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Broncos draft receiver, linebacker, defensive back on Day 2 of 2023 Draft

Denver traded up from No. 68 in third round to final No. 63 pick in second round to take Mims. Dipped into next year's draft to trade back into 3rd round for Moss.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — To catch the Chiefs, the Denver Broncos needed someone who could keep up.

Marvin Mims, a receiver from Oklahoma who runs the 40 meter dash in a speedy 4.38, was the Broncos' first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

On a whirring, trade-filled second day of the NFL Draft, the Broncos made up for lost time on the first day when they didn't have a first-round draft pick, by making two trades that resulted in three players -- Mims, Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders and Iowa defensive back Riley Moss.

The Broncos entered the second day of the draft with the No. 67 and 68 picks early in the third round. With their No. 68 pick plus their early 5th-round draft selection, the Broncos traded with the Lions and received the No. 63 pick in the second round and No. 183 pick in the sixth round.

The Broncos had interest in another receiver, SMU's Rashee Rice, whom the Chiefs traded up from No. 63 to No. 55 to select. The Broncos also had two tight ends on their radar, Luke Musgrave and Luke Schoonmaker, but they went No. 42 and 58, respectively.

The Broncos took the Chiefs' original No. 63 spot and nabbed Mims, who is fast and is considered to have quality character.

Mims, who turned 21 last month, had contact with Broncos receivers coach Keary Colbert and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica during the pre-draft process. Mims was a part-time punt returner for the Sooners the previous three seasons, averaging 16.0 yards a return last year.

"I think it's a great opportunity,'' Mims said in a conference call with the Denver media. "Just to be out there in Denver with their great tradition. Just an opportunity for me to show what I can do in front of the whole league, the whole world.''

The Broncos already have a crowded receiver room, at least on paper, with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler. Sutton and Patrick, though, are each going into the final guaranteed years on their contracts -- Sutton for $14.5 million this year; Patrick for $8.5 million -- and Hamler has been oft-injured who also is recovering from a torn pectoral injury suffered two months ago while weight lifting. The Broncos have also yet to pick up the fifth-year, $12.978 million option on Jeudy for the 2024 season, but it would be surprising if they didn't do so by the Tuesday deadline.

It could be that Mims, who is just shy of 5-foot-11 and weights 187, will be a candidate to replace, or compete with, Hamler as the Broncos' speed/deep ball receiver. And for all of quarterback Russell Wilson's struggles last year, he did not lose his ability to throw the deep ball.

"Really excited. I feel like the deep ball is one of the strong points of my game,'' Mims said. "With his history, being the quarterback he is, and throwing the deep ball like he does, and to be able to fit that role, whatever my role is when I get there will be a huge plus for me.''

Credit: AP
Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) runs up field during an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

With their No. 67 pick in the third round, the Broncos stayed put and took linebacker Drew Sanders, a two-year backup linebacker at Alabama who transferred to Arkansas last year and became an inside/outside linebacker who had a 103 sacks and 9.5 sacks. The Broncos haven't had a player like that since Karl Mecklenburg retired in 1994.

"I think I really stepped up my pass rush from those two first seasons at Alabama,'' said Sanders, 21. "I think my third year (at Arkansas) I picked up my pass rush a little bit. Really that was the main part I wanted to show that I could contribute to a team."

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Sanders -- a bit tall by inside linebacker standards, slight by outside linebacker standards -- had Zoom interviews with inside linebackers coach Greg Manusky and outside linebackers coach Michael Wilhoite.

"I'm pretty confident I can play anywhere coach needs me and wants to put me,'' Sanders said in his conference call with the Denver media. "Inside, outside, I feel like I can contribute."

Credit: AP
Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders (42) celebrates after making a big play against Cincinnati during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

At inside linebacker, starter Josey Jewell is in the final year of his contract and Alex Singleton recently signed a three-year, $18 million extension.

The Broncos traded back in the third round and took Iowa cornerback Riley Moss with the No. 83 overall pick. The Broncos sent their fourth-round pick, No. 108 overall, and third-round pick in 2024, to the Seattle Seahawks to select Moss at No. 83.

Moss was a 6-foot, 193-pound cornerback with 4.45 speed in the 40 and while some scouts may have projected him as a safety at the NFL level, Broncos head coach Sean Payton said Moss will stick at conrerback. Moss was brought in for a top 30 pre-draft visit a couple weeks ago. 

"Right now, DB,'' Moss said, meaning defensive back, when asked if he would be a corner or safety. "It's good to learn everything and be ready for anything."

A walk-on at Iowa, Moss played five seasons at Iowa and had 11 interceptions.

For the final day of the draft Saturday, the Broncos have but two, sixth-round picks, No. 183 and 195. But they got position versatility, speed and depth with their three picks Friday from No. 63 in the second round through No. 83 in the third.

Credit: AP
Iowa defensive back Riley Moss (33) in action against Rutgers during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


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