Broncos focus on position versatility on Day 2 of NFL draft

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — With only a handful of picks in this year’s NFL draft, the Denver Broncos prioritized versatility in their trio of Day 2 selections.

The Broncos added a deep threat for Russell Wilson in Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr., who lined up as much on the outside as he did on the inside for the Sooners.

In All-American Drew Sanders, they get a tall linebacker with a terrific wingspan who can also shift seamlessly between playing inside and outside, clogging the middle of the field or getting after the passer.

In Iowa’s Riley Moss, they have a defensive back who can play both cornerback and safety, although coach Sean Payton said he envisions Moss starting out at cornerback.

The Broncos entered Friday night with back-to-back selections at Nos. 67 and 68 early in the third round after parting with several premium picks to acquire Wilson from the Seahawks last year and Payton from the Saints this year.

Despite their dearth of draft capital, the Broncos engineered two trades to inch up the board, leaving them with a pair of picks, both in the sixth round, Saturday.

First, the Broncos moved up five spots in a trade with Detroit to select Mims with the final pick of Round 2. After selecting Sanders early in the third round, they jumped back into Round 3 via a trade with Seattle to grab Moss.

Mims, who averaged more than 20 yards per catch in two of his three college seasons, could make an immediate impact because the team’s unsettled receiving room features Jerry Jeudy but includes Tim Patrick, who’s coming back from a torn ACL, Courtland Sutton, who’s never been the same since suffering the same injury in 2020, and oft-injured KJ Hamler, whose latest injury is a torn chest muscle.

Both Payton and GM George Paton said Mims’ addition has nothing to do with the rest of the receiving corps. The GM also said he hadn’t decided yet on whether or not to exercise Jeudy’s fifth-year option this weekend.

Mims lined up outside and in the slot in equal amounts in college. He also returned punts all three years. He said he’s eager to pair his field-stretching ability with one of the league’s all-time best deep ball throwers in Wilson.

“That’ll be a huge plus for me,” Mims said, “just a huge plus for the team.”

Sanders is a versatile linebacker whose 4.58 speed belies his size — 235 pounds and a shade under 6-foot-5. He can cover the middle of the field or rush the passer with equal effectiveness.

“I’m pretty confident in myself to say I can really play anywhere Coach needs me, so inside, outside, I feel I can be a good contributing factor wherever you want to put me,” Sanders said.

Sanders made just three starts in two seasons at Alabama before transferring last year to Arkansas, where he collected 111 tackles and 9 1/2 sacks. He also broke up five passes.

“I wanted to prove a point of getting after the quarterbacks,” Sanders said. “I was pretty proud of the 9 1/2 sacks.”

Moss logged 54 games at Iowa, starting 40 times over five seasons. He collected 11 career interceptions. Asked about playing cornerback or safety in Denver’s star-studded defensive backfield, Moss said he’ll start out by just calling himself a defensive back.

With only a handful of selections in the draft, the Broncos were the biggest spenders in free agency, signing 14 veterans, including inside linebacker Alex Singleton, their leading tackler a year ago, to contracts totaling a whopping $242,647,500.

That was only slightly more than the $242,588,236 they gave Wilson, who signed a five-year extension on the eve of Denver’s dreadful 2022 season.


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