Will the Broncos look to bolster their defense or start over with a QB in the top 10?
With the 8th pick, the Panthers took the second tackle off the board, going with Rashawn Slater from Northwestern. As long as Slater’s size doesn’t cause him to move inside, the Panthers will hope he’s protecting Sam Darnold for years to come.
The Broncos are up next with pick 9, and experts are divided on their options. The Broncos could pull the plug on the Drew Lock experiment and start over with a new QB, but after just 18 career games, it’s possible he gets one more season to prove himself. The projected top cornerback in the draft, Patrick Surtain, is still on the board here and could be a strong possibility. Before we run down the prospects, let’s recap the previous 8 picks in the draft.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
- Miami Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- Detroit Lions – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Time to check out the Broncos’ options:
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
For the second time in the last half-decade, the Bison will have a first-round pick at quarterback. Lance leaves for the Draft as a redshirt sophomore and with just one season as a starter under his belt. He’s big (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and fast (no official 40 time, but estimated in the 4.5s) and he’s as much of a threat with his legs as with his arm. He might need time to acclimate to the NFL, but all the physical tools you could ask for are there.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
After getting some spot duty as a redshirt sophomore in 2019 with Tua Tagovailoa missing time, Jones took over as the Crimson Tide’s starter this fall and led the team to a national title. Throwing to a tremendous receiver group that included Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and likely first-round pick Jaylen Waddle, Jones lit up the stat sheet with over 77% completions, 4500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four picks. Concerns about his mobility and ability to throw on the move will be his biggest roadblock to being drafted highly, however. Jones might have been the top pick in the draft 15 or 20 years ago, but with mobility becoming more and more important for NFL quarterbacks, that will likely hold him back significantly.
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
One of the highest-profile opt-outs from the 2020 season, Parsons could well be the first defensive player off the board. He was a wrecking ball in his only season as a starter in 2019, with over 100 tackles, 14 TFLs, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. Penn State’s Pro Day measurements (which come on a notoriously fast track) had him timed at an unbelievable 4.36 in the 40 — and that was at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds. Even if that speed is exaggerated, Parsons’ movement abilities will make him a dangerous weapon at the second level. Perhaps the only questions NFL teams may have about Parsons center around his character, with some concerns stemming from a fight with a teammate in 2018.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
A candidate to be the first cornerback off the board, Surtain could eclipse his father’s draft status. The senior Surtain was a second-round pick by the Dolphins in 1998 and would go on to be an All-Pro. Junior is a big (6-foot-2, 208), physical, explosive corner who had a great workout (though he skipped agility drills). He’s probably best-suited to a man coverage scheme, but has played both outside and in the slot.
Check back later to find out if the Broncos continue to bolster their defense this offseason, or if new GM George Paton makes his mark by opting for a restart at the QB position. You can vote here or on Twitter @acmepackingco. At 4 PM EST, we’ll be looking at prospects for the Cowboys’ selection at pick 10.