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John Elway has failed to draft well and team is now suffering from that

If this team is ‘soft’ then you have John Elway to thank for that.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Late last week, John Elway threw down the gauntlet by calling his team ‘soft’. After another tough loss - and their sixth in a row - players either were angry about it or agreed with him.

Von Miller said Elway was telling the truth. As did Demaryius Thomas. As did Domata Peko.

Miller also bristled at the thought of himself being seen as soft. As did Chris Harris Jr. As did Brandon Marshall.

The point here is that Elway’s remarks had an impact and after another loss the team is generally unhappy about it. That unhappiness likely stems from the reality that the team is both soft and not very good right now.

And that is on Elway himself. He built this team. Maybe, just maybe, the Broncos success had more to do with Peyton Manning than John Elway.

Below is Elway’s draft history. The names in bold are or were legit starters in this league, and solid reserve players in italics.


  • Von Miller
  • Rahim Moore
  • Orlando Franklin
  • Nate Irving
  • Quinton Carter
  • Julius Thomas
  • Mike Mohamed
  • Virgil Green
  • Jeremy Beal


  • Derek Wolfe
  • Brock Osweiler
  • Ronnie HIllman
  • Omar Bolden
  • Philip Blake
  • Malik Jackson
  • Danny Trevathan


  • Sylvester Williams
  • Montee Ball
  • Kayvon Webster
  • Quantereus Smith
  • Tavarres King
  • Vinston Painter
  • Zac Dysert


  • Bradley Roby
  • Cody Latimer
  • Michael Schofield
  • Lamin Barrow
  • Matt Paradis
  • Corey Nelson


  • Shane Ray
  • Ty Sambralio
  • Jeff Heuerman
  • Max Garcia
  • Lorenzo Doss
  • Darius Kilgo
  • Trevor Siemian
  • Taurean Nixon
  • Josh Furman


  • Paxton Lynch
  • Adam Gotsis
  • Justin Simmons
  • Devontae Booker
  • Connor McGovern
  • Andy Janovich
  • Will Parks
  • Riley Dixon


  • Garett Bolles
  • Demarcus Walker
  • Carlos Henderson
  • Brendan Langley
  • Jake Butt
  • Isaiah McKenzie
  • De’Angelo Henderson
  • Chad Kelly

I’ll give a wait and see note on this years’ draft class, but what we are seeing on the field in 2017 is what this team looks like without a world class quarterback like Manning under center. The draft classes from 2013-2015 should be coming into their prime right now, but look at the dearth of talent Elway drafted during those years?

Elway’s history of drafting suggests that changes are needed more so in the scouting department than the on-the-field department. And if the Broncos are ‘soft’ the person who needs to shoulder most of that blame is none other than Elway himself.