A fellow Mile Higher by the name of broncodano created a post questioning whether Malik Jackson was better than Robert Ayers. Me personally I wouldn't say he's better. I would say he's quicker, maybe a little more of a high motor player for his size. But with time I think he will prove to be better. However, as I went through the comments I was inspired. Not by trading the entire draft for 2 years to get 4 players(though I think its an interesting proposition). But by the question of what to do with all the depth available, when the next 2 drafts will produce 14 new rookies on an already deep team. I'm sure many of you are aware of my feelings of this past draft. I thought it was vanity at work. Not in the aspect of Elway trying to be vain, more so him trying to go with what worked for him throughout his career(which lends to reason). The team last year already looks like the 97-98 teams in that you have DT like the Rod Smith, ED like the Ed McCaffrey, JT(though he was hurt) like Shannon Sharpe, I mean the parallels go on. For instance, this year Montee Ball like TD, Sly like Trevor Pryce, Nacho(who beat out veteran Mike Adams) like Atwater and so on and so forth. Before everyone thinks I'm just criticizing and downing him that's not the case. Its 3 key words that describe the situation from the way I see it and I'll explain what I mean.
The quality of people who have too much pride in their own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc. : the quality of being vain.
Something(such as a belief or a way of behaving)which shows that you have too much pride in yourself , your social status, etc.
philosophy: relating to the way a person experiences things in his or her own mind
Based on feelings or opinions rather than facts.
based on facts whether than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings
Now I know anyone who is reading this, knows the definition of these words I just want you to understand the context in which I use them. So when I see us draft certain players, I don't think John is being objective in his selections. When we went into the draft this year, there was an emphasis on selecting the best available player. BEST available. The reason I say that is because I don't care if the best available player was a QB, draft him. Why? (I know, this isn't Madden but...)Because if you draft the best available, and he doesn't necessarily serve a need, then you can trade him. The Chargers did the same with Eli and their consolation prize was Philip Rivers, Nate Kaeding, and later, Shawne Merriman. But that's here nor there, just 1 example of picking the Best available and parlaying if necessary. When I just went to nfl.com(http://www.nfl.com/draft/2013/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-grade) and check the list for best available players, Sly was in the 60's(I had to count 1 by 1). Not like nfl.com's scouts are better than our scouts, know what they are talking about, or have the end all be all list for draft picks. I'm just using it as a credible example. Ahead of him were names like Kawonn Short(CAR), John Jenkins(NO), Leon McFadden(CLE), Kevin Minter(ARI), Alec Ogletree(STL), Jonathan Banks(TB), Jesse Williams(SEA), Alex Okafor(ARI), Tank Carridine(SF), Arthur Brown(BAL), John Cyprien(JAC), and so forth. Any sound familar(as far as doing pretty good for their rookie season). Now I chose these names for a reason. They all play defense, and were all chosen After Sly. When we lost to Baltimore, we as Bronco fans knew it wasn't because of the Manning pick. The game shouldn't have went to overtime in the first place. We lost because we gave up 38 points. I personally didn't think we would get ANY offensive players this past draft(except Maybe a RB or OL with Kuper hurt and JD down), we were stacked. We had Stokley on stand by, 2 WR's behind him(Bubba, Gerelle), and had yet to begin the draft or dip further into a free agent market littered with play makers at RB (http://espn.go.com/nfl/freeagency/index?year=2013&position=9). Now when you look at the list of RB's, don't look at it and think about how much the players suck. Instead, think how good they would look in a Peyton Manning/Adam Gase ran offense. Remember, we have a developing rookie and 2nd year man, doing no better than the likes of Joseph Addai did his first season to win a Super Bowl(not to hate on them because they're improving weekly from what I see). Danny Woodhead alone, would've been Mannings Sproles(I still don't know why NE let him go?)(And I don't want to talk about Reggie Bush smh). This is before the draft.
