Here are some hot sports opinions as we prepare for the crapshoot that is the NFL Draft:
1. This is a big draft for John Elway.
Six years in charge of the Denver Broncos, he’s shown a tremendous ability to make moves through free agency. But, the NFL Draft has been so-so.
After six years, he has only made a few solid picks on the offensive side of the ball — tight ends Julius Thomas and Virgil Green; offensive linemen Orlando Franklin, Michael Schofield, Max Garcia, and Matt Paradis; running backs Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball; wide receiver Cody Latimer; and quarterback Brock Osweiler. Not exactly a star-studded group.
Now, if Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch becomes a true franchise quarterback, then a lot of those misses can be forgiven.
But until then, Elway needs to prove he can draft impact offensive players.
2. You’ll have to excuse me if I root for the Broncos to trade its second-round pick.
Elway’s second-round picks have been ugly to this point. Safety Rahim Moore, Franklin, defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, Osweiler, Ball, Latimer, offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo, and defensive end Adam Gotsis represent the high-value second round picks Elway has made.
Outside of Wolfe, that is a waste of picks that are supposed to yield much more impact than what the Broncos have received to this point.
3. Elway says he likes the current group of linemen and doesn’t feel the Broncos have to draft a left tackle.
He referenced Sambrailo more than once. I root for the former Colorado State Rammie, but the memories of that nationally televised embarrassment against Kansas City is going to be tough for him — and Broncos Country — to get over.
4. I understand drafting a left tackle isn’t a lot of fun.
And there’s a good chance that left tackle might not be able to step in right away this year.
But left tackles are hard to find. And as the NFL draft goes deeper, they’re even harder to find.
The Broncos have to settle on a left tackle of the future. They can’t take a year-by-year, plug-the-hole approach.
If Garett Bolles or Ryan Ramczyk is someone Denver thinks can be a 10-year starter in this league, even if the impact isn’t felt until 2018, they need to draft that guy.
5. I found Elway’s comment about not letting the defense go backward encouraging.
This is still an elite defense, but the window could close if the Broncos aren’t careful.
DeMarcus Ware is gone. This could be T.J. Ward’s last year. The Broncos never adequately replaced Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan.
If they went defensive line or linebacker (hello Reuben Foster) at No. 20, I wouldn’t be the least disappointed.
6. Let’s forget about the Christian McCaffrey dream, OK?
He’s not going to be around at No. 20, and the cost to move up to get him would be way too expensive for a player that you could find in rounds two through five.
The salivating over McCaffrey from media and fans alike was silly. If his last name was Edwards or Evans nobody would’ve been pushing for this.
Does his last name really matter that much? It shouldn’t.
7. The whole idea of getting a “playmaker” for the offense is really a moot point if you don’t have the right quarterback.
Defenses will take away playmakers if they don’t respect the quarterback’s ability to get the ball to them. Simply throwing screens to guys doesn’t pass for an offense.
8. Does anyone really believe the quarterback “battle” is an open, 50-50 competition?
Yeah, me neither.
Barring something unforeseen, I expect to see Siemian under center when they kick off against the San Diego Chargers.
9. By the way, that schedule?
Put me down for 9-7 with a battle for a wild card spot that will go down to the last week of the season.
10. I can’t wait to hand out draft grades!
(Please, note the sarcasm.)
Spend your morning tapping into the wealth of sport knowledge from three-time Super Bowl champion and former Broncos offensive lineman Mark "Stink" Schlereth and longtime Denver sports radio voice Mike Evans. Schlereth spent 12 seasons in the NFL, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl and winning a Super Bowl with the Redskins and two with the Broncos. He's also a longtime NFL analyst for ESPN and supporting cast member of "Ballers" on HBO. Evans has graced the sports radio airwaves for two decades, 15 years in Denver. He's a proud graduate of Syracuse University.
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