Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Broncos got another haul of leaders and weapons to help this team get back on top. After the last pick of the day, John Elway and Vance Joseph met with the media/press to go over what they accomplished in the 2nd and 3rd rounds by drafting WR Courtland Sutton (40), RB Royce Freeman (71), and CB Isaac Yiadom (99).
“We got better on the offensive side, no question. There were some areas that we needed some players, and so we’re really excited,” is how John Elway began the presser. “Courtland is big, fast and he’s really raw. We feel like he really has a tremendous ceiling and upside…Royce has obviously carried the ball a lot at Oregon. He had tremendous production there. He’s a big banger that we haven’t had for a while so we’re excited to have him, too. Isaac, we had him down at the Senior Bowl and really liked him. He’s really long and can run, and really does a nice job on the deep balls. He’s physical and we think he’ll be a really good special teams player. We’re excited about the three players we got today.” And regarding Royce Freeman, Vance insisted that the RB position is wide open, “It’s going to be open obviously with [RB Devontae Booker] and De’Angelo [Henderson]. You’ve got to have two or three backs anyways, so it’s always going to be open competition. It takes two or three guys to have a solid backfield.”
A little nugget in the beginning of the 2nd round was that the Broncos were trying to nab an offensive lineman before selecting Sutton. “We actually thought we had one but it didn’t work out that way. Things happened, so we didn’t get it.” said Elway, but “with the grade that we had for Courtland and that he was still there, he was the top receiver we had still available. We had different options and different directions we were going to go if things happened—we had a chance to go back too, so we were in pretty good shape. He fell to us so we stayed right there and took Courtland.” And obviously this team is now about thinking of the future as well as right now, because while Sutton may be competing for the third WR spot now, “The third wide receiver was important to us and he’s a guy that can really develop and eventually maybe become a No. 1.” DT isn’t getting any younger, a number 1 being groomed is great forward thinking by the Broncos brass.
Any Broncos fan would know about the woes that the team has had in the red zone recently. Vance Joseph believes, though, that Sutton and Freeman can help out in that area. “With Sutton, and obviously the 6-4 frame, that’s key in the red zone…with Freeman, he’s a big back with speed. When we get down there in the red zone and we want to run the football, he’s a nice option. When you’re third-and-one, fourth-and-one, he’s a great option. We’re excited about both guys.”
One huge knock/question mark about Freeman was the amount of carries he amassed at Oregon playing for the Ducks. But, according to Elway, “What it shows to us is he’s durable. He played a lot so therefore he can take that. At the end of his career who know how much that will shorten it, but it wasn’t a concern when we took him that there was too much tread.” Of course, with the recent release of CJ Anderson, an inevitable comparison was going to be made. According to Elway, “he’s got the same type of size [as CJ]. Royce has got a lot better speed, he’s a 4.5 [40-yard dash time] guy. He’s got breakaway speed and has that ability. The experience that he’s had, he’s really got a good feel between the tackles. He’s a guy that if we can get him on the safeties, he has a chance to break it.” A little shade thrown CJ’s way, if you ask me!
The first pick for the Broncos being defense with Bradley Chubb, it should not be a surprise that a run on offense would happen. The pick of Isaac Yiadom on defense looks to help with the void left by Aqib Talib being traded to the LA Rams. Broncos got to coach Yiadom at the Senior Bowl, and Vance said, “Isaac was a guy that got better every day. He certainly fits our profile at corner. We want long corners with long speed because we’re a press team…he’s going to be great on special teams for us as a tough tackler. He definitely fits our bill at cornerback.” He also reiterated that, “At every position, it’s going to be open competition” when questioned about the number 3 CB spot regarding Yiadom.
So far, none of the players picked by the Broncos were seen at Dove Valley as part of the team’s top 30 Draft prospect series…and Elway stated that was definitely on purpose. “Well yeah, I have to hide everything from you. If I let too many things out… I have to play hide-and-go-seek with you guys all the time when it comes down to who we’re going to pick. I’ve got to try and keep it quiet.”
It also appears that Elway has put more trust into the scouting department this draft to remake the locker room and it’s culture on the team. “Our scouts have done a tremendous job. Courtland, as well as Royce and Isaac, they’re really, really good people. They’re really positive people. When you get that kind of feedback on them, you don’t have to do a whole lot of homework and visit with them too many times when you know that the background is there.”