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NFL Draft

3 Offensive Free Agents Broncos Should Target

  • The Draft Network
  • March 11, 2021
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For the group from Mile High, it’s more about progression than immediate production led by now third-year signal-caller Drew Lock. 

Tasked with the seemingly unthinkable in unseating the Kansas City Chiefs as their reign of terror continues in the AFC West, head coach Vic Fangio and general manager George Paton head into the spring with loads of cap space and a roster in desperate need of added talent on the heels of its fifth consecutive non-playoff campaign.

Here are three offensive players they should target when free agency opens.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts

As Indianapolis preferred to move on from Philip Rivers by trading for Carson Wentz, the starting QB position was locked up for the foreseeable future, leaving Brissett in a precarious situation. Still just 28 years old, Brissett could opt for greener pastures that would allow him to compete for a starting job in training camp.

Under Lock, the Broncos have received a mixed bag of both flashes of superstardom and poor overall play. Unfortunately for Denver, it’s been much more of the latter. Enter Brissett, who touts Super Bowl pedigree from his time in New England with excellent mobility and leadership skills; two characteristics Lock has lacked. 

The best-case scenario would be to bring in Brissett without having him play significant snaps, as the Broncos still believe they have something special in the former second-round selection in Lock. Current backups Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel wouldn’t scare anyone about taking their job, so it would seem vital for Fangio to add a competitor in Brissett who not only would push Lock for QB1 reps, but ultimately take over under center if things go haywire. 

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Mack’s 2020 season ended in a blink of an eye following an Achilles tear in Week 1. He will be good to go by the start of offseason workouts and would provide the Broncos with a true 1B option alongside Melvin Gordon if Phillip Lindsay isn’t tendered (or is given a right of first refusal tender and Denver elects not to match another team’s offer).

Not only has he progressed into one of the league’s top rushers, but Mack is excellent in pass protection, consistently working with pristine execution and fundamentals as a blocker—a trait rarely seen in today’s game. He’s an all-around back who would immediately compete to earn a bulk of the snaps. 

Out of USF, Mack arrived quietly onto the NFL scene, landing in Indianapolis as a fourth-round selection in 2017. Following his rookie year, Mack exploded for 908 yards and nine scores in 2018, a precursor to his 2019 campaign where Mack totaled more than 1,000 yards in just 11 games. Now healthy, Mack could return to pre-injury form pairing with Gordon as a formidable rushing duo within the Denver backfield. 

Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

Life comes at you fast. Following five seasons in Kansas City including an All-Pro selection in 2018 and Super Bowl title in 2019, Schwartz is now without a job following his release from the Chiefs on Thursday. 

The Broncos’ offensive line has developed into one of the league’s best under former general manager John Elway, who expended massive assets to bolster a once diminished front five. However, a major question lies at right tackle with Ja’Wuan James expected to return following a two-year layoff. Following an injury-riddled 2019 season, James opted out of the 2020 campaign. 

Simply put, if not for the $10 million guarantee James has coming in 2021, the Broncos would have moved on from him; they still should. He drew $17 million in 2019, his first season with the Broncos, and in return he gave them just three starts, none of which he lasted past halftime. It comes down to how effective James will be in 2021. 

Backup Calvin Anderson has received rave reviews from coaches, and the team has shown their commitment to him by re-signing him prior to free agency, but Schwartz is frankly on a different level than both James and Anderson. If Paton and Fangio want a true gauge on their future under center, adding Schwartz (if healthy) on an already thriving offensive line would offer a true evaluation for Denver’s next steps on offense.

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