Heading into the 2022 season, expectations were sky-high for the Denver Broncos. With the blockbuster trade to land quarterback Russell Wilson, the team looked prepared to make a run. Instead, they struggled heavily. At times the offense found it nearly impossible to move the ball, and the team ultimately finished the season with a 5-12 record and a last-place finish in the AFC West.
Now heading into 2023, the Broncos have made major moves to get back on track. Following the move to fire Nathaniel Hackett, the team brought in former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton to take over. Since his arrival, the team has already begun to make changes.
The Broncos entered free agency looking to re-tool the roster. On the offensive line, they added two starters in guard Ben Powers and tackle Mike McGlinchey. They also added two starters on the defensive side of the ball in defensive lineman Zach Allen and linebacker Alex Singleton.
With the additions that the Broncos have made, the team should find themselves in a better position heading into 2023.
As the draft quickly approaches, the Broncos will have to figure out how they will complete their team. With no pick until the third round due to the trade to land Wilson, they will need to rely on “sleeper” type players to make an impact. Luckily for this team, this draft class is deep with talent. Even on days two and three, there will be quality players to be found.
Here are three sleeper prospects the Broncos could target in the 2023 NFL draft
Riley Moss, Cornerback, Iowa
Heading into the draft, the Broncos could look to add talent at the cornerback position. They have one of the game’s elite talents in Pat Surtain II, but outside of him, help could be brought in. A player such as Iowa’s Riley Moss could be the perfect addition to the group.
During his time at Iowa, Moss put together five strong seasons. Over 43 collegiate games, he recorded 158 total tackles, 123 solo tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, 26 defended passes, and 11 interceptions.
In 2022, Moss put his whole skillset on display. Over 13 games, he recorded 47 total tackles, 31 solo tackles, 11 defended passes, one interception, and two forced fumbles.
Following a strong final season at Iowa, Moss has turned heads. During the Senior Bowl, he shocked many with his play. While on the field, he showed off both his speed and ability to make plays.
Coming in at 6’1″ and 193 pounds, Moss has the size to keep up with opposing wide receivers. He also has the speed to not get beaten in the secondary. If he can continue to develop, he could become a playmaker in the Broncos secondary.
Noah Sewell, Linebacker, Oregon
With the addition of Singleton, the Broncos have already added a starter to the linebacker group. Singelton, alongside Josey Jewell, could occupy the starting roles in 2023, but the team could still look to add a young player to the group. Oregon’s Noah Sewell could be the ideal candidate.
During his time at Oregon, Sewell proved to have the ability to find the ball, while also making plays across the field. Sewell spent three seasons within the Oregon defense. During this time, he developed into a reliable option on that side of the ball.
In total, Sewell took the field in 33 total games. Over that time, he recorded 218 total tackles, 105 solo tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, nine defended passes, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
In his final collegiate season, he saw somewhat of a drop in production compared to how he produced in 2021, but he still found success. Over 12 games, he recorded 56 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four defended passes, and one interception.
With the addition of Sewell, the Broncos could add a linebacker with legitimate upside. If he can take his game to the next level, he could produce at a high level early in his career.
Christopher Smith, Safety, Georgia
Very similar to the current state of the cornerback room, the Broncos could afford to make an upgrade at safety. Outside of Justin Simmons, the unit is lacking a consistent playmaker. Georgia’s Christopher Smith could be a potential fit for this defense.
Throughout his five seasons at Georgia, Smith had the opportunity to play on some of the best defenses in recent history. While on these defenses, Smith managed to make an impact. Over 43 games, he recorded 132 total tackles, 87 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, 10 defended passes, and six interceptions.
In 2022, Smith played arguably the best football of his collegiate career. As Georgia made yet another run, he recorded 61 total tackles, five tackles for loss, five defended passes and three interceptions.
Given Smith’s playstyle, he could become a versatile defender in the NFL. He can move around the defense with ease and can make an impact anywhere on the field. Adding him alongside Simmons would fortify the safety position in 2023.
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