DENVER — First-round picks generate headlines. Second and third-rounders generate wins.
For teams reaching the postseason, the second day of the draft provides the meat of the roster. The Broncos jumpstarted their makeover last season with the selections of left guard Dalton Risner, quarterback Drew Lock and defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones in the second and third rounds. Friday, Denver holds four picks: 46, 77, 83 and 95. There are plenty of options to address multiple needs.
Will they go with an interior lineman or left tackle early? The vacancy sign hangs at the center position with Connor McGovern defecting to the Jets. Potential available fits: LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, Temple’s Matt Hennessy and Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz. With the Broncos taking receiver Jerry Jeudy on Thursday, left tackle remains an issue. Houston’s Joshua Jones surprisingly fell out of the first round, but Denver might have to move up to snare him. And Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland is still on the board, and the Broncos showed interest in him during the pre-draft process.
With Chris Harris Jr. gone to the Chargers and uncertainty surrounding Bryce Callahan’s surgically-repaired foot, the Broncos need another corner, if possible. Virginia’s Bryce Hall, who might have been a first-rounder if not for an ankle issue last season, Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler and Utah’s Terrell Burgess are interesting names. Denver entered the draft eyeing linebacker depth. Wyoming’s Logan Wilson, who has terrific instincts, has been a riser on draft boards and Oregon’s Troy Dye could be available in the late third round.
What about a sneaky move?
With Will Parks gone to Philadelphia, the Broncos could be aggressive in pursuing a safety like Alabama’s Xavier McKinney — this would require a trade up to near the top of the second round — or LSU’s Grant Delpit. Safety is not a pressing position of need, but it could solve a problem in coverage. Rather than use a linebacker against tight ends, the Broncos could turn to a hybrid corner safety to help out, not unlike Will Parks’ role last season. It is something to think about especially since coach Vic Fangio told me at the combine that they might use more nickel and dime packages to counter teams.