Denver Broncos' 2017 draft class: Kiper's grades, McShay's best pick, more
NFL Draft Insiders
Posted: 2017-05-01

The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?

ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.



Denver Broncos

Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: B+

Kiper: The questionable: Denver doesn't have set starters at either tackle spot, and so targeting one in Round 1 was smart. But I had Cam Robinson and Ryan Ramczyk rated higher than Garett Bolles, and Bolles will turn 25 before the season starts. I'm not sold he'll stick on the left side, and the mauler is probably a better right tackle at this point. If he's the Day 1 starter on either side, I suspect the Broncos will be happy, but there is at least some risk. That keeps the Broncos out of the range of an "A."

The good: Virtually everything else. DeMarcus Walker is a perfect fit as an end in the Broncos' 3-4, and he could move inside in passing situations. He had 16.0 sacks last season. Carlos Henderson is the second-best kick returner in this class and a big-play threat (19 touchdowns last season). I thought Brendan Langley, a Georgia transfer who has played some receiver, could have gone at the end of the second round, and the Broncos got him in the third.

I was surprised Jake Butt lasted until the fifth round, but that torn ACL suffered in the Orange Bowl could delay his season. He was a potential top-40 pick before the injury. The 5-foot-7, 173-pound Isaiah Mckenzie is a dynamic punt returner who could get a few plays per game on offense. Mr. Irrelevant Chad Kelly has too many red flags for my liking. Overall, Broncos fans should be pleased with the value on Days 2 and 3.

ROUND/PICK NAME POS COLLEGE
1/20 Garett Bolles OT UTAH
2/51 DeMarcus Walker DE FLORIDA STATE
3/82 Carlos Henderson WR LOUISIANA TECH
3/101 Brendan Langley CB LAMAR
5/145 Jake Butt TE MICHIGAN
5/172 Isaiah McKenzie WR GEORGIA
6/203 De'Angelo Henderson RB COASTAL CAROLINA
7/253 Chad Kelly QB OLE MISS



Todd McShay's favorite pick

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan (pick No. 145)

The Broncos landed Butt as part of a trade down in the fourth round. They used the extra fifth-round pick acquired in that deal to move up to get one of my favorite players in the draft, Georgia WR/RS Isaiah McKenzie. This was terrific value for Butt. The only reason he fell to the fifth round was the torn ACL he suffered in the Orange Bowl. Make no mistake: When healthy, Butt can be a Tyler Eifert-type playmaker in the NFL. He has the size, agility and route-running skills to consistently get separation from coverage. And when the ball comes his way, he shows really strong hands, particularly when catching the ball in traffic. Butt fills a huge need for the Broncos: They finished 31st in the league last season with only 53 catches from tight ends.

Scouts Inc. on 2017 class

1 (20) Garett Bolles, OT, Utah, Houston | Highlights

What he brings: Bolles is the most athletic offensive lineman in the class. He possesses quick feet and lateral agility with the length to develop into a starting left tackle. Needs to continue to get stronger in his lower half but has very good agility to cover up defenders as a run-blocker. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: A Denver offense that finished 31st in third-down efficiency (34.2 percent) and 26th in the red zone (46.8 TD percentage) last year needs a starting left tackle, and Bolles fills that need. Taking him also allows free-agent signing Menelik Watson and Donald Stephenson to compete for the right tackle spot. -- Steve Muench



2 (19) DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State | Highlights

What he brings: Walker has some athletic limitations, but he makes up for it with outstanding instincts, technique and hand usage. He has a strong point of attack against the run and shows the ability to reduce inside as pass-rusher where he is most effective with his initial quickness and great understanding for leverage. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: After losing Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams in free agency the past couple of offseasons, the Broncos needed to infuse some interior pass-rushing help. Walker also should help improve a rushing defense that ranked 28th in 2016. -- Kevin Weidl



3 (18) Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech | Highlights

What he brings: Henderson is on the smaller side, and he's had some problems staying healthy, but he's a tenacious competitor who separates, catches the ball well and is a threat to turn a catch underneath into a big play. He's also fast enough to stretch the field. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in receiving last season, but no other receiver or tight end had over 23 catches. Henderson should step into that No. 3 role. -- Steve Muench



3 (37) Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar | Highlights

What he brings: Langley has the length, strength and ball skills to develop into an effective press corner. While we like his ability as a returner (two TDs last season), he shows tightness in coverage and he needs to improve his recognition. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. are signed through 2019 and Denver is expected to pick up the fifth-year option for nickelback Bradley Roby. This is a little early to target Langley, but he's got a high ceiling and is a good fit for defensive coordinator Joe Woods' scheme. -- Steve Muench



5 (1) Jake Butt, TE, Michigan | Highlights

What he brings: Butt tore an ACL against Florida State in the Orange Bowl and consequently hasn't worked out for NFL teams. Beyond the medical concern, he needs to get stronger, but he has good size potential and is a dependable receiver who knows how to get open. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: The Broncos severely need an upgrade at tight end, as their 53 total receptions from the position ranked 31st in the league and 591 total receiving yards ranked 28th. Denver gets great value and a potential steal here with Butt, who could be back as early as August. -- Kevin Weidl



5 (29) Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Georgia | Highlights

What he brings: A true junior, McKenzie is a vastly undersized, showing raw route-running ability and average ball skills. But he has the burst to quickly separate and he's a threat to go the distance whenever he touches the ball as a receiver/return man. -- Steve Muench



6 (19) De'Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina

What he brings: Henderson lacks prototypical size and needs to be more decisive between the tackles, but he's built low to the ground and is an above-average receiver. He also shows good balance and lateral agility to go along with ideal top-end speed. -- Steve Muench



7 (35) Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss

What he brings: The nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, Chad has the natural ability and drive to become a quality backup and potentially start in the NFL. However, there are substantial concerns about his maturity and off-the-field decision-making in addition to his injury history. General manager John Elway adds a talented quarterback with the tools to compete for the job and improve depth. -- Steve Muench



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