Breaking News
More () »

9 candidates for Broncos draft

The Broncos lost first- and second-round draft picks via previous trades. They start with the No. 67 and 68 overall selections in the third round.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Let the dart throws begin.

It was difficult enough predicting the Broncos’ draft pick when they took Bradley Chubb at No. 5 overall in 2018 (Sam Darnold? Quenton Nelson? Roquan Smith?). To surmise who the Broncos will take in this year’s draft when their first selection isn’t until No. 67 overall, followed by No. 68, is about as likely as finding a treasure at the ocean’s bottom. Which is what Broncos general manager George Paton and head coach Sean Payton are counting on come Friday evening.

“Look, 95% of discussions in the sports world relative to the draft is the first round, and understandably so,’’ Sean Payton said Thursday during the pre-draft Zoom press conference he shared with George Paton. “When you're picking where we are — the unique thing, which I think we both really like, is that we have back-to-back picks there -- you've got to be able to be a little bit, I don't want to say reactionary (but) there are scenarios that fall to you with every round and then every pick. The spray (of possibilities) is a little wider, if that makes sense.”

Still, based on the Broncos' known top 30 visits with draft prospects and needs (secondary and inside linebacker depth on defense, depth at almost all positions on offense), 9NEWS has put together a list of 9 prospects who could well receive a call from the Broncos either with their two picks in the third round, or selections in the fourth, fifth or sixth rounds.

(Note: Some of the listed players are targeted for the later rounds on Saturday. Ages listed are as of the start of the regular season).

Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan, 6-5, 251, 24

A little old as draft-eligible players go, but aren’t they all this year? Learned how to play tight end under Jim Harbaugh, so he’s as NFL-ready as any. Emerged as a fifth-year senior with 35 catches for 11.9 yards per catch.

Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan, 6-2 1/2, 309, 24

Spent one year at Air Force, then played three years for Virginia, then transferred to Michigan where he was a one-year starting senior. Possesses ideal center intelligence, but like all rookie offensive linemen he will have to work on his blocking techniques. Earned the Rimington Award (nation’s best center) and Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) in 2022.

Rashee Rice, WR, SMU, 6-1, 204, 23

Ranked top 5 in the nation in both receptions (96) and receiving yards (1,355) while scoring 10 touchdowns. A second-round talent who may slip. Could groom a season behind fellow SMU alum Courtland Sutton.

Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State, 6-6, 253, 23

Big, fast, strong with good hands, Musgrave – the nephew of former Broncos’ backup quarterback and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave – has first-round tools. His production, though, hasn’t matched up, as his best statistical season was 2021 when he had 22 catches for 13.8 yards per catch and a touchdown. Was on his way to breakout season in 2022 when he suffered a knee injury late in Oregon State’s second game and missed the rest of the season. He had 11 catches at 15.4 yards a catch in those two games.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn, 6-0, 210, 22

Combined for 20 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards rushing – at better than 5.0 yards a carry -- his last two seasons at Auburn. Also had 30 catches last year. Every year, quality running backs are drafted in the third round or later, and with Javonte Williams coming off ACL surgery, the Broncos could do worse than select a young ball carrier.

Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame, 6-5, 306, 24

A four-year center who played left guard last year as a fifth-year senior. Tall by center standards, but moves well.

DeMarvion Overshown, ILB, Texas, 6-3, 229, 23

A safety his first two years at Texas, he switched to linebacker prior to the 2020 season. Has the range and strength to cover a tight end and help on special teams. Plays with emotion. A leader who was well-liked by his teammates.

Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State, 6-2, 218, 24

Day 3 draft candidate. Had two senior seasons because of added COVID-year eligibility and took advantage with a combined 5,929 passing yards and 45 touchdowns against just 15 interceptions. Doesn’t have the strongest arm but moves well and considered a terrific leader. Rose Bowl MVP. Could be an ideal No. 3 quarterback in that he’ll be more mature than most rookies but still has time to develop.

Byron Young, OLB, Tennessee, 6-2, 253, 25

A terrific story who after graduating high school in South Carolina moved to Columbus, Georgia where he worked nearly two years as an assistant general manager at Dollar General.

Spotted at a tryout by Georgia Military Junior College where he played two years. Then transferred to Tennessee where he had 12.5 sacks as a two-year starter. Ran a 4.43, 40. A speed, athletic rusher.

Others: Joe Tippman, C, Wisconsin (Mystery Mockster); Felix Anudike-Uzomah, OLB, Kansas State (Mystery Mockster); Art Green, CB, Houston; Garrett Williams, DB, Syracuse; David Durden, WR, West Florida; Jack Colletto, HB-FB-LB, Oregon State; Jordon Riley, DT, Oregon State; Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse; Jordan Rhodes, G, Arkansas State; Marte Mapu, ILB, Sacramento State; John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota; Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State.



Before You Leave, Check This Out