After months of anticipation, the 2018 NFL Draft is less than 36 hours from kicking off. A lot of fans have been waiting since the season was over for it to happen, but I’m one of those who has been eagerly anticipating this year’s draft since last year’s ended. Just like we have in years past, the Mile High Report staff came together for a round table discussion to answer several questions I had in regard to the Denver Broncos and this year’s draft — and what I wanted to know most is what each staff member would do if they were John Elway with the Broncos’ first-round selection.
What opening day move(s) do you make and why?
Ian St. Clair:
Perhaps this is too optimistic, hardly a phrase uttered about me, but John Elway and the Denver Broncos get Baker Mayfield. And I don’t think they’ll need to trade up to get him. I have a gut feeling, and the last time I had a feeling like this about the Broncos it was about them signing Peyton Manning weeks before. That could be a recipe for disaster, and my hopes and dreams could be crushed like Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50, but I just feel it. If my gut feeling is wrong and come Thursday Elway gets wind Mayfield will go at No. 3 to the New York Jets, I hope he will make a bold move and trade to No. 2. Denver needs a franchise quarterback and it needs to do whatever it takes to get one. For me that’s Mayfield. On the latest MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I were joined by fellow staff members to get Denver fans primed for the draft.
With the #NFLDraft so close we can taste it (is that possible?), @AdamMalnati16 & I were joined by @docllv, @topherhart & @JeffreyEssary on the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast to discuss the #Broncos & what could happen come Thursday. Fun discussion! https://t.co/FlMesFO9X0— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) April 24, 2018
If he’s there: Baker Mayfield at 5. I wouldn’t trade up (Denver needs the picks and this draft is a gold mind in the second and early third days. If Mayfield isn’t there the Broncos should trade down if it’s possible to gather more of those latter day picks, but if there’s no value? Grab Quenton Nelson at 5. He has all the makings of a future Hall of Famer.
I suppose this all depends on if Baker Mayfield is there at No. 5. I do not think the Broncos will move up in this draft to grab anybody. I think they remain calm, cool, and collected and hang tight at five unless Mayfield gets snatched up. If that’s the case, then I think the Broncos trade with the Bills back to No. 12 and collect their #22 and #53 picks. I think they saw what DeShawn Watson did in Houston as a rookie, and they’re intoxicated by it. Elway is heard from down the hall saying “F it, if Brady can be in the shotgun 5,820, no, 5,240, no, 99% of the time, so can we!” as he scribbles either Mayfield or Jackson’s name on a piece of paper.
With the #5 Pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos Select: QB Baker Mayfield.
If he’s gone, then...
With the #12 Pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos Select: QB Lamar Jackson
With the #22 Pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos Select: OG Will Hernandez
If Mayfield or Rosen is there at 5, take him. If QBs go first through fourth, then take Chubb to pair with Von. I don’t think the front office is planning on riding Keenum for more than one or two years at QB since most QBs don’t last very long after they hit 30 years of age. Keenum is currently 30 years old. There is not much at QB currently in the college ranks, so if we don’t get a “franchise” QB in the draft this year, it may be another three before some more “franchise” QBs finish up there college playing careers.
How many would be okay with this line of thinking by the Denver Broncos heading into Thursday? https://t.co/v3WwBSKDEZ— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) April 23, 2018
I’m with the others: if we’re talking the ideal situation at 5, it’s having Baker Mayfield still available and sprinting to turn in the card with his name on it the moment the Broncos are on the clock. And if he’s not? Either draft Bradley Chubb if he’s still there or get the Bills on the phone and collect the 12th and 22nd picks, as well as their 2019 1st (we are talking best case scenario here). With that trade down secured, I’d love to see the Broncos get CB Denzel Ward at 12 and G Will Hernandez at 22. Nelson looks awesome, but Ward & Hernandez at 12 & 22 > Nelson at 5.
I think by the time the fifth pick in the 1st round is up the option to trade the Denver Broncos pick for anything that has fans salivating will be gone. If the Buffalo Bills want a quarterback, they should feel the need to undercut Denver (trading for the fourth overall pick with Cleveland). The opening move that I would make would be to trade with the New England Patriots, let them create their own quarterback controversy at #5 take New England’s 2018 #23, #31, #63 and 2019’s 4th round.
