ENGLEWOOD, Colorado. Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, John Elway met with the press today to speak about the upcoming draft. He was relaxed and jovial, and as usual, he said a lot without saying much.
The draft board has been set since Thursday, but has room to be massaged. When asked by reporters about a certain player being on the board, Elway refused to say. As an aside, why do paid reporters ask such eye rolling questions? Everyone knows he’s not going to answer. You had a week to plan on asking a question media–think.
Elway spoke about how difficult it is to move both up and down the draft because you need willing partners to move up. Based on being at 20 this year in comparison to recent seasons, he didn’t sound like moving up was in the plans. However, it’s Elway, so always take what he says and how he says it, with a grain of salt. He did say the draft was deep, so unless he wants a specific type of player, Elway may be speaking the truth.
“Defensively, there are a lot of corners and safeties. Obviously, both lines are a little bit weaker than they have been in the past. There are a lot of running backs and tight ends. This is a very good year for tight ends. The last couple years with the way college football is going, wide receiver is always deep. There are a lot of wide-outs.”
If you want to know about Joe Mixon, the Broncos staff appear to have done due diligence with his past behavior and are still evaluating him. That says a lot, Broncos Country. It signals he is a strong candidate and if he does fall to Denver, they are apt to take him.
When Elway spoke about our offensive line and in particular at LT, my innards recoiled in horror. “We looked at all the options. We felt the direction we went was the best option for us at that time. Left tackles are not easy to find, so again we go back. We thought Ty is a guy that can compete there. Stephenson played a little left. Menelik played a little left, so we’re not without there. It may not be ideal, but you never know. With the way Ty was playing a couple years ago, we felt that he was going to be a very legitimate left tackle until he got hurt.” It may not be ideal? That’s like saying playing the Patriots after their bye week and when the Broncos’ have spent three weeks on the road, isn’t ideal.
My dearest, Wood, open the vault, walk in with a wheelbarrow and fill it up. Next, call up every team needing a back-up quarterback and even a fullback and shove it all at them, along with a pick for a LT. That wheelbarrow can hold $12 Million. Just Do it.
When asked about how thin OL classes have become, he said it’s because technique and how colleges play has changed over time. He mentioned Alabama-type teams and the SEC still run a lot, so it’s easier to get a good evaluation on those people. If that’s the case, then why are there no players, let alone OL, from Alabama on the team? Or any from the top schools in the south who run and use a pro-style system? That’s the question a reporter with a week to think, should ask. Why keep drafting from the BIG-10 and end up with Schofield the lone OL?
Elway thinks there is a starting left tackle in this class who could come in and compete for the position. Based on his southern remarks, that would indicate Cam Robinson. However, he later went on to say that he wouldn’t need to reach for a DL or OL guy. So, yes, a circular remark lacking any real clarity.
“My philosophy has always been when we go into the draft, we want to go in picking the best football players. Free agent-wise, my belief is that we fix needs in free agency.”
He thinks Ron Leary, Menelik Watson, and the offensive line and the guys we signed there and defensive line is a fix for the Broncos. Elway believes we have a left tackle on our team. “Ty Sambrailo played left tackle for us two years ago and was playing very well, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy. That’s always an option for us. The key thing about the draft as we go in and try to select players that make our football team and help us be a better football team.” The injury Ty had is usually career ending because it affects upper body strength, as we saw when he did play last season and both Siemian and Lynch were running for their lives.
He addressed why they brought Christian McCaffrey in for a visit. Once again media: eye roll question. (No, we’re not going to bring Ed’s kid in?) “He was close. And it was free. And we wanted to meet with him. He’s a great kid. We like Christian a lot and we wanted to bring him in. It was one of those situation where he was in the area, so we wanted to take advantage of that to get to see him again. He’s a great kid.”
Another Einstein question asked of Elway was if he has concerns in bringing in McCaffrey because of his local ties. “No. My concern is if he can play football. That’s our concern. And that, he can do. So, there’s not a concern there.” Where did these reporters go to school? University of Florida?
