Broncos NFL Draft big board: 50 targets who could help Denver revamp roster (2024)

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 References

From the moment Broncos coach Sean Payton benched Russell Wilson in late December, one question has floated above the organization: What’s next at quarterback?

The 2024 NFL Draft has always loomed as one viable path to an answer. The Broncos on Monday acquired former Jets quarterback Zach Wilson in a trade, a buy-low move that will allow Payton and his staff to see if they can harness the talent — and rebuild the confidence of — the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft. That move, however, has done little to quell speculation about what the Broncos may do to address the quarterback spot, a door revolving in Denver for the past eight years, when the draft begins.


But that position, important as it is, represents just part of the draft puzzle for the Broncos as they enter a significant reconstruction of the roster. In addition to jettisoning Wilson, the Broncos released safety Justin Simmons, traded wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and allowed starters like linebacker Josey Jewell and center Lloyd Cushenberry to leave in free agency. Payton is in the early stages of building a new foundation. The draft is instrumental to that work.











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So who will the Broncos add? The team is offering up peeks of their board, but here are 50 prospects from The Athletic draft expert Dane Brugler’s top 300 list who could be targets based on team needs and breadcrumbs dropped in conversations throughout the pre-draft process:

Day 1

Pick: No. 12

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (No. 4)

If you were building a quarterback’s physical traits in a lab, it would look like Maye. Maye might have the best collection of physical tools in the draft at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds with an elastic grenade launcher for a right arm. The question at the NFL level is whether he can correct some of the footwork issues that too frequently pushed him out of the pocket at North Carolina.

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame (No. 5)

It’s unlikely the consensus top tackle in the draft will find his way to No. 12, but the Broncos had a sizable presence at Notre Dame’s pro day in March. Offensive line coach Zach Strief was among the coaches running Fighting Irish draft hopefuls through drills. Offensive tackle is not an immediate need because Garett Bolles on the left side has one year left on his contract and right tackle Mike McGlinchey’s deal runs through 2027. But the talent of the 6-foot-8, 321-pound Alt would be too good to pass up if he fell.

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Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia (No. 7)

The Broncos got almost nothing from their tight ends in the passing game in 2023. That needs to change. Selecting Bowers, whose remarkably consistent college performances earned him All-American recognition three times in as many seasons, would immediately change the complexion of the position and Denver’s offense.

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Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU (No. 8)

The Broncos have connections to Daniels through defensive line coach Jamar Cain and vice president of player health and performance Beau Lowery, who both worked at LSU when Daniels arrived as a transfer from Arizona State in 2022. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback would inject dynamic talent into the center of Payton’s offense, a player whose accuracy down the field (67 percent on throws of 20 yards or more last season), consistency in the pocket and elusiveness in the open field could make him a game-changing presence in the NFL.

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (No. 10)

The last time the Broncos had a first-round pick, in 2021, they used it on Alabama cornerback Pat Surtain II. Many mock drafts have Denver repeating the move by taking Arnold, who “offers an ideal blend of cover athleticism and competitive makeup, with the ball skills to make plays at every level of the field.”

Broncos NFL Draft big board: 50 targets who could help Denver revamp roster (4)

Terrion Arnold was a standout for Alabama in 2023. (Donald Page / Getty Images)

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (No. 11)

The 22-year-old deflected an absurd 47 passes during his final two college seasons, intercepting six. His ball-hawking ability would make it hard for opponents to avoid Surtain’s side of the field as they’ve tried to do much of the past two seasons.

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State (No. 12)
JC Latham, OT, Alabama (No. 13)
Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State (No. 17)
Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia (No. 19)

All four of these offensive lineman offer different flavors. Fashanu may be the most ready to excel in pass protection. Fuaga may be the draft’s best run blocker, even if there is some question about which position he’d play. Latham has freak size at 6-foot-5 and 342 pounds and may have the highest ceiling of the bunch with the right development. The Broncos have more immediate needs — quarterback, edge rusher, tight end top the list — but depending on how the board falls, it may be difficult to pass up a player they believe could be a foundational piece of the offensive line. The Broncos got a close look at the mountainous Mims (6-7, 340) when they hosted him for a top-30 visit.

Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama (No. 14)

Given the run on quarterbacks and offensive playmakers predicted to unfold Thursday night, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Denver could have its choice of the draft’s top defensive prospects at 12. Turner would give the Broncos a freakish talent on the edge. He would be an immediate shot in the arm for a defense that has struggled to consistently pressure the passer the past two seasons.

Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas (No. 16)

Murphy may be slightly undersized at 6-foot, 297 pounds, but he doesn’t play like it as he destroys double teams in the run games and wreaks havoc on the best-laid plans of offensive lines that try to combat him. Murphy, who went to the same high school as Broncos legend Von Miller, may be the best defensive player in the draft.


Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State (No. 20)

Verse had nine sacks in each of his two seasons at Florida State after transferring from the University of Albany, but it’s the 6-foot-3, 254-pound defender’s potential as an edge-setter in the run game that may prove most improving to a Broncos team that has made no secret about its desire to be better in that category.

