year in Denver, several of his struggles precipitated from his unwillingness to let the ball out quickly. For better or worse, Wilson likes the big play. Trey Palmer can help him indulge that.

An LSU transfer, Palmer exploded in his lone season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, putting up 73 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. At 6’1″, 190 pounds, he’s a smooth athlete, with some of the most powerful jets in the 2023 WR class. Palmer can fly, and his ability to stress defenses deep will help free up Wilson to play his game.

Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee | Round 5, Pick 136

Denver has a lot of names in their edge-rushing rotation. On paper, a group with Randy Gregory, Baron Browning, Jacob Martin, and Nik Bonitto would be solid. But this group has struggled to stay healthy, and Bonitto’s development may take more time.

Thus, it may be prudent for the Broncos to add a high-floor pass-rushing presence to their EDGE rotation to help lift the group’s floor. Byron Young is an over-aged rookie who’ll be 25 years old in Week 1 of 2023. But he’s already a dangerous pass-rushing threat with his burst, twitch, bend, and violent hands.

Jaylon Thomas, OL, SMU | Round 6, Pick 181

Dalton Risner is set to be a free agent this year, and the Broncos don’t have a replacement set. In Round 6, it’s wishful thinking to assume there’s an adequate successor readily available. But it doesn’t hurt to try, and if Denver chooses to shuffle players around to solve the problem, added depth would be a plus.

MORE: Denver Broncos Offseason Preview 2023

At the very least, depth is what Jaylon Thomas provides. With a stout 6’3″, 317-pound frame, Thomas has playing experience all across the offensive line. He can play tackle, guard, or even center, and though Thomas lacks elite traits, he’s a physical blocker with natural leverage and the football IQ to underpin his game.