Broncos select center Luke Wattenberg in 5th round of NFL draft

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The Denver Broncos selected Washington center Luke Wattenberg in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL draft on Saturday afternoon (171st overall).

The team traded 179th overall (5th round) and 234th overall (7th round) to the Green Bay Packers to get their man, Wattenberg – a redshirt senior.

Wattenberg (6-4, 299 pounds) started 12 games at the pivot for Washington as a senior. He’s only started at center two seasons, though. But he earned an honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors during Washington’s shortened 2020 season, his first starting at the position.

Displaying versatility, Wattenberg, 24, started at left guard his first two seasons on the team, appearing in all 27 games. He appeared in 11 games (5 starts) at left tackle as a redshirt freshman as well. Like newly-signed OT Billy Turner, Wattenberg can clearly play multiple positions on the line.

Wattenberg ran a 40-yeard dash in 5.2 seconds at the combine earlier this offseason. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein grades the Washington center as a priority undrafted free agent, though.

Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling, meanwhile, ranks Wattenberg No. 28 out of 35 interior offensive linemen. Wattenberg is ranked No. 277 (7th round) on Draft Wire’s top 300 prospects as well. The football congescenti clearly compares this selection to the Eyioma Uwazurike pick – it’s a “reach.”

In Denver, Wattenberg, a California native, brings versatility to the line. He’ll presumably battle to backup Lloyd Cushenberry III at the pivot his first season. Although he can fill in as backup at multiple spots – if need be.