Chris Harris Jr has so far stayed away from the Broncos’ OTAs, but his contract situation is one of the biggest talking points.
It would have been inconceivable that the star cornerback could play for another team in the NFL, but it becomes more of a possibility as each day passes.
We know his side wants $15 million a year, which would make Harris one of the highest-paid corners in the league, but we also know that general manager John Elway is notoriously tight when it comes to paying players market value.
That talks are underway, even if they are in their infancy, is at least a positive step in the right direction.
The Broncos didn’t take a cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft last month after landing Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson in free agency, although the latter has been playing more safety in Vic Fangio’s defense.
If Harris walks, the Broncos will have a massive hole in their secondary following the departures of Bradley Roby (Houston) and Tramaine Brock (Arizona).
Yes, Callahan is also an excellent slot corner, but it means the Broncos will have to hope Isaac Yiadom can step up in his second year or one of the undrafted rookies emerges as a potential starter or third corner, or the plan to move Jackson around will be stifled.
NFL Network’s James Palmer reported Friday that the Broncos could be looking at a short-term extension for Harris, which could see his salary rise close to his demands.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given what we know about contracts offered to corners in their 30s.
The Broncos signed Jackson, aged 31, to a $33 million deal over three years this offseason, but such deals are rare.
Josh Norman, whose $75m five-year contract with Washington gives him an average of $15m a year, got his deal in 2016.
Miami signed Xavien Howard to a five-year extension earlier this month worth $75m with a $15.05m a year average, with $27.18 million fully guaranteed at signing and $46 million in total guarantees, according to Pro Football Talk, but Howard is 25.
The issue for Harris, who turns 30 in June, is that teams don’t often offer big contracts to aging corners, and not many organizations will add a premium for performing above a previous contract’s value.
A two- or three-year extension in 2019, would keep Harris under contract through 2021 or 2022. If the incentives can top up the base salary, which seems the likeliest outcome, it could work for both parties.
Harris has talked of retiring a Bronco, but that will depend on whether he takes a short-term deal, and how he performs in that period. Even then, it’s not a given.
Yiadom might not be the future of the Broncos’ secondary, but the front office will look to get younger at the position in 2020 or 2021.
Widely regarded as one of the smartest players on and off the field, the Broncos cannot afford to lose another leader, especially one that can mentor the youngsters who one day could take his place.
That concept shouldn’t be too alien to Harris, who was mentored by Champ Bailey before the Broncos released the Hall of Famer in 2014 at the age of 35 after 10 seasons in Denver.
Keeping Harris on the roster for at least two more seasons is imperative for the Broncos to bounce back from back-to-back losing seasons.
Injuries suck at the best of the time, but more so when they come on the first day of OTAs.
That’s the fate of offensive lineman Nico Falah, who was carted off the field at UCHealth Training Center during a conditioning drill near the end of day one practice.
“We were doing a conditioning drill over there, and he went down. I’m not sure,” Fangio told reporters after practice.
Early reports, including from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport believe that the big guy has torn his Achilles, which would rule him out of the 2019 season.
#Broncos offensive lineman Nico Falah, who went down at practice today, is suspected to have torn his Achilles, source said. He’s awaiting imaging results. If tests confirm, it knocks the reserve, who spent time on the 53-man last year, out for the season.
If Denver Broncos quarterback of the future Drew Lock wants to win the starting job in the Mile High City, he has to do it without the help of incumbent Joe Flacco.
That was the clear message from the veteran signal caller after the first day of Broncos OTAs at UCHealth Training Center, where Flacco declared that his job was to win football games rather than worry about Lock’s development.
Like Lock, Flacco is getting used to a new environment, new teammates, new city, and all the upheaval that goes with changing teams, but many in Broncos Country are ready to install Lock as the guy before Flacco has even hit the field.
While the noise outside the building is when Lock will receive the keys to the bus, Flacco made it clear that Lock’s development will come down to the 22-year-old and offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.
“I’m not a selfish person I don’t think. There are times when you have to be selfish,” Flacco said about opening up to the young guys.
“Rich does such a good job in those meeting rooms. Drew is going to learn from listening to him talk, and then us getting the reps on the field and seeing how we all do it as a collective group and as a quarterback.
“Listen, I hope he does learn from me because that means that we’re out there and we’re slinging it around and we’re having a lot of fun.
“He’s going to learn by watching us do it and watching us do it well. That’s how he’s going to learn the timing and all of those things is to be able to see it on film and hear Rich talk about it with me and digest as much of that as possible.
“Like I said, I hope he does learn from me because that means we’re out there lighting it up.”
The last time the Broncos had a quarterback that could light it up was 2014 when Peyton Manning was still in his prime.
Flacco is not known for lighting up defenses, but if he can play the best football of his life in the Mile High City to get back to the playoffs, we’ll settle for Lock taking a back seat in 2019.
“You’ve got to be careful with how you answer that,” Flacco said when asked about mentoring Lock after the first day of OTAs.
“I think that is, like I said, it’s kind of Rich’s job. And it’s to be in that quarterback room and watch. And that’s how you can develop.
“Listen, I’ve got so many things to worry about. I’m trying to go out there and play good football. I’m trying to go out there and play the best football of my life.