Hopefully the Patriots draft a quarterback like Josh Rosen or Lamar Jackson and set off a demand by Tom Brady to make Jimmy Garoppolo/Kirk Cousins money.
With the later 1st round picks the Broncos have the freedom to draft guys like: DE Marcus Davenport (University of Texas San Antonio), CB Josh Jackson (Iowa), RB Ronald Jones (USC), G Will Hernandez (UTEP) and you can throw in CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) and G/C/T Isaiah Wynn (Georgia) in there as later picks that could split the 1st or 2nd round.
If Denver does not make a trade, I would draft OLB/ILB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech).
What Denver will actually do? Take their best player available in order of: Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Bradley Chubb, Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith.
Denver is in need of their QB of the future and there is one guy in this draft that fits that description in my opinion. Baker Mayfield is the guy who I think has the potential to become a legitimate franchise QB, but I don’t think he will be there at 5. The best thing John Elway could do in this draft is make a big trade and move up to 2 with the Giants to get Mayfield ahead of the Jets. There is a lot of talk about draft capital, but what we have seen from Elway in recent years is an inability to draft second round talent. No point in being rich if all you ever do is eat Ramen noodles, drive a beat up old sedan, and take vacations at KOA RV camps on the side of I-25. Spend the money and make the luxury pick.
Being realistic... I’m going with a trade down with the Buffalo Bills. The Broncos want to build a roster around Case Keenum and getting another 1st rounder, and multiple day 2 and 3 picks in return would go a long way in doing so. This would help the Broncos fill multiple holes on their roster and setting them up to have success going forward. The Broncos core of the roster is not getting any younger. It’s time to add multiple young reinforcements.
With Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield likely off the board at the fifth overall pick, I would do my best to move back several selections and accumulate more draft capital to fill current and future needs on the roster. The highly suggested rumor is the Bills trading up with the Broncos, which would net them at least the #12 and #22 picks in the first round this year, with likely Day 2 and future picks as well. That’s a great haul and I’ll gladly take it, but it likely puts Denver out of territory for getting some of the blue-chip prospects in this class such as Roquan Smith, Denzel Ward or Tremaine Edmunds. If the Broncos could somehow manage to get the Bills’ future first-round pick — even better.
Optimistically, I’d take either Smith or Edmunds in a trade back and fill the Broncos’ long-term need at inside linebacker. With that second first-round pick, I’d look to shore up the offensive line with someone like Will Hernandez, but if he was off the board — I’d give a long look at someone like Ronald Jones to help bolster the franchise’s running game and make it a formidable part of the offense in 2018.
Hoping that Elway can make some Sonny Weaver Jr. trade magic happen with the #Bills. "OK Buffalo, you want Josh Allen? We are going to need your #12 and #22 picks this year, two Day Two picks this year, your first-round pick next year and LeSean McCoy."— Christopher Hart (@topherhart) April 24, 2018
Denver will be kicking themselves for the next ten years when Baker Mayfield is lighting the league on fire and they were a few slots away from getting him. Until you 100% have your QB of the future, you exhaust every option possible to get him.
The Giants have been said to be in love with Barkley and won’t budge at #2, but if I’m Denver, I give them an offer they can’t refuse and trade Shaq Barrett along with a 2nd round pick to move up to #2 and secure the franchise leader of the future who will ignite the fanbase and create some leadership and identity on offense that has been missing since Denver fell from atop the league in 2015.
So Broncos Country, what would you do if you were John Elway with the team’s first pick in the draft? Are you moving up to get your guy (regardless of position)? Are you standing pat and taking the best player available? Or are you looking to trade back and accumulate more picks to address all the needs on the roster? Sound off in the comments section and let us know your plan for the Broncos on the draft’s first day.
What move would you make with the Broncos’ first selection?
This poll is closed
I’m all about moving up to get my guy!
I’ll stand pat at the fifth pick and take the best player available.
I’d trade back and accumulate more picks to address more needs.