With their first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Russell Wilson and Sean Payton. Now, the real work begins. The Broncos needed to add talent on both sides of the ball after opening the draft with just five picks. Did they succeed? The Broncos’ draft grades tell the story of how Denver’s 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.
Denver Broncos Grades for the 2023 NFL Draft
Round 3, Pick 63: Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
The Sean Payton era begins with one of the more underrated wide receivers in this 2023 NFL Draft class. Marvin Mims surpassed 1,000 yards and averaged over 20 yards per catch during the 2022 college football season for the Oklahoma Sooners, possibly the quietest 1,000-yard campaign of any pass catcher.
Mims has the speed to take the top off a defense, but also showcases some eye-popping catch-point athleticism and competitiveness that belies his diminutive size. Although the Broncos appear to have a stacked WR room, pass catcher was considered a top need in the draft, and the selection leaves little room for excuses for Russell Wilson in the upcoming NFL season.
Round 3, Pick 67: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
This is one of the best picks that you’ll see in the 2023 NFL Draft. An elite high school athlete who was a five-star prospect at Alabama before transferring to Arkansas, Drew Sanders is experienced playing outside and inside linebacker – ultimately filling two positions of need for the Broncos.
For a player measuring in at 6’4” and 235 pounds, Sanders is extremely explosive coming downhill as a backfield disruptor. Meanwhile, his length and fluidity allow him to be impactful in coverage, ensuring that he never has to leave the field. The 37th overall prospect on the PFN Big Board, Sanders is a steal at a position of need in the third round.
Round 3, Pick 83: Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
After a stellar start to their 2023 NFL Draft, the Broncos traded a 2024 third-round pick and the 108th overall pick in this year’s class to select Iowa cornerback Riley Moss. With cornerback a need, there is obvious reason to move up and select a playmaker at the position. And with 11 career interceptions and 26 career pass breakups, there’s no doubt that Moss matches that description.
While he posted some elite testing numbers — not surprising given that he was a standout high school athlete — Moss also demonstrates patience to his game. His ability to play multiple roles adds value to his selection here, but there were potentially different options ranked higher on the PFN Big Board.
Round 6, Pick 183: JL Skinner, S, Boise State
Boise State safety JL Skinner was a top-100 player on the PFN Big Board, representing fantastic value for the Broncos late in the sixth round. Often compared to a Kyle Hamilton-lite due to a similar frame and impactful play style as the former first-rounder out of Notre Dame, Skinner has the ability to fly downhill and hit you in the mouth with impressive physicality.
Injury during the process and some concerns over his fluidity potentially cost Skinner his early-cycle stock, but it’s another slam-dunk pick for the Broncos.
Round 7, Pick 257: Alex Forsyth, C, Oregon
The Denver Broncos round out a small 2023 NFL Draft class by adding Oregon center Alex Forsyth, a good value pick at a position of need.
Forsyth has been the beating heart of an impressive offensive line in Eugene, with his combination of intelligence, mastery of leverage, and technical excellence making him an attractive option to shake up the pivot of the Broncos’ offense under new head coach Sean Payton.
What Were the Broncos’ Biggest Needs Entering the 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.
D.J. Jones and Mike Purcell are fine on the inside, but Denver could use a few hybrid players who can play some 3-technique, 4i, and 5-technique. That’s why DT and EDGE are listed as needs.
Adding a cornerback to play opposite Pat Surtain II is crucial. Denver doesn’t pick until Round 3, but they could find themselves a nice cornerback at that time. And while their receiving corps currently looks impressive, the Broncos may be using Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton as trade bait, making the position a need.
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