“As far as a time constraint, and all that stuff, I’m not worried about developing guys or any of that. That is what it is. And like I said, I hope he does develop. But I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to win football games for this football team.”
Before the 2019 NFL Draft, Flacco bristled when asked about the possibility of the Broncos drafting a quarterback with the 10th overall pick.
That wasn’t unexpected, given the way he was ousted last year in Baltimore after the Ravens traded up in the 2018 NFL Draft to take Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick.
The Broncos got lucky to grab Lock at #42 overall rather than #10 last month, but Flacco’s focus is the same as it was when he joined the Broncos in March and was anointed the starting QB.
If Lock wants to take the wheel, he’s going to have to earn it, albeit without the pressure to do it immediately and much guidance from Flacco.
For all the excitement about Denver’s second-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock won’t be taking reps away from Joe Flacco when the Broncos begin OTAs today.
Head coach Vic Fangio confirmed after rookie minicamp that Flacco would take the first-team reps with Lock and fellow rookie Brett Rypien randomly sharing second- and third-team reps with Kevin Hogan.
The announcement should come as no surprise given the narrative since general manager John Elway traded up to take Lock with the 42nd overall pick at the 2019 NFL Draft last month.
Lock and his hose might be the future in the Mile High City, but the Broncos didn’t trade a fourth-round pick to Baltimore for no reason and Elway is content to roll with former Super Bowl MVP Flacco until Lock is good to go at the NFL level.
It’s a luxury few teams get to have. How long it lasts remains to be seen, especially if Flacco can stay healthy and performs well.
For now, Lock will compete with veteran Hogan for the backup job as he learns his craft without the pressure of a quarterback competition we saw after the Broncos traded up in the first round to take Paxton Lynch in 2016.
In other news ahead of OTAs, star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. will be absent as he waits on a new contract, while new signing Kareem Jackson will continue to see work at safety.
Second-round pick Dalton Risner will continue to see time at left guard but is also expected to play some tackle and center as the Broncos work out his best position.
Second-year corner Isaac Yiadom will be limited, receiver Emmanuel Sanders will not go, while Phillip Lindsay, Jake Butt, Bryce Callahan, and Ronald Leary will see some time in OTAs as they come back from injury.
What we learned w/Broncos:
-Competition for QB 2 spot, Flacco 1
-Jackson will play a lot at S during OTAs. Play CB & nickel too
-Risner LG “right now” for at least a week
-OTA injury update: Lindsay, Butt & Leary will do “some stuff” Sanders won’t Callahan will Yiadom limited
After the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets both ended their seasons with game seven defeats in the playoffs this past week, we have just 11 weeks until the Broncos take the field at the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton to kick off five preseason games.
There’s a lot of work to be done for new head coach Fangio as he assembles his first 53-man roster, but the offseason program is about to hit a new level.
It’s not quite time for Ryan Koenigsberg’s perennial call to resonate across Broncos Country, but it’s getting closer.
It’s time to get your new Broncos jerseys for the 2019 NFL season after the Denver Broncos confirmed the numbers for the 2019 rookie class.
As expected, 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant will wear #87 formerly worn by wide receivers Ed McCaffrey and Eric Decker, and last worn by Jordan Taylor, who joined Minnesota in free agency earlier this year.
Rookie offensive lineman Dalton Risner will begin his Broncos career wearing #66, once worn by Broncos great Tom Nalen with #71 — his college number at Kansas State — already belonging to Austin Schlottmann.
The Broncos’ quarterback of the future Drew Lock will wear his long-time #3. Trevor Siemian had the number in 2015 preseason before he switched to #13 and by Colby Wadman last season, but the punter will take #6 for the upcoming season.
Former Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones will wear #93 with linebacker Justin Hollins in #52.
As he revealed last week on social media, wide receiver Juwann Winfree will wear #15, formerly worn by receivers including Brandon Marshall and River Cracraft, but known more for the fun-filled Tim Tebow years.
While the Broncos have yet to sign any of their drafted rookies, they will take part in rookie minicamp starting Friday at UCHealth Training Center.
The Denver Broncos have completed their initial 90-man roster for the 2019 season after signing seven college free agents Thursday.
After general manager drafted six new players in the 2019 NFL Draft last month, he also traded for veteran linebacker/special teamer Dekoda Watson and added 17 college free agents.
After the initial wave of college free agents signed, Denver added Pittsburgh fullback George Aston, UConn center Ryan Crozier, Stanford cornerback Alijah Holder, Samford wide receiver Kelvin McKnight, Nevada linebacker Malik Reed, and Colorado State linebacker Josh Watson.
To make room for the new acquisitions, the Broncos waived quarterback Garrett Grayson and wide receiver Chad Hansen.
Sun has set on the 2019 NFL Draft after a stunning first visit to Nashville, 254 players made it to the NFL with hundreds more waiting for calls.
The Denver Broncos have a thing for finding undrafted gems. Look no further than Ring of Famer Rod Smith, Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and last year’s steal of the decade in Phillip Lindsay.
After plenty of wheeling and dealing, Broncos general manager John Elway turned eight initial draft picks into six rookies and veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson, who spent the 2016 season in the Mile High City.
Here’s a reminder of who the Broncos selected in the 2019 NFL Draft:
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Now, it’s time to unearth the next gem, so we’ll be tracking all the college free agents that sign with the Broncos in the coming days.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler believes that Rypien could be a backup quarterback in the NFL.
