The biggest knock on John Elway since becoming the Denver Broncos general manager has always been his drafting issues. As the executive VP of football operations, his drafts have always been somewhat questionable. However, the 2018 draft seemed to mark a turning point for Elway, and perhaps the 2019 draft has become confirmation of his growth in that regard.
#Broncos fans know how @AdamMalnati16 & I feel about their #NFLDraft. But what does @TampaBayTre think? We dive into Elway's/Denver's draft, as well as your questions (which were worldwide), on the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast. @ApplePodcasts: https://t.co/eDFgJMll7w— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) May 1, 2019
On the MHR Radio Podcast (iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher), Ian St. Clair and I were joined by Trevor Sikkema of The Draft Network. As he answered some of the Twitter questions we received, he mad a couple statements that really stuck out. First, he praised Elway’s ability to navigate his way through the draft.
In the first round, when the Broncos traded out of the 10th pick, they were able to move back to 20, draft Noah Fant, and gained a second round pick (52) in 2019, and the Steelers third round pick in 2020. While many pundits and fans felt the Broncos needed to take a linebacker, this was a savvy move by Elway. A freakishly athletic tight end, and draft capital for the 10th pick? Sign me up.
The navigation continued in the second, along with discipline and patience. Elway was able to draft Dalton Risner, who should have immediate impact on the offensive line. Rise Up, Broncos Country, and celebrate Risner coming home with this new shirt from BreakingT. Then, another move, this time up, to draft Drew Lock. Elway could have panicked and taken Lock at 10, or even 20. Instead, the Broncos evaluated the board, and moved on Lock when the time was right. As with Risner, there is a new shirt for this selection as well. Now (hopefully) Denver is Locked and Loaded at quarterback for the future.
New badass #Broncos #NFLDraft shirts for a couple of second-round studs from @breakingtco #WearTheMoment:— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) May 1, 2019
-- Rise Up: https://t.co/YBDTbJbqeG
-- Locked & Loaded: https://t.co/x4ze9awPID pic.twitter.com/jEJAOYENMi
As Sikkema said on the podcast, knowing what other teams are going to do means being able to have patience and let the draft fall to you. With that patience the Broncos were able to draft 4 top-50 prospects in the first 71 picks. Whether that will translate to success on the field will be determined in the upcoming season, but in the aftermath of the draft, John Elway seemed to silence some of the critics.
The second statement Sikkema made that piqued my interest was about making the right picks. While Elway was able to make good moves in the draft, the second half of the equation is making the correct selections. When a GM makes a trade, but then drafts the wrong player, the successful navigation becomes obsolete.
Not only did Elway move through the draft, using trades to get to the right spot to make the picks they wanted. He also seemingly made the correct selections when the time came. From Fant, to Risner, to Lock, to Dre’Mont Jones, the Denver Broncos came away with impactful players.
Ian said it on the podcast before, and it bears repeating: John Elway killed it in the 2019 NFL Draft. With two solid drafts in back-to-back years, it appears the Broncos are setting themselves up for a future of success.