Round 1, No. 20 overall: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
My take: Offenses around the league have reaped the rewards of a tight end who can win matchups in the passing game, and the Broncos have certainly struggled to join that party in recent seasons. Fant gives them the potential to have immediate impact in their new offense. At 6-foot-4 1/8 inches and 249 pounds, Fant ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the combine, so he has the speed to beat linebackers in coverage and the size to overwhelm many defensive backs, especially the nickel cornerbacks who try to line up across from him in the slot.
A need position: Since Owen Daniels caught 46 passes with three touchdowns in the 2015 season, the Broncos haven’t had a tight end finish the season with more than 31 receptions. Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway has used three picks in the previous four drafts combined on tight ends, and all three — Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli — have each missed at least one season with an injury. Fant is now the fourth tight end the team has drafted in the last five drafts.
Passed on the QBs: Elway likely showed what he really thought of this year’s class of quarterbacks the moment he made the trade for Joe Flacco early on in the offseason. And Elway showed it once again Thursday when, with Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock still on the board, the Broncos traded out of the No. 10 spot to move down to No. 20. And with Lock still on the board, Elway then took Fant. Elway and coach Vic Fangio have each said repeatedly they think the team can win and get back in the playoffs with Flacco, and they stuck to that in the first round Thursday night.
What’s next: With the potential of a trade of cornerback Chris Harris Jr. still on the table or a long contract holdout if they elect not to trade him, the Broncos have a need at cornerback. They also need an interior player in the offensive line to go with inside linebacker.