“Overall, Rypien does everything fairly well, but nothing extraordinary that would suggest he can pick apart NFL defenses, projecting as a potential backup due to his intelligence and intangibles,” Brugler said.
Former Boise State QB Brett Rypien officially signed as a UDFA with the Broncos. I'm told he received a six-figure guarantee.
The Denver Broncos weren’t done wheeling and dealing on day three of the 2019 NFL Draft despite moving up and down on the first two days.
John Elway sent the 148th overall pick to San Francisco for veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson, who played in all 16 games for the Broncos in 2016.
The Broncos then drafted Oregon linebacker Justin Hollins with the 156th-overall pick.
Hollins recorded 174 tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 14 sacks over his final three seasons at Oregon, and the versatile linebacker is expected to add depth at the position as well as contributing on special teams.
At 6-5, 248 pounds, Hollins ran an impressive 4.5 40-yard dash, has and was named defensive MVP in the East-West Shrine Game. His freakish athletic ability should help the Broncos in coverage.
Elway also sent the 212th (sixth round) and 237th (seventh round) picks to Carolina to move up to 187, where the Broncos took Colorado wide receiver Juwann Winfree.
Juwann Winfree stayed in Colorado to train ahead of the draft at Landow Performance. I remember someone who knows him well telling me: “If you thought Phillip Lindsay surprised, wait until you see Juwann Winfree.”
It wasn’t what many in Broncos Country wanted, but Denver Broncos general manager John Elway passed on a number of day-one starters with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to trade down 10 places with the Pittsburgh Steelers, acquire the 52nd-overall pick, and a 2020 third-round pick.
No quarterback, no inside linebacker, no interior offensive or defensive linemen, it was another position of need that the Broncos addressed.
Debate rages on social media over the value of the pick and whether Elway made the right move.
Before Elway and new head coach Vic Fangio made statements to the media, Andrew Mason, the venerable football encyclopedia from the Denver Broncos website and Orange & Blue 760, crunched the numbers and determined that the Broncos gained value from the trade.
The net result, the Broncos passed on the chance to get a difference maker on defense in Michigan linebacker Devin Bush — as well as other highly-coveted players — but picked up a legitimate weapon for new quarterback Joe Flacco in the sizeable form of Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
It is no secret that the Broncos have struggled at tight end since the departure of Julius Thomas in 2015 after his Pro Bowl seasons in 2013 and 2014, but Fant gives Rich Scangarello’s offense a huge weapon over the middle and a fantastic red zone target.
As the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach last year, Scangarello had input into making Fant’s former Iowa teammate George Kittle into an uncoverable monster in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, despite using four different quarterbacks.
It’s also worth remembering that Flacco forged a fantastic relationship on and off the field with tight end Dennis Pitta in Baltimore and Scangarello — and Fangio, appraising the pick from his razor-sharp defensive mind — will hope the 34-year-old quarterback can find that chemistry with Fant, who not only possesses mismatch size at 6-5, 241 pounds, but also elite speed that leaves defenders for dead.
Fant ranked 10th among tight ends in this class by Pro Football Focus, with the noticeable knock being his blocking, but the Broncos have other bodies that can fill that role while making their new acquisition a focal point of the passing game.
With a top 100 loaded with starting-caliber talent, the additional second-round pick gives Elway and the Broncos a chance to select two players on Friday that could become starters in their rookie season.
Interior offensive line is still a need, as is a defensive tackle, but with several top cornerbacks falling into round two, Elway could be tempted to pick up an insurance option on day two if the deteriorating situation with Chris Harris Jr. results in the leader of the Broncos’ secondary leaving the Mile High City in 2019.
The combine results are in and the dust has settled on free agency and the NFL landscape suddenly looks very different. Odell Beckham Jr. is with the Cleveland Browns, Antonio Brown is with the Oakland Raiders, and the Arizona Cardinals look set to blow it all up after just a year with Josh Rosen.
One thing that hasn’t changed is a belief throughout the NFL that this could be our year, unless you’re in full fish tank mode on South Beach, Miami.
Once just a fun rumor, it now feels like established knowledge that Murray will be dropped into Kliff Kingsbury Air Raid offense on Day 1 of the NFL season. What this means for Josh Rosen remains to be seen. Maybe the Broncos are in his future.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
For months Nick Bosa was the locked on #1 pick in April’s draft, but his mini-slide continues as the 49ers pick up Williams, an athletic freak with the ability to wreck the interior of a defensive line.
3. New York Jets — Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
In the first round of the draft, teams get 10 minutes to submit their pick. Don’t expect too much time to elapse as the Jets run this pick to the podium.
The Jets’ recent fortune of elite players sliding to them in the draft continues; see Leonard Williams #6 (2015), Jamal Adams #6 (2017) and Sam Darnold #3 (2018).
4. Oakland Raiders — Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Raiders are in desperate need of pass rush. Behind quarterbacks, pass rushers are the most important position in the NFL. When you find a dominant pass rusher it’s important to keep hold of them, you’d have to be crazy to trade an elite pass rusher.
