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Mile High Morning: What do Broncos' free-agency moves mean for recent mock drafts?

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The Lead

If there's one thing everyone can agree on after the Broncos signed Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby in free agency, it's that Denver certainly doesn't have to pick a cornerback with their first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In recent weeks, projecting either Caleb Farley or Patrick Surtain II to Denver was an easy choice for mock-draft makers. The need was glaring, and the talent put the players right in that range where the Broncos are set to pick.

Now that outcome's not so certain.

"The arrival of Fuller has given the Broncos ultimate flexibility as the draft approaches," Nick Kosmider wrote recently for The Athletic.

As the first major mock drafts have trickled out after free agency, though, some analysts think the Broncos aren't done adding to their defense.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projects the Broncos to trade down to No. 14 to add draft capital while still being able to pick Penn State LB Micah Parsons.

"Denver moves down five spots in my projected trade and still gets the best off-ball linebacker in this class, a defender with the flexibility to play every linebacker spot," Kiper wrote. "He could also put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer."

He notes that cornerback could still be an option, and he's not the only one. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks still thinks Denver will go after a corner at No. 9.

"The additions of Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller won't stop the Broncos from adding a five-star cornerback to beef up a secondary that must defend a few high-powered WR corps within the division," Brooks wrote in his new mock draft.

Still, flexibility appears to be in play, though. CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli pegged a new name — Northwestern O-lineman Rashawn Slater — to Denver in his mock draft.

"I see Slater as more of a jack-of-all-trades who could stick at RT or move inside to guard," Fornelli wrote. "Wherever you put him, I think he helps the Broncos immediately."

Below the Fold

Denver's move to sign Fuller is still bringing in high praise. In a ranking of the top nine free-agent signings and trades by expected impact on the 2021 season, NFL.com's Adam Schein places the Fuller signing at No. 6. "Fuller led the league with seven picks and earned first-team All-Pro honors under [Head Coach Vic] Fangio in 2018," Schein wrote. "This is sheer perfection."

The Unclassifieds

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