For a second consecutive year, John Elway and the Denver Broncos brass seem to have knocked the NFL Draft out of the park.
Overwhelmingly, NFL analysts lauded Elway and the Broncos on their six-man draft.
Here’s a closer look at a sampling of how the national media evaluated Denver’s newest crop of rookies:
Kiper, who has spent four decades breaking down NFL drafts, called Denver trading up to No. 42 to draft quarterback Drew Lock a “sneaky-good move,” especially with him having been pegged by some mock drafts as the Broncos pick at No. 10. Tight end Noah Fant and offensive lineman Dalton Risner will also make early contributions, Kiper said.
Quote: “All in all, getting two really good players before the player who could be the future quarterback feels like a win for Elway.”
Prisco said that Denver’s move up to snag Lock in the second round will “pay off big.” Also, while describing the opinion as “nitpicky,” Prisco said he may have gone a different direction in the second round instead of Risner.
Quote: “Some will say it’s weird even mentioning this, but John Elway had a good draft.”
Utilizing its positioning at No. 10 to entice trade partners was a good move, according to Cherepinsky, and Fant has more value at No. 20 than fellow Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 8 to the Detroit Lions. Lock was a “steal” at No. 42, and Risner will protect whoever’s under center for a long time.
Quote: “I absolutely loved the Broncos’ draft class, as they accumulated great-value prospects and extra resources throughout the weekend, all while filling needs.”
While Denver brought in good players, Ruiz writes, they didn’t bring in enough at “major positions.”
Grade: 18th out of 32 (2.3 GPA for first three rounds)
Quote: “I’m not nearly as impressed with the Broncos’ class as many other analysts seem to be. The Noah Fant pick was ‘meh,’ and I have Drew Lock as a bust.”
Elway’s “savvy day-one trade” to drop 10 spots while still drafting at a position of need was a strong move, writes Silva, who also believes Denver may have picked up three day-one starters in the draft.
Quote: “I think Elway maximized his picks, pulled off a very plus-expected-value trade, gave himself monster upside if Lock becomes a hit, added a future day-two selection, and got three probable year-one impact players from this six-man class.”
While Denver got “great value” in Lock and Risner and Dre’Mont Jones was a “solid pick,” Fant in the first was worrisome, according to the site, and Justin Hollins was a reach.
Grade: Above average
Quote: “(Noah Fant) just does not make plays outside of the frame of his body. That is worrisome to me, very reminiscent of a young Jared Cook.” – Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Renner
While not the complete package, like Hockenson, Fant is a strong pick, Reuter writes. Risner has good versatilities and Lock is a “fantastic pick.” Jones adds much-needed depth while Hollins was a “fine pick” in the fifth round.
Quote: “The Broncos made a splash in Round 2, selecting a versatile offensive lineman in Risner and a fantastic value in Lock. This pairing could be the team’s battery for a decade if Risner lines up inside and the strong-armed Lock allows GM John Elway to move on from Flacco in two years.”
Interior offensive line was the most important position to address in the draft, write Benoit, and Risner addresses that issue. Fant will be a weapon for whoever is under center — Flacco or Lock.
Quote: “In Dalton Risner, they still found what’s almost certain to be a day-one starter, but at what position?”
Denver made one of the “smartest first-round moves” by trading back and still picking up Fant, Kadar writes. The Broncos also got a “steal” in Risner while Lock can be groomed by Flacco.
Quote: “Denver made one of the smartest first-round moves by trading back from No. 10 to No. 20. Despite that, the Broncos were still able to land Iowa tight end Noah Fant.”
Denver addressed positions of need in selecting Fant (tight end), Risner (offensive line), Lock (quarterback), and Jones (defensive line), Iyer writes, with the latter three having first-round projections at points during the lead up to the draft. Elway will also leave behind the “bridge-quarterback life” if Lock turns into a franchise player.
Quote: “Make that two consecutive sweet drafts for John Elway.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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