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Horse Tracks: Broncos can't afford to whiff in this years NFL Draft

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The Denver Broncos will reshape their identity in this offseason. An integral part in that transformation will be the 2017 NFL Draft — where they can't afford to whiff on early picks like they have in the past.

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Good morning, Broncos Country.

Under the leadership of John Elway, the Denver Broncos have improved leaps and bounds. After Josh McDaniels' short-lived time in Denver, the Broncos were on the brink of collapse after he gutted their roster and seemingly ran the franchise into the ground.

It wasn't easy, but year after year Elway was able to concoct formidable rosters' worthy of praise and talented enough to not only compete for playoff spots, but earn a handful of AFC West Championships, two Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi Trophy.

Success and Elway are synonymous terms that go hand in hand.  Seemingly anything he touches turns into gold, and his reputation as a businessman and genius football mind are without question.  His determination and desire to be the best is what sets him apart from so many others walking a similar path in the league.  Point blank, Elway is a winner. He has always been and always will be, but that doesn't mean there aren't rough edges in his managerial capacity that need rounding out.

Scoring big-time free agents is just one key cog in maintaining a competitive roster.  Elway has virtually perfected this craft with the long list of top-flight players he has reeled into Denver over the years.  But in order to have longevity and continuity, teams must draft well.  That's something the Broncos haven't done to the best of their abilities since he has taken over, and quite honestly, it's been a bane of the franchise for as long as I can remember.

The proof is in the pudding.  The Broncos struggle in acquiring talent via the NFL Draft.  With ten picks in this years' draft, the Broncos will have the ammunition necessary to score some of the best talent college football has to offer, provided they buck their woeful trend of missing woefully with their early selections.

No more Ty Sambrailo's, Jeff Heuerman's, Cody Latimer's, Michael Schofield's or Montee Ball's.  No more dice rolling on prospects who have a laundry list of injuries that undoubtedly inhibit their ability to have longevity in the NFL.  Denver's track record under Elway in the second and third rounds have been a disaster — and that may be putting it lightly.

This years' NFL Draft is incredibly deep and one of the most talented in years.  There are high-profile players at running back, wide receiver, tight end — positions in which Denver could use significant upgrades at if their offense wants to perform at a higher level than last year.  It also has playmakers' on the defensive side of the ball, where the Broncos' should be seeking to upgrade their defensive line and inside linebacker positions.

Though the team doesn't have a huge need in the secondary, this years' crop of defensive backs is regarded as one of the best in two decades.  Why not snag a prospect somewhere on Day 3 that likely would have been a Day 2 selection in any other year?

It's not a great draft for offensive lineman, but there are solid prospects who could come in and help the team out right away.  Some of my favorites are Pat Elflein and Dorian Johnson — two guys on the interior who are low-risk, plug-and-play prospects in the trenches. All selections are calculated risks, but early word out of the scouting community states that those guys are ready to contribute immediately as rookies.

If the Broncos want to be competitive for the long haul, they have to find a way to improve their lackluster drafting.  Headline free agent acquisitions are nice, but dynasties and teams capable of competing year in and year out for the NFL's top prize are made through the NFL Draft.

Here is to hoping the Broncos can do better this year and find some top-tier prospects who can help the franchise get back to the promise land.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today's offering of Horse Tracks.

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