Grading The Denver Broncos 2017 Draft & Undrafted Free Agent Classes

In Part I, Senior Draft Analyst Erick Trickel examined the Draft classes and undrafted free agent classes of Denver's Divisional rivals. In Part II, he grades the Broncos Draft & UDFA haul.

Denver Broncos | 2016 record 9-7 (Third Place)

Draft Picks: 8 | Total UDFA: 16 Trades: 3

Draft Rundown

Round 1, Pick 20: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

http://www.scout.com/player/195266-garett-bolles?s=101

Analysis: Bolles is a small reach by my board, where he sat as the 38th overall player. So he went 18 picks higher than my grade. However, the Broncos had him as a top-10 player on their board and got him at 20.

Pick Value Grade: 84.

Round 2, Pick 51: DeMarcus Walker, DL, Florida State

http://www.scout.com/player/159315-demarcus-walker?s=101

Analysis: Walker was a big reach by my board, and with what I have been able to gather among sources not only in the NFL but within the Broncos, he was a reach all-around.

Pick Value Grade: 23.

Round 3, Pick 82: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech

http://www.scout.com/player/157484-carlos-henderson?s=101

Analysis: Henderson actually was higher on my board than Bolles was, though by only one spot. From information I've gathered, Henderson was one prospect that multiple NFL wide receiver coaches pushed hard for, but their teams kept passing over him for a different player.

Pick Value Grade: 97.

Round 3, Pick 101 (Comp): Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar

http://www.scout.com/player/160691-brendan-langley?s=101

Analysis: Langley was one of many smaller school corners who was highly regarded. I had a scout point him out to me, and send me a few cutups to watch of him. 

He is a really impressive athlete. Langley is raw, but has really good upside. He ended up with a mid fourth-round grade from me and NFL teams were higher on him than that. A team tried moving ahead of Denver to pick Langley.

Pick Value Grade: 87.

Trade: Broncos send RB Kapri Bibbs & a 5th (#177)  to San Francisco for a 2018 4th

Analysis: This is a really underrated trade by John Elway and the Broncos. Kapri Bibbs didn’t have much support within the team and he was a long shot to make the roster.

The 2018 draft is expected to be just as deep, if not deeper, than this year’s class. Essentially, Denver sent a player the 49ers could have gotten for free later and a fifth for what will likely be an early fourth round pick in another deep class and in a year they aren’t expected to pick up many, if any, compensatory picks.

Trade Value Grade: 95.

Trade: Broncos send a 4th (#126) & a 7th (#252) to Cleveland for a 5th (#145) & a 5th (#175)

Analysis: A good trade, but not as quietly awesome as the previous one. Denver moved down 19 spots, when they had multiple players really closely graded.

This allowed them to sit back and see how the board continued to fall and clarify it for when they were on the clock again.

Trade Value Grade: 87.

Round 5, Pick 145: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

http://www.scout.com/player/156747-jake-butt?s=101

Analysis: Butt is really good value here, if he is able to return to pre-injury form after a second serious knee injury. He was a 60 pick and positive value for Denver per my board. If he was healthy, he would’ve gone in the middle of the second round.

Pick Value Grade: 96.

Trade: Broncos send a 5th (#175) & a 7th (#238) to Green Bay for a 5th (#172)

Analysis: The Broncos had a guy in their sights that they wanted badly, which forced them to move up. After contacting sources, I was able to discover there were four other teams looking to move up for their next pick, plus one of the teams at 173 or 174 were looking to pick this player up.

Trade Value Grade: 85

Round 5, Pick 172: Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Georgia

http://www.scout.com/player/174150-isaiah-mckenzie?s=101

Analysis: The Broncos wanted returners and they went and got them. McKenzie was unranked on my board, as I didn’t get around to scouting him. For NFL teams, he was highly thought of for his explosiveness and return ability.

Pick Value Grade: 79.

Round 6, Pick 203: De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina

http://www.scout.com/player/216910-de-angelo-henderson?s=101

Analysis: This pick is very underrated by Broncos fans. Henderson is small and quick, but is tough as nails and unafraid to lay a hit on defenders trying to bring him down. He is one of the higher valued picks by my board as he had a late third grade.

NFL teams also thought highly of him, but the depth of the running back class saw him, among other running backs, fall.

Pick Value Grade: 86.

Round 7, Pick 253: Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss

http://www.scout.com/player/151694-chad-kelly?s=101

Analysis: Kelly was one of over 400 players I watched, but was one of the few who didn’t get a grade. He has a good arm and athleticism, but needs work with decisions, mechanics, vision and many other things.

The big thing here is the off-the-field stuff and ego. A really high risk with a high possible reward.

Pick Value Grade: 50.

Best Value: Carlos Henderson.

Worst Value: DeMarcus Walker.

Total Draft Value Grade: 93.

Analysis: Denver made a lot of smart moves with this draft. They stuck to their board and waited with a few exceptions. One key difference from this year to previous years is the fact that Denver brought in analytics to their college scouting, something more and more teams are doing and it is working out more and more.

The trades Denver made were calculated, and didn’t scream Denver being taken like in previous years.

Best Valued UDFAErik AustellJamal CarterKen EkanemDeon HollinsTyrique JarrettKyle Sloter.

Analysis: This is a group of talented undrafted free agents that can come in and compete — not for starting spots, or big roles even, but for bottom of the depth chart and practice squad. Denver has a long history of finding talent in their undrafted pool.

They had a streak of 11 years where at least one UDFA made their 53-man roster and that streak ended in 2015. It's worth noting the next year (2016) two UDFA made the 53-man roster. 

They don’t always become great talents, but they contribute. Broncos star cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. and starting running back C.J. Anderson were undrafted. There are multiple names that stand out as possibilities to keep that going this year.

UDFA Value Grade: 86.

Total Value Grade: 90.

Conclusion

The Broncos have one of the highest total value grades in all the NFL and stand in the top 10. They had a great draft and undrafted free agent haul.

The Broncos passed on some bigger names with fans, namely Reuben Foster (due to serious medical concerns), but they stayed true to their board — outside of one pick, which may or may not have been in due to an error.

Erick Trickel is the Senior Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ErickTrickel.

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