No one knows who new Broncos general manager George Paton will select in the NFL draft come April 29 through May 1.
But what about The Gazette's Broncos beat writer, George Stoia? Stoia took his best swing at being Denver's GM, putting together a full seven-round mock draft below. The mock also includes NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah's first-round pick, ESPN's Todd McShay's first two picks and CBS' Josh Edwards and Pro Football Network's A.J. Schulte's full seven-round mock drafts for the Broncos.
Here's the picks:
First round, No. 9
Edwards, CBS: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Jeremiah, NFL Network: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
McShay, ESPN: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Schulte, PFN: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Stoia, The Gazette: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Why Fields: The Broncos will likely have to move up if they want to land Fields, but he's certainly the type of player who's worth it. Which direction the Broncos go in the first round will likely largely depend on what the 49ers do at No. 3 and what the Falcons do at No. 4. The Broncos are believed to be one of the few teams considering trading up to No. 4 or elsewhere in the top seven, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, to select Fields, Lance or Alabama's Mac Jones. Right now, Fields seems to be the most likely option as experts speculate that San Francisco will take Jones and Atlanta will take Lance, leaving Fields to drop. Fields was one of the best players in college football during his two years as a Buckeye, throwing for 5,373 yards, 63 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 22 games.
Second round, No. 40
Edwards, CBS: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
McShay, ESPN: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Schulte, PFN: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Stoia, The Gazette: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
Why Browning: If the Broncos go offense in the first round, they'll go defense in the second. Linebacker and edge rushers are at the top of their needs heading into the draft, and Browning is one of the most complete linebackers in this class. He's been mocked mostly in the early second round, with some experts having him sneak into the late first. But if he drops to 40, which is a real possibility, he's an absolute take. Browning recorded 109 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his four years at Ohio State and played inside and outside linebacker.
Third round, No. 71
Edwards, CBS: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
Schulte, PFN: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
Stoia, The Gazette: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
Why Holland: With linebacker need taken care of with Browning, solidifying the safety position with a playmaker like Holland, who could learn behind veterans Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson, would be a solid pick. Holland opted out of the 2020-21 season, but totaled 108 tackles and nine interceptions in his previous two seasons at Oregon. If the Broncos take a safety or cornerback in the second round — like TCU's Trevon Moehrig or UCF's Richie Grant — instead of Browning, then Schulte's pick of Werner would also make plenty sense in the third round.
Fourth round, No. 114
Edwards, CBS: Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
Schulte, PFN: Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
Stoia, The Gazette: D'Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina
Why Smith: The Broncos don't necessarily need an immediate starter on the offensive line, but after trouble at right tackle last year, picking up a reliable backup like Smith or another tackle on the third day is a smart move. At 6-foot-4, 274 pounds, Smith has the versatility of playing guard if needed.
Fifth round, No. 152
Edwards, CBS: Larry Borom, OT, Missouri
Schulte, PFN: Larry Rountree III, RB, Missouri
Stoia, The Gazette: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
Why Hubbard: At some point during the third day, the Broncos are likely going to take a running back and Hubbard might be a player that many look back on as a steal. Hubbard was projected as one of the top running backs in the 2020 class — he rushed for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019-20 — before deciding to return to college for one more season. His stock dropped after suffering a couple of injuries and only rushing for 625 yards in 2020-21, but is still known for his speed and explosiveness. Watch for running backs like Oklahoma's Rhamondre Stevenson and Mississippi State's Kylin Hill to be available here, too.
Sixth round, No. 191
Edwards, CBS: Eric Burrell, S, Wisconsin
Schulte, PFN: Traded to Cardinals
Stoia, The Gazette: Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
Why Vincent: The Broncos have taken care of their cornerback depth through free agency this offseason, but after losing several to injury last season, taking a corner or two late in the draft could be likely for Denver. And getting a player like Vincent, who opted out of the 2020 season and had four interceptions in 2019 during LSU's national championship run, would only add to already talented unit.
Seventh round, No. 237
Edwards, CBS: Brandin Echols, CB, Kentucky
Schulte, PFN: Antonio Phillips, CB, Ball State
Stoia, The Gazette: Mustafa Johnson, DT, Colorado
Why Johnson: Why not Johnson? A local standout at Colorado and second-team all-Pac-12 selection in 2020-21, Johnson will likely be available in the seventh round and could provide some depth to the Broncos defensive line. At 6-2, 290 pounds, he's not the biggest defensive lineman, but his production in three years in Boulder says it doesn't matter, as he totaled 100 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.
Seventh round, No. 239
Edwards, CBS: Nate Hobbs, CB, Illinois
Schulte, PFN: Traded to Cardinals
Stoia, The Gazette: Wyatt Hubert, EDGE, Kansas State
Why Hubert: Having Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed back in 2021 is huge for the Broncos, but OLB/EDGE depth is still needed and Hubert can play either. If Denver doesn't take a top outside linebacker or edge rusher early, they might consider stockpiling a few late and Hubert, who was one of the best in the country the last three years with 20 sacks, could be a nice fit in coach Vic Fangio's 3-4 defense.
Seventh round, No. 253
Edwards, CBS: Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh
Schulte, PFN: Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
Stoia, The Gazette: Kyle Granson, TE, SMU
Why Granson: If the Broncos want Granson, they may have to take him earlier in the seventh round, but the 6-3, 235-pound tight end is certainly one to keep an eye on late. With Noah Fant and Okwuegbunam already in the mix there, taking a tight end isn't a necessity, but Granson could be a reliable pickup on day three, catching 16 touchdowns in his career at SMU.