DENVER (KDVR) — The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. In total, the Denver Broncos drafted 10 players, focusing on adding depth and competition to the defensive side of the ball.
“It’s been heavy offensive drafts before I came,” said Broncos general manager George Paton. “We’re excited about the players we’ve added.”
Let’s take a look at the newest Broncos:
Round 1, Pick 9 – Patrick Surtain II, CB Alabama
A three-year starter at Alabama, Surtain was widely considered the top available cornerback in this year’s draft. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound player allowed just four touchdown receptions and a 46.1 completion percentage in 41 career games. He is the son for former NFL player Patrick Surtain.
Vic Fangio on the evaluation of Surtain II:
“What I like about him is that he has shown that he is very capable both in man and zone. I think that he has good eyes, meaning that he sees more than just the man he’s lined up on. [He’s] a good tackler in the running game and has good ball skills. I think he has the versatility even though we haven’t seen in it on tape. Everything we know about him and what he’s shown, I think that there’s a chance that he can play inside if we need him too as a fifth or sixth DB.”
Patrick Surtain II’s advice he’s been given as he enters his rookie season in the NFL:
“The most important thing is knowing how to handle yourself as a pro. Going from college into the league, I understand it’s a business-like mentality. You have to move a certain way. It’s sophisticated in some ways. They always say stay with your work ethic and always be you because you can never go wrong with being you. At the end of the day, just staying focus and making sure I prepare right. The main thing they told me was as a rookie, it’s always a good thing to keep your body right—going in to get treatment and the extra things you need for your body.”
Round 2, Pick 35 – Javonte Williams, RB North Carolina
After trading up to the 35th-overall pick, the Broncos selected North Carolina running back Javonte Williams. The 5-foot-10, 212-pound player transitioned from linebacker to running back. He rushed for 2,073 rushing yards and 28 all-purpose touchdowns in his last two season at North Carolina.
George Paton on drafting Williams:
“We just think he is a special back. A three-down back, really good on first and second down. He can pass protect, and he can catch the ball in the backfield. Just an incredible teammate, incredible off the field. He is a gift-player—we call guys gift players who are exceptional off the field as well as on.”
Javonte Williams on how his game translates to the NFL:
“I feel like I’m very versatile. I feel like I can do everything at the running back position, and I’m just ready to come in and compete with RBs Melvin Gordon [III], [Mike] Boone, [Royce] Freeman, and any other running back in the room. I can pick things from them and try to get better every day.”
Round 3, Pick 98 – Quinn Meinerz, OG Wisconsin-Whitewater
A two-year starter at left guard, Meinerz was a first-team Division III All-American in 2019. He did not play in 2020 after Wisconsin-Whitewater’s season was cancelled due to COVID-19. He drew strong reviews for his 2021 Senior Bowl performance and his outdoor workout videos that went viral – showing him tackle trees and carrying objects on an island in Canada.
George Paton on how Meinerz raised up the draft board:
“I think he raised up everyone’s draft board because there were a lot of unknowns about him. When you see him in one-on-one drills blocking guys that are first- and second-round picks, it was pretty amazing. You don’t see that very often. The more you dig into the person, the player, Whitewater, and where he came from, I think that he rose on everyone’s draft boards.”
Quinn Meinerz on being drafted by the Broncos:
“To be Division III, have my season cancelled, get a late invite to the Senior Bowl, and to be able to climb up the boards like I did doesn’t happen very often. I’m just excited to get to into the offensive line room to start competing and help the Denver Broncos organization win football games.”
Round 3, Pick 105 – Baron Browning, LB Ohio State
At Ohio State, Browning appeared in 43 games and started nine playing both inside and outside linebacker. He totaled 110 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles in his career. At 6-foot-3, 245-pound, Browning was considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the draft.
Vic Fangio on where Browning fits in his defense:
“Good athlete, runs really well. He’s got versatility. Sometimes his versatility has hurt him a little bit in his development. We’ll figure out where we’re going to put him first and see how he does there then make a final decision at some point. We like his speed, like his athleticism. We think he will be a major contributor on special teams and compete for one of the linebacker spots.”
Baron Browning on what the draft process was like:
“It was a very interesting process. I thought I would be going higher. At the end of the day, I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I’m definitely going to have a chip on my shoulder. I’m willing to do whatever the team needs me to do. I’m just ready to play some football to be honest with you.”
Round 5, Pick 152 – Caden Sterns, S Texas
Sterns, a three-year starter at Texas, recorded 172 tackles, two sacks, and five interceptions during his 29 career games for the Longhorns. At six-foot and 202 pounds, Sterns is known as one of the most aggressiveness hitters in the draft. He impressed scouts as he ran a 4.4 second – 40-yard dash at the Longhorns’ pro day. He missed the final two games at Texas with a toe injury.
Vic Fangio on drafting Sterns:
“Caden had a good season or two early in his career. Not so much this past season. He slipped a little bit. We’re hopeful we can get him turned back around and playing up to his potential and his ability.”
