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Mile High Morning: Rounding up draft grades for the Broncos' 2021 draft class


The Lead

How good the Broncos' — or any team's — draft class turns out will only be revealed in due time.

However, that face doesn't stop one of the time-honored annual draft traditions: grading the picks. So, without further ado, let's dive in:

"I'm all in on this Broncos draft. They let the draft come to them, and Patrick Surtain [II] was a guy they tried to keep quiet that they wanted. I loved him, one of the best defensive players in the draft. But what they did in the second round with Javonte Williams and third round with Quinn Meinerz, I think, must be stated: These guys are all longtime starters. They killed their draft."

"I really like what the Broncos did. They landed the best corner in Surtain and then continued to load up on good players. Their later-round picks were impressive. I really like fifth-round safety Jamar Johnson."

"New GM George Paton took a very Vikings-ish approach to the draft and mostly nailed his first crack at it. There was value and purpose with pretty much every pick and some tangible upside with the selections of [Quinn] Meinerz, [Baron] Browning, [Caden] Sterns, Johnson and [Seth] Williams."

"Surtain was a curious pick considering how loaded the Broncos' defense already is on paper and the team's clear need at quarterback. But head coach Vic Fangio has a sure-thing lockdown cornerback."

Chad Reuter, B+ (Day 1: B; Day 2: A+; Day 3: A-)

"The Broncos picked the best cornerback in the draft in Surtain, so there's no questioning the value of that selection. But GM George Paton passed on quarterback Justin Fields -- and fans won't forget that decision if Fields goes on to great success in Chicago while Denver continues to search for an answer at QB. Paton made a strong move to get an explosive workhorse in [Javonte] Williams, but didn't give up the farm to do so. Meinerz and Browning were excellent values as late third-round picks worthy of second-round consideration."

"New GM George Paton [fared] pretty well with his volume of picks. Surtain is a surefire star and Williams can make Melvin Gordon expendable. Browning, the two safeties, [Jonathon] Cooper and [Marquiss] Spencer were some needed supporting chess pieces for Vic Fangio. Meinerz should start to boost the run blocking. There is, however, a notable position missing as for now, Denver sticks with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater as its QB options in a critical season."

"CB Patrick Surtain II should be an immediate starter. They got RB Javonte Williams, who might turn out to be the best player at his position. C Quinn Meinerz could start as a rookie."

"I did like the player they picked -- Patrick Surtain II -- who has a chance to be a Pro Bowl-level corner. (Paton & Co. pulled off a great smokescreen.) And we know that Vic Fangio can get the best out of corners. The Broncos will now have three new corner starters this season after they signed Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby last month, and Surtain is likely to be the long-term No. 1.

"[Surtain is] a promising cornerback and worthy of the ninth choice. But the Broncos, again, have failed to resolve their QB issues, unless a trade for Aaron Rodgers is forthcoming. Second-round RB Javonte Williams and third-round G/C Quinn Meinerz were sensible picks."

The Denver Post staff: B+ (Kyle Newman), B (Mark Kiszla, Sean Keeler), B- (Ryan O'Halloran), C+ (Matt Schubert)

"Paton finished a good overall draft by beefing up the team's depth and special teams. Caden Sterns and Jamar Johnson will immediately raise the play of Tom McMahon's special teams' units, and the addition of Seth Williams to the Broncos' wideout corps makes it one of the deeper units in the NFL. With an eye toward 2022, and an approach that consistently had the Broncos taking the best player available — not forcing things — Paton and Broncos Country can feel good about this draft class." – Newman

Below the Fold

After all that, one question about the Broncos remains for ESPN’s Jeff Legwold: "Will the Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater quarterback competition be enough to take advantage of all of the other moves the team has made?"

When that competition gets underway during offseason workouts, reps will be split 50-50 between Lock and Bridgewater, Fangio told 9NEWS' Mike Klis. "We'll work that out," Fangio told Klis. "We haven't sat down and figured that out. But it will be something that at the end of the day, maybe not at the end of every day, but over the course of OTAs and training camp, it'll be 50-50."

The Unclassifieds

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