When it comes to the NFL Draft, one of those traits are great for a prospect. If a team can get all three, you nail your draft. John Elway and the Denver Broncos did just that on the first two days of the draft with the guys added to the team. Day Three of the draft is about the right fit, with a mix of the traits listed above.
Elway got character, leadership, maturity and value with Josey Jewell, DaeSean Hamilton, Troy Fumagalli, Sam Jones, Keishawn Bierria and David Williams. As Elway said in his tweet about Bierria, “He has high football character, plays with passion and can contribute on defense & special teams.” Throw in Jeff Holland and Phillip Lindsay as undrafted free agent signings and this final day was damn good for the organization. Chubb and Holland, who some had a third- or fourth-round grade on? At the very least the sack dances will be insane.
Time will tell how good this draft is, what they contribute on the field, and how productive it is. What’s clear with the picks right now, not just on Saturday, is the level of intelligence. Most of the selections were leaders on their respective teams. They’re also humble but confident. Oh, they also can play pretty well given they were drafted.
Above all in terms of Day Three, and the draft class as a whole, that’s what stands out about these young men. Know who will appreciate that more than anyone? The veterans in Denver’s locker room.
I have no idea how much more productive this Broncos draft class will be than last years, but after hearing them talk the level of intelligence this time around is miles ahead. Captains and graduates who are humble and perceptive. You know who appreciates that? Veterans.— Zach Bye (@byesline) April 28, 2018
The other factor about this draft is three of the players the Broncos drafted they coached at the Senior Bowl. The 2017 season sucked, but the result allowed Denver the chance to get around the prospects in Mobile, Ala. and learn even more about what makes them tick and the people they are. As Elway said in the post-draft news conference, the franchise doesn’t want to coach it again any time soon, however.
This draft also shows that Elway believes the Broncos are closer to competing than most would think. As he said at the NFL Combine in February on his team rebuilding, “I didn’t say it. I’m not going to say it. Life is too short to rebuild in the NFL.”
“I still think we’re not too far away,” Elway said in February. “Obviously we have to get better at that (quarterback) position. We didn’t play well there last year. That doesn’t all go on the players. There were some things that we should have done that we should have done differently that we didn’t do. I feel like we can get right back in the thick of the things rather quickly. I think we still have a good defensive football team. I think on the offense we’re going to get better with Bill Musgrave being the coordinator this year. Guys are coming back to the same offense because they were with Bill for the last half of last year. I think we’ll be a step ahead and figure out what we do at the quarterback position. I’m excited about where are and think we have a chance to get back into the thick of things rather quickly.”
When you look at the philosophy of Pat Bowlen in his time as owner, you see why Elway would say and think that way. This draft class shows how close he thinks Denver is to contending. And for all of those who were clamoring for a guard in the first round, OK, sixth round, here you go.
The adage that best describes the draft and any class is “time will tell.” In a society craven upon the here and now, that’s a patience most don’t possess. Look no further than the grades that will come out in the next few days. As I said earlier, and have said in each of the stories I’ve written about these picks, there is no way to know what these players will contribute or how productive they will become for the Broncos.
.@PennStateFBall-turned-@HoustonTexans HC Bill’O’Brien: “He’s much more than just a football player.”— NFL (@NFL) April 25, 2018
WR DaeSean Hamilton (@SkeeterMills__) is also his autistic brother’s best friend + protector. pic.twitter.com/JwCXKGE6Fz
What is clear is the character, leadership, maturity and value this crop of picks will bring to the organization and community. Nothing epitomizes that more than that incredible story on Hamilton. As his mother said in the story, “He takes more pleasure in knowing his brother is OK.”
It was said in advance that Elway and the Broncos needed to nail this draft. That it was the most important of his career. As it sits, and when you consider the traits teams look for most, he and the franchise did.
As Elway said about drafting so many captains and leaders: “It’s a special group.”