Grading the Broncos’ 2021 NFL draft class midway through the season

·3 min read

We are now midway through the season and the Denver Broncos have gotten some big-time contributions from their 2021 NFL draft class. Here are our early grades for all 10 players selected by the Broncos in April.

Round 1: CB Patrick Surtain

Surtain hasn’t been perfect (Vic Fangio will tell you his tackling needs to be better at times), but he’s stepped into a starting job and has looked the part. Surtain appears poised to be a lockdown corner in Denver for years to come.

Way-too-early grade: A.

Round 2: RB Javonte Williams

Despite playing in a shared backfield, Williams has posted some impressive numbers. He does have one fumble, but the good has far outweighed the bad for Williams. He a very tough runner, and Williams will likely emerge as the team’s workhorse running back in 2022.

Way-too-early grade: A.

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Round 3: OL Quinn Meinerz

It’s hard not to love “The Belly.” Meinerz stepped in for an injured Graham Glasgow last week and he looked great. With Glasgow set to miss the rest of the season, Meinerz is poised to continue starting — and he will likely keep the job going into next year.

Way-too-early grade: A.

Round 3: LB Baron Browning

Browning has started the last two games and he’s looked superb. The only reason he’s not getting an “A” at the moment is that injuries forced him to miss a lot of time earlier this year. If he continues playing at his current level, though, Browning will likely keep his starting job going into 2022.

Way-too-early grade: B+.

Round 5: S Caden Sterns

Sterns has played in dime situations this season and he’s taken advantage of his limited snaps, totaling 12 tackles, four pass breakups, two interceptions and two sacks — excellent numbers for a rotational defensive back. With Kareem Jackson scheduled to become a free agent in 2022, Sterns will likely be a starter next season.

Way-too-early grade: A.

Round 5: S Jamar Johnson

Johnson has been inactive for every game this season. It’s too early to write him off, but Johnson hasn’t been a contributor this year.

Way-too-early grade: C/TBD.

Round 6: WR Seth Williams

Williams is yet to play a snap on offense this year, but that’s not surprising given how deep the Broncos are at wide receiver. He’s a long-term prospect who might need some time on the practice squad to develop, much like Kendall Hinton and Trinity Benson before him.

Way-too-early grade: C/TBD

Round 7: CB Kary Vincent

Vincent never played a down in Denver before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick. Vincent himself doesn’t get a great grade, but flipping a seventh-round selection for a sixth-round pick was good business by the Broncos.

Way-too-early grade: C (trade grade: A).

Round 7: OLB Jonathon Cooper

Cooper appears to be a seventh-round gem. After the team traded Von Miller, Cooper started last week and totaled two sacks against the Dallas Cowboys. Granted, Cooper’s unlikely to produce those kind of numbers every week, but his career is off to a brilliant start, especially as a late-round pick.

Way-too-early grade: A.

Round 7: DL Marquiss Spencer

Denver has a deep defensive line, so Spencer will likely spend his entire rookie season on the team’s practice squad.

Way-too-early grade: C/TBD.

Overall draft class grade: A

It’s obviously still very early, but right now, it looks like general manager George Paton had a brilliant first draft class with the Broncos.

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