Denver Broncos Offseason Grade
Released/Lost in Free Agency
WR Jordan Taylor – Impact 0/10
TE Matt LaCosse – Impact 3/10
OL Max Garcia – Impact 2/10
OL Billy Turner – Impact 6/10
OL Matt Paradis – Impact 8/10
LB Shaquil Barrett – Impact 6/10
LB Brandon Marshall – Impact 7/10
CB Bradley Roby – Impact 7/10
S Darian Stewart – Impact 6/10
Although most of the free agent losses for Denver were primarily depth, they did lose some starters. Matt Paradis and Billy Turner were starting offensive linemen last season that left for the NFC. Barrett was a significant contributor behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb while Brandon Marshall, Darian Stewart, and Bradley Roby have been starters in Denver for years. Jordan Taylor has been mostly irrelevant during his career. Matt LaCosse is probably about to have 800 receiving yards in New England but he wasn’t crucial to the offense in Denver.
OT Ja’wuan James – B Impact 10/10
CB Bryce Callahan – C Impact 7/10
CB Kareem Jackson – B Impact 9/10
Grading the Free Agent acquisitions- The Broncos were not too active in signing free agents but the guys they did pick up could help out immediately if all goes well. Ja’wuan James is a quality pick up as they had a major need at the right tackle position. If James is able to stay healthy he can help provide significant protection for the Broncos quarterback, whether it is Joe Flacco or Drew Lock. Moving to the defensive side of the ball, Denver picked up two quality cornerbacks to help their defense for now. The issues with the corners they picked up are injuries and age. Callahan has never played more than 13 games in a season and Jackson is 31 years old. Denver has plenty of holes left on their team to develop.
Broncos get: QB Joe Flacco
Ravens get: 2019 4th round pick
Trading for Joe Flacco was a confusing in the sense of him having similar stats to Case Keenum and practically being the same player. (Stat wise. Calm down, I know he has a stronger arm than Keenum) John Elway went out and signed Keenum after his successful year with the Minnesota Vikings. Then after a year of that they decide to go in a new direction with Flacco while obviously looking for the the quarterback of the future in this years draft. Flacco will be getting a fresh start with Denver, but how will Denver react to getting the same type of guy they had last year? (Again, in the terms of similar stats that line up evenly) Flacco will have something in Denver he really has not had much of. Weapons, offensive weapons, mainly reliable receivers! This next year will be an interestingly exciting year for Mr. Flacco.
Pick 1.20 – TE Noah Fant, Iowa – A+ Impact 7/10
Pick 2.41 – OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State – A Impact 8/10
Pick 2.42 – QB Drew Lock, Missouri – A- Impact 5/10
Pick 3.71 – DL Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State – C+ Impact 5/10
Pick 5.156 – LB Justin Hollins, Oregon – C+ Impact 4/10
Pick 6.187 – WR Juwann Winfree, Colorado – C- Impact 3/10
Going through the Broncos draft they got guys that can help the future of their Franchise in a big way. Especially the first three picks! After trading back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were able to draft Noah Fant, tight end out of Iowa. Fant will be a key piece in their offense going forward if he develops well. His size and speed is special and if (big IF) he is a part of the game plan in the right way, he will join the great group of tight ends that play/have played in the AFC West.
In the second round Denver grabbed Dalton Risner, while it is not surprising they went for a offensive lineman, it is surprising they had passed on Drew Lock a second time around. They instantly made a trade up to acquire Lock with the next pick. These second round picks could very easily become the foundation of the Broncos franchise for the next decade if all plays out as hoped. Risner is a physical and versatile lineman that can play every position along the offensive line. That is rare for a guy to have the size, strength and knowledge to understand each job and call. Lock is going into a situation where he already knows that he’ll be taking a redshirt season, if not two, to sit and learn behind Joe Flacco. Say what you want about Flacco, but he is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and understands the game in a valuable way that will help develop Lock for the future. Lock having more time to train his footwork and catch up to the NFL in terms of game speed and going through progressions will be the ultimate test in his ability to lead this franchise when it is his turn.
With the thought of Derek Wolfe getting older, Denver needed to find a guy that can continue to help by wreaking havoc for opposing offenses. Dre’Mont Jones appears to be that guy for the Broncos and can be a impactful player going forward if he is given the time to develop. Wrapping up Denver’s draft with Justin Hollins and Juwann Winfree who will most likely be guys that help out on special teams with hopes they can develop into potential starters or become valuable depth members for their franchise for years to come.
The Denver Broncos made a somewhat questionable move by trading for Joe Flacco but he seems like the perfect player to mentor Drew Lock. This was a good draft class with the first four picks having the potential to be immediate contributors and long-time starters in the NFL. In free agency, Ja’wuan James should be a starter for years at RT. Kareem Jackson will start on the outside with Bryce Callahan staying primarily in the slot.