The praise keeps coming in for the Broncos 2019 draft. NFL insider, Benjamin Allbright, joined the guys on 1st & 10 at 10 on Orange and Blue 760 this morning to share some of what he had been hearing around league circles from being in Nashville all last week.
Allbright said that the primary buzz around Nashville this week was that Elway and the Broncos had “one of the top two or three” drafts in the league this year, and after years of mediocre drafts that has led to Denver not re-signing a single draft pick since the 2012 draft, Allbright suggests this could potentially be a “narrative changing moment for John Elway and the draft.”
Since joining the team management ranks in 2011, Elway has been seen as a GM who is a good negotiator with a penchant for landing key free agents, taking the team to two Super Bowls on the backs of big time signings, but any praise directed toward Elway’s GM prowess is always quickly caveated by his poor drafting record. “If only Elway could figure out how to draft.”
And the criticism has been warranted. Denver’s 2013-2017 drafts were chalk full of reaches, busts, injured players, risky picks, and any other negative draft buzzword you want to include, Denver picked them.
However, after last year’s draft netted multiple starters and the makings of a young core of talent, the big question was whether Elway could do it again, or was it a function of them picking at #5?
Certainly, picking in the top ten the last two drafts has helped, but stringing another excellent draft together this year to go with last year’s class has begun to potentially chip away at the narrative that Elway cannot draft his way to franchise success.
Allbright added on air, “whatever it is that they changed, whatever it is that they figured out in their evaluation process, or their evaluation of themselves, they’ve figured out how to better evaluate players and it seems to be working.” Check out the whole interview above for more great insights.
We’ve been talking about this for the last several days here, and the guys on the show today also touch on a big piece of what seems to be part of Elway’s new draft strategy that Ian St. Clair has been talking about - how Denver’s last two draft classes are guys that all show great football character and leadership.
Now obviously, no one wins awards in May, so it remains to be seen just how good this class can be until they put the pads on, but the early returns of these two most recent draft classes indicate that Denver may have just armored their Achilles heel.