There’s a simple narrative out there that a high draft pick will make everything all better. I’m not sure if that’s just sad fans clinging to hope to keep from drowning in tears or if that is a real belief. Not to blow up rainbows and unicorns thoughts, but here’s some issues a top five pick won’t cure.
We need a pretty big overhaul on the roster, especially on offense. Emmanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler, Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, Jordan Taylor, Max Garcia, Andy Janovich, Donald Stephenson, Menelik Watson, Cody Latimer, CJ Anderson, Jamaal Charles. Demaryius Thomas.
Who’s kept? We can’t draft all those spots. That’s 13 players. Plus, we need a couple positions on defense and there are some expiring contracts that we either re-sign or not. If it’s a not, another player needs to be brought in which leads to issue number 1a:
Free Agency. Elway won’t be getting any hometown discounts or restructured deals from any defensive player, and as we saw when Calais Campbell went to Jax, money matters. Not only does Colorado have a state income tax, Denver is expensive on top of that. Which means, any outside player won’t be coming cheap to play on a team that is two years away from making any kind of run.
Defense wins championships, but offenses get them there and ours is MIA, as we saw in MIA. This leads to issue 1b:
Quarterback. When Peyton Manning arrived in 2012, it was to a team in far better shape than where we are now. We really were just a QB of his caliber away from reaching a ‘ship. The HC and OC were already there, as was Adam Gase. We had a stud WR, good RB, TEs and a good OL. They’d made the POs the year before. Plus, Elway was shiny and new and everyone trusted in John. AND Mr. B was still in the picture. We had an owner. Then, they gave Manning the offense and said here.
Do we have a stud WR? RB? OL? TE? HC, OC? All these questions don’t suggest just a QB away. Only one QB could come somewhat close to Peyton and that’s Drew Brees. Why would he want Denver? If he and the other old QB, Eli, want to keep playing, it’s not going to be on a team rebuilding. If we pay Cousins, where do we scrimp to pay for him? If Washington dumps him, his price tag will cut us deep. You can bet your butt we will have to pay him far more than a team like Jacksonville.
That brings us to drafting a QB high. Denver has fifty years of drafted quarterback bodies strewn over a road of tears. The organization and fans have been brutal. They’ve no record of being a QB destination. We are toxic and we have all the issues listed above.
If I’m a parent or agent of one of these guys, I tell them, no way. The vitriol heaped on Paxton Lynch from the media and fans would make me throw a dart and take any other team. And players do have a choice. Ask Elway or Eli Manning about that. The very fans wanting a new shiny toy, that kicked Lynch to the curb after one start, may have very well shot themselves in the foot. How’s that for irony?
Issue 2. Elway has to hire a new coach. What coach wants to work for him? Here’s your contract written in erasable ink. Some coaches would love the chance to turn this team around. I believe it was Jimmy Johnson who once commented on the ego boost of doing so. However, that coach sure wouldn’t feel a sense of permanency to do so. And the fans? Bring in a rookie quarterback on a team in rebuild and he doesn’t perform from the jump, look out. They’ll burn you and him at the stake. Give results right now or you’re dead to them.
If Musgrave, who should be kept for some continuity, and Elway choose a vet, draft an OT first. If they choose Lynch, pay for the best tackle in FA and whomever else you can with that saved money. Draft the players needed around the quarterback: WR, TE, RB. On defense, DE and ILB. Instead of using seven to ten picks, use six and trade the rest to move up and get the best of each. If he goes with a vet, draft a project quarterback. If he goes with Lynch, get a journeyman and draft a NT. If he’s a bust, at least the foundation will be laid to appeal to a quarterback in 2019.
The fans will need to understand that we are not two players away from SB53. That ship sailed in 2015 when Kubiak, instead of Gase, was made head coach. Wade was why we won. Our offense went off a cliff since then. As long as it took to destroy our O is how long it will take to fix it, especially if we waste another 1 on quarterback this season.
The bandaid needs to be ripped off so we can heal. We stink. We need to rebuild and it’s going to take a while. Sure, a couple high picks will definitely help towards that, bring them on. However, it needs to be done smartly and logically and the fans need to give Elway time to do it. In the meantime, take a chill pill, and be thankful we have a really good defense. GO Broncos!