With the NFL season a quarter of the way complete and the college football season getting underway, the 2021 NFL Draft is inching closer. PFN’s NFL Draft expert Nick Farabaugh released his latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft and it included some interesting selections, including some for the Denver Broncos. Despite securing their first victory of the season on Thursday against the New York Jets, the Broncos showed that they still need to upgrade several positions. In this Broncos mock draft reaction, we’ll take a look at how Farabaugh helped improve the Broncos roster for the 2021 season.
Who did the Broncos take in the latest four-round mock draft?
Round 1, Pick 9: Justin Fields, QB Ohio State
Drew Lock is supposed to be the franchise quarterback in Denver, but his sample size over his first two seasons in the NFL still remains too small to push all the chips in the middle of the table. With two significant injuries in back-to-back years, Lock has yet to prove that he is the one to take control of the Denver offense. With the opportunity to truly upgrade the position with a bonafide first-round talent, Farabaugh doesn’t miss out on the chance to mock a new signal-caller for offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Drafting Justin Fields out of Ohio State would likely spell the end of Lock’s time with the Broncos as the permeant starter, even though it may seem a bit early to give up on the former second-round pick. However, with Fields’ arm talent and athleticism, the Broncos would know exactly what they are getting out of him, rather than waiting for Lock to develop into a potential star. After spending their top two selections in the 2020 NFL Draft on offensive weapons, Fields would have an ideal situation coming into the league, working with the likes of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and tight end Noah Fant.
Round 2, Pick 41: Jack Jones, CB Arizona State
Denver may have found a gem in 2020 third-round cornerback Michael Ojemudia out of Iowa, but the secondary is still struggling and is in need of more help. In the offseason, Denver lost veteran corner Chris Harris, Jr., but subsequently traded for veteran A.J. Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Denver’s secondary has struggled mightily this season, so changes may be coming in 2021.
One secondary player that Farabaugh has Denver selecting in this Broncos mock draft reaction is Jack Jones, the cornerback from Arizona State. Jones would fit well as Denver’s nickel or sub-package defender, but his lack of NFL size would keep him from playing outside much. With coach Vic Fangio likely sticking to more nickel and dime defensive looks, Jones would play a pivotal role, utilizing his athleticism and allowing him to make efficient plays on the ball.
Round 3, Pick 73: Dashaun White, LB Oklahoma
After letting Todd Davis go before the season started and signing linebacker Mark Barron, who has yet to take a snap in a Broncos uniform, the Broncos find themselves in the market for a linebacker in 2021. As of right now, Denver is starting Josey Jewell alongside Alexander Johnson, but Jewell’s lack of athleticism hurts him in pass coverage, especially when tasked with defending a tight end or running back out of the backfield. With another linebacker being a huge need in 2021, Farabaugh has the Broncos selecting DaShaun White in the third round out of Oklahoma.
White is undersized for a linebacker, but his athleticism and sideline-to-sideline ability make up for what he lacks in size. However, as a run defender, it makes it easier for White to get washed out of plays. Denver needs to find a more athletically reliable option at linebacker and getting White would certainly solve that issue for the short term, but he doesn’t seem like he would be the long-term option in Denver.
Round 4, Pick 104: James Wiggins, S Cincinnati
Justin Simmons has yet to receive a long-term extension from the Broncos and Kareem Jackson will also be a free agent soon. It could be time for the Broncos to look at rebuilding their secondary completely. Drafting James Wiggins out of Cincinnati would be a good start to the rebuild, as he comes in as one of the highest-rated players in the AAC.
With incredible speed, range, and coverage abilities, Wiggins could give the Broncos a ball hawk in their secondary. Wiggins finished his 2018 season with four interceptions, but his 2019 season was cut short due to an ACL injury. He’s a physical player who can be a presence near the line of scrimmage as well as shut down the passing game from deep coverage and the slot. If Denver is truly looking to add more dominating players to the secondary and keep Simmons long-term, Wiggins wouldn’t be a bad player to pair him with.