With no playoff football for the third season in a row, we’re already turning our attention towards the 2019 NFL Draft.
Now that the Denver Broncos have their new coaching team in place for 2019, we can start to get a better feel for where the club will look to strengthen the roster.
The trend among draft experts is that the Broncos will take Missouri quarterback Drew Lock or the best available cornerback with the 10th overall pick.
With the Broncos expected to move on from 2014 first-round cornerback Bradley Roby, cornerback should be a top priority for John Elway and new head coach Vic Fangio.
Case Keenum is expected to return as the starter for a second year, so Fangio could emphasize drafting a stud defensive player in the first round rather than risk going high with a lackluster quarterback class.Embed from Getty Images
With Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray selected sixth overall by the New York Giants and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins chosen by the Jacksonville Jaguars one pick later, Pro Football Focus lead draft analyst Steve Palazzolo has the Broncos taking the third cornerback off the board in Washington’s 5-11, 180-pound Byron Murphy.
The 21-year-old sophomore was named First Team All-Pac 12 in 2018 and MVP in the Pac 12 Championship game after recording two interceptions, taking one 66 yards for a game-winning touchdown in a 10-3 win over Utah.
“The quarterback value just doesn’t match up yet for the Broncos at this point, but they add one of the best corners in the class in Murphy who allowed a passer rating of only 54.5 into his coverage last year on his way to the top PFF grade among cornerbacks at 91.9,” said Palazzolo.
In his Mock 2.0 back in October, Palazzolo had the Broncos taking Clemson’s 340-pound nose tackle Dexter Lawrence ninth overall with Murphy again his third CB off the board, going 19th overall to Philadelphia.
In this mock, Palazzolo has Georgia’s Deandre Baker going fifth overall to Tampa Bay with LSU’s Greedy Williams going eighth overall to Detroit.
Should the Broncos take Murphy, or another cornerback, Palazzolo’s mock has them passing up on some other talented players that could make an immediate impact, including Clemson’s defensive interior duo Lawrence and Christian Wilkins.
Other notable names to slide past the Broncos in the PFF mock include Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner, LSU linebacker Devin White, and Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, while Palazzolo has all 29 teams passing up on Drew Lock in the first round.