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Horse Tracks: Final day of the Combine

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The combine winds down today with defensive backs taking the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in their tiny and, at times, ineffective Lycra shorts (more on that later). Free agency is around the corner and all the talk around the Broncos revolves around tags, retirement, and what the future holds.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Combine is always a strange time of year for me. I watch more than I should, even though I know that come draft day, I won't remember any of it. It's something vaguely football related and that's good enough for me. Mike Mayock is goofy enough with his Mayock-isms and appears keenly knowledgeable about seemingly everyone. I love that the broadcast is conducted in whispers as though some golf pro is teeing off in the booth right next to them. There's a general air of good-natured competition that's also nice to see. It's not a man-against-man contest. Every guy is there to do their absolute best and for better and for worst, it's fun to watch... or have on in the background while you pay bills or wash dishes.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a draftnik. I'm too emotional of a fan to allow my hopes to be up about any one player this far off from the draft, especially since the verdict on this year's draft won't be concisely read until sometime in 2019. Over the next few months, I'll look at countless mock drafts that all say different things and I'll finally settle on about three players that the Broncos will likely select. Then, because we have the last pick in the first round, the Broncos will either trade down and out of the first night of selections or they will pick someone that nobody in the draft that nobody had remotely thought Denver would pick. It's all very exciting.

It's feels different this year, too. Coming off the Super Bowl win, watching the combine drills don't seem as important as in year's past. Maybe it's the talk of tags and retirements that have me distracted. The buzz of free agency may just be too loud this year for me to give the Combine it's full due. Of course after we draft, I'll want to know every last detail about whomever the Broncos selected. For me, right now and for the next few months, the Combine and the measurables it produces will insulate me from the feeling that whomever the Broncos select will eventually be a bust. For fans, perhaps that's the true long-lasting value of the Combine.

Horse Tracks

I'm starting off Horse Tracks with former-Denver Broncos public relations guru Jim Saccomano's article on former Bronco Al Carmichael. Why? Because Carmichael was the first player in Broncos history to ever score a touchdown. #respect Sundays with Sacco: The 1953 Draft and our oldest Bronco | Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning talk, who wants it?! The news now seems not to be that he's going to retire, but when he'll announce it. I love how during the Super Bowl, the sports press was tripping all over itself to report news that Manning had said privately he was going to retire, but now the press is just tripping over itself regarding a possible announcement on the announcement.

Report: Broncos privately preparing to part ways with Peyton Manning - CBSSports.com

Report: Peyton Manning to acknowledge he's retiring - NFL.com

The other big Broncos news item is Von Miller and whether or not Denver will sign him before the franchise tag deadline. I'm still holding out hope that Miller's deal can get hammered out in time to tag Malik Jackson, but as the days pass, it's looking less likely.

Broncos to tag Von Miller as deadline approaches with no deal done, report says | NFL | Sporting News

Broncos prepared to place exclusive franchise tag on Von Miller - The Denver Post

Von Miller, Denver Broncos unlikely to strike long-term deal by Tuesday deadline

So, what about Malik Jackson? How badly do the Broncos want him back? 9News series: The case for Malik Jackson | #9news #9sports

Remember how excited we all were when Denver pulled the trigger on the trade that brought tight end Vernon Davis to Denver? Remember how disappointed we were when he was incapable of catching the ball and then largely disappeared from the offense? Elway recently reflected on that. John Elway reveals why Vernon Davis struggled with the Broncos - CBSSports.com

The last day of the Combine is today and you might have some questions. Here's Andrew Mason's mailbag. Mason's Mailbag: NFL Scouting Combine edition | Denver Broncos

Who is the biggest standout in the Combine so far? Scout: UCLA LB Myles Jack is NFL Draft's best player - NFL.com

The Combine this year hasn't been without it's own news and controversy. An Atlanta Falcons coach shoved a Cardinals scout, that's something. Bryan Cox of Atlanta Falcons says he will apologize after shoving Arizona Cardinals scout | ESPN

You know those dreams you may sometime have where you go back to high school not wearing any pants? This was infinitely worse and happened in the real world to Chris Jones. Poor fella. The NFL Combine got NSFW when a player's penis came out during the 40-yard dash - SBNation.com

So when Manning does retire, who will take his place? Brock? Kaep? RG3?

Here's the latest on Kaep. York seems to say 49ers won’t grant Kaepernick permission to seek trade | ProFootballTalk

...and the latest on RG3. Griffin trade still unlikely, even though Washington would take anything | ProFootballTalk

The Chargers may be looking to trade down. Of course, an inter-divisional trade between Denver and San Diego would be highly unlikely, but it's nice to daydream about for a few seconds. Report: Chargers open to dealing No. 3 overall pick - NFL.com

It turns out that the heat Jerry Jones is still taking over his decision to bring Greg Hardy to the Dallas Cowboys may not have been worth it. Jerry Jones: Cowboys "underestimated" impact of Greg Hardy’s year off | ProFootballTalk

Lastly, who knew there was a special edition Ford Bronco that was Broncos themed? Here's a look at a Broncos themed edition of the 1975 Ford Bronco, just one of seventy-seven rumored to exist. It's pretty badass. Long McArthur sells a rare breed of Bronco | Local News | salina.com