Utilizing Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft simulator, the Denver Broncos snagged two quarterbacks in a fully automated simulation. Now that NFL free agency is over, for the most part, it’s officially mock draft season on Mondays.

Denver Broncos Mock Draft Monday

In an NFL Draft cycle where the Denver Broncos need a quarterback, the mock draft simulator believed the same thing when Denver was on the clock with the 12th overall pick.

12th overall – Broncos take J.J. McCarthy
J.J. McCarthy and Sean Payton seem like a duo that has been connected since the NFL season has concluded. Many NFL Draft analysts and experts believe that Payton is going to go the path of QB, whether that be with McCarthy or Bo Nix, but J.J. seems to be the pick in our automated simulation.

It’s always a big deal when you have the quarterback from a national championship program, but the buzz around McCarthy has been high and low at times. Some critiques of his game seem to suggest that he can’t hit the deep ball consistently enough or that Michigan took the ball out of his hands in big opportunities because of their strong run game led by Blake Corum, and a stingy defense.

In 2023, McCarthy was efficient as a passer, competing 72.3% of his passes, throwing 22 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. Within the design of Jim Harbaugh’s offense, he averaged nearly nine yards per attempt. Most people are concerned about his overall lack of passing yards in comparison to other QBs in this year’s draft.

Here is a list of his strengths and weaknesses.


  • Has the whip-like velocity to fit throws past extremely tight coverage at all ranges
  • Solid athlete and creator with great speed, agility, and evasive explosiveness
  • Mechanically sound QB for his age, with good hip rotation and level shoulders
  • Flashes high-level anticipation and risk propensity on middle-of-field throws
  • Can beautifully layer velocity and touch on seam throws to hit receivers in stride
  • Adaptable in the pocket and improved his poise and navigation in congestion in 2023


  • Played at a lighter weight than his 219-pound NFL Combine measurement
  • Field vision and decision making can still be more consistent
  • On occasion, tugs his release too wide and pushes passes too far above his targets
  • Benefitted from his surroundings and wasn’t always asked to elevate his team

To me, I think McCarthy can operate an offense within the structure as effectively as other perceived top QBs in this year’s draft, but how would that translate with Payton? It would require Broncos fans to be patient with him as he’ll likely make some mistakes here and there, but I think he would thrive with Payton and QB coach Davis Webb this year.

Not to mention, the Broncos have Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Marvin Mims, and Josh Reynolds as their top receiving options, with the hope that tight end Greg Dulcich can stay healthy this year. Denver’s offensive line will have a new starting center, but hopefully, they’ll have a solidified run game with Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, and Jaleel McLaughlin.

63rd overall – Broncos take Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr.
The Broncos traded their third and fourth-round draft picks to move up late into the second round. With the 63rd overall pick, the Broncos took Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Hall Jr.

The 6’3, 290 lb defensive lineman is an interesting pick here in terms of a trade-up. In 2023, Hall played in 12 games for the Buckeyes and finished with 24 total tackles and 1.5 sacks after he had 4.5 sacks in 2022.

The Broncos desperately need solidified depth at defensive tackle behind Malcolm Roach, but the decision to trade up is interesting when he may end up being available in the third round when Denver would have been on the clock.

According to his scouting profile, Hall has a variety of strengths and weaknesses that give you a better idea of where defensive line coach Jamar Cain can lean on and improve upon.


  • Dense, well-leveraged defender with great proportional length and power capacity
  • Has blistering initial explosiveness and lateral burst, which he uses to expedite wins
  • Agility and freedom of motion allow for eye-opening bouts of recovery quickness
  • Can beat isolation run blocks instantly with quick and violent swim moves
  • Has the ankle flexion to lean past blocks while stunting and compressing rushing paths
  • Relentless motor carries him through contact and allows him to drive through blocks


  • Lacks elite mass, which can affect his take-on strength and balance through contact
  • Hand placement on outside club and chop counters can be more precise at times
  • At times, can be more controlled when attacking upfield and combating run blocks
  • Can be shocked upright by extensions early in pass-rush reps, delaying his advance

136th overall – Broncos add Ole Miss DE Cedrick Johnson
In back-to-back picks, the Broncos boost their overall defensive line depth by taking Ole Miss defensive player Cedrick Johnson.

Johnson was initially a linebacker at Ole Miss, but in 2023, he was designated as a defensive end. At 6’3, 240lbs, Johnson offers Denver versatility and athleticism at the position. With Zach Allen and D.J. Jones manning the starting jobs at defensive end, Johnson would have an opportunity to work his way into a rotational role, likely competing with Matt Henningsen for the top job off the bench.

Not only can he play defensive end, but his size and athleticism give him the flexibility to even bump outside as an edge defender if needed.

145th overall – Broncos add sizeable tight end option from TCU
To add to their current tight end room featuring Greg Dulcich, Adam Trautman, Lucas Krull, and Nate Adkins, the Broncos selected TCU tight end Jared Wiley.

Wiley comes in at 6’7, 249 lbs, and gives the Broncos more height at the position. In 2023, Wiley appeared in 12 games and caught 47 passes for 520 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging nearly 11.1 yards per catch.

Former Pro Football Network draft analyst Ian Valentino’s evaluation of Wiley is as described below.

“Wiley has unusual coordination and speed for his size,” Valentino said. “He excels on curl routes against zone, where he’s comfortable settling in between defenders and preparing for contact. Though he wasn’t often featured as a primary read except on play fakes and trick plays that are designed to get him wide open, Wiley has solid potential to be a more consistent contributor in the passing game. The more solidified part of Wiley’s game is as a blocker. He’ll lose some reps due to his high pad level, but his activity level, length, aggression, and quickness are major assets. It’s not a question of whether he’s a good blocker or not but how good he’ll become over time.”

This is something that Payton will value inside of his offense where he has the opportunity, in this case, to see what Krull and Wiley can offer going forward with similar size.

Remaining picks for the Broncos in the simulated mock draft

With the Denver Broncos’ final three picks in this simulated mock draft, they took Illinois offensive guard Isaiah Adams, Texas Tech edge rusher Myles Cole, and Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman.

Adams adds to the Broncos depth on the offensive line at guard specifically, but doesn’t give them a perceived long-term potential starter in the future. Cole is an athletic player who has a history of playing edge and off-ball linebacker and could be a developmental piece for the Broncos to invite to training camp.

Hartman is an interesting addition for the Broncos as one of their final picks in the draft, considering Payton’s expressed belief in Jarrett Stidham and having Ben DiNucci still on the roster. It’s unclear if Hartman would be viable enough to even push DiNucci for a spot on the roster at this point.

Overall, Denver adding him to the roster doesn’t feel like a great personnel decision considering Hartman isn’t viewed as a player who is likely to have a long career in the NFL as a starter or even a backup.