Broncos 2024 NFL draft picks: Denver trades up for Bo Nix's college teammate WR Troy Franklin (2024)

The 2024 NFL draft began Thursday night in Detroit, and the Denver Broncos made seven of the draft's 257 picks, beginning with the No. 12 selection.

Here's a look at each of Denver's scheduled selections:

Analysis of every pick | Updated depth chart

Broncos 2024 NFL draft picks: Denver trades up for Bo Nix's college teammate WR Troy Franklin (2)

Round 1, No. 12: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

My take: The Broncos thought enough of Nix to make him the sixth quarterback off the board among the draft's first 12 picks. The draft many consider to be the gold standard for quarterbacks -- 1983, that included John Elway -- had six quarterbacks selected in the first round overall, but just two of those in the first 10 picks. Nix's efficiency -- he completed at least 71% of his passes in all 14 games this past season and was at 74.9% completion rate for the season overall -- makes him an easy fit in Sean Payton's offense, as do his mobility and experience (61 games in five college seasons). The Broncos need far more of the QB Nix was at Oregon rather than Auburn given he threw 29 and 45 touchdowns, respectively, in his two seasons in Eugene. He did not have more than 16 touchdown passes in any of his three seasons at Auburn.

Will he start as a rookie? The Broncos made a trade to acquire Zach Wilson earlier this week, and Nix said Thursday night he believed he was in a "good situation to learn and grow." It will be intriguing to see what kind of timeline Payton has in mind for Nix. In his long tenure in New Orleans, Payton never had a rookie quarterback on the roster selected higher than the third round and never had a rookie quarterback who was realistically expected to play any time soon given Drew Brees' long run behind center. Jarrett Stidham, who started the final two games of the 2023 season after Russell Wilson was benched, is also part of the QB competition.

Key stat: The big number is eight, as in eight consecutive years the Broncos have missed the playoffs since Peyton Manning retired at the end of 2015. Nix's arrival will ramp up, at least in the public domain, the questions to Payton about when Nix will be ready to be the team's starter, given where the Broncos selected him in a historic offensive run overall in draft history. The environment Nix steps into doesn't include a lot of patience from fans, or maybe even Payton, who benched a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in Wilson before the end of the season because he didn't like the way things looked on offense, especially in the red zone.

Round 3, No. 76: Jonah Elliss, LB, Utah

My take: In a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert at quarterback, the Broncos needed more pop on the defensive edge. They haven't had an edge rusher finish with at least 10 sacks since Von Miller had 14.5 in 2018. Elliss did not work out at the combine or pro day because of a shoulder injury he suffered late in the 2023 season, but he's a high-effort player who should contribute immediately. His father, Luther, played his final NFL season with the Broncos in 2004 and his brother, Kaden, played in New Orleans during Payton's time as head coach. Jonah Elliss flourished in the Utes' defense this past season with 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.

When will he be expected to get playing time? The Broncos like their core of outside rushers in Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper, but Elliss should crack the rotation quickly, especially in the situational work in the nickel. He was 248 pounds at the scouting combine, but he plays with powerful, heavy hands and is disruptive so should fit quickly in Vance Joseph's defense. The Broncos might also consider moving Drew Sanders back inside with Josey Jewell's departure in free agency, or at least consider it when they get into their on-field work in the coming weeks.

Round 4, No. 102: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

My take: Franklin is a quality value pick in this spot, and the Broncos wanted him enough to move up from No. 121 to snag him with the second pick made on Day 3. Franklin's speed (4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine) is needed in the offense. New quarterback Nix has a comfort level with him -- Franklin was one of the receivers for Nix in his private workout for the Broncos. Franklin set a school record this past season in receiving yards (1,383), receiving touchdowns (14) and 100-yard receiving games (eight). He figures to be in the rotation early if he can show his expected impact down the field.

Round 5, No. 145: Kris Abrams-Draine, CB, Missouri

My take: The Broncos signed Levi Wallace in free agency earlier this month -- Wallace has started 70 games in his career -- but they still have an opening in the starting lineup opposite Pat Surtain II. Abrams-Draine started his career at Missouri as a wide receiver, and you can see that in his play as a defender when he tracks the ball and in contested-catch situations. He has 4.44 speed and had 40 passes defensed in his career with the Tigers. He'll be in the mix with Wallace, Damarri Mathis and Riley Moss to be the pick at an outside corner spot. At 5-foot-11 3/8 inches and 179 pounds, Mathis will have to show he can battle more physical NFL receivers. He also adds some potential value in the return game -- he returned kickoffs in three of his seasons at Missouri.

Round 5, No. 147: Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame

My take: Estime is the kind of raw power presence the Broncos haven't had in the run game in some time. Javonte Williams, at his best, forces piles of broken tackles, but Estime, at 5-11 3/8 and 221 pounds, runs with a slightly different kind of profile. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season for the Irish and has shown himself to be adept in blitz pickup with the potential to be a productive part of a passing game. Williams never looked quite himself last season, his first full season back from an ACL tear, and the Broncos were one of the worst teams in the league with just eight rushing touchdowns for the season. Payton has promised a better, more efficient running game and has repeatedly said a young quarterback's best friend is a defense and a good running game. Estime will have the opportunity to carve out some playing time as quickly as he shows a comfort level in the offense.

Round 7, No. 235: Devaughn Vele, WR, Utah

My take: Vele is a big receiver -- 6-4, 203 pounds at the scouting combine -- and is one of the oldest players in the draft. He will turn 27 on Dec. 12. He played 38 of his 47 career games for the Utes over the past three seasons. He is the second wide receiver in this seven-player draft class, and he faces a scrap to find his way into the rotation, especially if Tim Patrick shows he has regained his form after back-to-back seasons impacted by injuries. Vele ran 4.47 in the 40 at the combine and has punt return skills as well, so athletically he has a chance to carve out a role in what might be, because of his age, a tight career window.

Round 7, No. 256: Nick Gargiulo, C, South Carolina

My take: He was at Yale for five seasons, including a COVID-19 year where they didn't play, before one year at South Carolina. He has versatility given he played at left tackle, center and left guard in his career. He moves well and showed this past season he could hold up against the defensive linemen in the SEC. With Lloyd Cushenberry's departure in free agency, the Broncos have a crowd of young players ready to compete for the job that could include Alex Forsyth and Luke Wattenberg -- Broncos picks in the previous two drafts -- as well as fifth-year veteran Sam Mustipher and now Gargiulo.

Broncos 2024 NFL draft picks: Denver trades up for Bo Nix's college teammate WR Troy Franklin (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated:

Views: 6163

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.