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Screw draft position - beating the Raiders feels good

I was one of the fans calling for us to tank in this game for a better draft position. I changed my mind.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Every year at the beginning of the season, Broncos Country has two goals for their beloved team: Win a Super Bowl and beat the Raiders.

While we fell short of a repeat Super Bowl, beating the Raiders last night still felt pretty darn good.

I was one of the crowd calling for us to just tank in this game and was hoping for as high a draft pick as possible. I've changed my mind.

Sure this year didn't go like we wanted. Yes there are problems that need to be addressed and we should never be satisfied with a 9-7 season. We should expect more and hold our team to high standards because those expectations have been set for us by John Elway and this organization. I promise you we'll continue to talk about all of that for the rest of the offseason until that horse is beaten into the ground.

But as I sat in the stands yesterday surrounded by a sea of orange, those 72,000 fans didn't care that this game was essentially meaningless or that we had underachieved our expectations this year. We were too busy cheering on Justin Simmons as he capped off a solid rookie campaign with an interception in back-to-back weeks. We cheered as Shane Ray strip sacked whoever that guy was playing QB, and Von Miller forced fumbles and tackled guys in the backfield like he has been doing all year in a Defensive Player of the Year season.

Our running game finally showed some signs of life, and the passing game made plays when it needed to despite our two star receivers being banged up.

These are all positives that can be built on and provide some momentum for next season. If you think these last few games have left a bad taste in players and fans mouths, imagine if we had let the Raiders beat us a second time, with a backup QB, in our house, for our Super Bowl winning coach's last game as a Bronco.

There will be plenty of time for draft talk and rehashing what went wrong this year. But as I sit here in the Denver airport waiting to fly home, I see fans proudly sporting their Bronco gear after a win, and I see the moron Raider fan who has to fly home in embarrassment and disappointment with his special Raiders mohawk he sported at the game last night as his team gears up to be beat by Brock Osweiler and the pitiful Texans next week.

Was all this worth a few draft slots? Absolutely.