With the draft less than two weeks away, it remains unclear who the Broncos and new general manager George Paton will target in the first round.
Everyone wants to know what's going to happen with this year's rookie quarterbacks and whether the Broncos will try to land one, but what if they don't? After selecting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in his mock draft last week, The Gazette's George Stoia looks at what Denver's draft might look like without a quarterback.
First round, No. 9
Iyer, Sporting News: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Kerr, CBS Sports: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Kiper Jr., ESPN: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Stoia, The Gazette: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Why Parsons: Assuming none of the quarterbacks the Broncos are interested in are available, Denver will likely focus on the defensive side of the ball. And there might not be a better choice than Parsons. Not only would Parsons fill a position of need, but at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds and a recorded 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he's considered one of the best linebacker prospects in recent history. He can play inside and outside, totaling 109 tackles and 6.5 sacks in two seasons at Penn State.
The only problem that comes with Parsons is his "off-the-field character" according to draft experts. Parsons was accused of inciting a riot in high school and started a physical altercation with a teammate at Penn State in 2018. Those two incidents combined with him opting out of the 2020 season have caused his stock to drop, meaning the Broncos could likely move back a few spots and still land him.
Second round, No. 40
Iyer, Sporting News: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Kerr, CBS Sports: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Kiper Jr., ESPN: Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
Stoia, The Gazette: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Why Samuel: If the Broncos go linebacker in the first round, cornerback is the next position to circle and Samuel will certainly be available at pick 40. The son of four-time All-Pro corner Asante Samuel, who played 11 years in the league, Samuel was one of Florida State's top playmakers in his three years there. He totaled 97 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble in his career. Schematically, he'd be one of the best fits in coach Vic Fangio's defense.
Third round, No. 71
Iyer, Sporting News: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Kerr, CBS Sports: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Stoia, The Gazette: Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
Why Christensen: With defense taken care of in the first two rounds, the Broncos might look to the offensive line in the third round to provide some depth at the tackle positions. Christensen would be great value in the third round, as many believe he can play left or right tackle and even slide down to guard if needed. At 6-6, 300 pounds, he played left tackle at BYU, but would probably be asked to play right in Denver. He's not the most athletic offensive lineman, occasionally struggling against quick pass rushers, but is one of the best run blockers in this year's class.
Fourth round, No. 114
Iyer, Sporting News: Caden Sterns, S, Texas
Kerr, CBS Sports: Robert Hainsey, OT, Notre Dame
Stoia, The Gazette: James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati
Why Wiggins: The Broncos will need likely need to draft a safety, despite bringing back Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Denver doesn't have a proven backup at the position and bringing in a player like Wiggins might be a smart move. Wiggins is considered one of the more underrated safeties in this draft, despite being one of Cincinnati's best defensive players in 2018 and 2020 — he missed the 2019 season due to an ACL tear. In two seasons he totaled 86 tackles, 11 passes defensed and five interceptions in 22 games played.
Fifth round, No. 152
Iyer, Sporting News: Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
Kerr, CBS Sports: Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa
Stoia, The Gazette: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
Why Wilson: If the Broncos can get their hands on Wilson this late in the draft, they absolutely should. Coming out of high school, Wilson was considered one of the best prospects in the country and a future first-round draft pick. His stock has dropped over the last year, due to injuries and Florida State's struggles as a program. Still, at 6-5, 305 pounds, Wilson could be the steal of the draft, after he totaled 109 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in four years at Florida State. He played only six games in 2020, before suffering a season-ending leg injury.
Sixth round, No. 191
Iyer, Sporting News: Dax Milne, WR, BYU
Kerr, CBS Sports: Drake Jackson, OL, Kentucky
Stoia, The Gazette: Camryn Bynum, CB, California
Why Bynum: A four-year starter at Cal, Bynum would be a nice pickup late in the draft. In four seasons with the Golden Bears, he totaled 184 tackles, 28 passes defensed and six interceptions. At 6 feet, 200 pounds, he's the prototypical size for a starting cornerback in the NFL and would fit well in Fangio's system. Landing Bynum in the sixth round would be low risk, high reward, as he could become a consistent starter in the NFL one day.
Seventh round, No. 237
Iyer, Sporting News: Jamar Watson, EDGE, Kentucky
Kerr, CBS Sports: Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
Stoia, The Gazette: Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas
Why Boyd: The Broncos are going to need to pick up a running back at some point during the draft and Boyd should be an option in the sixth and seventh rounds. In his first seasons (2018 and 2019) at Arkansas, Boyd was maybe the most explosive running back in the SEC, rushing for a combined 1,867 yards and 10 touchdowns. But in 2020, he suffered multiple injuries and only played in six games, rushing for 309 yards and three touchdowns. If healthy, Boyd could serve as a reliable backup to Melvin Gordon.
Seventh round, No. 239
Iyer, Sporting News: Drew Dalman, C/G, Stanford
Kerr, CBS Sports: Christian Uphoff, S, Illinois State
Stoia, The Gazette: K.J. Britt, LB, Auburn
Why Britt: Similar to Wilson, Britt was expected to be one of the top prospects heading into the 2021 draft, but his stock fell after having season-ending thumb surgery two games into his senior season. In his four seasons at Auburn, he totaled 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He mostly played middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense, but could play inside or outside in Fangio's 3-4 defense.
Seventh round, No. 253
Iyer, Sporting News: Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan
Kerr, CBS Sports: Zac Thomas, QB, Appalachian State
Stoia, The Gazette: Jonathan Adams Jr., WR, Arkansas State
Why Adams: At this point in the draft, taking a chance on someone like Adams might be worth it. Adams was one of the most talented wide receivers in college football last season, despite playing most of the year on a partially torn MCL. Still, he caught 79 passes for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns. His speed is the biggest concern, but at 6-3, 220 pounds, Adams is one of the most physical receivers in the draft and would be a great late-round pickup or undrafted signing.