Denver Broncos NFL Draft picks 2024: Grades, fits and scouting reports

The Denver Broncos entered the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25 with eight picks over the three-day draft.

The Broncos joined the handful of NFL teams searching for a franchise quarterback this spring by selecting Bo Nix at No. 12. The end of the short-lived Russell Wilson era in Denver created a need at the game’s most important position, and head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton had said they were open to trading up to get one of the draft’s top quarterbacks if they find the right scenario, but a record-tying five quarterbacks were taken within the top 10.

In the third round, Denver addressed its defense, selecting Utah linebacker Jonah Elliss at No. 76. Elliss has NFL bloodlines and played a key role in the Utes’ stingy defense when healthy. To kick off Day 3, Payton and Paton made a big move up the board early on Saturday to get a familiar weapon for Nix in Oregon wideout Troy Franklin, who came off the board at No. 1o2 overall.

Keep coming back here throughout the draft for analysis and grades for each Broncos pick.

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Draft pick grades: Round 1 | Rounds 2-3
Full draft order: Team picks for all 257 selections



NFL Draft 2024 ‘The Beast’ Guide: Dane Brugler’s scouting reports and player rankings

Round 1

No. 12: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

How he fits

The 2024 quarterback thirst is very real. Make it six quarterbacks in the top 12. This one somehow doesn’t feel as shocking as the Michael Penix Jr. pick — in part because that already happened. There’s a lot to like about Nix. In fact, the conversation with the former Oregon passer is very similar to the one with Penix: He’s older and there are physical limitations. Unlike Penix, Nix also played in a very college-y offense at Oregon.

Sean Payton knows quarterbacks, though, and Denver can’t go anywhere without one. I do like the fit here, as Nix’s quick release and poise should fit pretty well with Sean Payton. The Broncos at least needed a quarterback, unlike Atlanta. Frankly, I wonder if Denver (and Atlanta) might’ve been able to trade back and still get the QBs they wanted. For me, Nix is a bit better than Penix. But, again: It sure feels like Denver could’ve gotten more value out of this pick. A bold move, if nothing else. — Nick Baumgardner

Dane Brugler’s analysis

A two-year starter at Oregon, Nix was an ideal fit in offensive coordinator Will Stein’s zone-read, West Coast offense (primarily “11” personnel), which was tailored to fit his strengths. After three up-and-down seasons at Auburn, the pressure appeared to be off his shoulders in Eugene, and he rediscovered his confidence, becoming the first player in college football history to surpass 55 touchdowns at two different schools. Finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting in his final season, he led the FBS in total touchdowns (51) in 2023 and became just the second player in FBS history to surpass 17,000 total yards.

With his quick, strong release, Nix incorporates different arm angles to quickly get the ball to his weapons. He is outstanding finding and attacking the voids in zone coverage and is at his best throwing on the move or when creating second-chance plays. However, the Ducks’ offense was designed to get the ball out of his hands quickly (he averaged 2.44 seconds per dropback in 2023, fourth fastest in the FBS), and his average depth of target was only 6.8 yards in 2023 (third lowest in FBS), leading to questions about him reading out a defense from a constrained pocket in the NFL.

Overall, Nix gets in trouble when he plays loose with his technique and his eyes speed up on him, but he understands where to go with the football, and his scrambling can give defenses fits. Though it feels unlikely that he will ever rank among the 15 best quarterbacks in the NFL, he has the tools to become a middle-of-the-road starter.

Nick Kosmider’s analysis: Why the Broncos drafted Bo Nix at No. 1

Grade: C+

Draft pick grades: Nick Baumgardner, Scott Dochterman rate the selections

Round 2

No picks

Round 3

No. 76: Jonah Elliss, LB, Utah

How he fits

The son of former NFL defensive tackle Luther Elliss, Jonah Elliss is a smaller edge rusher who doesn’t have great testing numbers — but made a lot of plays at Utah due to his effort and general play awareness. A highly productive player who has a deep bag of tricks, Elliss is more of a third-down pass rusher than a three-down edge. He’ll make plays on third down in the right scheme, though.

Dane Brugler’s analysis

Elliss is an inconsistent edge setter in the run game, but he is threatening with his upfield burst/motor and skilled with his hands in the pass rush. It is encouraging to think of what he can develop into with a full bag of counters. His pro ceiling is an Alex Highsmith-style edge defender, although a high-end subpackage rusher is his more realistic NFL projection.

Nick Kosmider’s analysis: Why the Broncos drafted Jonah Elliss

Grade: B

Draft pick grades: Nick Baumgardner, Scott Dochterman rate the selections

Round 4

No. 102: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

How he fits

The Broncos began Day 3 with an aggressive move to reunite new quarterback Bo Nix with his top weapon at Oregon. Denver traded up 19 spots in Round 4 with the Seattle Seahawks to select Troy Franklin, a second-team All-American in 2023 who led the Ducks with 81 catches for 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Broncos gave Seattle one of their three fifth-round picks (No. 136 overall) to move up in the deal and a sixth-rounder, while getting back Seattle’s seventh-round pick.

