The NFL Draft is in the books but the grades keep pouring in for George Paton’s second class as general manager of the Denver Broncos. Given the Broncos’ first selection this draft cycle wasn’t until the very last pick in the second round, and Paton’s desire to accumulate 2023 draft picks in 2022, the team was never going to walk away with a mind-blowing draft class as far as as national perspective.
When teams like the New York Jets draft four plays in the top-40, the Kansas City Chiefs accumulate premium picks by trading away the single most dynamic offensive playmaker in football this season, and the Baltimore Ravens are just being themselves and walking away with value at With almost every pick and trade, it makes sense why the Broncos aren’t getting that much attention at this point.
Hindsight will tell talents as draft classes should not receive a final grade until four to five years into the future, but immediate post-draft grades will serve a valuable purpose: they are fun.
Overall, it seems like many draftniks think the Broncos did fine in the 2022 draft, but perhaps no one is as high on what Paton did this past weekend. NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter.
Given that Reuter is one of the few draft media that regularly mocks and analyzes the draft well beyond the first round, he should consider one of the better analysts out there to judge how the Broncos did in 2022. Receiving an ‘A’ For grades Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, Denver is a big fan in Reuter across the board this year.
Russell Wilson was a big part of Denver’s draft class, which is fine with the Broncos, as it should be. They used a pick in the Von Miller trade to add an explosive pass rusher to Bonitto. The team found a potential replacement for pass-catching tight end Noah Fant (who was sent to Seattle in the Wilson deal) in a former walk-on Dulcich.
Mathis builds cornerback depth for the Broncos, as he can play in the slot or outside. Uwazurike and Henningsen are polar opposites as defensive linemen, with the former Cyclone a powerful player and Henningsen a high-motor pressure machine. Wattenberg could compete for the starting center job in 2022.
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Honestly, if the Broncos traded away their entire draft class this season for Wilson, the grade should still have been an A (doing so might have been a better trade for Denver) that would have meant it would have still been its 2023 first- and second. -round picks). In the NFL, if you don’t have a starter quarterback, you need either a generational unit (such as the 2015 Broncos’ defense), an extraordinary amount of luck both in the game and injury-wise, and an outstanding coaching staff.
While it’s hard to find a franchise quarterback, it’s even harder to bank on any of the other possible avenues bearing fruit. There are questions about the long-term pathways of the Broncos’ draft selections this year, but it would be surprising if Denver’s first six picks this season – Nik Bonitto, Greg Dulcich, Eyioma Uwazurike, and Montrell Washington. – weren’t logging heavy reps in their specific niche roles in 2022.
With the Broncos entering a Super Bowl window this season and acquiring Wilson (who is in line for a big contract next offseason), the best time to go will probably be right now. How will the Broncos’ 2022 draft hull look years down the line?
A lot of that will come down to just how well this staff can develop these players and if the rookie class can develop from “specific role” types to full-blown quality starters. Regardless, the Broncos’ roster got better last weekend.
If Reuter believes the Broncos’ got straight as a draft for all three days, then that means as much as any post-draft grade could mean.
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