The Denver Broncos entered the 2022 season with high expectations as a potential Super Bowl contender after acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson. The season was an absolute disaster with a 5-12 finish.
First-year coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired following a dreadful 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16. To make matters worse, Denver does not own its No. 5 pick. The Seattle Seahawks hold the selection from the Wilson trade.
Denver has many needs, like finding a head coach – Sean Payton, Jim Harbaugh and Dan Quinn are in the running. How can the Broncos improve with limited draft capital?
Let’s check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL predictions. We’ve plenty of NFL expert picks for you to consider.
2022 Season Record: 5-12
Status of Coach: Nathaniel Hackett – Fired
Positions of Need
- Offensive line
- Wide receiver
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 29 (from 49ers)
- Round 3, Pick 68 (from Colts)
- Round 3, Pick 69
Potential First-Round Targets
The Broncos own the San Francisco 49ers first-round selection. The pick will end up between No. 25 to 32 depending on how the 49ers finish in the playoffs. Denver has several options with this selection.
Payton has been mentioned in the Broncos’ coaching search. The New Orleans Saints reportedly want compensation, including a first-round pick. If Denver lands Payton, this pick could go to the Saints.
The #Saints want a first-round pick and more. Denver knows this. And is still in the game. https://t.co/zs5p7j9oTh
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 8, 2023
If the Broncos hang on to the first-round pick, they should have several options at offensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver.
Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence is the best interior offensive lineman in the class, known for his physicality and dominance as a run blocker. He could fit well at left guard, opposite of starting right guard Quinn Meinerz. Anton Harrison of Oklahoma and Dawand Jones of Ohio State are options at offensive tackle. Harrison has ideal size with impressive length and mobility while Jones has rare movement with his 6-foot-8, 359-pound frame.
At wide receiver, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a great option to fill the slot with his elite hands. Jerry Jeudy and Smith-Njigba could be a daunting rotation in the slot. Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt could provide a great deep threat, which was missing this season.
Cornerback could be Denver’s best option late in the first round. Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, South Carolina’s Cam Smith, Utah’s Clark Phillips III and Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon are viable options with various skill sets in a deep day-one cornerback class. Porter, Smith and Witherspoon could be perfect pairs with Patrick Surtain II with their physicality in man coverage.
Cam Smith closes the window on the slant pic.twitter.com/lswxJ1mzTM
— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) January 8, 2023
Potential Second-Day Targets
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Broncos traded their No. 96 and 179 picks for the Indianapolis Colts’ third-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. This trade has paid off big time with the Colts holding the fourth overall pick. Denver owns the fourth and fifth picks in the third round.
The Broncos have a great opportunity to move up on the second day of the draft. They could easily vault into the second round if a prospect slides. If Denver stays put, there should be good options on the offensive line.
USC guard Andrew Vorhees would bring his immense strength to the run game. TCU’s Steve Avila has experience playing center and guard with good agility. Ohio State center Luke Wypler would be another great addition to the run game with good technique and the ability to climb to the second level.
Looking for a cornerback in the first round seems to be the best route, followed by targeting the offensive line on day two of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Broncos hope to add several instant-impact rookies, helping fuel a turnaround 2023 season.