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (No. 21)

McCarthy feels like a wild card in the draft. The national champion quarterback who posted a 27-1 record at Michigan may be the fourth quarterback drafted. But how far will he fall? And what is Denver’s view of how he could fit into the offense? How much would they be willing to give up to move up and draft him? He is the big mystery of the draft at quarterback, but he’s a proven winner who is only 21 years old.

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Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA (No. 22)

Teams had to factor in Latu’s injury history when building their draft boards — he briefly medically retired in 2021 while playing at Washington due to a back injury — but there is no denying the unique bend, length and power that may make him the edge rusher in the draft most prepared to make a Year 1 impact.

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (No. 44)

Brugler’s rankings don’t paint Nix as a worthy selection at No. 12, but there is always a premium to be paid for drafting a quarterback in the first round. The No. 12 spot could be early, but taking Nix after trading down to, say, No. 22, could be more palatable. Nix gets rid of the ball quickly and was sacked only 10 times during his two seasons at Oregon. That could be very appealing for Payton, who said earlier this offseason that reducing the number of sacks they take is one of the Broncos’ biggest points of emphasis heading into next season.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (No. 52)

The medical question looms large for Penix after undergoing multiple knee and shoulder surgeries during his college career, but those issues didn’t stop him from throwing for an FBS-leading 9,544 during his two seasons at Washington, a team he led to the national championship game last season.

Day 2

Pick: No. 76

Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington (No. 69)

Brugler compares Rosengarten, who attended Valor Christian High School outside Denver, to Bolles stylistically. The Broncos could need a replacement for Bolles after this season, and Round 3 could be a place to find a developmental prospect who could eventually compete for that role.


Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State (No. 71)

Fiske wowed with his athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. After four seasons at Western Michigan, he became a big part of Florida State’s undefeated regular season as he tallied six sacks and nine tackles for loss. The Broncos’ top defensive tackle, D.J. Jones, is entering the final season of his contract and Denver needs more young depth at the position.

Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina (No. 72)

If the Broncos can’t find their way to a quarterback in the first round, then the third-round pick becomes the next opportunity. Rattler’s mechanics should translate well to the NFL, and he spoke highly of his meetings with the Broncos during the pre-draft process. He doesn’t have prototypical size (6-foot, 211 pounds), but he demonstrated an ability to spray the ball to all parts of the field while completing 69 percent of his passes last season despite a lack of offensive weapons.

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Blake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame (No. 73)
Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale (No. 87)

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound prospect will need some development, but he’s big and physical and would have another former Notre Dame standout in Mike McGlinchey to learn from as he begins his career. Amegadjie still has plenty of development ahead of him as a prospect, but at 6-5 and 323 pounds, “his physical ingredients and competitive drive are the foundational elements that pro coaches want to develop,” Brugler wrote.

Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington (No. 74)
Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina (No. 76)

The first round doesn’t seem like a realistic spot for the Broncos to target a receiver because the top three prospects at the position all figure to land inside the top 10. But with Courtland Sutton having no guaranteed money on his deal after this season and Tim Patrick entering the final year of his contract, the need for depth players at the position who could blossom into key contributors is real and could be targeted in the third round. Polk had a breakout year with 1,159 yards and nine touchdowns in 2023. Brugler wrote that the 22-year-old “is a natural athlete addressing the football, with three-level instincts and pro-level toughness.” Legette’s film, meanwhile, “gives off DK Metcalf vibes,” which is a nice place to start an evaluation.

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Could South Carolina’s Xavier Legette be a solution to bolstering the Broncos’ receiver corps? (Jeff Blake / USA Today)

Blake Corum, RB, Michigan (No. 77)
Trey Benson, RB, Florida State (No. 81)
Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee (No. 83)

This feels like an early spot for the Broncos to add to the backfield, but if Payton believes one of these players could expand the capabilities in a significant way, history says he’ll jump at the chance. He drafted a running back in seven of his 16 drafts with the Saints, including four selected in the top four rounds. Corum’s toughness could be appealing, especially as Denver aims to be far more effective running the ball in the red zone. The 5-foot-7 back reached the end zone a whopping 47 times during his last two seasons at Michigan.

Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas (No. 78)
Bralen Trice, Edge, Washington (No. 82)

Booker has limited experience (18 college games), but his lone season with the Jayhawks in 2023 after transferring from Minnesota raised eyebrows. He finished with eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss and also forced two fumbles. He’s a bit of a projection given his limited history on the field, but there are intriguing tools with which to work. Trice had 16 sacks during the last two seasons at Washington and plays, Brugler wrote, with a “violent” style that helps him be disruptive despite not possessing ideal speed or length.

Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State (No. 80)
Jared Wiley, TE, TCU (No. 89)

The Broncos have studied the tight end class closely, and though Johnson’s stats at Penn State don’t jump off the page — career-high 341 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023 — the 6-foot-6, 259-pound target “has A-plus measurements and smooth athletic tools that could allow him to continue developing and become a better pro than college player,” Brugler wrote. Wiley, who caught eight touchdowns last season (most among all FBS tight ends), is 6-foot-6 and strong at the point of the catch, traits to could allow him to become a needed target for the Broncos in the red zone.


