Broncos' Top 2022 NFL Draft TargetsApril 27, 2022
Broncos' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets
The Denver Broncos' major talent acquisition of the offseason came with the trade for Russell Wilson.
The deal with the Seattle Seahawks left them without a first-round pick. But while they won't be a participant on Thursday, they will have ample opportunities to upgrade their roster in the second round and beyond.
Denver enters the selection process with nine picks, four of which come in the third and fourth rounds. The team's first pick of the draft is the final selection in Round 2.
The AFC West side can still fill some roster holes if it discovers the right gems with its five picks across the second, third and fourth rounds.
The Broncos may go after a replacement for Noah Fant at tight end to give Wilson another option in the passing attack. They could look to fill up some defensive depth as well, but their draft strategy could be dependent on the best players available, starting at No. 64.
Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
The 64th overall pick could be a sweet spot for tight ends.
Denver should be in the market for a Noah Fant replacement at some point in the draft, and the end of the second round might be the ideal place to choose one.
Jordan Reid of ESPN.com projected three TEs would go between the 59th overall pick and the No. 67 selection.
Colorado State's Trey McBride, Virginia's Jelani Woods and Greg Dulcich out of UCLA are the three names at the position mentioned in most mock drafts around the end of the second round.
Fant's departure as part of the Russell Wilson trade opened up a large void in Denver's receiving production. He led the team in receptions and was third in receiving yards in 2021.
Denver still has Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to work with its new signal-caller, so it may not need a high-volume pass-catcher at tight end.
However, the Broncos could use a TE who excels in red-zone situations. Woods caught eight touchdowns in his final season at Virginia and had a five-game scoring stretch at the start of the regular season.
The 23-year-old's 6'7" frame would give Wilson a large target to pick out in the red zone, which may make him a solid complement to Albert Okwuegbunam.
Woods' stock has been rising throughout the draft process, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, and his potential to grow even more could be intriguing to the new Denver coaching staff:
"Woods showed the ability to wall off defenders for the ball and routinely broke tackles in the open field. He had a touchdown catch in six of the Cavaliers' first seven games this past season, too. He also showed slightly more nuance in his route running at the Senior Bowl, which confirmed he is still an ascending player with plenty of potential."
If Denver passes up on a tight end at No. 64, it could take another swing for one at No. 75. After that, though, the team risks losing out on one of the draft's top-tier names at the position.
Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Troy Andersen is a popular name attached to the Broncos in mock drafts.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic has projected the 23-year-old will be the team's first draft pick at No. 64, while Chad Reuter of NFL.com has him landing at No. 75 with the AFC West side.
Andersen is one of a few FCS prospects who have risen up draft boards in recent weeks, and he could provide some help behind Josey Jewell and Alex Singleton at linebacker.
The Montana State product was one of the best tacklers in the FCS last season, and he would be utilized as a run stopper on the second level of defense.
Denver needs all the help it can get on defense because it is dealing with three high-powered offenses in the AFC West.
The Broncos need to focus on drafting players who can make a difference across the six divisional games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. A hard-hitting linebacker in the run game would help them deal with one aspect of those offenses.
A combination of Jewell, Singleton and Andersen could give Denver one of the most underrated linebacker groups in the league if Andersen delivers on his potential and Singleton plays as he did in Philadelphia.
Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
Denver's deal for Wilson took it out of the market for one of the top-tier cornerbacks in the draft.
Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. will be long gone by the time the Broncos are on the clock at No. 64, and one of them could land with the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 9 pick Denver used to bring in the quarterback.
The Denver staff need to break down the little details when it comes to the other cornerback prospects available at Nos. 64 and 75.
Nebraska's Cam Taylor-Britt comes with a skill set that could benefit the Broncos when defending the likes of Keenan Allen and Davante Adams in AFC West play.
The 22-year-old had 11 passes defended in his final season with the Cornhuskers, and he also earned career bests of 51 total tackles and 35 tackles.
A corner with tough cover skills and a strong tackling background are mandatory for a unit that will be seriously tested within the AFC West.
Denver could use someone like Taylor-Britt to become a strong complement to Patrick Surtain Jr. as part of a young foundation on defense.