The Broncos needed a young playmaker on offense after trading Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason. Denver signed former Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds as a replacement. But veteran wide receiver Tim Patrick is entering the final year of his deal and Courtland Sutton, the veteran wide receiver who is not attending voluntary offseason workouts as he seeks a contract extension, currently has no guaranteed money remaining on his deal after this season.

Franklin is just 21 and coming off his best season. His receiving yards and touchdowns this season were Oregon records, as were his eight 100-yard games. The move gives Nix, drafted 12th overall by the Broncos on Thursday night, some familiarity as he begins his rookie season with a strong chance at becoming the Week 1 starter. Franklin caught passes from Nix during a private workout in Eugene conducted by the Broncos last month. It was a workout that sold the team on Nix as its next quarterback, and Franklin clearly put his best foot forward that day, too.

“I just went out there and caught for Bo, and I just wanted to make sure I was catching the ball easily, fluidly and stuff like that,” Franklin said. “I was making sure I had good conversations with them, and I think I gave off a good first impression with them.”

Dane Brugler’s analysis

A two-year starter at Oregon, Franklin was primarily a perimeter receiver in offensive coordinator Will Stein’s zone-read, West Coast scheme (lined up wide for 80.9 percent of his snaps in 2023). After leading the Ducks in receiving as a sophomore, he had the most prolific receiving season in Oregon history as a junior in 2023, setting single-season school records for catches (81), receiving yards (1,383), receiving touchdowns (14) and 100-yard receiving games (eight).

Franklin quickly builds his speed vertically to stack man corners versus free releases, and the threat of his deep-third skills can loosen mid-field coverage (eight catches of 40-plus yards in 2023). Though he tracks the ball in flight, he has smaller hands, and his finishing focus is inconsistent — especially through contact against physical defensive backs. He will struggle early on against NFL press coverage.

Overall, Franklin’s polish and catch consistency must improve, but he can be a big-play weapon (before and after the catch), because of his linear twitch and gliding acceleration. He projects as a field-stretching Z receiver, similar to DJ Chark.

Round 5

No. 145 (from Jets): Kris Abrams-Draine, DB, Missouri

How he fits

Abrams-Draine is a developmental defensive back who joins a young group that also includes Riley Moss and Damarri Mathis — along with new veteran addition Levi Wallace.

Dane Brugler’s analysis

A three-year starter at Missouri, Abrams-Draine played mostly outside cornerback in former defensive coordinator Blake Baker’s split-coverage scheme (81.7 percent of his 2023 snaps came out wide). After pacing the Tigers in ball production as a sophomore and junior, he led the SEC in passes defended as a senior and was one of just four FBS players with at least 16 passes defended and four interceptions in 2023.

At his best in off coverage, Abrams-Draine trusts his eyes/instincts to pattern match and react with terrific plant-and-drive quickness. He stays composed with his back to the football, although he can be outmatched by bigger, more physical pass catchers downfield.

Overall, Abrams-Draine will fall below the size/strength thresholds for several NFL teams, but he is a light-footed athlete who competes his tail off and anticipates well to position himself for ball production. He projects as a rotational cornerback at the next level, but he might find a permanent home in the slot.

No. 147: Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame

How he fits

Sean Payton drafted a running back in seven of his 16 drafts with the Saints, including four selected in the top four rounds. Estime ran for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns last season as Notre Dame’s lead back.

Dane Brugler’s analysis

A two-year starter at Notre Dame, Estimé was the lead back in offensive coordinator Gerad Parker’s multiple-run scheme. After playing behind Kyren Williams and others as a freshman, he led the Irish in rushing each of the last two seasons (6.2 yards per carry) and set the single-season school record with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2023. (His 29 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons were the third most in the FBS).

With his hulking physique, Estimé squares his pads to the line of scrimmage and gets downhill with the leg drive to run through contact (averaged 4.27 yards after contact in 2023, fourth best in the FBS). Unlike most runners his size, he also can run with finesse. With the run patience to set up blocks, he can either speed through gaps or downshift and sidestep defenders with lateral agility.

Overall, Estimé has the build and run power of a downhill grinder but the vision and cut acceleration of a smaller back, giving him RB1 potential for an NFL team (best in a gap scheme). His body type, run talent and promise on passing downs are reminiscent of former Seattle Seahawks’ RB Chris Carson.

Round 6


Round 7

No. 235 (from Seahawks)

No. 256 (from Jets)

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(Photo of Kris Abrams-Draine: Jordan Prather / USA Today)

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