DENVER — In their attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time since Super Bowl 50, the Broncos found themselves looking for an edge on Friday night.
They stayed put with the 64th overall selection in the second round, taking Oklahoma edge rusher Nik Bonitto.
Bonitto, a former high school hoops player, brings agility and eye-opening first-step speed. Given the injury and availability issues of Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory, Bonitto profiles as an immediate rotational player at outside linebacker.
"Getting that call, I can't wait to get to work," Bonitto said from his draft party in Florida. "The Broncos were one of my last (top 30) visits. I just got a vibe from the staff and the (front office) that they really wanted me. I just had a feeling that I would be lucky enough to get picked there and that's what happened."
Bonitto was pleased to join an organization with a rich history of Super Bowl history and said he looks forward to learning from Gregory and Chubb.
"I feel like I can help the guys in the room," Bonitto said.
The Broncos addressed another need in the third round, drafting UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich with the 80th overall pick. The Broncos traded down with the Texans, giving Houston the 75th pick for the 80th and 162nd selections. Dulcich arrives with speed and confidence.
"I knew I was going to be an NFL player since middle school," said Dulcich, when I asked if when he realized the NFL was possible. "That was always the goal, always the dream. Every situation in my life I had that in the back of my head. That was my driving force. There was never a doubt I would be getting this phone call today."
Dulcich said he followed the Broncos because of Peyton Manning and predicted Denver would be "winning Super Bowls" with Russell Wilson.
Greg Dulcich is explosive receiver, gets separation. Can really run. Has to improve his blocking. But UCLA coaches raved about his work ethic and willingness to improve. George Paton went to UCLA. So sure his intel was great on the prospect. #Denver7 #Broncos— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) April 30, 2022
GM George Paton addressed the present and future on Friday. He made two picks and acquired picks. He traded out of the 96th spot in the third round to the Colts, receiving Indianapolis' fifth round pick this year (No. 179) and their third round selection in 2023. The Broncos now boast five picks in the 2023 draft, including two in the third round.
The Broncos had zero first-round picks, instead opting for Super Bowl and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson. But that doesn't mean the first round lacked drama.
It was also a memorable night for one of Colorado's own. CSU star Trey McBride will continue his storied career as an Arizona Cardinal after he was picked 55th overall Friday in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Here's our Denver7 roundup of the Broncos' second and third round picks:
1. NIK BONITTO - Oklahoma, EDGE, 6-3, 248
The Broncos stayed put, and landed a much-needed edge rusher given the injury issues with Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. Bonitto has great feet and hands, two things desired in pass rushers. Can spin past tackles. But he is not physical, leaving it difficult to set the edge in the run game. Will provide immediate rotational depth along with Malik Reed and Jonathon Cooper from the jump.
2. GREG DULCICH - UCLA, TE, 6-4, 243
The Broncos drafted down five spots to the 80th overall pick and snatched up tight end Greg Dulcich. He arrives with speed and confidence. Dulcich is an explosive receiver, gets separation and can really run. He has to improve his blocking. But UCLA coaches raved about his work ethic and willingness to improve. Paton went to UCLA, so we're sure his intel was great on the prospect.