Anyway, in Allen, the Raiders pick up a raw talent who’s still learning the finer nuances of the position but has excellent production regardless with 17 sacks in 2018.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Sweat’s combine workout was frankly absurd. Sweat’s 4.41 40-yard dash was faster than 21 of 23 running backs who took part in the drill and he did this despite clocking in at 6-5 and 240 pounds.
Arians loves speed and power on his defensive line and Sweat has plenty of both.
6. New York Giants — D.K Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
It’s easy to see the Giants’ trade of OBJ and surmise that a full rebuild is underway. However, I truly believe that the organization from ownership on down to the front office believe that shipping Odell out of town is addition by subtraction.
The Giants truly are deluded enough to believe they are in win-now mode in the NFC and thus grab one of the Combine’s stars in D.K. Metcalf.
The Jaguars have their quarterback in Nick Foles and must now keep him upright. Foles is reunited with his former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
We’ve already seen what that pairing is capable of; now all the Jaguars need is for Taylor to keep their quarterback clean.
8. Detroit Lions — Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Despite the free agency signing of Trey Flowers, Patriots Midwest still need to solidify their defensive line. By keeping Michigan man Rashan Gary instate, they boast a formidable defensive line starring Gary, Snacks Harrison, former second-round pick A’Shawn Robinson, and the aforementioned Trey Flowers.
9. Buffalo Bills — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
This ones pretty simple so I’ll keep it short. The Bills are bad on the offensive line. They need to protect second-. year quarterback Josh Allen despite his running ability. Dillard helps them do that.
10. Denver Broncos — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
OH BOY. Here it is. Haskins at #10 is truly a viable option for the Broncos. Kyler Murray may be the most fun quarterback to watch in this year’s draft but Haskins is a better player.
He is only a one-year starter at Ohio State, which may worry some but what an outstanding year it was. Haskins was the best passer in college football in 2018, throwing for 4,821 yards (#1), 50 touchdowns (#1) for just eight interceptions while completing 70 percent of his passes.
Haskins is not a runner, despite what some pundits will have you believe, but has enough athleticism and pocket awareness to succeed in the league. There are several moves the Broncos could make at quarterback but Haskins is the most appealing.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Devin White, LB, LSU
White is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker and from everything we hear was a key locker room leader at LSU.
12. Green Bay Packers — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Fant is a downfield playmaker who will stretch the seam in the Packers’ offense. The Packers have been looking for a new tight end for Rodgers for a few seasons now, big names like Michael Bennett, Jared Cook and, most recently, Jimmy Graham have all fallen flat.
13. Miami Dolphins — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Dolphins could take a quarterback here but that doesn’t into the current fish tank plan.
14. Atlanta Falcons — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver’s value has been all over the place in recent mocks, as high as three, as low as the bottom of the first. In any case, the Falcons get great value at #14.
15. Washington Redskins — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Another team who could take a quarterback, but I see them building out their roster before looking ahead to 2020. Expect Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and maybe a later round rookie to all start for this team in 2019 as they wait out Alex Smith’s rehab.
The main priority for the Panthers needs to be keeping Cam Newton upright. Williams is a three-year starter out of Alabama and can play multiple positions on the line. Some argue his arms are too short to play tackle, Williams disagrees and so do I.
17. New York Giants (via Browns) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Why Daniel Jones? The Giants organisation is rich in nepotism. Don’t take that as a knock on Jones, it’s just a fact. David Cutcliffe, Jones’ college coach at Duke, was also Eli Manning’s coach at Ole Miss. In recent days former Cowboys GM NFL HoFer Gil Brandt stated on the record that Jones and Peyton Manning are the “same guy”. Jones only a one-year starter is loved in NFL circles; he’s what you’d call “sneaky athletic” read: white. Don’t be surprised if Jones doesn’t make it to the Giants at #17.
18. Minnesota Vikings — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Vikings remain the NFL’s “what if” team. On paper, they have a top-five defense, the best receiving duo in the game, a top-10 running back in Dalvin Cook, and yet despite paying Kirk Cousins $90m over three years the team didn’t get it done in 2018 and Cousins was one of the most pressured passers in the league. That has to change in 2019.
19. Tennessee Titans — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Some would consider it an upset Fant going over the more versatile Hockenson. As opposed to Fant who is essentially a blownup WR, Hockenson is an excellent in-line blocker with fantastic receiving skills. The Titans are in need of a replacement for an aging Delanie Walker and they have an excellent one in Hockenson.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert is probably the best evaluator of wide receivers in the league. His record drafting defensive backs, however, leaves something to be desired. Murphy is the safest cornerback bet in the draft and undoubtedly makes the Steelers better on the backend.
21. Seattle Seahawks — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Ferrell is one of the more underrated prospects in this year’s draft. Playing on a stacked defensive line, it can be hard to stand out, but Ferrell is set to stand out at the next level and slides right in as a replacement for the recently-departed Frank Clark.
This offseason saw the end of Terrell Suggs’ 16-season Ravens career. It won’t be easy to replace him but, in Ferguson, the Ravens will have an ultra-talented yet raw playmaker with a history of production: 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in 2018. The Ravens have a history of developing defensive talent and this is a great fit for both sides.
23. Houston Texans — Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Texans would be overjoyed if any of the top tackles fall to them at #23. Greg Little does and will be on a plane to Houston.
