Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway had his pre-draft press conference today as the Broncos prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft. In it, he talked about the possibility of draft-day trades, smokescreens, the Broncos' remaining needs, the depth of this draft class, and more (check out our tweetcap). We'll be breaking down a lot of that in-depth, but for now let's talk about Elway's comments on the Broncos' Best Player Available philosophy.
If you read Mile High Report, you know I am a big fan of Best Player Available. Apparently John Elway is, too.
Elway was asked if the Broncos will draft based on need, and he confirmed that wasn't the model the Broncos will employ. 'No, we want to try to take the best available," Elway said. "We felt like we've done a nice job in free agency filling most of our holes there. You never fill all your holes the way you like to, but we feel pretty comfortable going into the draft that it's going to allow us to take the best player available. Knowing that if you have to reach for certain guys, those are the guys that have the most potential to bust. Even though it looks like we built through free agency, we built through the draft as well as free agency. So it's important for us to be accurate in the draft picks that we do have and make sure that the players we do draft are going to be able to help us, whether it's a position of need or not. We want to draft players that are going to be able to come in here and help us."
Even positions of strength are up for consideration if it represents the best player available, Elway said. Consider offensive tackle for the Broncos, a position that features Ryan Clady, Chris Clark, and Orlando Franklin (who Elway confirmed is moving to guard in OTAs and training camp, but may slide back to tackle if needed). Clearly the Broncos have three very good players at the position. Elway said that didn't matter come draft day.
"That's not going to change our mindset going into the draft," said Elway. "If there's an offensive tackle or an offensive guard that's on the board that's the best player up there, we'll take him."
The Broncos draft 31st in each round of the draft, but the depth of this class is such that the Broncos may still be able to pick a quality player there. Because Denver doesn't have a strong need to fill, they can draft a player that is most likely to have an impact, not a fill a roster hole.
"There are always little needs that you have going into a draft, and we don't really feel like we have huge holes," Elway said. "Therefore we're going to try to pick football players that we believe can make our football team and also help us."