How did the Broncos 2020 NFL Draft Class play out? Let’s run through each pick.
The Broncos 2020 NFL Draft came and went very quickly. We all, including myself, were just chomping at the bit for some sports of some sort. The three-day affair felt like it went much quicker overall that it seemed to in the past. With the draft being virtual this year, I was sure we were going to see some mishaps, but it went seemingly very well.
Nonetheless, let’s get into the point. From the outside looking in, I have heard few people say, why did the Broncos draft three wide receivers and a tight end? Don’t they have Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, and other depth receivers? Yes, yes they do. However, one can never have too many weapons. It gives Drew Lock many other options instead of just feeding the ball to one or two different guys. But they also need to see if Lock is the real deal. They spent a second-round pick on him last year, they want to see if he is their quarterback of the future.
Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama – Round 1, Pick 15
KJ Hamler, WR Penn St. – Round 2, Pick 46
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE Missouri – Round 4, Pick 118
Tyrie Cleveland, WR Florida – Round 7, Pick 252
Jerry Jeudy was the number one receiver on many teams draft boards, including mine. So it was plenty surprising to see Jeudy falling to the Broncos at pick 15. If Jeudy would have gone to the Raiders (who took the first receiver off the board in Henry Ruggs), would the Broncos have gone with a different receiver or with another position of need, namely offensive line? One can only say, but the Broncos pick was exceptional. Jeudy gives Lock another weapon to throw to. It will also take some pressure off of Sutton and the rest of the receivers. Jeudy is a very good route runner. He can also spread the field any way he wants too and can move the ball upfield as well as the chains.
As for KJ Hamler, he is a perfect complement to Jeudy and Sutton. He is a small but shifty player out of the slot or even on the outside. He is a different weapon to add to this offense. There are a few things he will need to work on to become a major asset as a slot receiver. He will need to work on breaking tackles better as well as his catch radius. If he can accomplish those things, he is a guy that is waiting to explode.
The tight end class for 2020 wasn’t the best for big names. Albert Okuegbunam certainly had a big name. While the yardage doesn’t show it, Albert O certainly made a big impact in his three years at Missouri. He finished his college career with 23 touchdowns. That’s impressive, especially in the defense rich SEC. That’s why the Broncos drafted him. He produced. Like I said above, you can never have enough playmakers. Running two tight end sets can cause matchup problems for the defense and with Jeudy and Sutton on the outside and Melvin Gordon and/or Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. Albert O has good speed for his size, running a 4.49 40-yard dash.
Tyrie Cleveland has good size to be an asset on special teams. I don’t see him really overtaking the other depth wide receivers, but can make his name elsewhere. He will need to use his size better to help create the separation from the defense. Cleveland has a good catch radius and good hands. He will need to improve more as a receiver to become more than a special teams guy.
Michael Ojemudia, CB Iowa – Round 3, Pick 77
Most had a feeling that the Broncos would be drafting a cornerback at some point in this draft after letting nine-year vet Chris Harris go. I don’t see Michael Ojemudia starting this season. He is talented but raw. They traded for A.J. Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars and have Bryce Callahan returning after missing last season with an injury. So he will have a chance to learn the game better while being behind two solid starters. They could have waited a bit longer on cornerback and got the same guy a few rounds later.
Lloyd Cushenberry III, C LSU – Round 3, Pick 83
Netane Muti, G Fresno State – Round 6, Pick 181
Lloyd Cushenberry could have easily gone in the first round if more teams needed interior offensive linemen. Instead, he fell all the way to the middle of the third round. The former LSU star was the third center taken off the board. The offensive line has been an issue for quite a while. It did get better over the past year or so once Garrett Boles reduced the holding penalties. Cushenberry could possibly be the starting center when the season rolls around. They lost Connor McGovern to the Jets, but also signed guard Graham Glasgow from the Lions. He is good in the run game (see 2019 Clyde Edwards-Helaire), and the better in the passing game. Just what Lock needs, time to make his reads and make plays.
It never hurts to have depth on the offensive line. Netane Muti has great upper body strength (44 reps at the combine) and is able to create running lanes. However, he struggled with injuries during his time at Fresno State. Muti has the ability to become a starter but if he can overcome injuries
McTelvin Agim, DL Arkansas – Round 3, Pick 95
Derrek Tuszka, EDGE North Dakota State – Round 7, Pick 254
After losing long-time Bronco Derek Wolfe to the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, the Broncos needed some depth at nose tackle. While raw at the nose tackle position (played defensive end before), he still possesses the skills to be an effective overall rusher. He is able to use his experience as a defensive end and get into the backfield, disrupting the play. Agim won’t start year one but will be a solid backup to Mike Purcell. He would be more ideal in a 4-3 system, but learning from newly acquired Jurrell Casey should help his development as well.
Derrek Tuszka knows what it takes to win. At North Dakota State, Tuszka won four National Championships in five years. He is more of a fit in a base 4-3 defense but can play in a 3-4 situation as well. He may struggle with the competition going from the FCS to the NFL. Tuszka is a project but can learn from one of the best in Von Miller. It could be a surprise pickup for Denver.
Justin Strnad, LB Wake Forest – Round 5, Pick 178
Justin Strnad could be one of the steals of the draft. Strnad is a tweener. He is a smaller linebacker or a bigger safety. But don’t let that fool you. He packs an aggressive punch to his game. Strnad is explosive and will hit you hard. He could struggle against bigger backs due to his size, but he will disrupt the running backs path. Strnad does have some injury problems, which is probably why he dropped in the draft, but if everything checks out he could be a contributor at inside linebacker. Todd Davis has only one year left on his contract which could pave the way for him to start alongside Josey Jewell in 2021. You can read more here on Strnad.
You can follow me on Twitter @ejh1528, the dedicated Broncos on Twitter @DowntownBroncos, and the Downtown Sports Network @DTSportsNetwork. Please leave any comments or suggestions below. Thanks for reading and enjoy!