The Raiders essentially control the draft with a almost-unprecedented three picks in the first round. Head coach Jon Gruden isn’t a Derek Carr fan. Drew Lock lacks polish but has a huge arm and tonnes of potential, he may compete in 2019 but look for him to start in 2020.
25. Philadelphia Eagles — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Williams is seen by some as the best corner in the draft. He will expect to be drafted much higher than #25 so will go into Philly with a huge chip on his shoulder. He’ll fit right in.
26. Indianapolis Colts — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Despite more cap room than any other team, the Colts were relatively quiet during free agency. Chris Ballard is sticking to his philosophy of building through the draft and with his track record to date, it’s hard to doubt him. Baker fills an immediate need for the Colts.
The departure of Jared Cook opens up 101 targets on the Raiders offense. With no real competition on the roster at tight end, Smith would catch plenty of balls in this rookie season if Derek Carr is still the starter.
28. LA Chargers — Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State
Bradbury is one of the most talented offensive linemen in the draft. He has the ability to play all five positions but excels at guard or centre. Look for him to start at guard from day one while giving the Chargers a premium backup to veteran center Mike Pouncey.
29. Seattle Seahawks (via Chiefs) — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Seahawks may very well go offensive line here depending who’s left on the board, but here they double down on remaking the defensive line with Clemson standout Christian Wilkins. Despite making Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL, the Seahawks are and will always be defense-first team under Pete Carroll.
30. Green Bay Packers (via Saints) — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Packers give Aaron Rodgers another offensive weapon in A.J. Brown. After being hurt in back-to-back seasons, look for Rodgers to return to MVP form in 2019 in a refreshed offensive with new playmakers.
31. LA Rams — Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Risner has been a late riser in the process, applauded for his versatility and toughness; there was hope he would fall to the Broncos in round two.
32. New England Patriots — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons would be a top-five pick if he wasn’t hurt. Set to miss most if not all of the 2019 season with a torn ACL, the Patriots grab Simmons at a heavy discount at the bottom of the first round.
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock can’t move fast enough to get a new quarterback that could revive their offense and excite the future fanbase in Las Vegas.
The cost — the fourth and 24th overall picks — may have been high, but with three total first-round picks they could afford it for a future franchise player.
Previous pick: SF chose Nick Bosa
3. New York Jets — Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
With Quinnen Williams going #1 overall and the 49ers switching spots with the Raiders, that leaves the Jets the option of picking any of the top pass rushers they want. Bosa at one point was the consensus #1 pick before Murray opted for the NFL.
Previous pick: Quinnen Williams
4. San Fransisco 49ers (trade with Oakland) –Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The 49ers moved back fully aware they would likely miss out on Nick Bosa, but are still happy with the next best pass rusher in Josh Allen while also accumulating another first-round pick.
Previous pick: OAK chose Josh Jacobs
5. New York Giants (trade with Tampa Bay) — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Turns out the Giants disinterest in Haskins was all just a smokescreen and they move up one spot, sending the sixth overall pick and a second-rounder in 2020) to ensure they get their guy before another team leapfrogs them.
Previous pick: TB selected Devin White
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (trade with NYG) — Devin White, ILB, LSU
Tampa Bay gladly moves down one spot knowing they’ll still have their guy in Devin White while picking up a future second-round pick.
The Bengals had to sweat a little with Denver on the clock and in need of linebacker help. Fortunately for them, Devin Bush fell right to them.
Previous pick: Devin Bush
12. Green Bay Packers — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Aaron Rodgers needs weapons to throw to, but he also needs time to throw. The Packers need to protect their franchise quarterback first and then potentially look to add a weapon with their other first round pick.
Previous pick: Noah Fant
13. Washington Redskins (trade with Denver) — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Broncos make another move to gain draft capital, this time moving back to #15, while also picking up the 46th overall pick.
The Redskins add a big weapon to help out their lackluster group of quarterbacks.
Previous pick: Miami picked Drew Lock at this spot.
14. Atlanta Falcons — Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
With moves being made in the top half of the draft, the next tier of edge rushers falls a little and Atlanta is the first to benefit. Rashan Gary will be a disruptive force on the Falcons defense.
The Broncos finally decide to stay put and pick up a player that would solidify their offensive line since they lost Matt Paradis in free agency. This will allow Connor McGovern to move back to guard as well.
Previous pick: Christian Wilkins
16. Carolina Panthers — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
The Panthers need to get younger on defense and fill the void left when Julius Peppers retired. Montez Sweat should provide a huge boost for this defensive group.
Previous pick: Jawaan Taylor
17. New York Giants — Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
The Giants took the risk of passing on an edge rusher early to get their quarterback of the future. Luckily for them, this draft is stacked with talented pass rushers and they are still able to get a talented guy in Burns.
Previous pick: Arizona had acquired this pick and selected D.K. Metcalf
Kirk Cousins is a large financial investment to put behind a porous offensive line. Williams will be able to provide some stability and time for Cousins to get the ball out to his talented receiving corp.
The Titans need a little more of a push up front on defense and have their pick of talented interior defensive lineman. They go with Wilkins in this scenario to be a disruptor.
Previous pick: Clelin Ferrell
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Antonio Brown forced his way out and left JuJu Smith-Schuster to take on the load of being the top wide receiver. The Steelers know the window for Big Ben is closing and give him one more weapon to get their offense back on track.
