1. Denver Broncos
This Class In One Sentence:
What happened to Elway and why is he good at his job now?
WR, OL, CB, DL
1. 15. Jerry Jeudy | WR | Alabama
2. 46. K. J. Hamler | WR | Penn State
3. 77. Michael Ojemudia | CB | Iowa
3. 83. Lloyd Cushenberry | C | LSU
3. 95. McTelvin Agim | DT | Arkansas
4. 118. Albert Okwuegbunam | TE | Missouri
5. 178. Justin Strnad | LB | Wake Forest
6. 181. Netane Muti | G | Fresno State
7. 252. Tyrie Cleveland | WR | Florida
7. 254. Derrek Tuszka | DE | North Dakota State
Picks Heading In
Favorite Pick Netane Muti – I know he’s had a litany of non-connecting injuries at Fresno State, but getting him in the 6th is still fantastic value. He would have been a top-tier interior prospect in this class, if it wasn’t for a spate of unrelated injuries at Fresno. When he did hit the field, he played with rarely matched strength inside and bulldozed interior defenders for fun.
Most Questionable Pick
Some won’t like the Hamler pick at 46, but I really like it given the general theme Denver were going for.
What a difference a year makes. People were calling for Elway to lose his job not that long ago (which always felt unlikely), but some promising performances from their 2nd round quarterback last season followed by a very handsome looking free agent class and now a sparkling draft class, things are looking a lot rosier in the garden. GM of the Year could be on the cards for this turnaround. Obviously that's all if they can transform that re-built roster into on-field success and there’s good reason to think they are a credible threat in the AFC West again.
Things got off to an explosive start with the Jeudy pick at 15. Denver had been linked closely to Ruggs throughout the process, but Jeudy is more than a decent compromise here and people seem to have forgotten just how good he is. He has rare quickness in out of breaks and phenomenal route speed. He’s devastating on quick slants with his ability to find space as a runner and prolific at finding the end-zone which is an underrated skill for a receiver. Hamler in the 2nd was slightly indulgent, but when your team needs explosive weapons to compete in the AFC West, then why not go all out. Hamler is only 20 years old and has some immediate growth to do, but he’s got ridiculous lateral agility and acceleration. He reaches top speed in no time at all and is a blur with the ball in his hands. His hands have been a concern and clearly that needs to improve, but he has the tools to change the way a defense operates.
Denver were set-up well with the picks to have a good day two and they took advantage of that. Michael Ojemudia kicked things off at 78 and he was probably in a third tier of corner in this class. He ticks both size and speed boxes, but needs a little technique work. But he does have excellent ball-skills, which is too often overlooked. I really liked the Lloyd Cushenberry selection, who could have gone much earlier than at 83. Beloved at LSU, where he was a real leader of that offensive line. Competitive and powerful enough inside, he should find work early at center or guard.
McTelvin Agim is a former five-star recruit and whilst he didn’t live up to that tag at Arkansas, he had a good week at the Senior Bowl where he showcased a bit of burst to go with good size and length on the interior. He needs to work on his run defense to become a full-time contributor, but could really add something as a third-down interior rusher. Albert Okwuegbunam caught a lot of attention at the Combine with the fast forty time and whilst you don’t always see that speed on tape, you do see some impressive flashes of athleticism as a pass catcher. He’s still raw right now, but he’s a nice developmental project to work in. I also really liked the move to select Justin Strnad in the 5th round who really seemed to come on at the end of the season, doing his best work in space and he compliments the harder-edged skill set on the roster currently.
Tyrie Cleveland is yet another athletic specimen whose production didn’t match the profile in Florida. He's returned kicks and was an ace gunner on special teams there and that might be his way onto the active roster in the first instance. The pass-rusher Derrek Tuszka was very productive at a lower competition level, but has a very transferable athletic profile for the NFL – so could be one to hang onto and see if he develops. I have a feeling there's something with him that's quite interesting.