The Denver Broncos made four draft day trades and received a perfect “A” grade from your benevolent dictator, the only “A” I gave out in 2019 which means Denver won the draft. This is as good as it gets in terms of trading down and leveraging draft assets. All teams start with an average “C” grade and then need to impress me in order to move up. Needless to say, the Broncos crushed it. When you net out what they did, here’s the outcome:
Began with: No. 10 (1st), No. 125 (4th), No. 148 (5th), No. 182 (6th), No. 237 (7th)
Ended with: No. 20 (1st), No. 41 (2nd), No. 80* (3rd, 2020), No. 187 (6th), LB Dekoda Watson
There is virtually no difference in No. 182 and No. 187 so they can be factored out of the equation. The Broncos also traded for LB Dekoda Watson, a nine-year role player with just 111 total tackles in 107 career games. Watson probably has value equivalent to a sixth round pick, so we can also remove the No. 182 pick the Broncos traded away. When making these two adjustments, here’s the true net of what Denver gave up and got back, and it’s majestic:
Began with: No. 10 (1st), No. 125 (4th), No. 148 (5th), No. 237 (7th)
Ended with: No. 20 (1st), No. 41 (2nd), No. 80* (3rd, 2020)
That’s right, by moving back from No. 10 to No. 20 the Broncos were then able to flip No. 125, No. 148, and No. 237 into two far more valuable picks – No. 41 and a 2020 third round pick, projected here as No. 80. With solid talent evaluation, the Broncos could reasonably land three starting players (No. 20, No. 41, No. 80) when they were probably looking at only one (No. 10) before the trades.
The Broncos did two things right out of TDI’s Glorious Constitution. First from Article 5, “If you trust your GM and scouts to nail No. 10, you should also trust them to nail No. 15.” This same philosophy holds true by moving back from No. 10 to No. 20. If Denver’s talent evaluators would’ve found quality at 10, the will probably also do so at 20. Second, the Broncos understand Article 7 which states, “Third round picks are incredibly valuable when comparing production to cap hit, so the more the merrier!” Trading back in this year’s draft in order to get future third round picks is a long-term stroke of genius!
10 Year Comparisons
By working their alchemy, the Broncos essentially flipped No. 10 for No. 20 and No. 41, which is brilliant. A helpful exercise is to look at the players drafted in each of those positions and see how their careers have turned out. So, let’s evaluate the collective careers of the No. 10, No. 20, and No. 41 players drafted in the 10 years between 2007 and 2016 (using 2016 as the most recent gives players at least three years to establish themselves):
No. 10 – 4 Pro Bowlers – 714 starts – 328 career AV – Top Players: RB Todd Gurley, DB Stephon Gilmore
No. 20 – 2 Pro Bowlers – 709 starts – 322 career AV – Top Players: OG Kyle Long, DB Aqib Talib
No. 41 – 0 Pro Bowlers – 460 starts – 207 career AV – Top Players: WR Robert Woods, OG Cordy Glenn
That’s right, while there have been four Pro Bowlers drafted at No. 10 (RB Todd Gurley, TE Eric Ebron, DB Stephon Gillmore, LB Jerod Mayo) versus just two Pro Bowlers drafted at No. 20 (OG Kyle Long, DB Aqib Talib), the total number of career starts and career Approximate Value are nearly identical between the two cohorts. Then, throw in the fact that the Broncos also picked up the No. 41 pick where legitimate starting talent is still available, and this is gold, Jerry! Gold! Next, consider Denver basically got a valuable No. 80 pick (early 3rd) in 2020 for two much less helpful picks this year in No. 148 (5th) and No. 237 (7th), and this is why your dictator views the Broncos as having the overall best draft day trade strategy of any team in 2019. This is the TDI Life!
Only time will tell if Denver will be better off with TE Noah Fant (No. 20), QB Drew Lock (No. 41), and their 2020 third round pick or if they should’ve stayed pat and selected Devin Bush at No. 10. With the draft being nothing more than educated guesswork, give me three bites at the apple every time!
Overall the Broncos net trade rating is a +179 based on the Dallas Draft Value Chart, meaning they crushed the draft due in large part to the 2020 third round pick. Your dictator obviously agrees. As such, Denver’s front office has a standing introduction to move in and live here at TDI with your benevolent dictator.