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Horse Tracks: The Denver Broncos have one last offseason obstacle to summit — the 2018 NFL Draft

In order to reclaim their status as championship contenders and have long-term success, the Denver Broncos have to make their picks count in the 2018 NFL Draft.

NFL: New York Jets at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country.

They may have not been the moves fans of the Denver Broncos were expecting, but nevertheless, the efforts of John Elway and his staff this offseason have significantly improved the franchise’s chances to compete for championships in the near future.

A new starting quarterback better than anything the team fielded in 2017? Check. A starting offensive tackle infinitely more capable than what is currently on the roster? Check. A defensive chess piece to combat prior year woes against tight ends and running backs? Check. A veteran defensive lineman who can make an impact as a pass rusher and from a leadership perspective in the locker room? Check.

Four areas of significant concern, all upgraded immensely in just a little over a month. For me, there’s no doubt that the additions of Case Keenum, Jason Veldheer, Su’a Cravens and Clinton McDonald have made the Broncos a much better team than they were entering the offseason, but what remains to be seen is if Elway and the Broncos Brass in Dove Valley can conquer what lies ahead of them at the end of April — the 2018 NFL Draft.

It’s an area where the team has struggled consistently for years, especially in the Era of Elway. Whether it’s reaching significantly for players early on with significant injury concerns or moving up or players with prime draft capital that never panned out, the Broncos must find a way to make this year’s draft a success if they want to endure long-term success in this league and reclaim their status as championship contenders.

When they snag a running back in late April, let’s hope they aren’t the next Montee Ball or Ronnie Hillman. When they select an offensive tackle to develop, wish upon a star to ensure they aren’t the next Ty Sambrialo or Michael Schofield. When they are on the clock with their third round compensatory selection, cross your fingers they can make an immediate impact on the gridiron and not be a prospect who is learning the position they hope he can perform eventually at in the league.

See where I’m going here? You get the picture. The Broncos will be going to the draft well to replenish their future foundations at positions of need, which unsurprisingly has been the bane of Elway and his scouting department since he took over all those years ago. Thankfully, the franchise had the prime opportunity to coach at this year’s Senior Bowl, which should provide them valuable insight to many of this year’s top players and give them a great basis for talent evaluation. Furthermore, they still have eight picks total, all of which are in the first five rounds of the draft.

Making splashes in free agency is great, but if the Broncos can’t find a way to buck a historically bad trend of failure in the NFL Draft, the prospect of hoisting the franchise’s fourth Lombardi Trophy in the near future is tenuous at best. Here’s to hoping that their past failures in that respect can be improved upon and that they make the most out of their tremendous draft pick haul in late April.

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

Horse Tracks

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