Caden Sterns on his on his strengths and what he needs to improve upon:
“I have range, I make plays on the ball and I can cover. I think I’m really versatile as well. I can come down and play man, I can play one-high or two-high, and I can just be around the ball. An inconsistency of mine is tackling. That’s something that I’m definitely working on all the time. That is something that I need to clean up to become a complete safety.”
Round 5, Pick 164 – Jamar Johnson, S Indiana
A 6-foot, 205-pound player, Jamar Johnson was a one-year starter for Indiana and recorded 70 tackles, four sacks, and seven interceptions in his career. Johnson earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. Has experience playing special teams.
Vic Fangio on what the Broncos saw in Jamar Johnson:
“Jamar was a case of George sticking to the board. We had just drafted a safety. The next guy down had a pretty good separation than any of the other positions, so we drafted him. We all had some good feelings about him. He is a guy that played well. Didn’t tackle as well as he should’ve all of the time, which he eluded to with you guys. We like his talent, his potential and his ability. It’ll be good competition between those two guys and the other safeties that are already on the roster.”
Jamar Johnson on his strengths as a safety:
“I’m a ballhawk, but I need to clean up my tackling. Everything else is see-ball, get-ball. As a DB, the ball is the most important thing. I’m just going out to get as many picks and to get the ball back for the offense. It gives our team a better chance to win.”
Round 6, Pick 219 – Seth Williams, WR Auburn
Williams, a 6-foot-3, 211-pound receiver, was a three-year starter at Auburn. He finished his career with 132 catches for 2,124 yards and 17 touchdowns. A big bodied red zone target, his size and length are huge advantages on jump-balls.
George Paton on what separated Seth Williams from other wide receivers:
“Special teams. We targeted him as one of the top special team players for receivers. He is like a piece of clay. He’s really talented. He’s big and he can run. As a receiver, he just needs to be molded. [Wide Receivers Coach] Zach [Azzanni] can’t wait to get a hold of him and develop him. He believes in him as well as our special teams coaches. Special teams were a big part of our third day, and he was one of the best special teamers as a receiver.”
Seth Williams on his strengths as a wide receiver:
“Being able to catch the contested passes and the contested balls. Being able to be physical. I can run and overpower my defenders that are guarding me. I’m able to make the big play and I don’t shy away from the big moment at all. I’m ready for it all.”
Round 7, Pick 237 – Kary Vincent, CB LSU
Vincent recorded four interceptions and 12 passes defensed during his final season at LSU. He opted out of the 2020 season. In total, he finished his career with 87 tackles and six interceptions in 39 games. Vincent is a slot corner with average size but exceptional speed and athleticism.
George Paton on why the like Kary Vincent:
“[He’s from] LSU and really talented. It wasn’t that we needed a corner, but he was sticking out like a sore thumb. This kid is really talented, and he was falling. He’s fast and he’s a track guy. He had some injuries, so he was falling a little bit. He can play nickel and he’s played safety. If we can get him right—I think he’s a good kid, but if we can him in right health to be a pro, I think he can be a really good player.”
Kary Vincent on why he decided to opt out of the 2020 college season:
“I’ve been through this process awhile, and everyone has asked me who was the best receiver I guarded during my college career. I told them all Jerry Jeudy. He is one of those guys. I look forward to practicing against him and making each other better. Secondly, the reason I opted out this season was due to the uncertainty of the disease. At that time, I honestly didn’t think we were going to have a season. I got it myself and I contracted symptoms twice. I got tested twice, and they didn’t know what was going on. That was the reason for me not playing this year.”
Round 7, Pick 239 – Jonathon Cooper, LB Ohio State
Measuring at six-foot-three, 253 pounds, Jonathan Cooper has the physical traits that could work in the NFL as an edge rusher. A two-year captain, he played 45 games at Ohio State. He missed numerous games due to injury. He was the first player ever selected to wear the “Block O” jersey for character and selfless, player-driven leadership qualities.
Vic Fangio on Jonathon Cooper’s ability to play in space:
“The system he played in at Ohio State, he wasn’t out in space very much. That is a big transition for a lot of these guys. It is one we do each and every year with one or two guys from college. We’ll see how he does with it. We like the make-up. You’ve obviously had a taste of it already. When you have that kind of make-up, you can fight through and not get too discouraged.”
Jonathon Cooper on playing alongside Von Miller and Bradley Chubb:
“It’s going to be amazing. I plan to pick their brains completely and see how they do everything, honestly. With a rookie coming in and to have great, veteran guys who have been in the league for a long time, I just want to be able to learn and apply whatever I can learn to my game. I want to become the best player that I can be for the Broncos.”
Round 7, Pick 253 – Marquiss Spencer, DE Mississippi State
Marquiss Spencer is a six-foot-four-inch, 301-pound defensive end. A two-year starter at Mississippi State, he recorded 106 total tackles, seven sacks, and three forced fumbles n 51 career games.
Marquis Spencer on what he wants to improve on:
“I need to work on my hands and studying the offense [more] than I did in college.”