When I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, I had only one wish for my birthday - I just wanted a bike. My brother had a bike, and I just wanted to be able to explore the world and be the next Evil Knievel while doing crazy things alongside my older brother. Since I was a shy kid (hard to imagine I know) I didn’t ever get the courage to tell my parents that was what I wished for. I just waited and hoped and prayed that I would get my two-wheeled steed.
My birthday came, and I didn’t think I would get my gift. I wanted it; I still hoped for it, but I thought I would get G.I Joes like I had the last few years (which I also loved, BTW). My hopes and expectations and what my parents would actually do were not likely to collide and bring me the joy that only a ten-year-old can feel.
Party time came and since I didn’t see a bike in the living room I sat dejected with my head down and nearly in tears at the fact that I only had little gifts to unwrap and no bike. Of course, my wonderful parents then brought me outside to show me my new, gorgeous means of transportation. I was beyond words. I don’t think I even said thank you, I just jumped on the thing and rode off into the sunset, as happy as a person can be in this life.
During this last weekend I felt like I was 10 again.
I hoped and wished for Elway to have learned from his first few drafts where he picked highly talented guys with questionable character because they “fell in the draft.” I dreamed about a team that was built both around superior talent but also around leadership skills and a high locker room morality. I prayed that No. 7 would pick guys who love the game, who play football the right way and most importantly that they be people who want to go to work as Broncos.
As the first round rolled on (2 a.m. in Germany) and the Broncos traded their #10 pick for some extra picks later in the draft, my head dropped like ten-year-old Kevin and my dream for the big gift was squashed, since apparently I would only receive a few more smaller gifts instead of the big one that I had hoped for. Then, they drafted Noah Fant at No. 20.
Fant is a guy that we have talked about before and is a perfect fit with this team both right now and in the future. In the Scangarello offense and with Joe Flacco at QB, I truly believe that this Iowa alum could be a top-five tight end as a rookie. Maybe Fant himself wasn’t the full bike, but he was one of the wheels.
I went to bed Friday night (sorry, couldn’t do two straight all-nighters) with real hope blooming in my heart after they had gotten a great player at No. 20 and had added pieces to bring in more impactful talent. Now, the questions was, what would they do with those extra picks? Would they be able to use them well enough to make the trade back worth it? When I woke up, the questions were answered and I wasn’t disappointed.
Elway had managed to draft a local beast of an offensive lineman who was often mocked to go in the first round. Dalton Risner is a tough, very high-character guy who claims that he would rather have been picked by the Broncos at #41 than any other team in the first round. That’s awesome. My bike had it’s second wheel. I started to feel giddy like a school boy and then I saw what they had done with the very next pick in the second round.
Drew Lock, the QB that was very often predicted to go at No. 10 to the Broncos, had fallen and Elway wasn’t going to let go of a guy who he valued highly as a gunslinger - just not as a first round talent - so he picked him with the 42nd pick in the draft. He landed his guy who could become a franchise player at a position in the draft that brings zero pressure to Lock or the Broncos. If he pans out, great. If not, not big deal. They hadn’t given up too much and they had landed a highly touted passer that has all the skills but needs to learn the more intricate parts of playing the toughest position in sports. Great pick. Super value, no pressure and monstrous potential.
The bike was whole. Shining in all it’s glory. The rest of the draft was just extra finery to add on to what the Germans call a “Fahrrad.” My joy was complete.
All of my wishes had been granted. The Broncos had drafted high-character players that are the BPA and fill a position of need. They picked players that will immediately impact the team but also have the potential to be the building blocks of a decade long run of greatness.
Though I forgot to thank my parents, I can thank John Elway. I want to thank him for bringing in players that we can be proud of putting on the orange and blue. Ambassadors to the sport and to our city of Denver. I want to thank him for adding great talent and apparently spreading rumors like a cool headed boss that made other teams make mistakes (ala NYG) that eventually helped our team. Most importantly I want to thank him for giving this team a direction and a character that we can get behind and feel excited about.
The 2019 Denver Broncos draft picks WANT to play for the Denver Broncos and I for one am overjoyed that they are part of our team and can’t wait to see them on the field this September and for many years to come!
Also, for my next birthday, I would love a bike. (Thanks, mom and dad!)
Who are you most excited to see on the field?
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