***Transcript provided by the fine folks with the Denver Broncos PR Staff***
"It was a very productive day, we thought. The board kind of fell a little differently than we'd anticipated. It obviously tilted more heavily towards the offensive side. I don't think that was necessarily by design but I think we knew that we needed to add some interior depth offensively, some competition in there. I felt like we got players in (Broncos second-round selection, OL) Zane Beatles and (Broncos third-round selection, C) J.D. Walton that can do that. Zane has obviously played tackle in his career and also can move inside to guard. I feel like that versatility is something that is really going to benefit us on this team. He's a very smart player, tough, good finisher - he's played a lot of games. We had him in the building earlier this month too. J.D. was the second-highest rated center or right there with some other players behind (Pittsburgh Steelers first-round selection, C Maurkice) Pouncey. We were fortunate that he was still there into the third round. I feel really good about him and we worked him out. (We) also had him in the building and feel like we know him really well. He knows probably half or more of our offense by now which is great - a good head start for him. We're excited to add him into that competition at center. He also has the flexibility of playing guard as well. (Broncos third-round selection, WR Eric) Decker was a guy who we had rated pretty highly and he's coming off a foot injury that should be close to healed by June so we won't be able to see him run or do too much here in May, but he's close and he's getting better. I'm not sure - and it could certainly be the reason why he fell into the late round - but he's another big receiver, smart kid, really good hands. Played a lot of games, was very productive at Minnesota and we also had him in our building. Three guys we were really happy with but not a whole lot of action for us. There was some talk back and forth with some teams here and there but all in all we got three players that we really feel good about. We feel like they can really come in and contribute and increase the competition at the spots where they play and we'll look forward to seeing them here this week."
On whether Kyle Orton remains the Bronco' starting quarterback
"Still, no question. There is somebody that is going to start at every position. Certainly (Orton) earned the respect of his teammates and coaches last year from what he did and it's a competitive group now - that's what it is. We think that competition is going to make everyone better. We talked about the need for that position to be a leader on our team - one of our better players, if not our best player. I don't know any better way than to create competition at a spot to create that ascension in terms of every player's level of play. It hasn't changed, they'll all get opportunities obviously and we'll see what they do with it and their roles will be determined by what they do."
On Broncos OL Russ Hochstein's rehab process
Russ is doing great and he'll be ready for training camp, no question about it. Probably very limited if not limited totally during the spring but his rehab is going along fine and we're hopeful he'll be totally ready to go by the beginning of training camp. (Broncos C) Dustin Fry has been in all of our offseason programs and coaching sessions - a player we added towards the end of last season off the practice squad. I had some familiarity with him from back in New England; we evaluated him coming out of college. We felt like he was a competitive player at that position. He's big, he's thick and he can do some things in there that are good for our football team. Then obviously, (Broncos third-round selection C) J.D. (Walton), coming in, has played the position. He's played against a lot of tough competition: (He) played against (DT Gerald) McCoy from Oklahoma, (DT Ndamukong) Suh from Nebraska and really held his own in there. Kind of a nasty guy - not personally, but on the football field which is kind of a good attitude to have for an interior lineman and, like I said, we spent a lot of time with him. I feel like the competition there is very similar to what we've created at a lot of other positions and we're very excited to see how it will turn out."
On whether Hochstein will play center or guard
"He can play both. We've done both and he'll do both. Last year, when we first got him, he split his time between both and ended up being inserted at left guard. Whatever Russ earns will be fine with us. We know he's a player that's capable of playing either."
On whether he thought they would come out of the first three rounds without a defensive player
"Like I said, I don't think that was the intent but I don't think you can predict necessarily how it will fall. We tried to pick the players that we felt could increase the depth at certain areas and compete to play early in certain cases. We had some defensive players that we liked, but when we selected we thought we were in a position today that the offensive side ended up being deeper for us in terms of our evaluations."
On whether he thinks Denver might trade for more picks tomorrow
"It could happen. The board has always thinned out by around this time but there are players who we certainly will target tomorrow. We don't have a fourth-round selection as of right now so it'd be hard to get back in there without doing something to create that. We have a fifth and a sixth, no seventh and no fourth so we'll see how it goes. If the board gets wiped out early in the fourth round in terms of players that we feel really good about then maybe there's a chance that we might package two and try to move up or maybe take the fifth and move back. I don't know how it will play out. Only having two picks tomorrow in four rounds may not be as action packed as the first two days."
On if there is anyone on the roster that can fill in as a pass-catching tight end
"Yep, (Broncos TE) Marquez Branson. You didn't see him last year but we have very high expectations and high hopes for him. He's 6'2 1/2, 250 (lbs.) and runs pretty well - good hands. He was (San Diego Chargers TE) Antonio Gates and all those guys on the look team. He did a nice job for us in terms of showing our defense what we wanted him to do. (He) learned a lot, he's a guy that has matured and is doing great in our offseason program right now. We're excited about his progress. He's a tough kid - he can block, he can play on the line of scrimmage some but probably more suited for that position you just mentioned. He's more of a pass-catcher - maybe spread him away from the formation some. He did a great job, like I said, last year and we were fortunate to get him after the draft last year. There were some teams that were even interested in getting him off our practice squad as the season went on and we were fortunate to keep him so we're excited about his progress."
