Shh… if you’re quiet enough you can hear the simultaneous groans from Seattle, paired with the thunderous applause in Denver. At long last, John Elway and the Denver Broncos have found their answer at quarterback. A decade after bringing in Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning, the team traded for another soon-to-be Hall-of-Fame quarterback Russell Wilson.
Two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, QB Drew Lock, DL Shelby Harris, and TE Noah Fant is reportedly all it took to pry Wilson away from Seattle. At first glance, it feels like a steal for the Broncos. When you dig in deeper? It looks like an even bigger steal for the Broncos. It would be hard for anyone to argue otherwise. The team not only filled their biggest need — with a guy near the top of his position — they also still have three picks within the first 96 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The roster still needs to be worked on at a few different positions. Right tackle is the glaring need on the offensive line. It is a safe bet that general manager George Paton is going to look for a veteran capable of providing serviceable play on a team-friendly price tag. They might even elect to bring back Bobby Massie. Without a first-round selection, it’s hard to see them relying on a middle-round rookie at right tackle for the 2022 season. The interior needs some work, mainly an infusion of better talent to compete with the current group of youngsters.
Wide receiver is arguably the strongest group on the roster. Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick will resemble kids in a candy store while catching passes from Russell Wilson. Noah Fant being traded away to the Seahawks creates a need for tight end, though the franchise is said to be high on Albert Okwuegbunam. A veteran makes the most sense to pair with Okwuegbunam.
The defensive side will need a replacement for safety Kareem Jackson. He was steady during his time in Denver but Father Time is at his doorstep. New defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is a secondary specialist, so you can guarantee that he will be looking for a running mate to pair with All-Pro Justin Simmons. Cornerback is pretty sturdy, especially if Callahan is retained on a cheap deal to play the slot.
Linebacker is barren, literally and figuratively. The only linebacker worth noting is 2021 draft pick Baron Browning. After that, the team could look to bring Josey Jewell back. Even if they do, it shouldn’t stop them from trying to add at least one more starting caliber player at the position. The edge rusher group is headlined by the oft-injured Bradley Chubb. Malik Reed was a breakout player for the unit in 2021, but it is crucial for more talent to be added to the group to protect from injury. The interior of the defensive line is gonna need a new focal point at nose tackle. Mike Purcell is not cutting it.
Denver Broncos 2022 Mock Draft: What’s Next After Russell Wilson?
Now that we know what the roster looks like — and keeping in mind that players will be added via free agency — let’s build a juggernaut around the new signal-caller in Denver in this Broncos 2022 mock draft.