Drew Lock has a new weapon, thanks to the NFL Draft.
And it’s one that should help close the Grand Canyon-esque gap between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
After years of offensive ineptitude in the Mile High City, Lock and the Broncos offense are on the verge of becoming scary good.
After months of rumor and speculation, John Elway used his first-round selection on Thursday to take Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy.
It was a common belief that if Denver wanted Jeudy, it would have to trade up to get him. The fact he was there for the Broncos at No. 15 is still a bit of a shock. Jeudy is considered by some to be the most complete receiver in the draft.
Not only was Jeudy there, so was Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. You couldn’t go wrong with either receiver and ultimately Elway and the organization went with who they had as the top-ranked player on their board. The addition of Jeudy earned high praise from various draft analysts.
Now you pair him with Courtland Sutton, and you have a receiver duo in Denver that matches any in the NFL.
“I think any time you get a receiver that’s hard to cover, that stresses the defense,” Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told the Denver media after the pick. “It’s as simple as that. We think he’s hard to cover and once he does catch it, he can run pretty good with it after. It’s as simple as that. Can you cover him or not?”
Broncos offense has major potential
Then you look at the Broncos offense as a whole, and there is some serious potential here for Lock and new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Since the 2013 season ended, Denver has had offenses that scared only itself.
Now the Broncos have the receivers to pair with tight end Noah Fant and running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
Not only did Elway make the offense better, but he also made his quarterback better.
“It is a big weight off of my shoulders and our shoulders,” Elway told the media when asked how relaxing it is to have the receiver position set. “I think that obviously that was a big position of need for us. Not only did we need that position, but we needed that to make Courtland better too because, as we saw at the end of last year, they were trying to take Courtland out of the game. We know what a great football player he is.
“Adding somebody not only because it was a need, we needed somebody, but it’s also going to make Courtland that much better, too. It’s nice to be able to go to bed (Thursday night) knowing that we got the receiver that we coveted. Then we’ve got a big day [Friday]. We have four picks [Friday] so we’re looking forward to that.”
What does it mean for the season?
The questions now become: Does the pick of Jeudy in the first round increase the odds the Broncos make the playoffs? Does it increase their win total?
For sportsbooks DraftKings and FanDuel, they have similar odds for Denver making the playoffs. DraftKings has “yes” at +165 and “no” at -210; FanDuel has yes at +162 and no at -205.
For the regular-season win total, they both have over 7.5 at -110 and under 7.5 -110.
When it comes to the Chiefs, the hope is the gap closed on the field (somewhat), but not when it comes to the odds. Kansas City remains a huge favorite to win the AFC and the Super Bowl.
What’s next in the NFL Draft?
Elway and Denver have four picks in the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft, respectively. One in the second, three in the third.
Denver has a handful of needs to address in this draft. With four Day 2 picks, they were poised to control Friday. Not losing one of those picks while still picking Jeudy is a double win. Jeudy's ability to create separation on his own is just what Lock needs; can still own Day 2
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) April 24, 2020
The Broncos have a great chance to “own” the second day of the draft and make the team better. It helps Denver didn’t have to give up any of that capital to get Jeudy.
One possibility is the Broncos used some of those of their picks to move up in the second round. It was reported that Denver tried to move back into the bottom of the first round, but was unsuccessful.
The goal of any draft is to make your team better.
It is only one pick, but Elway and the Broncos did that and more with the selection of Jeudy.
Lock and Denver’s offense has the potential to become scary good.