So going back to broncodano's comments. He was half-heartidly suggesting we give up 2 years worth of drafts to get 4 special players in 1 area. Defense. It was excessive, but didn't sound so crazy to me. I don't think he meant so much give up drafts, as much as he meant draft Day 1 IMPACT players. When we selected Montee, King, and Painter, I thought it was a waste, Sly included. Until I looked them up a little more. I saw UPSIDE. Talents, and skill sets that could be developed to something special. But when the draft began, I was more of the mind state of broncodano, and Elway's quotes. BEST available players(especially with a super bowl or bust team). Most times those are players that can provide an impact Day 1 unless they get hurt, or got real f%$#d up backgrounds(troubles with the law and such). Looking over our draft, not 1 of the players stood out to me as immediate impact players. Sly showed inconsistencies, Montee ran behind a good line in a weak division, with a good QB(our UDFA can do what he can from what I've seen). Kayvon looked like a safety. And King ran in a simple offense. But all looked the part, if they could get some seasoning. Q Smith looks like a steal, but ACL injuries can be hard to come back from for a speed/edge rusher(but we passed up Lacy due to injury past?). Now of the names I mentioned up above, I internet scouted a few of them, and remembered others from watching on my leisure. Arthur Brown almost helped lead KANSAS STATE to a national title. That jumps out especially with a QB like Colin Klein who didn't run a high powered offense. Jonathan Banks lead the SEC among DB's. The SEC. Ogletree, when I checked on him a little more around draft time, had the length we coveted for a cover LB. Remember. Our weakness last year was covering TE's. He could learn behind Woodyard and if Woody goes down, replace Woody(and Von move to more pass rush responsibilities). Del Rio, this year and last shows a high propensity to put most, if not all his active defensive players on the field in a position to make a play(so no bench warming here). We need impact players to step in when we have holes. Not development projects. It shouldn't be that much onus put on the coaching staff. Just like it shouldn't be that much onus put on the offense. Just like it shouldn't be...You get the point. And I understand when you guys bring up the success of the Chris Harris's, Wesley Woodyard's, The Nacho's, etc. Now the same way you imagine those veteran running backs in the system with Manning/Gase. Imagine the BEST available player's with our coaching/developing......And if they get too good to stick around(expensive), trade them for picks and start over. Its kind of Patriot like, but Elway is a master at fair dealings, so if its any way to keep them within reason, he's proven he'll find it.
Again, this isn't an Elway bashing session. You all know I believe this team can almost walk on water, and with Free Agents, Elway's a step or 2 away from being a God. But with a team so loaded, picking the best should be much easier. This team doesn't NEED anything. The only thing they NEED to do is remain aggressive. Take New Orleans for example(NE another). When they enter each year they do it as the hunter. What do I mean. They had a running back core of Mark Ingram(Heisman), Pierre Thomas(starter), Chris Ivory(change of pace starter). What did they do. Bring in Darren Sproles. NE had a solid team. But in 2010, after they selected a stud in Gronk what did they do? Take a stud in the same position in the 4th(hernandez). They went to the Super Bowl that year. Teams like those don't settle for just having quality. They aspire to stay aggresive in certain areas. Not do too much, or anything out of reach. But continue to be deliberate, and dynamic. If not in 1 area then another. They may have a good player in a position, but with ready made depth, they work on becoming even more Dynamic. Irsay stuck his foot in his mouth pretty good with the Manning comments. But the fact remains, Manning didn't even have a top 20 ranked defense going into those match ups with the Pats. While Brady toated a top 5 ranked defense when he faced Manning. And 3 rings later for Brady, many call Manning a choke artist. In fact, when has his defense ever held a team to 17 or under in the playoffs? I bet no more than thrice. He's been in the league 15 years. These next 3 championships(maybe 4) will be won 1 way only. That's defense. With that in mind Elway Has to make the objective decision to load this team up the affordable way. Through the draft. Preferably on defense. The same can be done on O, just not so subjectively. This team doesn't need anything else BUT the best players available, not projects. If that mean we got to trade up. Jump. If we got a Kayvon Webster kind of impact player on the back end, lets accumulate some picks for next year we can use to get a stud and trade back. If we got some stud UDFA's we want to develop, skrew the draft, package the back picks, and get a stud in the top 15 since "we don't draft all-pros we coach them up". I offer fair warning from a former Colts fan though. Don't get caught up 4 years from now with a bunch of guys 'coached up', but weren't that good in the 1st place(2-14 without Manning, or Luck).
I say all that to say this. Everybody on this site has a voice. As writers and even those who comment. Yeah we're just fans, but that voice as a fan has power. We get so caught up by the Kool-Aid bowl, sometimes we don't care whose on stage or what the f&^% their playing. But if the band playing a song that sound like good elevator music, we might want to tell them to turn up. I'm trying to get everything out of my Kool-Aid that I can while Manning is at the mic. And if the drummer sucks to me, I'm gonna boo(metaphorically speaking, not the JAC halftime kind of booing). Not to be a party pooper, but to get somebody like a Travis Barker up there or something. Crank it feel me. And our edge rushers, that draft, our runners, anything that can be confused with being a C+ or below, needs to be cranked up to me. No settling. Be dynamic. Embrace History.