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Denver Broncos 2017 Draft: Orange Crush or Orange Flush?
Sitting at pick number 20, the Denver Broncos had solid draft, in which they identified their needs, and selected based on how the board came to them.
I did not notice any particularly bad reaches, and from what I've seen, Denver got pretty solid value for their picks. This is a good draft class, but I still have a few concerns.
#20 - Offensive Tackle Garett Bolles, Utah
As the first offensive lineman off the board, I have some pros and cons with Bolles as the pick. On one side, he is a very talented lineman, who has the potential to develop into a cornerstone of Denver's offensive line for years to come.
He has that aggressive attitude you want from a lineman, and he's the kind of guy who finishes his blocks, and looks to take you down.
However, Bolles will turn 25 years old during his rookie season. Along with this comes the fact that he only has a couple of seasons at the position (he played defensive tackle in high school), so he is still raw.
If he is able to develop quickly and properly, there's no doubt in my mind that Garett Bolles is worth the pick here. However, I may question whether or not it was the right choice to select Bolles over someone like Cam Robinson.
#51 - Defensive End Demarcus Walker, Florida State
Adding Walker here felt like a bit of a surprise. While it is true that depth along the defensive line is definitely a need, I felt like they should have either moved up to get running back Dalvin Cook or Joe Mixon, or selected someone like linebacker Zach Cunningham.
At the same time, this isn't a bad pick by any means. Walker can step in and line up across from Derek Wolfe as a defensive end, or rush the passer from the interior of the line. With the loss of Demarcus Ware, Walker needs to be able to help this defensive unit regain its fearsome moniker of "Orange Crush".
#82 - Wide Receiver Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech
This is where issues begin to show. Denver needs a slot receiver to compliment DeMaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Carlos Henderson is a talented young man, but based on his game tape, I don't see enough of a route tree for him to make a significant impact immediately. It would appear as though fly and screen routes are what this player is known for.
Considering Penn State's Chris Godwin was selected only two spots later by Tampa Bay, I'm not confident that we chose the right receiver. With Godwin, he and Thomas could have lined up outside, with Sanders playing inside as the slot receiver.
#101 - Cornerback Brendan Langley, Lamar
Cornerback is a position where Denver could use some more depth, with their fourth string player Kayvon Webster leaving in free agency. Brendan Langley is a good size - good speed player, who is raw when it comes to coverage. He is not afraid to cover top competition,
as he has plenty of speed to keep up with the best of them, but his footwork could use some help.
He also needs to be more aggressive when going in to make a tackle. Considering the for three cornerback slots are covered (pun intended), Langley will have ample time to learn the position from Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Bradley Roby.
#145 - Tight End Jake Butt, Michigan
Since losing Julius Thomas in free agency a few seasons ago, Denver has struggled to find consistent production from the tight end position. Nobody has stood out as a go-to guy.
Jake Butt is a man who has enough talent to warrant a second round selection, but his ACL tear in the Orange Bowl put those particular dreams to an end. However, if Butt can recover, this very well could be known as the steal of the 2017 draft.
He has enough talent to become a top 15 player in the league at his position. That will give Trevor Siemian (or Paxton Lynch) a very good target to throw to week in and week out.
#172 - Wide Receiver Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
Not since Trindon Holliday was returning kicks, have the Broncos possessed someone who is looked at as a threat to take a kickoff for a touchdown. McKenzie is very raw as a receiver, but he is much more of a return specialist.
#203 - Running Back DeAngelo Henderson, Coastal Carolina
Henderson falls into the same category as McKenzie and the other Henderson when it comes to his limitations on the football field. From what I've seen, he appears to be more of a system running back.
The majority of his runs come from the shotgun formation, and seem to mostly consist of sweeps. He's going to have to get used to lining up behind the quarterback if he plans on making an impact.
CJ Anderson has been underwhelming, injured, and not very productive, while Devante Booker still has to adjust a little more to the pro game. The Broncos traded away Kapri Bibbs (along with a 2017 fifth round pick) to the San Francisco 49ers for a future fourth round draft choice.
#253 - Quarterback Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
The 2017 Mr. Irrelevant is quarterback Chad Kelly from Ole Miss. At this point, there is literally no such thing as a reach, so anybody at this spot would be a fine choice.
While Denver has two talented young quarterbacks already in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, VP of Football Operations John Elway likes to have three arms on the roster.
Kelly is known for his off the field and injury issues, which explains why he fell so far. However, if he can mature and stay healthy, this has the potential to be one of the best selections in the entire draft. If this happens and he doesn't beat out one of the two aforementioned quarterbacks for the #1 or #2 spots on the depth chart, then Kelly could be used as trade bait in the future. Considering he was chosen with the very last pick, any compensation would be a win.
What letter grade would you give the 2017 Denver Broncos draft class?
Overall, the Broncos filled their needs with guys who can step in or develop into their roles. While I still have questions about a few choices, Denver did a good job when it came to value, and took advantage of the board when they could. Until guys like Carlos Henderson and DeAngelo Henderson prove me wrong, I will still have my doubts on them, however.
Final Grade: B-