The big laugh of the presser, “We need a new GM. Other than that we’re pretty good. Just ask Mark [Kiszla] .”
On whether the value of offensive tackles has changed “I think the one thing that we talk about all the time—everyone talks about left tackle and right tackle. Really, I think that is old-term kind of talk. You need two good tackles because they can move their pass rushers around. If you’re weak on the right side, they’ll put them on the right side or the left side or whatever. We want to have two good tackles. Some guys are more built for left tackle than right tackle. I think they are still the same thing, whether it is at blindside or not, you’ve got to have two good tackles. That is what we look for. We’ve got to do a better job of helping protect them, too. I think that McCoy and the staff, looking at all of those different options protection-wise, we’re looking to help those guys, too. No matter how good of a tackle you are, there are too many great pass rushers out there. You’re going to always get beat because there are a lot of great pass rushers out there. We’ve got to do the best job. We can find a guy that fits that spot and also the best job of taking care of him over there, too.”
Elway made my innards tingle in delight when he mentioned how very few of this deep tight end class were Y guys. Why? Because Toledo’s -> Michael Roberts <- is one and I want him to make our team excellent.
“When we classify a tight end, the fact is you have ‘Y’ and an ‘F.’ It’s a deep ‘F’ class. Guys that are good routers and can move, not necessarily the strength of being an in-line tight end. There are a couple of good in-line tight ends, but for the most part they are ‘Fs.’ They are more scheme fits. That is why we say it is a deep class, but what happens is if that is where it falls to us in the third, fourth, fifth round, there may be a real tight end there that we can go ahead and get. Again, it goes down to a scheme fit. When we talk about tight end, we have to classify between the ‘Y’ and the ‘F.’
The dumbest question presented to Elway,because it was irrelevant and made zero sense to ask, was : “why do some quarterbacks have had success being drafted in later rounds?” In case you were wondering, it was asked by a certain female, I’m sure you can guess if you follow the Denver media. One could surmise she wanted to bring it up to Elway to champion for her Dr McSiemy.
A good question was if the all the new coaches would change the draft process.“Defensively, it’s the same. That is the good thing. Vance is going to have different wrinkles, but with Joe as the coordinator it’s pretty much the same defense. That allows us to stay the same on the defensive side. Offensively, having had Mike here four years ago, knowing what he wants and what he’s going to do offensively, I think we’re familiar with that. We’ll try to do the best we can and help them with what they like.”
His thoughts on the GOAT, being inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame this week.
“I’ll just say this: it’s the first of many for Champ. He had a tremendous career and was one of the top corners to ever play the game. When he came to Denver from Washington, what he did in the community here, this is just the start for Champ. I think it couldn’t happen to a better guy.”
Elway was asked good questions about what happens in the draft room when good players start to drop: “It starts opening discussions, and they are falling for a reason. Usually if they fall you have to realize—if he falls to us, No. 1, is it somebody we want? And No. 2, why is he falling? Some of that we can put up with and we’ll discuss that. It always happens to some players. Last year with Tunsil, it was a little bit more unexpected. A lot of time you know going in who might fall.”
His next comment had many of us jumping up and down like little girls: “I don’t want to go backwards on defense and I’ve said that from the very get-go. We’re not going to go back on defense. It’s important for us to continue to stay good on defense and help the defense. If we have a great defensive player, we’ll go that direction. What we want to do is stay good and get better defensively and continue to get better on the offensive side. If we can do that, that makes us a better team.”
When Elway praised the scouting department and the tremendous job they’ve doing background research, etc., I have to throw the BS flag. I’m not going to put down a long list of names, but there’s enough to know that wasn’t always the case. I’ve been harping that changes need to be made. It sounds like maybe, just maybe, we may get that. I did ask for Greek to be retired and he basically was. So, maybe there is a light.
“Once we get through the draft and get into May, we’ll make some changes there. That is usually when we make our personnel changes.”