The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Denver Broncos have hopefully upgraded their roster. During the three days of the draft, Denver added six players at various positions.
Adding a player in the draft means someone already on the roster may be in danger of losing his spot. I’m going to take a look at the biggest winners and losers for the Broncos from the 2019 NFL Draft in two pieces.
I’m generally a positive person, so let’s start with the winners on the roster. Here are the five biggest winners for the Broncos after the draft:
5) Emmanuel Sanders
Some mock drafts early on had the Broncos selecting a wide receiver in the first round. With Emmanuel Sanders coming back from a torn Achilles, there had been a thought the Broncos could move on from the veteran and add more youth to the position.
That didn’t happen, and Sanders is still considered one of the top receivers on the team.
They did select Colorado receiver Juwann Winfree, but he was a sixth-round pick and competing for a spot at the end of the roster, which poses no threat to Sanders in 2019.
4) Garett Bolles
The Broncos let some of the best offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft pass them by. Instead of picking someone like Washington State’s Andre Dillard, as some mocks predicted, Denver showed faith in their 2017 first-round pick.
This should be a make-or-break year for Bolles.
He has struggled as a starting left tackle in two seasons with the Broncos. Bolles has been plagued by poor play at times and penalties far too often. While some have started calling him another first-round bust for the Broncos, the team has yet to give us that indication.
Under new offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Denver seems willing to give Bolles one more year to prove himself and improve his game. After this season, the Broncos must make a decision whether to pick up Bolles’ fifth-year option for the 2021 season.
3) Devontae Booker
The top of the depth chart at running back is set with Phillip Lindsay. His backup, and fellow second-year runner, Royce Freeman, should be much more involved this season as a runner and receiver out of the backfield.
Behind that dynamic duo is Devontae Booker.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Booker is third on the depth chart with no player to really push him for that spot. The Broncos had a chance to take some of the more interesting power backs and receiving backs available in the middle rounds of the draft. Adding any one of those players through the draft — even with a late-round pick — would have been a bad sign for Booker.
Instead, it looks like the team will have Booker for veteran depth at least one more season.
2) Todd Davis/Josey Jewell
Many fans thought before the draft that inside linebacker was the biggest need on the entire roster. Not only did the Broncos not select an inside linebacker, like Devin Bush, in the first round, but they also didn’t pick a true inside linebacker at all.
That’s great news for the current projected starters – Davis and Jewell.
This draft featured two potentially great inside linebackers like Bush and Devin White. By the time the Broncos were on the clock at No. 10 overall, White was already off the board, but Bush was right there for the taking.
In fact, the Steelers — a team who historically knows great linebacker talent — liked Bush so much they were the team that traded with the Broncos so they could secure his services.
Denver acquired a great player in tight end Noah Fant in the first round, but this move will always be judged by how Bush and Fant do as pros. We’ll see in the long run if the Steelers or the Broncos won that trade, but for right now, Davis and Jewell are the winners.
1) Chris Harris Jr.
With contract negotiations looming, nobody on the Broncos roster was a bigger winner after the draft than Denver’s All-Pro cornerback. Had Denver selected a corner in the first two days of the draft, it could’ve been interpreted as a bad sign for Harris’ future with the team.
Instead, the Broncos let cornerbacks fall past them for the entire draft.
Broncos general manager John Elway has consistently repeated that he would talk extension with Harris and his representation after the draft.
“As I said, now that the draft’s over, we’ll make contact and we’ll touch base with them and see where they are. There was no contact with Chris or about Chris today, and so we’ll continue down that path and see what happens,” Elway said.
At times, the situation between the two sides has seemed dire. At least the Broncos didn’t draft a cornerback to make things seem even more bleak.
Here’s hoping the Broncos and Harris are able to come to an agreement in the near future.
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