Juwann Winfree Jersey

The Denver Broncos surprised many, including me, when they traded their seventh-round pick away to move up and take Colorado wide receiver Juwann Winfree in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The reason it was a surprise?

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Most knowledgeable projections had Winfree going undrafted. And he probably would have, had he not chosen to attend the local Pro Day the Broncos hosted prior to the draft.

While Winfree is more of the opinion that his entire pre-draft body of work is the biggest factor to him getting drafted, it was no coincidence that the Broncos got an up-close look-see at the Pro Day, and drafted him a matter of days later.
“I definitely didn’t think they were really high on me, to be honest with you, but after the local pro day that I attended, and sitting down with the receiver coach [Zach Azzanni], he really expressed high interest in me,” Winfree said. “From there I could see I really changed their point of view on me. Them seeing me close-up, seeing what type of player I am and what type of man I am off the field was big for me. That definitely helped a lot.”

The Colorado connection for Winfree is strong. He’s of the opinion that the Broncos’ Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay is one of the big reasons he landed in Denver as a 2019 draft pick.

“Especially with Phillip Lindsay, I know he put in a huge word for me,” Winfree said. “That’s my big brother right there. He paved the way for me, doing what he did, coming from [University of] Colorado. I’m just glad he was able to help me out there doing that. We have the same agent too, so I’m just completely blessed.”
Lindsay went undrafted last year after producing at a prolific level for the Colorado Buffaloes. Lindsay left the college ranks as CU’s third all-time leading rusher.

As for Winfree, he dealt with a lot of injuries in college, which is one of the reasons there’s so little of his tape available. But finally healthy and able to show the Broncos what he can do at 100%, it was enough to impress WRs Coach Zach Azzanni, who maybe pounded the table for Winfree a little more than GM John Elway let on following the draft.

“Juwann, he was kind of a target for us so we wanted to get up [trade up],” Elway said in his end-of-draft presser. “We had heard some things that some other teams were interested, so he was kind of a target for us… He got injured last year. We saw him work at his pro day and feel like he’s got some real upside. We feel good about getting him in the sixth round.”

Winfree is very much an unknown quantity and a diamond in the rough. The Broncos’ wide receiver depth chart is a log-jam of young talent right now, so Winfree will face some stiff odds even making the 53-man roster as a rookie.
But if he can show out in training camp and preseason action, anything’s possible, especially if his position coach is looking out for him. Worst case scenario, Winfree might be a draft pick who needs a year to incubate on the practice squad before being unleashed on the NFL. Only time will tell.

Justin Hollins Jersey

John Elway explains why Broncos didn’t draft an inside linebacker.
The Denver Broncos stayed true to their big board during the NFL draft, selecting the best players available instead of reaching for needs. As a result, the team did not land a true inside linebacker, one of the team’s needs going into the draft.


In his post-draft press conference, general manager John Elway explained the situation.
“It just didn’t fall that way,” Elway said. “We had opportunities but the direction that we went, we felt that we were better off that way. By the time we got into — it was just different choices that you make.”

Denver did select Oregon linebacker Justin Hollins, an outside linebacker who has some experience playing on the inside. The Broncos will give him a shot at both outside linebacker and inside linebacker this offseason.

“We thought Justin could play inside or outside and that’s when we talk about inside backer,” Elway said. “With Justin, with the flexibility and the versatility that he has with him going inside as well as outside, we kind of felt like we hit all the spots the best we could.”

Right now, Todd Davis and Josey Jowell are penciled in as the team’s top two inside linebackers. There’s not much depth behind them.

Dre’Mont Jones Jersey

Day 2 of the NFL draft was huge for the Denver Broncos, but maybe even more big than most fans realize.

Sure, the Broncos selected Dalton Risner — the local stud tackle — at No. 41 and then followed him up with quarterback Drew Lock at 42; those were picks Broncos fans should like a great deal. But, if you turned your TV off after Lock’s selection, you may have missed the steal of the draft for Denver in Dre’Mont Jones from Ohio State.

Jones, who possesses great size at 6’3″ and 281 pounds, worked his way up from redshirting his freshman year in college to being named First-Team All-Big Ten as a junior. Last year, his best statistically, Jones racked up 43 tackles, 13 for a loss, 8.5 sacks and recovered three fumbles; he’s an all-around beast.

But, as per usual, those raw stats don’t tell the entire tale. Pro Football Focus explains that not only did Jones see more pass-rushing snaps last season — a whopping 500 — he was also the highest-graded interior lineman in the pass rushing department as well. And, it wasn’t even close.
Remember, the Broncos lost Domata Peko this offseason, and while Jones won’t be playing tackle in the NFL, his beef and abilities are much-needed as a defensive end in that Broncos front-seven.

Derek Wolfe’s option was picked up for this season, but he becomes a free agent in 2020, meaning there could very well be a vacancy at defensive end in the near future. And for 2019, Wolfe, Shelby Harris, Jones and Zach Kerr are shaping up to form a formidable defensive line, not only allowing edge rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to get off the line clean, but the interior guys can get after the quarterback, too.

After somewhat surprisingly going with offensive players with their first three picks — tight end Noah Fant was the first-round pick at No. 20 — Denver was smart to get a position of need in Jones, who was also considered the 62nd-best player in this year’s draft overall. The Broncos took him at No. 71, meaning they got great value for the workhorse of a defensive end.

While Denver still has a few questions to answer at inside linebacker, they’ve shored up the defensive line and defensive backfield through the draft and free agency, giving new head coach Vic Fangio a ton of toys to play with this season.

If the Broncos are to get back to the playoffs this year — which could happen — it will be on defense first and foremost, as they hope the offense can make a lot more happen in terms of explosive plays and scoring than the unit has the last three years.