With Emmanuel Sanders heading to IR, the Denver Broncos are now forced to make a decision that will affect their draft. Will they now pass on QB?
Since joining the Denver Broncos back in 2014, Emmanuel Sanders has been an instant fan favorite. Sanders started his career in Denver with three straight 1,000+ yard seasons, and helped win a super bowl during the 2015-2016 season. He has been a key part to the Broncos’ winning formula since joining the team.
2018 was no different. Through 12 games this year, Sanders had accumulated 868 yards and was on pace to break 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2016. Unfortunately for Sanders, we learned that he tore his Achilles earlier in the week during practice. A devastating injury during a great year for Sanders. At the age of 31, this could be a tough injury for Sanders to overcome.
The Broncos are now faced with a decision. Sanders, who will be 32 at the beginning of next season, is only under contract through the 2019 season. Which means we could see Sanders as a potential cut candidate this offseason if the Broncos feel he will not be ready for the 2019 season. The Broncos can cut him for less than $3,000,000 in dead cap after this off-season.
Weather they cut him or wait for him to recover, some Achilles injuries can sideline players for a year, and the Broncos will be forced with some tough decisions this spring during the draft. It is safe to say that the Sanders injury has totally changed the 2019 NFL Draft for the Denver Broncos.
Before the Sanders injury, the Broncos’ biggest needs were defensive backs and a long term solution at quarterback. They are now faced with the problem off needing to add another receiver to compliment Courtland Sutton. Luckily for them, the 2019 wide receiver class is one of the best we have seen in recent years. This could force the Broncos to take one of the many talented wide receivers from the 2019 class.
It may be in the Broncos’ best interests to wait one more year on a quarterback. If the Broncos do decide to use a first round pick on a wide out, we could see them take someone like N’Keal Harry or AJ Brown. Both Harry and Brown are my top two ranked wideouts in this class and could step in and make an immediate impact for the Broncos.
Either one would make for a lethal combo paired up with Courtland Sutton.
This leads to the next choice the Broncos have to make. If they select a receiver in the first they could get lucky and be in the position to draft a Will Grier type of quarterback in the second. However, if they have a defensive back on the board they like it may be best for them to select him and wait on a quarterback until 2020.
The 2020 quarterback class looks like it could have some very intriguing names. Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm are both expected to declare for the draft after their junior seasons. And with Oregon’s Justin Herbert still not declared, there is a chance he will also be apart of the 2020 draft class.
The 2020 class appears to be a more solid quarterback class than the 2019 class, which is why the Broncos should give Keenum one more year, with an added weapon, to prove he can be their guy before jumping ship after just one season.
Before the Sanders injury, I myself had predicted that the Broncos select a quarterback in the 2019 draft. But with the news of the injury, I believe it is in the Broncos best interests to take a wide receiver this year and wait until 2020 to address their long-term quarterback needs.