With a crushing defeat against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl still fresh in their minds this off-season, the Denver Broncos entered the 2014 NFL Draft on the heels of an ambitious and risky spending spree in free agency. Having already spent big money on cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward, and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware to address their most glaring holes on defense, the Broncos entered the draft with the luxury of letting things play out and adding players to tweak their roster.
In the midst of the Peyton Manning era in Denver, the team has to weigh the need to get better on defense with the temptation of giving Manning even more weapons on the offensive side of the ball. So how did they do with that balancing act in the draft? Let’s take a look.
Best pick: Bradley Roby, CB
In line with their “all in” philosophy this off-season, the Broncos went with a boom or bust guy. The beauty of the position in which the Broncos find themselves is the fact that Roby could bust and they still have other capable players to fill in. If Roby pops it just adds another elite talent to a secondary that was battered at the end of last season.
This move was well worth the risk, especially at the end of the first round.
Worst pick: Lamin Barrow, LB
I’m not sure this is even to take a shot at Barrow or to suggest that he won’t work out at the inside linebacker spot. I just think the Broncos would have been wise to address that spot much sooner in the draft. Cody Latimer and his outstanding hands at wide receiver might work out to be a great second round pick, but the Broncos could have used that spot for a plug-and-play middle linebacker.
I probably won’t feel this way the first time I see Latimer make a catch in traffic, and maybe John Elway and company were simply following their board and taking the best guy available, but I wanted them to try sooner to improve the mediocrity at middle linebacker. The Broncos will hope that Barrow makes them look wise as a 5th round pick.
Other notable picks: Latimer, WR, and Michael Scofield, T.