Round 1, No. 20 overall: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
My take: Offenses around the league have reaped the rewards of a tight end who can win matchups in the passing game, and the Broncos have certainly struggled to join that party in recent seasons. Fant gives them the potential to have immediate impact in their new offense. At 6-foot-4 1/8 inches and 249 pounds, Fant ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the combine, so he has the speed to beat linebackers in coverage and the size to overwhelm many defensive backs, especially the nickel cornerbacks who try to line up across from him in the slot.
A need position: Since Owen Daniels caught 46 passes with three touchdowns in the 2015 season, the Broncos haven't had a tight end finish the season with more than 31 receptions. Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway has used three picks in the previous four drafts combined on tight ends, and all three -- Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli -- have each missed at least one season with an injury. Fant is now the fourth tight end the team has drafted in the last five drafts.
Passed on the QBs: Elway likely showed what he really thought of this year's class of quarterbacks the moment he made the trade for Joe Flacco early on in the offseason. And Elway showed it once again Thursday when, with Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock still on the board, the Broncos traded out of the No. 10 spot to move down to No. 20. And with Lock still on the board, Elway then took Fant. Elway and coach Vic Fangio have each said repeatedly they think the team can win and get back in the playoffs with Flacco, and they stuck to that in the first round Thursday night.
Round 2, No. 41 overall: Dalton Risner, G/C, Kansas State
My take: Risner is a power player who fits the mold of a potential starter at right guard or center for the Broncos, and could also fill in at right tackle, if needed. Risner has plenty of versatility and is simply a no-worry player as a locker-room leader -- he was a captain in three of his seasons with the Wildcats. Before the draft, the Broncos had moved Connor McGovern to center and had an opening at right guard. Risner is far more advanced in the run game at the moment and his pass sets need some attention. But he's smart, plays with awareness and carries one of the real consistent indicators of future NFL success, as he was a 50-game starter in the offensive line at a major program. Offensive line coach Mike Munchak gets his first rookie draft pick with the Broncos to mold into a starter.
Round 2, No. 42 overall: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
My take: Lock was one of four quarterbacks the Broncos brought in to the team's facility in recent weeks -- Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones were the others -- and they obviously were concerned that they couldn't wait until the 52nd pick to take him. So, they traded the No. 52, No. 125 and No. 182 picks to move up 10 spots and grab Lock. The Broncos are in position to give Lock, who has battled accuracy issues in his four-year career with Missouri, some time to learn his way. John Elway took to social media Friday night to say that Lock would learn from starter Joe Flacco and "compete for the backup role." The Broncos traded for Flacco earlier this offseason.
Round 3, No. 71 overall: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
My take: The Broncos have several defensive linemen, including defensive tackle Shelby Harris and defensive end Adam Gotsis, who will be free agents following the 2019 season. So depth is needed, and Jones offers the kind of potential versatility to move around in the defensive front in the team's new scheme. The biggest question with Jones is simply whether or not his 2018 season was a sign of things to come or not -- he had 13 tackles for loss last season, which was more than he had in the previous two seasons combined. He needs to be more consistent, but athletically has the kind of first-step quickness the Broncos want in the defensive front, a player who could line up at end on early downs and move down inside in the pass-rush when they go to nickel or dime.
Round 5, No. 156 overall: Justin Hollins, LB, Oregon
My take: At 6-5 1/4, 248 pounds, Hollins projects as more of an outside linebacker in Vic Fangio's system, but he does have some every-down potential given his work as a pass-rusher as well as his ability to drop into coverage from time to time. He needs more strength and to play with more consistent effort, but he certainly has shown some rush skills, the length defensive coaches like and he forces turnovers -- he forced eight fumbles in his last two seasons combined, including five this past season, and was the only player among FBS schools to have at least five sacks, at least five forced fumbles and an interception last season. He figures to initially get a look on special teams for the Broncos and will be seen as a rotational player among the team's outside linebackers.
Round 6, No. 187 overall: Juwann Winfree, WR, Colorado
My take: At 6-1 1/8, 210 pounds, Winfree is developmental prospect who has the kind of size the Broncos want at the position. He was clocked at 4.50 (hand-timed) in the 40-yard dash during his pro day. The Broncos moved out of the seventh round, shipping both of their picks in the final round to move up to snag the Colorado receiver. Winfree, who remained in Colorado to work out leading up to the draft, trained at a facility operated by Landow Performance, a business started by Broncos strength and conditioning coach Loren Landow before he took the Broncos' job in 2018. Winfree took a winding road to Colorado, having been at Maryland as well as Coffeyville Community College before arriving in Boulder. He also missed the 2016 season with a torn ACL, before finishing with 21 catches in '17 to go with 28 catches this past season. He missed some time in '18 with a hamstring injury as well as an ankle injury.