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How far could the Broncos move up in the 2021 NFL Draft?

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A top-10 pick sounds great, and it is, but moving up for a more premium pick is even better. With John Elway stepping away from general manager duties, the Broncos will have a new GM to try to wheel and deal in the draft.

I hear it from Broncos fans all the time. I’m often asked, “How far could the Broncos move up in the draft to get (insert player name here)?”

Well, it’s early in the process for me and I don’t believe the Broncos will be moving up in the draft. You never say never, but it just seems like they may move down to add more picks.

However, if they do move up for (insert player name here) what would it take? The Broncos pick has a value of 1,350 points according to the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart that most teams use. A quick Google search can bring this chart up, and I usually just reference the one posted on WalterFootball.com.

So, how far could the Broncos realistically move up in the first round of the draft? How much would it cost to make such a move? Let’s take a look.

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No. 8 – Carolina Panthers

Team Needs: The Panthers could be looking for a quarterback here. Teddy Bridgewater is a nice starter, but he’s not a franchise-level quarterback who can take his team over the top. At this pick, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them try to move up. If they stay put, the Panthers might want a playmaking tight end like Florida’s Kyle PItts.

Trade Value Chart Says: This pick is worth 1,400 points, and that’s only 50 points more than what the Broncos have. It wouldn’t take much to move up one spot, but that sort of move doesn’t make sense for the Broncos. They’ll be aiming higher if they are moving up.

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No. 7 – Detroit Lions

Team Needs: Depending on what happens with veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions may or may not be in the quarterback market here. If they do not trade away Stafford, then they’ll have to get him a wide receiver, as they’ll likely lose both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency this offseason. That’s why a player like Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle makes sense.

Trade Value Chart Says: This pick is worth 1,500 points, exactly 150 points more than the Broncos pick. At 150 points, that’s the equivalent of a mid-to-late fifth-round pick. Again, easy to make this move but likely looking higher.

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No. 6 – Philadelphia Eagles

Team Needs: The Eagles are not in the quarterback market, as they have both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts on the roster. However, they do need offensive line help to protect whoever their quarterback is going to be. The Eagles also could use more playmakers at the wide receiver position to go along with last year’s first-round pick, Jalen Reagor.

Trade Value Chart Says: The No. 6 pick in the first round has a value of 1,600 points. That’s 250 points from where the Broncos pick is valued, and that’s the equivalent of an early third-round pick. If someone like a Justin Field (Ohio State quarterback) falls here, then perhaps Denver would make an easy move. Remember, Eagles GM Howie Roseman is a close friend of Elway and loves to trade.

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No. 5 – Cincinnati Bengals

Team Needs: The Bengals need to do whatever they can to find better protection for last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow. That means they’re going to go with an offensive lineman here. Burrow is coming back from two torn knee ligaments and before his injury he was one of the most-sacked quarterbacks in the league. Simply put, he’s too valuable to take that type of punishment and something has to change quickly in that department.

Trade Value Chart Says: The values keep going up of course as this pick is worth 1,700 points. That’s 350 points more than what the Broncos pick is valued at and that is seen as having the same value as a mid-to-late second-round pick. This pick might be had for a player and a third-round pick, although I doubt the Bengals want to move back.

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No. 4 – Atlanta Falcons

Team Needs: Some may think the Falcons are moving on from veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, but looking at his contract will make that extremely difficult. However, they could draft a quarterback here like Fields or Zach Wilson (BYU) to learn behind Ryan for a year or so. The Falcons also desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball with multiple premium defensive picks being misses for them and former GM Thomas Dimitroff over the last few years.

Trade Value Chart Says: This pick is worth 1,800 points, or 350 points more than the Broncos pick. That’s the equivalent of an early-to-mid second-round pick. As the numbers climb higher, the Broncos would have to consider mixing a player in with a pick to get a deal like this done. Atlanta could use all the picks they could get their hands on, so multiple picks here might work to sweeten the deal.

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No. 3 – Miami Dolphins (from the Houston Texans)

Team Needs: The Dolphins need more weapons around last year’s first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa and that means we could see a skill position player here. There are rumblings that Tagovailoa could be moved to the Texans (along with this pick) for superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson, but for this article let’s just say they’re staying with Tagovailoa. DeVante Parker is no spring chicken and Preston Williams can’t stay healthy, so a wide receiver like Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith (Alabama) would make a ton of sense – especially since he was college teammates with Tagovailoa.

Trade Value Chart Says: The No. 3 overall pick has a trade value of 2,200 points. That’s a difference of 850 points with Denver’s pick. That amount is the exact equivalent of the No. 20 overall pick in the first round. That means the Broncos would likely have to give up two first-rounders to move this high. Looking at the two teams above them, this might be the highest the Broncos could possibly move. A first-rounder this year and a premium player might get the job done, as well.

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No. 2 – New York Jets

Team Needs: This might be the easiest pick to mock. As of this writing, the Jets may be sticking with quarterback Sam Darnold for one more year. The former first-round pick is out of the doldrums of the Adam Gase offense, and they might want to see what he can do when better protected. Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell is seen as a can’t-miss prospect up front. He’s powerful, mean, athletic and did I mention mean on the offensive line. He’d be a perfect blind-side protector for Darnold or whatever quarterback the Jets may want to trot out there for years to come.

Trade Value Chart Says: This pick is worth a whopping 2,600 points, or exactly 1,250 more points than the Broncos pick. That means two top-10 picks would have to be traded to move up this high. With the Jets needs (provided they don’t move on from Darnold) and Sewell sitting right there, I doubt the Jets move unless someone out there gives up the farm.

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No. 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Needs: They need a franchise quarterback, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence could be a generational talent at the position. Lawrence has been a superstar prospect from the first day he stepped onto the field at Clemson as a true freshman and we’ve waited years for him to be pro eligible. Now, he gets to come into the league and try to get the Jaguars out of the cellar they’ve been in for years.

Trade Value Chart Says: It doesn’t matter what the chart says. There is no way that Jacksonville is going to give up this pick. There is no way they’re going to pass on Lawrence. Technically, this pick is worth 3,000 points, but it might as well be worth 10,000 because of a bonafide franchise quarterback staring them in the face to kick the draft off.

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