In a trade with the JacksonvilleJaguars, the Denver Broncos acquired this third-round pick, which they use to select Curtis Jacobs, LB Penn St.
Curtis Jacobs is an agile athlete with the mobility and agility to be an influential WILL linebacker when transitioning between the base defense and subpackage groups. During the 2021 season with the Nittany Lions' defense, he made an impact in coverage and as a gap defender from both depth and off the edge.
His ability to identify when to drop into gaps and when to surge off the edge was instrumental in his seven tackles for loss. His long speed and scrape range are remarkable, and he should be a capable pursuit defender from the back side of formations. Furthermore, his quickness and suddenness give him an advantage in short-yardage defending.
With the last pick in the 2024 NFL draft's 3rd round, the Denver Broncos select Brenden Rice, WR USC. Rice in NFL HOF progeny, and Caleb Williams's favorite touchdown target at USC.
Rice's height and foot speed make him an intriguing prospect for the NFL. He can make plays with the ball in his hands and has the agility to play as a wide-out or a slot receiver. He needs to demonstrate more consistency in his last year of college and prove that he is a route technician instead of relying on improvisation.
Rice is a draftable talent with a mid-Day 3 grade going into the season; his explosiveness and distinct characteristics for his size make him someone who should be rostered and given a chance to develop.
It will take a year in 2024 of bumps and growing Payne for this band of pucks to mesh. It will likely result in the Broncos' high in the top 5 of the 2025 draft, where they can add the missing piece to this dynasty rebuild: Colorado's Travis Hunter.
Editor’s Note: The Broncos do not own their own third-round pick, but Denver does possess the Saints’ third-round pick. The mock draft has been updated to reflect such.