Will Denver skip the QB position in the 2022 NFL draft?

2022 NFL Draft Denver Broncos

There’s a reason why Denver’s roster was recently ranked by ESPN and Pro Football Focus as the deepest in the league. The team is stocked with solid-to-great veterans at nearly every position, and much of its young talent from recent drafts are starting to shine.

So the popular opinion is that Denver just needs to add a star quarterback to vault back into Super Bowl contention. (Remember the Aaron Rodgers-to-Denver rumors?)

But, aside from quarterback, question marks are on the horizon as several key players will be free agents at the end of the season, including linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Kyle Fuller, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick.

Will Denver go after a QB in the 2022 NFL draft? Maybe not – and here’s why:

Round 1: DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

With Bridgewater set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. quarterback would seem to be the biggest need here. But even if Denver could put together a big enough trade package to move up in the draft, what QB moves the needle enough to do so? Most evaluators have at least one QB going in the top-10 – at this point, that would be Ole Miss’ Matt Corral – but he’s unlikely to fall to Denver should the Broncos draft somewhere in the teens to 20s. This is also considered a relatively weak QB class, so trading up for Corral or another signal-caller seems unlikely. Instead, the team could decide to strengthen both sides of the line, starting with the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Leal. Leal gets most of his snaps at defensive tackle for Texas A&M, but the Aggies have used him at defensive end, too, with mixed results. Alabama’s Evan Neal, for example, faced Leal one-on-one for 13 snaps, according to PFF, and kept Leal in check. Leal finished with seven tackles, but only one was a solo stop, and he failed to record a tackle for loss or a sack. Still, Leal is an enticing talent — his six pressures against Alabama last week tied him with teammate Michael Clemons for the most in the SEC — and he would likely play opposite Dre’Mont Jones at defensive end in the Broncos’ 3-4 front, a position that may be Leal’s best at the next level. “Honestly, I think (Leal) is probably like a Trey Flowers, where he heads up over tackles maybe, like an old-school 3-4 defensive end, kind of the base or strong-side end in a 4-3 or one of these hybrid ends,” PFF’s Mike Renner said during a recent podcast. “Obviously, no one has that true one-position player anymore … (and) he’s not going to be the guy who is three feet outside your tight end with his hand or with both his hands in the air. He’s probably your guy who’s kicking inside when you need him.”

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