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Brock Bowers, Joe Alt and more: A closer look at the top rookies on the Broncos' 2024 schedule


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' 2024 schedule features just one potential matchup against a quarterback selected in the first round of this year's draft.

Denver will have to wait at least one more year to see Chicago's Caleb Williams, Washington's Jayden Daniels, New England's Drake Maye or Minnesota's J.J. McCarthy, as the Broncos aren't slated to face any of those teams in the regular season.

The only possible matchup against a first-round quarterback arrives in Week 11, when the Broncos host the Atlanta Falcons. Though Kirk Cousins appears entrenched as the Falcons' starter, Atlanta did select Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth-overall pick.

The former Washington Husky may be the lone first-round quarterback on the Broncos' schedule this season, but there are plenty of talented players Denver could face.

Here's a quick look at each of the Broncos' opponents' top picks:

Seattle Seahawks, Week 1: DT Byron Murphy II, Texas (No. 16 overall)

The second defensive player off the board, Murphy earned second-team All-American and first-team All-Big-12 honors in 2023 as he recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.

Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 2: G Troy Fautanu, Washington (No. 20 overall)

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2023, Fautanu was named the Morris Trophy winner during his final season at Washington. The award, which is voted on by the conference's defensive linemen, honors the best player on the offensive line.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 3: C Graham Barton, Duke (No. 26 overall)

Twice named a first-team All-ACC player, Barton started all 34 games in which he appeared over his final three seasons. Barton played left tackle from 2021-23, but he did play center in 2020.

New York Jets, Week 4: T Olu Fashanu, Penn State (No. 11 overall)

The third offensive lineman selected, Fashanu earned a slew of honors in 2023. He was a consensus All-American, the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year, a first-team All-Big Ten selection and Penn State's MVP after starting 12 games at left tackle.

Las Vegas Raiders, Week 5 & Week 12: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia (No. 13 overall)

A unanimous All-American in 2023 and first-team All-American in 2021 and 2022, Bowers led Georgia in receiving in all three of his seasons and was a two-time Mackey Award winner as the nation's top tight end.

Los Angeles Chargers, Week 6 & Week 16: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame (No. 5 overall)

The first tackle off the board, Alt was a two-time first-team All-American and started 33 games at left tackle during his three-year collegiate career.

New Orleans Saints, Week 7: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State (No. 14 overall)

Fuaga was a first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 player in 2023. He started 25 games at right tackle over his last two seasons, and scouts believe he can play guard or tackle at the NFL level.

Carolina Panthers, Week 8: WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina (No. 32 overall)

The Panthers traded into the first round to select Legette, who caught 71 passes for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns in his breakout 2023 season. He earned second-team All-SEC honors and led South Carolina in receiving.

Baltimore Ravens, Week 9: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson (No. 30 overall)

A first-team All-ACC player in 2023, Wiggins led the Tigers in passes defensed in each of his last two seasons. He posted two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one sack and 11 passes defensed in his final year.

Kansas City Chiefs, Week 10 & Week 18: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas (No. 28 overall)

Worthy was named a first-team All-Big 12 wide receiver and return specialist in 2023 as he caught 75 passes for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns. He posted a 4.21-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.

Atlanta Falcons, Week 11: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington (No. 8 overall)

A six-year collegiate player, Penix thrived during his two seasons at Washington, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2022 and being named a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2023. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his final collegiate season as he led Washington to a national championship appearance.

Cleveland Browns, Week 13: DT Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State (No. 54 overall)

The Browns are the lone team on the Broncos' schedule to not add a first-round pick to their roster, but they chose Hall in the second round. He earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2023 with 24 tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Indianapolis Colts, Week 15: EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA (No. 15 overall)

The first defensive player off the board, Latu was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2023 with 21.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and two forced fumbles. He was previously forced to medically retire, but he returned to the field in 2022.

Cincinnati Bengals, Week 17: T Amarius Mims, Georgia (No. 18 overall)

Mims started just eight games at the collegiate level, but scouts believe he is a natural pass protector with the ability to develop into a long-term starter.

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