Saturday, May 27

Broncos can only watch NFL Draft’s frenetic first round

There were 9 trades in the first round with 8 receivers either dealt or picked. Chiefs take 2 defensive players. Broncos don’t pick til No. 64 in 2nd round Friday.

LAS VEGAS — The first round of the NFL Draft was 90 minutes away, and Broncos general manager George Paton was walking the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, up and back, up and back, on the 100-yard field, earbuds fastened in his drums and his phone held out for conversation.

The walk is part of his daily routine, and there was no reason to adjust it, as the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday was like so many of the other 300-plus days on the calendar. 

The Broncos did not participate.

They didn’t have a first-round pick Thursday and they won’t have their No. 40 pick early in the second round Friday, when the draft continues with rounds two and three.

RELATED: 9 candidates for the Broncos’ No. 64 draft pick

Picks No. 9 and 40 went to Seattle in exchange for quarterback Russell Wilson, a trade consummated March 16. The Seahawks used the Broncos’ former No. 9 selection on offensive tackle Charles Cross.

While Paton said he was glad to make the trade for a franchise quarterback the Broncos had so desperately needed, it had to have pained the GM to sit on the sidelines during a wild first round. Trader George could only watch with his coaches and personnel staff at team headquarters as the first round brought nine trades, with the biggest including star receivers Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown.

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> Video above: Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum selected in 1st round by Baltimore Ravens

Marquise went from the Baltimore Ravens to the Arizona Cardinals for a first-round pick – prompting Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson to tweet, “Wtf.” A.J. went from Tennessee to the Eagles in exchange for a first-round pick. The Eagles then gave A.J. Brown a four-year, $100 million extension; the Cards guaranteed Marquise Brown’s $13.4 million option for 2023.

It was a big night for receivers as six from the position were drafted from No. 8, where Atlanta took Drake London, to No. 18, where Tennessee selected Arkansas’ Treylon Burks to replace A.J. Brown.

As for the Broncos’ immediate competition in the AFC West, the six-time defending division champion Kansas City Chiefs fortified their defense by trading up from No. 29 to No. 21 to take cornerback Trent McDuffie and used their No. 30 selection on Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis.

The Chargers used their No. 17 pick on guard Zion Johnson as they want to better protect their young franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. And the Raiders are in a worse draft position than the Broncos as new GM Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels don’t have a draft pick until the third round.

There are still 31 more picks in the second round before the Broncos are scheduled to be on the clock at No. 64. The team’s lone position of need is a tight end after starter Noah Fant was part of the Wilson trade to Seattle. Not one tight end was selected in the first round. Colorado State’s Trey McBride is expected to go within the first 15 picks of the second round. Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert and UCLA’s Greg Dulcich could also be possibilities.

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The Broncos could also consider the best player available at edge rusher (Nik Bonitto, Drake Jackson), cornerback (Roger McCreary, Martin Emerson), or offensive line (Abe Lucas, Dylan Parham).

RELATED: Review of 23 draft-prospect visits to Broncos headquarters


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