The Denver Broncos finished with a 7-10 record in 2021, held back by mediocre quarterback play from Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, as well as questionable coaching decisions from Vic Fangio.
The team addressed those issues in a major way by trading for star quarterback Russell Wilson and hiring former Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach.
Wilson and Hackett join an offense with a strong supporting cast, featuring young talents in wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton as well as stud sophomore running back Javonte Williams.
We’ve said for a while that the Broncos were one quarterback away from contending for a championship. They now have Super Bowl aspirations, so the draft was about prioritizing rookies that can contribute right away.
Broncos NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 2, Pick 32 (64th Overall): Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
- Round 3, Pick 16 (80th Overall): Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
- Round 4, Pick 10 (115th Overall): Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
- Round 4, Pick 11 (116th Overall): Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State
- Round 5, Pick 9 (152nd Overall): Delarrin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma
- Round 5, Pick 19 (162nd Overall): Montrell Washington, WR, Samford
- Round 5, Pick 28 (171st Overall): Luke Wattenberg, C, Washington
- Round 6, Pick 28 (206th Overall): Matt Henningsen, DT, Wisconsin
- Round 7, Pick 11 (232nd Overall): Faion Hicks, CB, Wisconsin
Prior to the NFL Draft, the Broncos gave up their ninth overall pick to acquire Russell Wilson. This definitely cost them as they also had to give up their young, talented tight end Noah Fant and Shelby Harris.
Drafting the uber-athletic edge rusher out of Oklahoma, Nik Bonitto, gives the Broncos some athleticism and youth on their already talented defense. They targeted a handful of athletic defensive players and this defense should take a nice step forward in 2022.
On the offensive side, Denver has plenty of weapons already with their talented backfield led by Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon. Adding the UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich in the third round gives Wilson just another weapon to target in the passing game.
Between Tim Patrick, Sutton, Jeudy, and Dulcich, Wilson will have a ton of talent around him. This offense has a chance to really explode this year.
Denver did an excellent job of drafting athletic players on both sides of the ball. They can definitely make some noise this year, despite being in such a tough division.
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Note: The Broncos NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Broncos NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- Round 2, Pick 32 (64th Overall): Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
- Round 3, Pick 11 (75th Overall): Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB
- Round 3, Pick 32 (96th Overall): Martin Emerson, CB, Miss. State
More Possible Broncos Draft Targets: Ed Ingram, OG, LSU; Josh Paschal, DT, Kentucky
Daniel Faalele is a massive 6-foot-8-inch mauler who can help in the run game. Alex Wright has good size and athleticism, he just needs to get coached up on his technique. Martin Emerson is a perimeter corner with terrific length.
Pre-Draft Broncos Team Needs 2022
1. Offensive Tackle
Starting left tackle Garett Bolles is a rock-solid blindside protector, but he’s approaching 30 years old.
On the other side, the team added former Packers right tackle Billy Turner, reuniting him with Nathaniel Hackett. Turner adds quality depth, but they could still beef up this offensive line.
The Broncos need to make sure that their pass protection is on point so that Wilson can thrive in this offense. They would be wise to address the offensive line with one of their early picks.
2. EDGE Rusher
Denver has former first-rounder Bradley Chubb on one side. They signed former Cowboys edge rusher Randy Gregory to help bolster the pass rush as well.
However, they play in a stacked AFC West with quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr. You can never have too many pass-rushers, especially in a division with so many good passers.
The Broncos’ defense will need a strong pass-rush if they intend to usurp the Chiefs and hold off the Chargers and Raiders in this division.
The team drafted standout corner Patrick Surtain II at ninth overall last season, but they’ll need to continue to emphasize this position.
They signed K’Waun Williams to be their new slot corner, but they should add depth beyond Ronald Darby, who had a 58.7 grade in coverage last season, per PFF.
The NFL is a pass-heavy league, and the Broncos will need all hands on deck to keep the likes of Mahomes, Herbert, and Carr in check.
They should absolutely use one of their picks to continue to bolster their pass coverage.
Broncos May Also Consider Drafting: Offensive Guard, Defensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker