By all accounts, John Elway and the Denver Broncos nailed the NFL Draft.
Aside from a few outliers, such as Mel Kiper Jr., most seemed to love the picks the Broncos made.
Grades of As and Bs all around.
That is especially true for the additions on offense.
No one is a bigger winner after the three-day virtual event than quarterback Drew Lock. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might feel a little jealous over all of Lock’s new toys.
The question remains: Will it transfer to the field?
“I think our consensus was the Broncos did a fantastic job in the draft,” Jay Kornegay told PlayColorado in an interview. Kornegay is the executive vice president of operations at the Westgate SuperBook. “As we discussed in our circles, we really don’t know what type of player they get until you get them out there. A lot of these players come with a lot of awards or rankings, and once they get to another level, in this case the pro level, they seem to perform in a different way. So you don’t really know until you see them.”
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 28, 2020
The need for speed
The name of the game for the Broncos in the draft was speed.
The first-round selection of Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy brings the complete package to Denver. As it stands now, Jeudy’s odds to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year sit at +1400 at DraftKings and +1500 at FanDuel.
But it was the selection of Penn State receiver KJ Hamler in the second round that raised eyebrows.
The playmaking speedster wasn’t even a consideration for most, yet Elway paired him with Jeudy.
Hamler’s odds for rookie of the year are more of a longshot — he’s +5500 at FanDuel and even longer odds at DraftKings with +10000.
That pick was a glimpse of what was to come.
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2020
The Mile High Track Squad
After Elway selected Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia with the 77th pick in the third round, he got a steal with the 83rd pick in LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III. Day 2 came to a close with Elway selecting an interior pass rusher out of Arkansas in McTelvin Agim.
Then came Denver’s fourth-round pick, Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, AKA “Albert O.”
That’s when the jokes started to fly on ESPN.
“The Broncos are building a track squad.”
To cap it off, Denver added another speed receiver in the seventh round with Florida’s Tyrle Cleveland.
It was clear the Broncos had to improve on offense. In large part to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs — literally and figuratively.
“We needed to score more points, whether we’re playing the Chiefs or not,” Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told the Denver media in a conference call. “But obviously, playing against them, you’re going to need to (add speed). That was part of it.
“It’s always good to be fast, but sometimes, people make the mistake of just getting fast with players that aren’t good football players. We believe our speed that we’ve drafted has come with players that can play the game also.
“It was good to get the added speed. Hopefully we’re a harder offense to defend now once it evolves and we get to playing games, but we need to score more points.”
Here’s a complete list of Denver’s 10 picks.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 28, 2020
Are the Broncos a playoff team?
After the selection of Jeudy in the first round, DraftKings Sports Betting and FanDuel Sportsbook had similar odds for Denver making the playoffs. DraftKings was “yes” at +165 and “no” at -210; FanDuel was yes at +162 and no at -205.
Now that the draft is complete, not much has changed for the Broncos’ playoffs odds.
In fact, FanDuel is the exact same. DraftKings has moved slightly to yes at +163 and no at -200.
For the regular-season win total, nothing has changed from after the first-round selection. Both DraftKings and FanDuel have Denver’s win total over 7.5 at -110 and under 7.5 -110.
In terms of the AFC West, Kansas City remains the favorite for DraftKings (-400) and FanDuel (-390).
The odds for who will place second is where it gets interesting.
DraftKings looks like this:
- Broncos +800
- Los Angeles Chargers +900
- Las Vegas Raiders +10000
FanDuel goes a different direction:
- Chargers +700
- Broncos +1100
- Raiders +1200
"This is a team that has become very dangerous." – Steve Smith Sr.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 27, 2020
Super Bowl odds
As expected, KC remains the favorite to go back-to-back in both sportsbooks, followed by the Baltimore Ravens.
Denver’s odds still remain a longshot — +4000 at DraftKings; +6000 at FanDuel.
Lock as MVP?
To continue the Chiefs parade, the clear favorite to win NFL MVP is quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
If you wanted to put some money on the Broncos quarterback, if it were to happen, you could get a massive return.
Lock’s odds to win MVP sit at +7000 at DraftKings and a whopping +10000 at FanDuel.
Other Denver players have even greater odds:
- Running back Phillip Lindsay is +20000 at FanDuel.
- Edge rusher Von Miller is +25000 at DraftKings.
Draft strategy was clear
Elway and the Broncos had a clear goal to use the draft to improve the offense and shower Lock with weapons.
They did that in spades.
Denver also needed to close the gap on the Chiefs and get in a better spot to contend for the playoffs.
That remains up in the air, but Elway and the Broncos took the first step with a wonderful draft.