Evans: An obligatory Denver Broncos 2017 NFL Draft preview

Denver Broncos tackle Ty Sambrailo (74) during mini camp activities at the Broncos training facility. Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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.)


Schlereth and Evans

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.

Cecil Lammey

Inject your morning routine with great football discussion and analysis with Fan Broncos Insider Cecil Lammey. Cecil is one of the nations most respected football analysts, gets you the inside scoop from reports from the Broncos UCHealth Training Center to college football all-star games (East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl) to the NFL combine and draft. Hes an authority on NFL prospects from across the country. He is also a senior writer for You can follow Cecil on Twitter @cecillammey.

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Let Sandy Clough, one of the most recognizable voices in Denver sports radio, guide you through your work day every weekday leading into the afternoon. Sandy's been the authority in sports radio for nearly four decades in Denver. No other show will give you the insight and experience that Sandy provides.

Stokley and Zach

Kick off your afternoon with Stokley and Zach, featuring two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley and radio veteran Zach Bye. Stokley earned his two NFL titles with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts and spent two stints with the Denver Broncos. Bye hails from the Empire State and is the former voice of the University of Albany Great Danes football, basketball and lacrosse programs. Follow them on Twitter: @bstokley14 and @byesline.

The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac

Big Al and DMac help you get through the end of your day with the best afternoon sports radio talk show in Denver. DMac is a 1991 graduate of Syracuse University and has covered Colorado sports for The Fan since 2008. Alfred Williams, a College Football Hall of Famer, won the 1990 Butkus Award and was the captain for that year's consensus National Champion University of Colorado squad. He played nine years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

Morning Brew

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Terry Wickstrom Outdoors

Terry Wickstrom, the authority in everything outdoors, talks fishing, hunting, camping and more every Saturday morning.rnWickstrom, host of the popular television show "Angling Adventures" and previously "Mountain States Fishing," is a nationally published outdoor author, an accomplished multi-species angler, and has served on the "pro staff" of many top fishing industry companies.rn

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About the Author

Mike Evans

Mike Evans co-hosts Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan’s “Schlereth and Evans,” along with Mark Schlereth. Listen weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. He’s a proud graduate of Syracuse University. Follow Mike: @MikeEvans1043