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Sean Payton’s Broncos are Contenders After Strong NFL Draft

After posting an 8-9 record, just one win away from a winning season for the first time since 2016 (9-7), the Denver Broncos are extremely close to being a playoff contender.

With the help of their outstanding NFL Draft, that goal has put them in the drivers seat to accomplish that feat in 2024.

After replacing quarterback Russell Wilson with Oregon’s Bo Nix, the Broncos took extra measures to solidify their offense, an area that struggled greatly in 2023. Nix’s arrival will pair Sean Payton with a quarterback who has been compared to the likes of Drew Brees, and finally give the Broncos one of the missing pieces that has plagued this team since the departure of Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning after their Super Bowl 50 victory.

Nix’s college career was filled with strong quarterback play. He went 43-18 in college and threw for 15,352 yards to 108 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He posted a 149.6 passer rating and rushed for an additional 1,613 total yards and 38 touchdowns. He is a dual threat quarterback with an emphasis on being a pocket passer. His 6’2″ 215 pound frame is an improvement over Wilson from a season ago, and he has a collegiate career that put an emphasis on quality quarterback play.

After drafting Nix in the first round, the Broncos then decided to improve their defensive production and drafted Jonah Elliss from Utah. Elliss is an outside linebacker who recorded 12 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and a forced fumble last season. He is productive and will provide an upgrade on defense.

A quarterback always needs a playmaking receiver… well, how about if the playmaking receiver is someone who already has a connection with the quarterback? Seems perfect, right? Well, the Broncos selected Oregon wide receiver Troy Franklin with their fourth round draft pick, pairing him once again with Nix. This was a slam dunk selection and will give continuity between two offensive weapons.

In round five, the Broncos improved their secondary with the addition of Missouri’s Kris Abrams-Draine, a cornerback. He is coming off a first-team All-SEC player and second-team All-American award this past season and posted 40 pass deflections in his last three seasons. Pat Surtain II will certainly help him get up to speed and this athlete could be a sleeper pick if all goes well.

Another offensive selection in round five that will certainly provide value for many years to come is the selection of Notre Dame running back Audric Estime. A new goal line running back who is physical and aggressive only helps the offensive production and growth this upcoming season.

In round seven the Broncos selected wide receiver Devaughn Vele (pick 235) and center Nick Gargiulo (pick 256). While it is not too often that seventh round draft picks make an NFL roster, anything is possible.

Wrap Up: 

The Broncos are back to being contenders if the following things occur in 2024:

  1. Bo Nix starts and is given the C.J. Stroud treatment (Establish the running game, play strong defense, and utilize the play action/ RPO game)
  2. The defense improves from a year ago and has no coverage busts
  3. Troy Franklin emerges as a number one WR on their roster

These are just three goals I have for the Broncos and if these three things happen, Denver will be bound for the playoffs in 2024 for the first time since 2015.


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