Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

    What are the most pressing Denver Broncos draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft here, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

    With the NFL Draft underway, the Denver Broncos are in a position to compete for a playoff spot if things break right. With no picks in the first two rounds, what are their biggest needs ahead of the draft, and which targets might be most appealing for a franchise on the verge of breaking out?

    Denver Broncos Team Needs Following Round 1 of the NFL Draft

    • DT
    • EDGE
    • CB
    • WR

    The Broncos’ needs are interesting to comb through because they lost defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. However, Denver’s defensive fronts shouldn’t change too much, keeping their structure on the front seven similar.

    While D.J. Jones and Mike Purcell should be fine on the inside, this team could use a few hybrid players who can play some 3-technique, 4i, and 5-technique. That’s why they need DT and EDGE help.

    More: Denver Broncos 2023 NFL Draft Picks

    Adding a cornerback to play opposite Pat Surtain II is crucial. And while their receiving corps currently looks impressive, the Broncos might be using Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton as trade bait. Candidly, most signs point to adding another WR, if only to help facilitate a deal.

    The Broncos have only five selections this draft, with none coming before pick No. 67 in the third round. Their supposedly earth-shattering acquisition of Russell Wilson last year has, thus far, been more of a feeble tremor. While it might still prove to be worthwhile, not having a first- or second-rounder in this draft serves as a reminder of what they attempted to gain and what they might have lost.

    Results for Broncos 2023 Draft Picks

    So far, we don’t have any results, as the Broncos have yet to make any picks. While it’s always possible they could trade up, that seems highly unlikely, given their dearth of draft picks.

    Unless they trade down, the Broncos will make two picks tonight, both in the third round.

    Predictions for Remaining Broncos Draft Picks

    We used PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic Denver targets at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the results.

    Round 3, Pick 67: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA

    A year ago, the Broncos were set at running back, with the ascending Javonte Williams paired with the still-not-entirely-post-prime Melvin Gordon. Only a few weeks into the 2022 season, all that changed, as Williams suffered a torn ACL and LCL, as well as a damaged PCL. Meanwhile, Gordon’s precipitous decline — and five fumbles — led Denver to cut him loose.

    While the team wisely added veteran Samaje Perine this offseason, they might still want to acquire a bell-cow caliber running back as insurance for Williams — and as a two-year starter if they opt not to re-sign Williams in 2025. And Zach Charbonnet projects to be such a starter for whichever team claims him in the draft.

    Round 3, Pick 68: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

    It’s rare for a team to have back-to-back picks, and it certainly has advantages. Assuming the Broncos hold onto both, they’ll have the luxury of stacking their selections if it suits them (e.g. an RB and a lineman or a DT and an EDGE).

    Or, they could simply aim for the two best guys on the board, based at least somewhat on their most urgent needs. Whether Noah Sewell is the answer remains to be seen. But Broncos fans — and, to be candid, football fans regardless of allegiance — might pay close attention to how Denver responds with these two consecutive picks because it should directly impact the rest of their draft decisions.

    Round 4, Pick 108: Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State

    And here we go at receiver. Honestly, I’d be shocked if they use a mid-round pick on a guy who might not be more than the No. 4 or No. 5 WR in his first couple of seasons. Jayden Reed profiles as a borderline NFL starter. They have several other guys in this corps with comparable ceilings, plus the deceptively electric Tim Patrick, who’s coming off a season-ending injury.

    MORE: Overall 2023 NFL Draft Team Needs

    If they take a WR here — or anywhere, for that matter — I believe he’ll need to exhibit starter-caliber talent in Year 1. That might be tough unless they trade up or find a diamond in the rough late in the draft.

    Round 5, Pick 139: Byron Young, DT, Alabama

    Here is the DT help referenced earlier. Two Byron Young defenders are in this draft, and the MDS selected them four picks apart. Both project as potential NFL starters. Alabama’s Byron Young is, according to PFN Draft Analyst Ian Cummings, “near the top of the all-underrated list.” He could certainly fill a need in Denver.

    Round 6, Pick 195: Jaxon Player, DT, Baylor

    More defensive help for a fantastic unit that can still improve. Jaxon Player has experience on the edge, giving him some versatility as a potential depth piece in Year 1.

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