With the 2017 NFL Draft coming tomorrow, the Denver Broncos will add new pieces to their roster in the quest to bring a 4th Lombardi trophy to the foyer at Dove Valley.
After missing the postseason for the first time since 2010, we all know know what the Broncos need to do. We’ve been arguing the case for our favorite prospect for months now. We’re only waiting to see it play out.
This needs to happen on both sides of the ball.
- Improve the trenches
- Improve the Running Game
- Improve 3rd down percentage
The Defense didn’t function the way it was built because it was designed to shut down the pass. However, the Bronco Offense couldn’t generate a lead because it lost the battle at the line of scrimmage more often than not in 2015. With a pair of young Quarterbacks instead of Peyton Manning under Center, opposing Defenses would stack the box, overpower the line and put the onus on Trevor Siemian or Paxton lynch to beat them.
John Elway talked about the offseason adjustments back in February:
“The offense will come. … Defense has become our identity. I think offensively we have to take that on as a challenge and find guys who want to compete. We have to get better offensively and we have to compete better offensively to say. ‘You know what, we carry half of this load.’ You can’t rely on that defense. We’re going to be good on defense, but as an offense we have to take it as a challenge.”
I couldn’t agree more. John Elway has learned, adapted and improved every season as V.P./G.M. as much as the franchise has. And though Denver finished above .500 for the seventh consecutive year, missing the playoffs is considered a losing season in the Mile High city.
Yesterday, Elway stressed the need to keep up with the division in his pre-draft press conference.
“No, they’ve all been important … and this one’s just as important. I think that 9-7 is a disappointing year for us, especially coming off of the Super Bowl. But we feel like we’ve got a lot of things in place that can help us be a very good football team. The division’s gotten a lot tougher … so that’s part of the process in realizing that we’ve got to get better.”
The Broncos added some Beefcake to both sides of the ball in the trenches through Free Agency that should help improve all three points on the bulleted list above. Now the challenge is to improve the speed and depth of the squad and add a few playmakers.
At this point you are probably thinking that I’m going to predict who the Denver Broncos will select with their first pick. Don’t worry, I won’t go there. I’d venture that the closest anyone has ever gotten to predicting any Broncos first draft pick was 50%, and that was in 2011 when the Broncos chose Von Miller with the 2nd overall pick.
The Draft is simply to fluid to predetermine and with Denver sitting at No. 20, there could be a half dozen trades before they send their pick up to the podium. So I figured that I would just put up a wish list (in no particular order) of players I’d be ecstatic for as the newest Bronco.
- Alabama LB, Rueben Foster – The Draft countdown wouldn’t be complete without my annual “Beating of the Drums” for a stud Middle Linebacker. Foster’s issues are no different than what Denver has dealt with Von Miller, Shane Ray or Derek Wolfe and the locker room is pretty strong. Marshawn Lynch just signed with the Raiders, Kansas City has Tyreek Hill and the Bolts have Melvin Gordon — The Broncos will see each of them twice this season.
- Stanford All-Purpose Back, Christian McCaffrey – This would be the next great narrative in Denver. Just like Elway and Manning riding off into the sunset. I sincerely believe the Broncos would need to move up in the draft to get him. That said, the possibility exists. There are a few players that will slide (such as Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley, John Ross) and someone will panic and start a position run.
- Miami (Fla) TE – David Njoku - Personally, there are at least 8 Tight End prospects this year who could carve out a nice role with the Broncos, who could stand another “Julius Thomas” type player. Alabama’s O.J. Howard would work here as well, if his health concerns pass inspection.
- Clemson WR, Mike Williams – This isn’t the Mike Williams from USC that blew up into Nose Tackle-sized bust who ate his way out of the league. Imagine what McCoy could do with three No. 1 Wideouts!
- Michigan DE, Taco Charlton – To be truthful, I’d be happy with Derek Barnett, Charlton, Carl Lawson or Charles Harris in Orange. It just depends on where the are when the Broncos are on the clock. Denver has the additional luxury of being extremely selective here, with Von Miller, Shane Ray, Shaqille Barrett and Vontarrius Dora on the depth chart.
Denver can stand pat and wait to see how the draft falls if they want a Tight End, Defensive End, Wide Receiver or Defensive Back, as these are all deep positions this year. No need to trade up.
I’d also like to point out something that may have slipped everyone’s mind: Don’t count out the impact that FB Andy Janovich will have this season with Mike McCoy calling the plays.
New head coach Vance Joseph fell into a gem of a job with the Broncos. It isn’t the Lamborghini of 2013 that set impressive Offensive records or the Tesla that drove off with Super Bowl 50, but he won’t have to build a Hot Rod from the ground up either.
“The culture in Denver has already been set. It’s a culture of winning as far as the overall building. … Last year, that culture of playing great defense wasn’t the same in the building. I want a culture of transparency of everyone doing their job. We have to get back to just playing football. Reboot this thing and get everyone back to doing their job. If we do that, it’s going to be a fun season.”
One. More. Day.
– Kaptain Kirk