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John Elway: ‘we’re very happy’ with first two days of NFL Draft

The Denver Broncos came away with quite a haul on Day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft. John Elway couldn’t be happier about it.

After the trade back on Thursday night netted Denver an extra 2nd round pick, we knew today would be fun - we just didn’t know how fun.

The Denver Broncos added a starting caliber offensive lineman at #41, a developmental quarterback, who many predicted Denver taking at #10, at #42, and a disruptive pass rusher to add some juice on the defensive interior.

Here’s what Elway had to say about his his Day 2 haul.

Elway on Dalton Risner

“We’re excited about Dalton. The staff liked him, [Offensive Line Coach] Mike Munchak really liked him, and so he was a target for us starting the day [in addition to] Drew. We thought they were both players that we really wanted, targeted and were able to move up and get them at 41 and 42. We’re thrilled that they were still there, and it worked out where it worked out. I think the plan is playing Dalton at guard.”

Elway vocalized what we assumed with the Risner pick, and confirmed it as well with Mike Klis, that they will look for Risner to step into a starting guard slot.

Risner’s versatility gives Denver options should something happen to one of their starting offensive tackles, but it looks like the K-State product will be looked at to fill the right guard spot with Connor McGovern sliding over to center for the departed Matt Paradis.

Risner was one of the guys on whom Denver did a considerable amount of homework leading up to the draft. Elway mentioned getting to meeting and talk with Risner at the combine, in one of their 30 pre-draft visits, and at the Senior Bowl where Risner made it a point to introduce himself to Elway.

“I got a chance to meet him there, plus he came in our room in Indy and he came for one of our 30 visits,” Elway said. “I got to know him, he’s an outgoing guy that’s a very excitable-type guy and he was fun to be around. It’s always fun to be able to get, No. 1, a football player like that, but also have a home-grown in Colorado here and he’s going to play for the Broncos. We’re excited to have him. With his versatility, he can play tackle, we think he’ll make a really good guard also and he’s played some center. We think we got the best of both worlds with Dalton.”

Elway on Drew Lock

Speaking of homework, Drew Lock was another player with whom Denver made no secret they were interested their interest. Like Risner, Denver met with Lock at the Senior Bowl, the combine, and brought him into the facility for a visit (as well as personally attended one of his games in the fall).

When recalling how Lock did, specifically on the whiteboard in the sessions, Elway said:

“He did a really nice job. He really did a good job on the board. He has a great knowledge of the game and what he was looking at. [He had] great recall. We went back and watched tape with him and he had a great recall of each play and what he was thinking on each play. Very bright kid. We’re excited to have him because he does a nice job. He wants to be good. He is a competitor. The great thing too is that he knows the situation here and that is that Joe is the starter and he’s got a great opportunity to sit behind him and watch the guy and learn and get better.”

When asked about the things Lock could improve on and where he needs to work the most, Elway said:

“Drew obviously has a lot of talent, he’s got a lot of arm talent, but he’s got to work on a lot of different things too. I think when you look at what he did in college offensively, he’s in the spread offense and wasn’t under the center very often. With what we’re going to do offensively, he’s going to have a lot of work to do. I think technique is always a big thing. We talk about accuracy and accuracy a lot of times comes down to technique and throwing on rhythm. We believe he has a ton of talent, but we also believe he has a lot left to work on. It’s nice to be able to have a coach that’s worked with a stable of abilities that he does have. I think [Broncos Offensive Coordinator] Rich [Scangarello] and everybody is excited to work with him.”

Elway and Fangio on Dre’Mont Jones

While Munchak and Scangarello are excited to work with their new offensive toys, coach Bill Kollar will get a chance to coach up defensive tackle, Dre’Mont Jones.

The Broncos are fairly deep at defensive end, but Fangio indicated there will be a role for Dre’Mont Jones coming in - rushing the passer.

“I think initially he’s best suited to play in our nickel as a tackle, Fangio said. “But the techniques in there are very similar to our base package also. He’ll just be thrown in the mix with the other guys and let the competition play itself out.”

Elway echoed those comments as well, speaking to the importance of having an inside rush to pair with their dangerous edge guys.

“We felt like Dre’Mont with the pass rush ability inside with the outside pass rush that we have would be a great compliment inside,” Elway said. “I think he’s a guy that’s going to continue to get better. He has great quickness and has tremendous upside.”

Upside and development were the things both Elway and Fangio reiterated when talking about Jones. Due to Jones being a bit undersized for a traditional defensive tackle, at 280lbs, Fangio was asked if the success of undersized interior rushers like an Aaron Donald help with taking a chance on a guy with Dre’Mont’s skillset.

“Good defensive tackles are just hard to find,” Fangio replied. “They come in all shapes and sizes. You have your preferences as to a certain skill set, but you have to be able to adjust and adapt and play the guys that you can get. [Jones] is not 295 or 305 lbs., but we believe that he can play inside for us and continue to develop.”

Part of that development may be asking Jones to bulk up a bit to handle the interior, but the most important development will be the work he gets with Bill Kollar, who has molded guys like Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis on the defensive line. Jones now has a chance to join that group and bring some pass rush to the inside of this defense.

Overall, both Fangio and Elway seemed excited about the players Denver has added so far. “We’re very happy with all the picks we got today. We feel like they’re very good football players that will help us,” Elway said.

We’ll see who Denver continues to add to the stable on Day 3.

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