Payton Wilson, LB, North Carolina State (No. 88)

Wilson had an extensive injury history in college that will be factored into his evaluation, but he demonstrated great range while playing with the Wolfpack in 2023, making 17 1/2 tackles for loss with six sacks. He was a top defensive player at the Senior Bowl in February.

Day 3

Picks: Nos. 121, 136, 145, 147, 207, 256

Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State (No. 101)

Stover averaged 14 yards per reception in 2023 — up from 11.3 the season prior — as he became more adept at winning routes down the field and adding physicality to his run-after-catch efforts.

Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane (No. 104)

Pratt profiles as a steady backup given his experience and ability to make sound decisions from the pocket. He rarely puts the ball in harm’s way (10 interceptions in 521 pass attempts the past two seasons). He’s not physically imposing at 6-2 and 217 pounds, but he projects as a player who could be a steady point guard in an offense like the timing-based scheme Payton runs in Denver.

Ray Davis, RB, Kentucky (No. 115)

The Broncos hosted Davis on a top-30 visit, intrigued by the combination of vision and breakaway speed that helped rush for 1,129 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He also had his best season as a receiver in 2023, catching 33 passes for 323 yards and another seven touchdowns.

Dominique Hampton, S, Washington (No. 116)
Jaylin Simpson, S, Auburn (No. 126)

The Broncos made the difficult decision in March to part with Justin Simmons, the Pro Bowl safety who was the team’s longest-tenured player. They signed Brandon Jones as a replacement in free agency while also re-signing P.J. Locke, who became an NFL starter for the first time last season while replacing Kareem Jackson. A healthy Caden Sterns, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, gives the Broncos a strong starting point at safety. But Denver could continue to add young talent to the position as they have in each of the last three drafts.

Javon Baker, WR, Central Florida (No. 120)
Jacob Cowing, WR, Arizona (No. 124)
Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State (No. 137)
Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice (No. 167)

This batch of receivers represents a wide array of different styles and abilities the Broncos could be trying to add to a room with decent depth, if not top-end talent. The 6-2, 195 Baker struggled to see the field while at Alabama, but he broke out in a big way at Central Florida in 2023 as he averaged 21.9 yards on his 52 receptions (seven touchdowns). Cowing projects as more of a slot target who can consistently find soft spots in the zone. He’s slippery in the red zone and finished with 13 touchdowns last season. Wilson is a lanky receiver (6-6, 237 pounds) who is still learning how to get the most out of his frame. McCaffrey, whose father Ed starred as a wide receiver for the Broncos from 1995 to 2003, began his college career as a quarterback. He transitioned to receiver during his final two seasons at Rice and caught 129 passes for 1,715 yards and 19 touchdowns.


Beaux Limmer, C, Arkansas (No. 122)
Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State (No. 128)

The competition to replace Lloyd Cushenberry at center begins with rookie contract players Alex Forsyth and Luke Wattenberg and veteran free-agent acquisition Sam Mustipher. But the Broncos could be on the lookout for another young player to add at the position as they boost the overall depth on the interior of the offensive line. Limmer would give the Broncos flexibility with the ability to play center or either guard spot.

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Sataoa Laumea, G, Utah (No. 130)
Zak Zinter, G, Michigan (No. 131)
Delmar Glaze, G, Maryland (No. 132)

Brugler packs all three guards with fourth-fifth-round grades into the same clump, and team evaluations will certainly vary. Zinter has a toughness that could profile well with what the Broncos are trying to develop on the interior of the line as they find depth pieces behind Ben Powers and Quinn Meinerz. Glaze may have the most upside as a 21-year-old who is still learning how to channel his “overaggressive tendencies.”

Jalyx Hunt, Edge, Houston Christian (No. 139)
Mohamed Kamara, Edge, Colorado State (No. 148)

The Broncos hosted both pass rushers on visits during the pre-draft process. Hunt has made waves during the build-up to the event after tallying 13 1/2 sacks and forcing five fumbles the past two seasons. Kamara was the Mountain West defensive player of the year in 2023 after notching 13 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and his motor is reminiscent of former CSU and Broncos standout Shaquil Barrett.

Devin Leary, QB, Kentucky (No. 184)
Joe Milton, QB, Tennessee (No. 196)

There is no doubting the NFL-level arm strength of either player. But can they be accurate enough at the next level? Leary completed just 56.3 percent of his passes in his lone season at Kentucky in 2023. Milton completed 61.5 percent of his throws in a combined six seasons at Michigan and Tennessee, though he did improve to a career-best 64.7 percent last season. Both would be developmental longshots, but Denver could have room on the roster for such a project.

(Top photo of Bo Nix: John E. Moore III / Getty Images)

Broncos NFL Draft big board: 50 targets who could help Denver revamp roster (2024)


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