Denver Broncos

AFC West Rivals, Denver Broncos Had Eye Opening Draft

The Las Vegas Raiders selected an array of offensive weapons and defensive pieces in the 2020 NFL Draft to make a playoff run in the 2020 season. While draft grades across the league’s top analysts were not overly favorable towards the Silver and Black, there appeared to be a consensus their long time rival, the Denver Broncos, nailed the draft, raising eyebrows across the AFC West.

How did the Denver Broncos do in this draft?

The Raiders entered the draft with one goal in mind: Get one of this year’s top three wide receiver (commonly known as the “Big 3”) with the 12th overall pick. The objective was achieved when they drafted Henry Ruggs III (although admittedly I preferred CeeDee Lamb). However, after general manager Mike Mayock passed on both Lamb (later going to the Cowboys) and Ruggs’s teammate, Jerry Jeudy, the doors were open for the Broncos to choose Jeudy. My eyebrows went up as I thought about the smooth route runner from Alabama meeting the Raiders shaky secondary twice a year, but Denver was not done yet.

“Jeudy is the best route-runner I’ve seen in college football in awhile — at least since Amari Cooper.” — PFF’s Mike Renner

Related: Raiders surprised everyone with the 12th pick in the draft

With the 42nd overall pick, Broncos general manager Jon Elway selected ANOTHER wide receiver, Penn State’s K.J. Hambler. While not as polished as any of the Big 3, he can achieve significant separation quickly and can be a problem for corners struggling with breaking speed off the line. Denver then proceeded to go with defensive players with their next couple picks and later landed tight end Albert Okuwuegbunam, who may not be in the same level as top players at his position but will need to be accounted for. Also, Okuwuegbunam adds another fast target for Drew Lock along with familiarity, as they were former teammates. The Nittany Lions tight end clocked in a head turning 4.49 40-yard dash at the combine while standing at 6’5″ and 258 lbs.

The Broncos finished out the draft with more defensive players and even a third wide receiver in the seventh round with Tyrie Cleveland from Florida. For these moves, Pro Football Focus granted the Broncos a draft grade of A+, while Raiders were given a grade of C.

It was clear that Elway was planning to use this draft to do his best to catch up with the AFC West and Super Bowl Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs: “We had to get some speed and we had to get some talent on that offensive side and some explosiveness.”

It appears Mayock and Elway had identical plans to add as much offensive talent as possible for their respective quarterbacks to have the best chance for success. Neither quarterback, Derek Carr nor Lock, are being given any slack this season as both are expected to make a playoff push after their general managers surrounded them with playmakers.

While I think Lock has a long way towards proving he’s the right man to lead the Broncos, the Raiders have to keep their eye on their long time rivals after having a potentially good haul this past draft.

You May Also Like: AFC Grades after 1st Round

Top Photo: Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

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