Future Broncos: The path to more 2024 NFL Draft selections

Future Broncos: The path to more 2024 NFL Draft selections
Future Broncos: The path to more 2024 NFL Draft selections

The Denver Broncos have dropped their first three games of the season and face a winless Chicago Bears team on Sunday. I’ve dubbed the event Tank Bowl 2024—simply for the fact that the loser will have a much better shot at nabbing a top selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Also because virtually everyone across Broncos Country seems to be more interested in a higher draft pick then the team scraping out five to seven wins and drafting outside the Top 5 or Top 10.

So where do the Broncos stand right now as far as 2024 draft capital is concerned? Unfortunately, they don’t have many selections at all. They currently only have six picks for next April. That simply isn’t enough to fill all the holes they have on the roster and undoubtedly need to find a way to get more.

Current Slate of 2024 Denver Broncos Draft Selections

  • First-Round Selection: Original
  • Third-Round Selection: Unknown if Original or via Saints
  • Fourth-Round Selection: Unknown of Original or via Dolphins
  • Fifth-Round Sections: Original and via Jets
  • Seventh-Round Selection: Unknown if Original or via Rams

By looking at the link above, it’s kind of hard to figure out what is all going on, but this is the best way I can explain the breakdown.

The Broncos received an extra third-round pick in 2024, but lost their second-round selection in the Sean Payton trade. One of those third-round selections was used to move up and acquire cornerback Riley Moss in last year’s draft.

When the trade happened, we assumed that the slotting would be a small flip, but with New Orleans doing well to start the year and the Broncos doing bad, we are looking at the potential of a gigantic spot-drop in the Saints’ favor and to the Broncos’ detriment.

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Denver received an extra fourth-round pick in 2024 via the Bradley Chubb trade, but one of those selections will go to the Jets as part of the Jacob Martin trade—which obviously ended up being a bad trade by George Paton. Luckily, they will get a fifth-round selection back from New York, but that’s still not an ideal trade.

While they also received a 2024 seventh-round selection from the Los Angeles Rams in the Kenny Young trade a few years ago, one of their selections is going to the Saints for kicker Will Lutz.

Trading Down in the First-Round

A lot of Broncos Country has their hopes set for Caleb Williams of USC who is squaring off against Colorado this afternoon. Paton is in attendance for the event, so he will get a up close and first-hand look at the draft’s top eligible prospect regardless of positions.

I don’t think the Broncos finish poorly enough to be picking number one. In fact, I am not sure enough they are bad enough to earn a Top 5 selection. Payton has had three teams that have started out 0-3 and all of them went on to finish 7-9 overall. That usually puts you outside the Top 10 in selections and likely in the 12 to 17 range.

In the event the Broncos limp their way to mediocrity during their 2023 campaign, the best way for them to get more draft picks is by trading down in the first-round. Whether it is one more or a few, if they aren’t picking super early they need to trade back and get as much other capital is possible because most all the top prospects will be off the board by then.

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In that scenario, quantity over quality makes the most sense.

A Fire Sale

Scotty Payne first mentioned this earlier in the week. If the Broncos continue to perform badly and have only a few wins by the trade deadline—they absolutely need to be sellers.

I don’t think the Broncos would get top-tier value for the guys they have. Though someone like Justin Simmons could net them a pretty good return, but likely than the first-round value Payne had mentioned in his article. In addition to Simmons, players like Garett Bolles, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Randy Gregory could garner some interest.

Bolles and Jeudy would likely get the most value after Simmons—I’d wager a late Day 2 selection would be an apt return for either. Additionally, I don’t think fans should expect much more than a mid-to-late Day 3 selection in return for Sutton or Gregory if they were to be moved.

If the Broncos could find themselves a way to get a couple of Day 2 picks and a few other outside the Top 150 by trading any combination of the aforementioned that would be a win in my opinion—and a big boost toward getting the draft capital necessary to engage in a full-blown rebuild that they desperately need.

Moving 2025 NFL Draft Capital for 2024 NFL Draft Capital

The Broncos probably aren’t going to get any compensatory selections after their big free agent spending spree, so it would be wise to consider an alternative to the aforementioned. However, it is one that fans would find least appealing because it impacts draft capital down the road.

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I’m usually not a strong proponent of moving future picks to acquire selections in a current year, but there is an exception to this. If a highly-rated player is on the board at a position of need who can contribute and be a starter immediately, I have no problems sending off future capital to get such prospects in the fold right away.

The spot difference between the Broncos’ first-round pick and where they will be picking in the third-round (as of now) is gargantuan. I don’t feel they can just sit around and let 50 to 60 picks fly off the board next April and expect to get immediate contributors. Sometimes you have to pay to play and given what we know, it might pay off a bit to be aggressive and move future picks to take advantage of an incredibly deep overall class in 2024.

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