They finished the 2020 season 5-11, and it was clear the Broncos lacked a quarterback that could win them games. However, in the draft, they didn’t address that position and ended up lacking in depth at the QB spot.
Denver traded for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before the draft, but he is not a franchise quarterback. Although it may not seem like it, the Broncos made a crucial mistake that could haunt them for years to come.
In free agency, the team drastically improved the secondary. They managed to reach a four-year extension with star safety Justin Simmons, while also bringing back safety Kareem Jackson. The Broncos also brought in two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller, who could bring the secondary to the next level.
After a productive free agency, Denver could have put the team in contention with a great draft. Nonetheless, they totally messed it up. Here are the two mistakes they made in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2. Safety Jamar Johnson
With one of the Broncos’ 5th-round picks, they selected safety Jamar Johnson, which doesn’t make much sense. The previous selection they had made was for safety Caden Sterns, making this Johnson pick confusing.
They already possessed a ton of depth in the secondary and Johnson at best will be a special teamer for them this 2021 season. While the Broncos may have viewed him as the best player available, it would have been better to take the next best player or trade down. Johnson may turn out to be a waste of a pick over the next few seasons in a secondary with a ton of depth.
1. Cornerback Patrick Surtain II
Although Patrick Surtain II is one of the top, if not the top corner in the class, this pick in the first round was surprising. With a bigger need at quarterback and Justin Fields and Mac Jones falling, it made a lot of sense for them to go that route. However, they took Surtain II instead.
The Broncos have been in trade rumors for three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, but it will be a hard deal to get done. Waiting for a potential trade for Rodgers may be the downfall of Denver, as they had two potential franchise quarterbacks available.
While Surtain II is a great player and will be an instant scheme fit, it is way easier to find corners then franchise quarterbacks. The Broncos may regret missing out on Fields and Jones for many years.
Overall, it wasn’t a horrible draft for Denver despite a few questionable moves. The roster improved as a whole, but it could have been even better. The Johnson pick didn’t make much sense at all but won’t affect the team too much, as it was a 5th-round selection. The first round selection of Surtain II is the one the Broncos may regret. Even if he turns into a Pro Bowl corner, if Fields or Jones have a lot of success, it will look like a mistake of a pick.