On the team's intention in regards to signing college free agents after the draft
"We're going to have to sign some college free agents at some positions to create some depth obviously for camp and the spring so we're not thin in certain areas. There are areas that are deeper than others, but we'll definitely be involved in that tomorrow."
On contacting current players during the draft
"We haven't contacted anyone in terms of positions on our roster. I mean, they understand what's going on. They know we're going to add players and there's always going to be players that we add at their positions. They're all in here working out. They were in here yesterday, they were in here today and we saw a lot of them in person, but we don't make an effort to go out of our way to do all of that."
On his meetings with both first-round draft picks today
"It went great. Both kids represented themselves, their families and the places that they came from very well. I enjoyed my visit with both of them. Again, I'm familiar with both players in terms of the time I spent with them before the draft. It was great for them to meet (Broncos President and CEO) Pat (Bowlen), (Broncos Chief Operating Officer) Joe (Ellis), our coaching staff, (General Manager) Brian (Xanders) and just sit down and get comfortable with our guys. That's kind of how this day goes - and I know they got to do the media and all of that stuff too. They got their feet wet in terms of visiting Denver. I think Demaryius (Thomas) saw the snow and Tim (Tebow) saw the sun and then waited two hours and saw the rain. It was kind of interesting."
On whether his legacy is tied to the performance of Tebow
"I'm not really concerned about a legacy. We're concerned about winning and, if we win, I think we'll all be very pleased with the outcome. But, we're going to work hard with all of them. There are a lot of players in here that we'd like to see improve or make bigger contributions than they did last year. The rookies are going to come in and earn their role. I'm going to come in and coach all of them the same way, so that's for other people to say."
On the teams thoughts regarding drafting a running back
"There was a gap between the 45th and 80th selections and, if I'm not mistaken, (Stanford RB) Toby Gerhart went, (Tennessee RB) Montario Hardesty went and there might have been a couple others in there that went also. Both of those kids were kids that we liked and we thought they would fit here. They're good runners and good tough players, but when you're picking at 45 and then at 80, there's a lot that can change and those players were off the board. Nothing we can do about it."
On Broncos drafting WR Eric Decker in the fourth round despite a foot injury preventing him from working out
"I think that we rely on video. You can put some stock in what you see at the Combine, but I think that for the most part what you see at the Combine is guys that look pretty good running, catching, throwing and moving, for the most part. So, just getting to meet the player and get to interact with him and understand how he thinks, how he would do in our offense, in terms of learning, we felt really good about that. I think he had a 43 on the Wonderlic, so he's a very smart kid. And then, we just looked at the film. That's what we put the most stock in. What did he do as a football player on tape? He's very versatile. He's done a lot of good things (at Minnesota) and he's very determined young man."
On Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen and Texas QB Colt McCoy slipping in the draft
"It's an interesting fact of the Draft. Sometimes it happens. I know it happens every year to somebody. It just so happens that those players happened to be the ones. Like I said, I know I speak for our team, but what we saw when we met with them, we felt strongly about Tim's (Tebow) intangibles and what he brought to the table. Those other two players are also strong in those areas, we just felt better about Tim overall in terms of our evaluation. I think the two teams that took them probably would've taken them earlier had the player they really liked not been there. I think Carolina could've done that and certainly Cleveland - I think they had a number of picks before they took McCoy. I think it was just a matter of how it all falls on the draft board. There's a risk and reward factor: risk in letting the player go past your pick and hoping that he's there for the next one versus the reward of just going ahead and picking him right there and maybe losing some other guy. I think it's an interesting thing. It happens to everybody and I don't think that it means anything about those two players. I think those players are good, young players that are going to have promising careers. Tim was just a better fit for us."
On drafting two wide receivers that are coming off foot injuries and whether those injuries allowed them to fall to the Broncos later than they would have been selected healthy
"We didn't go in planning on being able to get them (first-round selection Demaryius Thomas and fourth-round choice Eric Decker) later. I think some teams are more nervous about selecting a player that hasn't had an opportunity to run in front of them or do the Combine workout. That's why we go through the thorough medical evaluation. We trust our medical people to give us the prognosis, the short-term prognosis, in terms of when they're going to be ready to go. They both got re-checked and we feel very comfortable with both players in terms of their injuries and the rehabilitation that they've gone through. We expect them to be able to contribute and learn and be out there in some way sometime in the spring."
On the trip to see players before the draft
"We saw (Texas QB Colt) McCoy the day before, on Sunday. We went to Austin, Gainesville, Atlanta and then back to Denver. I think there was something that we wanted to slam dunk home, if we could. The final assessment, the final evaluation of some players that we were very interested in and, in some cases, find out some things that we didn't have nailed down at that point. We treat the process all the way up until the Draft starts. We're doing our work and trying to evaluate players. We're going to look at a few players again tonight and early tomorrow morning that have fallen at the bottom of the Draft. We want have a fresh idea in our minds of what they're like. (The trip) was no more than that. We knew that we liked those players in some degree and wanted to go and see the final touches on the whole thing. It was a good trip. Productive."