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Broncos vs. Bengals: Rookies and backups come up big in win.

Who would have thought the late round draft picks would be making a more significant contribution than the early picks?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

“We don’t draft All-Pros; we develop All-Pros.”

John Elway’s famous line has been repeated throughout the draft process and into the season. It’s also indicative of the culture he has built in Denver: a culture where un-drafted/low round picks players like C.J. Anderson, Brandon Marshall, and Chris Harris Jr. become leaders, earning big money deals after toiling away on scout teams and practice squads.

It’s the kind of culture that recognizes when to sit first round picks behind more capable hands (whether that be Shane Ray, or Paxton Lynch), and when to plug the young guys in because they can help this team.

Yesterday’s game against the Bengals epitomized this. The Bronco’s first three picks in this year’s draft combined for 9 total snaps, while their last three picks combined for 91 snaps, with two of those players being permanent starters.

We don’t draft All-Pros; we develop All-Pros.

Additionally, the team was missing key starters at TE, T, and OLB, with a starting safety going down for awhile as well. This required several young players to step up and fill the holes, and they did so admirably. TEs, Jeff Heurman and John Phillips filled in for the injured Virgil Green and Phillips got a TD catch out of it, while Heuerman caught a big play in the 4th Quarter to setup the eventual dagger to Demaryius Thomas.

Michael Schofield was moved all over the line to compensate for injury and played well given the circumstances. Shane Ray picked up right where he left off last week and ensured the pass rush didn’t miss a beat with DeMarcus Ware out.

Kubiak said last year that the path to the Super Bowl was going to take all 53 guys. This year is likely no different; and thanks to Elway and this coaching staff, these 53 guys look up to the task.

Oh ya, and in case you didn’t hear, our starting QB, who just dropped 4 TDs on one of last year’s stingiest secondaries, was a 7th round pick who was running scout team last year.

We don’t draft All-Pros; we develop All-Pros.