Previous pick: Byron Murphy
21. Seattle Seahawks — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
The Legion of Boom is long gone, with Earl Thomas making his way to Baltimore this offseason. Seattle’s secondary can begin to rebuild with Abram manning the middle of the field.
The Ravens have put all their chips in with Lamar Jackson and now they need to give him weapons. Brown can create separation and give Jackson a big enough window to increase his confidence.
Previous pick: A.J. Brown
23. Houston Texans — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
DeShaun Watson was one of the most pressured quarterbacks in the league last year, which is saying something given his mobility. Houston needs to protect their talented quarterback and do so with big offensive lineman Cody Ford.
Previous pick: Andre Dillard
24. San Fransisco 49ers (from OAK) — Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
San Fransisco wasn’t expecting to have two first round picks but after the trade with their Bay Area rivals, they are able to address their defense early and look to give Jimmy Garrapolo more weapons to effectively run Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Previous pick: Oakland picked DeAndre Baker
25. Philadelphia Eagles — Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Carson Wentz has struggled to stay healthy, so it would make sense for the Eagles to bring in someone to protect him. But with most of the top offensive lineman off the board, they elect to strengthen their defense while looking to later rounds to pick up someone for O-line help.
Previous pick: Jonah Williams
26. Indianapolis Colts — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Colts don’t have an immediate need at cornerback since bringing back Pierre Desir, but they need depth at the position and Murphy will give them just that right away.
Previous pick: N’Keal Harry
27. Oakland Raiders — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Raiders could go running back here and pick up Josh Jacobs to replace Marshawn Lynch, who has decided to move on from football. But they decide to give newly-acquired quarterback Kyler Murray a big target to throw to.
Previous pick: T.J. Hockenson
28. LA Chargers — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
As with Big Ben, Philip Rivers’ window is closing and the Chargers need to be in win-now mode. They have a talented offense but need to bolster their defensive a little more to prevent teams from keeping pace with them on offense.
Previous pick: Dexter Lawrence
29. Seattle Seahawks — DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
The recent trade of Frank Clark to the Chiefs give the Seahawks another opportunity to strengthen their secondary and they do so by adding Baker.
Previous pick: KC held this spot and picked Greedy Williams
30. Green Bay Packers — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Packers strengthened their O-line earlier in the round and now look to give Rodgers a new weapon to throw to. Brown will give Rodgers another option in the middle of the field and mid-range throws with his clean route running and reliable hands.
Previous pick: Johnathan Abram
31. LA Rams — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Rams may want to trade out of this spot but don’t find any suitors. They add another talented piece to their secondary in Williams to play alongside Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.
Previous pick: Garrett Bradbury
32. New England Patriots — Irv Smith Jr, TE, Alabama
The Patriots would also probably like to move out of this spot but also can’t find a trade worth moving for. They decide to look for Gronk’s replacement by adding Smith, a talented pass-catching tight end that needs to work on his blocking.
This is Peter King’s only mock draft before the draft begins Thursday night, and he made some surprising moves for the Broncos.
He has Denver staying at #10 and selecting Michigan linebacker Devin Bush but then has the Broncos trading back into the first round and picking up Missouri quarterback Drew Lock at #31.
For the trade with the Los Angeles Rams, the Broncos give the Rams the 41st pick this year and a 2020 second-round pick for the 31st pick.
Many will see this as a great situation for the Broncos, while those that are still not sold on Lock as a first-round quarterback will question the move.
Bush is likely to be taken by linebacker-needy Cincinnati at #11 if Denver doesn’t take him at #10, assuming that the Bengals don’t trade up to gazump John Elway.
Bush is in a class of two with Devin White in this year’s linebacker corps, with some flaws that would need to be improved, and Fangio would be just the guy to do it.
Lock’s stock continues to fluctuate each week where he could go in the top ten or he could drop out of the first round altogether. He has a talented arm but still lacks important skills to be a successful NFL quarterback.
How do Bush and Lock fit with the Broncos?
The Broncos are in need of more talent on the inside of their linebacking corp. Todd Davis and Josey Jewell sit atop the depth chart and both are good players, but not great — at least not yet for Jewell.
Devin Bush would immediately bolster that defense and provide coverage on running backs and tight ends the Broncos have sorely missed for a long time.
The Missouri alum is the enigma in this mock. If he wasn’t selected in the first 30 picks of the first round, are the Broncos really at risk of losing out on him in the early second round? Maybe the New York Giants would have been a threat but they selected Daniel Jones at #23.
The Patriots could be looking for Brady’s next heir apparent at #32. The next team that might be looking for a quarterback early in round two would be the Oakland Raiders, so maybe Elway sees this as his last chance to get the last top rated quarterback in this draft.
Being picked at #31 doesn’t guarantee that Lock starts ahead of Flacco, but you have to imagine the Broncos newest veteran quarterback giving a big eye roll and thinking “here we go again” after his former club Baltimore traded up to #32 last year to select Lamar Jackson, who held on to the starting job even after Flacco returned from injury.
Who else was still available?
When the Broncos are on the clock at #10 in this mock, many of the top-tier defensive players are off the board, including Devin White, Quinnen Williams, and Ed Oliver.
Even Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson is taken at #7, along with top offensive tackles Jawaan Taylor (#8) and Jonah Williams (#9).
