Take a closer look at the newest Denver Broncos with some defining statistics from their college careers.
The Broncos made a splash in Round 2, selecting a versatile offensive lineman in Risner and a fantastic value in Lock. This pairing could be the team's battery for a decade if Risner lines up inside and the strong-armed Lock allows GM John Elway to move on from Flacco in two years. Jones is a five-technique in the making, at a place where the team needed to add depth.
John Elway has taken his share of grief for his drafts over the years — especially for his epic misses on quarterbacks — but there's not a lot to argue with this time around. Trading down with the Steelers and getting Iowa tight end Noah Fant with the No. 20 pick is a huge boon for an offense in need, as Fant is the most athletic receiver at his position in this class. Second-round offensive tackle Dalton Risner out of Kansas State is pro-ready at multiple positions: left tackle, right tackle or a potential move inside. Elway got his traditional big guy/big arm quarterback in Drew Lock of Missouri, but he did it in the second round, which is about where a developmental player like Lock should go. And two later-round defensive picks — Ohio State defensive tackle Dre'mont Jones and Oregon linebacker/pass-rusher/cover man Justin Hollins — should make new head coach and defensive mastermind Vic Fangio very happy.
The Broncos' biggest need was interior offensive line, so it would have been interesting to see if the team would have still taken TE Noah Fant at 20 if Garrett Bradbury and Chris Lindstrom were available. In Dalton Risner they still found what's almost certain to be a Day 1 starter, but at what position? Risner can play anywhere up front, which raises the theoretical question of whether you should put your most talented player at HIS best spot or put your lesser players in comfortable positions and have your best guy fill the weakest remaining spot. If it's the latter, then Risner's position will depend on how the Broncos feel about Connor McGovern at center and Elijah Wilkinson at guard.
John Elway did well by helping his new QB, Joe Flacco, and giving the Broncos a potential replacement for the former Super Bowl MVP. Getting TE Noah Fant in the first round and T Dalton Risner early in the second round boosts Flacco's chances of success. Elway moved up to stop QB Drew Lock's draft plummet 10 picks into the second round. It's a good situation for Lock, but will this work out better than Elway's other recent attempts to find a long-term solution at QB?
Denver made one of the smartest first-round moves by trading back from No. 10 to No. 20. Despite that, the Broncos were still able to land Iowa tight end Noah Fant. He could star in that offense.
The Broncos got a steal with offensive lineman Dalton Risner in the second round. He can play right tackle, either guard spot, or center. He will plug into the line and be so effective you never notice him.
We think Fant is the best tight end in this draft, and Lock could be a future starter, after Joe Flacco is done (which could be soon).
Mel Kiper, ESPN: B+
All in all, getting two really good players before the player who could be the future quarterback feels like a win for Elway.
Some will say it's weird even mentioning this, but John Elway had a good draft. I like the move to drop from No. 10 overall to add extra picks. First-round tight end Noah Fant will be a nice weapon and if Lock becomes the long-term starter – which I think he will do – they will have a heck of a draft.
Make that two consecutive sweet drafts for John Elway. Fant, Risner, Lock and Jones address key needs, and the latter three were projected first-rounders at one point. If Lock turns out to be a franchise passer as a second-rounder, then Elway will have redeemed himself and put that bridge-quarterback life behind his team.
Pro Football Focus: Above Average
Ohio State's Dre'Mont Jones is another solid pick for the Broncos. Slotted as the No. 62 overall player in the class, Jones is a solid pass-rusher that can make an impact in a rotation early in his career. No player in the FBS rushed the passer more than Dre'Mont Jones' 500 snaps this past year; the man simply didn't come off the field and he still produced a 90.5 pass-rushing grade.