The great aspect of the NFL Draft is anyone and everyone is an expert.
So when one of the best executives in the entire league selects a player no one has heard of, the "experts" hate the pick. If said player doesn't align with the "experts" draft grades, or their own, it was a reach ... and of epic proportions.
Such is the case for John Elway and the Denver Broncos' second-round selection of defensive lineman Adam Gotsis of Georgia Tech.
"He hasn't even played football that long."
"He may not even be ready to play since he got injured in October. Enough of the injury risks when it comes to Denver draft choices."
Huh, so the guy and his staff who just built one of the greatest defenses in NFL history suddenly don't know what they're doing? Oh, and Elway did that in two years, and those moves just led to a Super Bowl 50 victory.
For those who use the injury to Gotsis as a "red flag" or reason to not like the pick, if not for the injury, he wouldn't have been available. General managers across the NFL, per his agent, had him slated between the second and fourth rounds. Elway and his Denver staff clearly had him that high. Elway didn't think Gotsis would be there in the third round and didn't want to risk losing him.
We also must stop the overreaction to injuries, specifically knee injuries. ACL tears aren't the killers they once were. Case in point: Elway said Gotsis should be ready for training camp, and his recovery is coming along fine.
Let's also not forget about Wade Phillips and Bill Kollar.
The selection of Gotsis is entirely because of Phillips and Kollar, namely Kollar who is now his position coach.
Why is that important?
Kollar has a proven track record when it comes to defensive linemen. There's that guy who plays for the Houston Texans, but most recently the player some think Gotsis resembles: Derek Wolfe. Some even made the comparison to Malik Jackson, who also just had his best season in the NFL. All of that was due in large part to Kollar.
Before Kollar made the move to Denver, people said Wolfe couldn't rush the quarterback. In his last 10 games, Wolfe has 8.5 sacks.
In just his second season of football in 2013, Gotsis had 38 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, two blocked kicks and an interception.
Gotsis is still learning the game. He played Australian Rules Football for eight years before he moved to the U.S. at age 19. He's 6-foot-4 and weighs 287 pounds. Even if you haven't watched him, you have to know he's tough. The cat played Australian Rules Football.
Above all, Gotsis can get better, and he has the coach/coaches to get that out of him. He also wants to get better. As Elway said, "Really long ... Great kid, works his tail off."
STEAL by Denver. Justin Simmons is one heck of a player and a great fit in Denver. Second round value. Stud.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) April 30, 2016
And did I mention he's an ideal fit for this defense and Kollar, in particular?
As Kubiak told the media, Kollar was adamant at wanting to coach Gotsis. In fact, Kubiak said he was banging on doors for six weeks for Denver to draft Gotsis
The crazy bear wrestler wanted the Aussie? I think I'll trust him.
Give it a chance, you may like what you see.
And then with the third-round pick to end the second day of the draft, Denver got safety depth with Justin Simmons from Boston College.
This was a need with the contracts of Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward coming up each of the next two offseasons, added with the loss of David Bruton.
Simmons is a great addition to the No Fly Zone, and will get a chance to make an immediate impact on special teams, if not in a Bruton-esque role. The fact Elway and the Broncos got him at the end of the round is a steal. Some had him with a second-round grade, again showing the only grades that matter come from the teams.
Don't be surprised to see Justin Simmons in sub package work right away, filling Bruton's role.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 30, 2016
In my mind, he could become a big version of Ed Reed. Complete in all aspects of the game as a safety, and a willing tackler who rarely misses. As his bio on NFL.com says, "Allowed no broken tackles and just four missed tackles this year." Simmons also is a ballhawk.
After Denver adds its quarterback of the future in Paxton Lynch, it adds depth in positions you can never have enough of.
And at least Elway didn't trade up in the second round to draft a kicker.