Denver could have picked up any of the top cornerback options (Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Byron Murphy), one of the Clemson defensive tackles (Christian Wilkins or Dexter Lawrence), or even Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
When the Broncos traded up from #41 to #31, there wasn’t really any players available worth that kind of jump, so Lock makes the most sense with that move.
However, they could have taken offensive tackle Dalton Risner, whose draft stock is rising, but probably wouldn’t have had to trade back into the first round for him.
Each year the NFL tries to make a big deal out of every little thing they do because, well, they can. At this time of year, the league hypes up its schedule release by putting it on primetime television and releasing all schedules at the same time.
However, every year by the time the official release rolls around at 20:00 EST most have been leaked in some way — the Broncos schedule was known in its entirety hours before by piecing together various leaks.
Nonetheless, seeing the schedule provides a new sense of excitement — and maybe a little dread — knowing the new season is approaching quickly, albeit some four months away.
The Broncos will have the second toughest schedule this year, CBS Sports reported in February. Their opponents went 136-117-3 in 2018 for a .573 win percentage in 2018.
The Broncos have only four games in 2019 with a win probability of higher than 50%, including both games against the Oakland Raiders.
Those are not great odds but a lot can change as the offseason progresses, especially when you factor in that the Broncos are going to be a completely different team than in recent years.
It’s always exciting to start the season against a division rival.
The Raiders have been awful of late, and the rivalry hasn’t been as competitive as in previous years, but a lot has happened since Jon Gruden returned as head coach, and there will be further changes this offseason with the Raiders owning three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Among their score of acquisitions this offseason, they have added drama-queen wide receiver Antonio Brown after he forced his way out of Pittsburgh, along with former Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall.
The Broncos haven’t been much better than the Raiders the past two seasons but with a new quarterback in Joe Flacco and a completely revamped coaching staff, this will be a very different looking team.
This game will be one of only two primetime games for the Broncos and is most likely the last time they will play at Oakland Coliseum with the impending move of the Raiders to Las Vegas next year.
Broncos Country will have to wait longer to see their team as this is the second game of a Monday Night Football double-header.
The second primetime game for the Broncos also comes against a division rival, but this team was one of the best in the AFC last year.
Patrick Mahomes dazzled in his first year as starting quarterback for the Chiefs last season, throwing for over 5,000 yards, 50 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions.
He made throws across the field, across his body, and with his opposite hand that you just don’t see from your typical quarterback.
Under Andy Reid’s tutelage, Mahomes became a star in the making but this year he may be without one of his main targets. Last year, speedy receiver Tyreek Hill accounted for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Only tight end Travis Kelce had more receptions (103 to 87) and targets (150 to 137), but Hill averaged 17 yards per reception with 570 yards after the catch.
The NFL is investigating Hill for potential child assault, which could result in a significant suspension — see Adrian Peterson’s suspension in 2014.
If Hill is suspended, or placed on the NFL Commissioner’s Exempt List for any amount of time, it will remove a huge weapon for the KC offense.
Hill’s absence could allow the Broncos defense to pressure Mahomes more while still maintaining coverage in the secondary.
But even if Hill is active for this game, Fangio was able to slow down high powered offenses like the LA Rams last year and could do that against the Chiefs this year.
Week 9 — vs Cleveland Browns — 11.3.19: a very talented team with an inexperienced head coach.
Week 15 — at KC Chiefs — 12.15.19: could be a battle for the AFC West crown.
What do you think, Broncos Country? Which games are you most excited about?
It’s time to start filling out your calendars for the 2019 NFL season with the release of the schedule.
The Broncos open up with a road trip to Oakland, which will be the second of the traditional Monday night doubleheader games on September 9, so get ready for a very late kickoff to the season.
Head coach Vic Fangio faces his former team when the Chicago Bears travel to Denver in week two before the Broncos hit the road again in week three when they head to Green Bay — somewhere they have never won.
The Broncos have just two back-to-back home game windows. The first happens when Tennessee heads to the Mile High City in week six before Kansas City rolls in for Thursday Night Football in week seven.
The second comes at the end of the season when Denver hosts Detroit in week 16 before Oakland make the trip to see out the regular season on December 29.
The Broncos have received a favorable bye week, which comes in week 10.
Coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972, the Broncos have just two prime time games, which is some good news for Europe-based fans with fewer late nights than recent seasons.
There are also five early games to look forward to this season, and Broncos Europe will be scheduling watch parties for some of these over the summer.
Broncos Europe TV’s Colum will also be hosting Broncos fans at the Woolshed Baa & Grill in Dublin most weeks.
Most of the new numbers come on defense, where free agent acquisition conerbacks Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan will wear #22 and #29 respectively.
2017 third-round pick Brendan Langley has switched from #27 to #12 following his move from cornerback to wide receiver with Horace Richardson taking his old number, while 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom has switched from #41 to #26.
The Denver Broncos should trade for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, according to Broncos Europe TV’s Michael McQuaid.
It’s not a particularly fresh take, but it would be a bold move by John Elway to snap up a genuinely elite NFL quarterback just weeks after the Broncos traded a 2019 fourth-round pick for Joe Flacco.
“If he’s available, go get Russell Wilson right now,” McQuaid said. “There’s a guy that guarantees the next five years for this team in regards to the quarterback position. A guy that’s going to help this offense while we still have that core on defense.
