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Evaluating how the Broncos could fill positional needs on Day 2 of the NFL Draft

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Not long after the Broncos drafted wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th-overall pick, John Elway started to look for a way to get back into the first round.

Denver, which holds four combined picks during Rounds two and three, was looking to make another major addition to their roster. The trade didn't come together, as teams late in the first round didn't want to drop all the way to No. 46 to make a selection.

That doesn't mean, though, that the Broncos' attempts to be aggressive will cease when the second day of the draft begins Friday evening. 

Armed with nine remaining picks — including Nos. 46, 77, 83 and 95 on Friday — the Broncos could still package players to get a top player on their board. Elway acknowledged the team doesn't have a first-round grade on any player left on the board, but there are still impact players available.

"We feel like at 46 we're still going to get a very good football player," Elway said following Round 1. "There are a lot of good football players left and being the 14th pick tomorrow in the second round, we feel like we're going to get another really good football player."

Whether the Broncos stay put at No. 46 or move up — Denver traded for a second second-round pick in 2019 to grab Drew Lock — they can fill plenty of holes and find several potential starters over the course of Day 2.

If the Broncos draft a player or two at any of the following positions, it would fulfill either a pressing or future need:

CORNERBACK

The Broncos have their two starters in A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan, but they still need to identify who will fill the third cornerback spot. That's not just a luxury — it's a necessity. In today's NFL, teams often have five defensive backs on the field. The Broncos would be wise to add another cornerback who can play outside so that Callahan could move into the slot in those situations.

While cornerback may not be the Broncos' most pressing need, they may get the most value by addressing it first. Six cornerbacks came off the board in Round 1, but talented options like Alabama's Trevon Diggs, LSU's Kristian Fulton and Utah's Jaylon Johnson could be in play in Round 2.

If one or two of those players comes of the board early, the Broncos may be wise to package a couple of picks to move up.

Should they choose to wait to address the cornerback position, Virginia's Bryce Hall and Notre Dame's Troy Pride Jr. could be options in the third round. The Broncos, though, should add at least one cornerback on Day 2 of the draft.

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE

The Broncos still need to identify a starter for the center position after Connor McGovern left in free agency. Dalton Risner, a second-round pick last year, is locked in at the left guard position, and the Broncos have indicated they'd prefer for free-agent signing Graham Glasgow to play right guard.

Interior offensive line may be the most pressing need left on the Broncos' roster — but that doesn't necessarily mean the Broncos should address it in Round 2.

If they decide to fill the void immediately, LSU's Lloyd Cushenberry III would make sense as a plug-and-play starter at center. He is widely considered the best available option at center after Michigan's Cesar Ruiz went in the first round. There's value in the third round, though, as Temple's Matt Hennessy and Wisconsin's Tyler Biadasz could be available. Both players seem capable of starting as rookies.

Don't fret, though, if the Broncos exit Day 2 without this need addressed. Matt Paradis and McGovern, who manned the center of the line for the Broncos over the last five seasons, were both Day 3 draft picks.

The Broncos can find value in players like Kentucky's Logan Stenberg and Oregon's Shane Lemieux later in the draft.

LINEBACKER

The top difference-makers at linebacker are off the board after Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen were drafted in the first round, but the Broncos could still add needed depth at the linebacker position. 

Alexander Johnson and Todd Davis remain the Broncos' likely starters at the position, but Denver could use a potential upgrade for depth purposes. Wyoming's Logan Wilson could fulfill that need early in the third round, and Ohio State's Malik Harrison could be an option if the Broncos want another run stopper.

Southern Illinois' Jeremy Chinn is listed as safety, but he could also fulfill a role as a nickel linebacker on third downs. Perhaps he could be the Broncos' answer to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce?

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

In my eyes, this is more of a luxury than a need. The Broncos must decide whether to exercise Garett Bolles' fifth-year option by May 3, but he's still under contract for the 2020 season. Both Elway and Vic Fangio have said they thought Bolles took strides toward the end of the year, and he seems like the favorite to start at left tackle again this season.

If the Broncos want to add competition for this year or the future, they could try to trade up for Boise State's Ezra Cleveland or try to snag Houston's Josh Jones at No. 46. 

In the third round, TCU's Lucas Niang, LSU's Saahdiq Charles and Auburn's Prince Tega Wanogho could all be options.

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