2021 NFL Draft Grades: Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos left the 2020 season in last place in the AFC West with a 5-11 record. The Broncos struggled through injuries and COVID-19 protocols to find the end zone during games. Coming into the offseason, the Broncos were in a mindset of coming back bigger and better. This meant parting ways with players such as Philip Lindsay and bolstering up the defense in the free agency. Another aspect looking toward the 2021 season was the draft as they looked for defensive strength to add depth to their roster.

Round 1, pick 9: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Patrick Surtain was a great pick for the Broncos defense. Former five-star recruit Surtain is a force on the field and will add depth to the roster. Starting for the majority of his time at Alabama, Surtain is someone who utilizes size and strength to make moves on the field. Being smooth moving and being that good lead, to the Broncos picking this Bama player this draft. While his stats don’t fully reflect how dominant he is on the field, it doesn’t undo the potential he has. Surtain is someone who finds his spot of the lineup and asserts his name to be known. He will be a huge benefit to the Broncos as he pairs alongside recent additions Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby.

Grade: A

Round 2, pick 35: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Javonte Williams is a strong player ready to fill big shoes on the Broncos roster. Someone who is looking to receive that starting position as he is an intense player. Williams is a hands on player who has multiple broken tackles under his belt and will be useful in touches during game. The Broncos traded up for Williams as they saw the potential he possesses. Not only did the Broncos see his potential, but several analysts also saw the potential as they considered him one of the best if not the best running back in the draft. 

Grade: A

Round 3, pick 98: Quinn, Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater

While the Broncos have offensive depth, it never hurts to add more. Meinerz is a strong offensive player who shows up and puts in consistent work. Posting workout videos and training videos to show off the strength and dedication to his craft that made him a standout player for scouts and teams. Quick-moving and footwork-heavy, he dominates the field blocking pushing back opponents. Meinerz has the potential to take the starting position pushing his way to be a household name. 

Grade: B+

Round 3, pick 105: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State

Browning was an easy choice for the Broncos as they had the position to fill and saw potential in this draft pick. While the Broncos have starting linebackers ready to begin the 2021 season, Browning could see a few games on the starting line. He is someone who is dominant on the field, always attacking the ball to lead to big plays. A player where football has been in his veins he has acquired multiple honorable mentions as well as contributed to entering national title games. Browning has potential but will need some advising when entering the NFL to guide his plays and enhance his game. 

Grade: B

Round 5, pick 152: Caden Sterns, S, Texas

While the Broncos have a strong safety lineup they didn’t want to pass up this opportunity with Sterns. Sterns is a strong contender for the special teams but has a good work ethic. While Sterns played a crucial role at Texas, he needs time to grow into the NFL style player the team is looking for. Sterns was a good pick up for the Broncos but it’s unlikely to see him in the starting lineup anytime soon. 

Grade: C

Round 5, pick 164: Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

Jamar Johnson was a pick no one expected from the Broncos especially after having already selected a safety. While Johnson is someone who is diligent on the field in finding the ball and is versatile he doesn’t have stand out skills. When trying to make the team, he will need to develop multiple skills such as tackling and patience in different pursuits. While down the line Jamar could be a key player for the Broncos, he will have to train to keep up in the NFL. 

Grade: D

Round 6, pick 219: Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

Seth Williams is a player who has great potential for the NFL. The Broncos need receivers willing to fight for the ball and make their names known. Williams has a shot to make the roster come September if he develops more skill in putting up yards. Despite being bigger, Williams is a fast moving player who maximizes his size to catch plays. While he needs to improve on his run game and scoring touchdowns, he has potential on this Denver team. 

Grade: C

Round 7, pick 237: Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU

Athleticism and speed are something Kary Vincent Jr. has benefited him coming into the 2021 draft, which sparked the Broncos attention. However, this pick was one Broncos country is not sure about. Vincent Jr. is a player who will have to fight for his spot even just to make the special teams as he isn’t a stand out individual. He can add speed to the team, but other players in the lineup offer speed and guaranteed coverage that Vincent doesn’t produce. It is unlikely we will see Vincent in the starting lineup anytime soon, so it is unclear why the Broncos chose this player. 

Grade: D-

Round 7, pick 239: Jonathan Cooper, DE, Ohio State

Jonathan Cooper is someone who embodies the NFL stereotype but doesn’t produce like an NFL player. With lack of instinct and inconsistency, he is going to need an enormous amount of training to match other players fighting for his same spot. He is coming into the draft class with fellow team member Baron Browning a key player on the Broncos mind which could boost his chances of making the team if these two can produce a dynamic on offense and defense. Cooper will need to improve in order to see his name come September. His plays are robotic and uncontrolled at the same time which needs to be changed by coaches to produce that hard hitting defense to fight opponents offensive lines.

Grade: D

Round 7, pick 253: Marquiss Spencer, DE, Mississippi State

Depth is something the Broncos wanted to produce with this year’s 2021 draft class. Marquiss Spencer is someone who will help the lineup in these efforts. While Von Miller is the starting pick for the Broncos, having Spencer to learn under him will give the opportunity to the Broncos to create someone with the attitude and game style as Miller racks up their roster. While he struggles with sloppy mistakes and not being as effective as you would like, he is a strong player who leaves no step or plays undone. With the help of the coaching staff it is likely will see his name on the roster. 

Grade: B-

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