The men behind desks have weighed in and the result isn’t pretty. Do you agree that overall, this draft was Elway’s worst, as one writer wrote? Since not one player from the 2013 class is still on the team, that in itself calls his knowledge into question. Make sure and Vote and weigh-in.
This was an average draft by the Broncos, in my opinion. Garett Bolles is an outstanding athlete, but I question whether he can hold up against NFL power. DE DeMarcus Walker and TE Jake Butt are solid but not special, while CB Brendan Langley seemed like a reach in the third round based solely on physical traits. I did like sixth-round RB De’Angelo Henderson and seventh-round QB Chad Kelly.
Site: Pro Football Focus
Day 1: The Broncos add to their poor offensive line with Bolles, one of the better run-blocking offensive tackles in the draft. His 83.9 run-blocking grade ranked second in the class, but the same aggressive style also gets him into trouble at times in pass protection where he allowed three sacks, one QB hit and 16 hurries on 472 attempts last season.
Day 2: Walker will add an interior pass-rushing presence for Denver after picking up 17 sacks, 12 QB hits and 34 hurries on 457 rushes in 2016. Henderson is outstanding with the ball in his hands as he forced 48 missed tackles as a receiver last season (next-closest receiver forced 26). If he can polish up his route-running, he’ll be even more dangerous. Langley has size and speed to develop at cornerback and he had a solid showing during Senior Bowl week.
Day 3: Butt was worth the risk in the fifth round. He’s coming off injury, but when healthy, he’s a dependable receiver who can do damage in the middle of the field. His 88.0 receiving grade ranked second among the nation’s tight ends in 2015 and he’s continued to improve as a run-blocker (46.3 in 2015, 69.5 in 2016). McKenzie brings a potential slot receiver where his 2.92 yards per route ranked sixth in the class, but it’s his 11.0 yards per punt return that may have been most appealing to Denver. Mr. Irrelevant goes to Kelly, who has an NFL arm, but a penchant for throwing YOLO balls combined with off-field issues forced him to drop to the end of the draft.
Site: Bleacher Report
Rank: 7 way tie for 23rd with (ATL,BLT, CIN, DAL, MIA, SEA)
Denver for themselves a quality lineman in Garett Bolles. DeMarcus Walker should help the pass rush, and Jake Butt will be an impact tight end down the road.
Site: Sports Illustrated
Rank: 4 way tie for 1st with (HOU, IND, LAC)
GM John Elway opened Denver’s draft festivities by landing the offensive tackle he so badly needed (Garett Bolles, No. 20), and he did so without having to trade up. Also on Elway’s checklist headed into the draft: more bulk for the D-line, a big-play option on offense and perhaps a pass-catching tight end. Enter DT/DE DeMarcus Walker (No. 51), electrifying WR Carlos Henderson (No. 82) and TE Jake Butt (No. 145), who is on his way back from a torn ACL. Third-round cornerback Brendan Langley (No. 101) is a high-upside guy, as well, who should benefit immensely from watching the other Denver DBs. Elway also made perhaps the most fascinating Mr. Irrelevant pick ever: QB Chad Kelly. Does he have any chance of sticking on the roster?
Rank: Tied for 30th with Oakland
This was a confusing draft. Bolles could be good in time, but patience is required. DeMarcus Walker has great sack production in college but might also need development — a pet project for d-line coach Bill Kollar — before he’s a finished product. Jake Butt was worth the risk in Round 5 but is similar to Jeff Heuerman. A gem could be Carlos Henderson, who makes people miss with the ball in his hands. Overall, this is the least excited to be about a John Elway-run draft since he has taken over.
Site: USA Today FTW
We’re getting close to the bottom of these rankings and I’m still seeing classes that I like. Denver’s is another one. The Bolles pick made a lot of sense and Walker will add depth to a defensive line that has lost some key pieces since winning the Super Bowl. Butt could end up being a steal.
Site: CBS Sports/ Pete Prisco
Rank: 8 way tie for 12th with (BUF, IND, NE, NO, PIT, TEN, WAS)
Comments: They needed help up front on the offensive line and landed a solid left tackle in Utah’s Garett Bolles. He is older at 25, and he is raw, but he plays with a nasty streak. Second-round defensive lineman Demarcus Walker will be a nice addition up front. It’s clear they want receiver help, taking two in the first five rounds, and I like third-round receiver Carlos Henderson.
Site: ESPN Mel Kiper
Top needs: Offensive tackle, tight end, defensive line
The questionable: Denver doesn’t have set starters at either tackle spot, and so targeting one in Round 1 was smart. But I had Cam Robinson and Ryan Ramczyk rated higher than Garett Bolles, and Bolles will turn 25 before the season starts. I’m not sold he’ll stick on the left side, and the mauler is probably a better right tackle at this point. If he’s the Day 1 starter on either side, I suspect the Broncos will be happy, but there is at least some risk. That keeps the Broncos out of the range of an “A.”
The good: Virtually everything else. DeMarcus Walker is a perfect fit as an end in the Broncos’ 3-4, and he could move inside in passing situations. He had 16.0 sacks last season. Carlos Henderson is the second-best kick returner in this class and a big-play threat (19 touchdowns last season). I thought Brendan Langley, a Georgia transfer who has played some receiver, could have gone at the end of the second round, and the Broncos got him in the third.
I was surprised Jake Butt lasted until the fifth round, but that torn ACL suffered in the Orange Bowl could delay his season. He was a potential top-40 pick before the injury. The 5-foot-7, 173-pound Isaiah Mckenzie is a dynamic punt returner who could get a few plays per game on offense. Mr. Irrelevant Chad Kelly has too many red flags for my liking. Overall, Broncos fans should be pleased with the value on Days 2 and 3.
Site: Washington Post
Rank: 9 way tie for 20th with (CAR, DAL, DET, MIA, MIN, PHI, SEA, TEN)
The Broncos were right to take an offensive tackle in the first round. Did they get the right one by taking Garett Bolles over Ryan Ramczyk and Cam Robinson? That remains to be seen. Denver’s most productive choice in the draft eventually might end up being TE Jake Butt, who fell to the fifth round after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Orange Bowl.
Site: USA TODAY Nate Davis
Rank: 6 way tie for 25th with (ATL, HOU, IND, KC, SEA)
Denver Broncos: First rounder Garett Bolles appears like the lone rookie likely to start much in 2017. He lacks experience and will soon turn 25 but seems like an ideal fit physically for an offense that badly needed a left tackle. Second-round pass rusher DeMarcus Walker and third-round WR Carlos Henderson have the opportunity to earn some snaps this year. Third-round CB Brendan Langley and fifth-round TE Jake Butt probably won’t contribute much in 2017, but Butt could become a Heath Miller clone down the line if he overcomes his Orange Bowl knee injury.