“What have we got to lose? Why not offer them Flacco? Maybe a first round this year, first round next year, or one of our more senior players?
“Why not offer someone who’s been talking — or hinting — about leaving Denver: maybe Chris Harris Jr?
“I think we need to make the move now. Will Elway make that move? It’s anybody’s guess, but I’d love to be able to see something there.
While both are Super Bowl winners, 34-year-old Flacco has plenty of detractors from his time in Baltimore and lost his job in 2018 to a guy whose most significant weakness is throwing the ball.
Flacco has never been selected to the Pro Bowl but is a Super Bowl MVP. That was in 2012. Times have changed and his production has remained average at best.
Wilson, on the other hand, continually excites and mostly gets the job done given time and space to operate. There’s a reason why the 2012 third-round pick is a six-time Pro Bowler and went to back-to-back Super Bowls. His efficiency is impressive.
He can make up for offensive line deficiencies to some extent with his mobility and accuracy downfield. Certainly more than the quarterbacks the Broncos have rolled through in recent seasons, and certainly more than Flacco, who is a big-bodied quarterback.
Wilson is waiting on the Seahawks to offer him a new deal, one that could make him the league’s highest-paid player, but it appears unlikely to meet the player’s deadline of April 15.
If the Seahawks don’t cough up the big bucks, Wilson would be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
We could see a Kirk Cousins situation play out. The franchise tag is inevitable for such a valuable player, but with an underwhelming quarterback class in the 2019 NFL Draft next week, it’s understandable that quarterback-needy teams should be interested.
That includes the Broncos, despite Flacco having three years on his current deal which carried over from Baltimore, but Wilson’s suitors also include the New York Giants, who boast two first-round picks in this year’s draft and are actively looking for Eli Manning’s successor.
Factor in that Wilson’s wife reportedly wants to be in New York City more and that Wilson’s baseball career is now in New York with the Yankees, and the football Giants make a lot of sense.
“Does John Elway have that managerial instinct to get Russell Wilson?” McQuaid later mused in his video.
“Because it would immediately give us that step up that we need to compete in the AFC West next season.
“This is arguably the Seahawks’ best player. A guy that has done so much for Seattle — won a Super Bowl and destroyed us, been to another Super Bowl. A player with tonnes of experience and is still in his prime compared to Joe Flacco.”
For now, the Broncos are content to roll with their fifth different starting quarterback in three seasons with Flacco at the helm. Drafting a quarterback of the future remains on the radar, something Elway has been woeful at during his career as general manager.
He passed up on drafting Wilson three times in 2012. After taking defensive end Derek Wolfe with the 36th overall pick, Elway took Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler with the 57th overall pick, then running back Ronnie Hillman with the 67th overall pick. Seattle took Wilson eight picks later.
Not drafting Wilson haunted the Broncos after Super Bowl XLVIII, not taking the chance to get him again could lead to future nightmares for Elway and the Broncos front office.
We already know the Denver Broncos open their 2019 preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on August 1 in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH.
With team owner Pat Bowlen and former cornerback Champ Bailey inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Broncos will then face the four NFC West teams.
The Broncos will welcome the familiarity of the opponents, and not having to make a time-consuming trip to the east coast in the middle of their preseason programme as they did to Washington DC in 2018.
Denver’s second game — which falls in week 1 of the preseason — is on the road against former AFC West rivals Seattle between August 8 and 12.
The Broncos defeated the Seahawks 27-24 in the opening game of the 2018 regular season.
An interesting wrinkle could see former Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch start for the Seahawks after the 2016 first-round bust landed with the Seahawks on a futures contract in January.
While he was a disaster, and couldn’t beat out Trevor Siemian in Denver, Lynch is in a battle to backup Seattle’s superstar Russell Wilson.
Next up, a Monday night home game against San Francisco on August 19, which will be nationally televised by ESPN (kickoff 20:00 EST/01:00 BST/02:00 CEST).
The Broncos and 49ers are regular preseason partners, with the Broncos leading the preseason series 22-16.
Expect to hear plenty of talk about the two general managers and their glory days winning back-to-back Super Bowls, while Valor Christian alum and Ed McCaffery’s son Max, who plays wide receiver for the 49ers, is sure to come up a few times, and former Broncos receiver Wes Welker is now the 49ers’ receivers coach.
Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the Broncos’ new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello joining from the 49ers, and new head coach Vic Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell both being former coaches in the Bay Area.
In week three, between August 22-25, new quarterback Joe Flacco and friends travel west to take on the Los Angeles Rams in the “dress rehearsal game,” where the traditional Don Fangio will take on the bright, young thing that is Sean McVay.
Former Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will probably have a few tricks up his sleeve to welcome Scangarello to his new position, and you can count on Aqib Talib to show up one way or another.
The final preseason game will take place on August 29 when Denver hosts another familiar opponent in the form of the new Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals will hit the Mile High City with a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, and a first-overall pick that probably won’t play.
There will also be a quick return to the Mile High City for a number of former Broncos coaches, including much-vilified former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, who is now the defensive coordinator in the desert after he was sacked in January.
Sean Kugler, the Broncos’ 2018 offensive line coach, and Greg Williams and Marcus Robertson, the Broncos’ defensive backs coaches last season, are also now with the Cardinals.