The 2020 draft was a memorable one for the Denver Broncos. You knew it was going to be a good night for John Elway and the Broncos when arguably the most talented receiver in the draft, Jerry Jeudy, dropped to 15 and landed right in the hands of the Broncos. There was quite a lot of talk about Denver potentially trading up to get their main man, but they were able to secure a once-in-a-generation talent with patience and a little bit of luck.
Aside from that, they beefed up on the defensive side and also gave Drew Lock a new center and his old college tight end. We’re going to take a look at some of the newest Broncos and provide draft grades for each pick. Jerry Jeudy gets the easy A+ both because of his talent and Denver’s ability to get him without trading up. The former Alabama receiver ended up being one of the most valuable picks in the entire draft. Let’s take a look at rounds 2-7 and grade each of these picks. Here are the rest of the Broncos’ 2020 draft grades.
Round 2: KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
I really thought Denver would take an offensive lineman here, but this pick showed that the 2020 NFL Draft for the Broncos was about building around quarterback Drew Lock, who they took in last year’s draft. Hamler is no Jeudy, but his 4.27 40-yard dash time will make him an immediate special teams’ weapon. If he improves his route running and catching, he will be a scary Tyreek Hill-like receiver who will compliment Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.
Round 3: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
After Elway surprised everyone by drafting back-to-back receivers in the first two rounds, the Broncos took the speedy cornerback out of Iowa. He fits their defensive scheme, his tackling is off the charts and a 4.45 40-time are three good reasons to believe that whether he starts or not, Ojemudia will see plenty of action at defensive back. He certainly checks the boxes for a first-year starter, but with training camp essentially getting completely cut off, I’d be shocked if Denver is comfortable enough to throw him into man coverage early on in the season.
Round 3: Lloyd Cushenberry III, OL, LSU
The value that Denver was able to find here with Cushenberry was phenomenal. Not only was he one of the top-rated players at his position, but Denver desperately needed to fill the center position. This pick was just another one of many great decisions by Denver and another sign that this team came into the draft with the goal of building around their young quarterback. He provides the size and experience to be a Day 1 starter at center for the Broncos if the former National Champion lineman can stay healthy.
Round 3: McTelvin Agim, DL, Arkansas
After their defensive line took a hit during free agency with the departure of Derek Wolfe, I was pretty surprised Denver waited this long to jump on a pass rusher. The former EDGE rusher also has 14.5 career sacks, which makes him an immediate threat to start. The Broncos picked this guy because he’s a strong and athletic talent that can play essentially any position on the defensive line. Agim is a guy with a ton of upside that Denver felt was good enough to wait on, despite the desperate need to fill up the defensive line. That right there should show you how confident they are in this pick.
Round 4: Albert Okweugbunam, TE, Missouri
The Broncos took tight end Noah Fant with their first rounder in 2019 which is one of a few things that made this pick very interesting one, but a good one. One more important note is that there is no connection like a great QB-TE connection. Brady to Gronk. Brees to Graham. Romo to Witten. All of these great quarterbacks had one thing in common: they had a tight end that they relied on to catch everything thrown in their direction. Okweugbunam was one of Drew Lock’s top targets at school and runs a 40-yard dash faster than a majority of the receivers. I doubt Denver came into the fourth round with the plan to take another tight end, but Okweugbunam, between his speed and history with Lock, was a no-brainer here for Denver.
Round 5: Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest
Strnad was gone by the third round in a handful of the mock drafts that I saw, but the linebacker from Wake Forest dropped all the way to the middle of the fifth round. The 240-pound unit had bicep surgery last year which definitely didn’t help his draft stock. That being said, his athleticism is off the charts which makes him a valuable asset to this defense whether his biceps are back at full strength or not. He might not be an immediate standout star in the NFL, but this is great value for a 5th rounder.
Round 6: Netane Muti, DL, Fresno State
This pick will go unnoticed by a lot of experts because of Muti’s college injury history, but Denver once again was able to reel in a guy with early-round talent on the last day of the draft. He won’t be an immediate starter and will have to stay healthy if he wants to reach his true potential, but Muti led all draftees in bench press reps at the combine (44) and has the athletic ability to eventually be a starter. They just gotta keep the guy out of the ER.
Round 7: Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Florida, and Derrek Tuszka, EDGE, North Dakota State
Denver jumped on a receiver and another potential defensive lineman here in the last round. Cleveland is a fast and physical receiver that will tower over some defenders with his 6’2’’ 209-pound frame. Despite a lack of production at Florida, Cleveland’s raw talent was enough for Denver to jump on him in the last round. Tuszka, on the other hand, was more of a reach for Denver. He’s 6’4’’ and runs like a horse, so his athleticism won’t be an issue. The bigger question will be whether he can produce in the NFL or not. Either way, these were two good grabs with high upside for Denver in the last round of the draft.
Overall, Denver killed it. They came into this draft with the goal of building around Drew Lock and it seemed as if every pick fell right into their hands. It started in the first round when Jerry Jeudy, who many experts had falling no further down than the 10th pick, landed with the Broncos. They found their starting center, added depth at cornerback, and started to rebuild a defensive line that used to be one of the NFL’s best. Denver’s draft could not have gone better.
Final Grade: A