Evans: Seven thoughts to recap the Denver Broncos 2017 draft

  1. I liked the Denver Broncos draft.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not someone who believes in absurd post-draft grades. I’m not here to tell you this guy will be a star and this guy will be a bust. Who the heck knows?

All I judge a Broncos draft by is what needs they had going into the draft and did they make an effort to fill them.

In this case, a left tackle, a middle of the field tight end, help along the defensive line, a potential third receiver, a punt returner (or three, but more on that in a moment) and a developmental quarterback passes the test for trying to fill needs.

So, in this case, give the Broncos an A.

  1. The more I learn about Garett Bolles, the more I like the pick.

The kid looks a little touched. He looks a little nasty. That’s something the Broncos offensive line has been missing for a long time.

Plus, he’s a left tackle.

The negative reaction to his selection in the first round was laughable. Let me get this straight: Since the Super Bowl ended in February, all of the talk surrounding Denver’s offseason was about how they needed a left tackle. Then, in the first round of the draft, they pick — horrors — a tackle, and a healthy chunk of Broncos Country is ticked off.

Doesn’t make sense.

  1. The DeMarcus Walker selection was solid because …

… it shows the Broncos and general manager John Elway don’t get caught up in denying past mistakes.

They should’ve been more proactive with re-signing Malik Jackson. Instead, they waited, his price tag went up, and they spent all of last season missing his inside rushing presence.

By drafting Walker, they are getting a Jackson-like player who should help fill the huge void he left.

The fact that he isn’t regarded as a big run stuffer doesn’t matter to me. The whole idea of the Broncos being so porous against the run is over-exaggerated.

Give me pass rushers up and down my defensive line, and we’ll be just fine.

  1. Carlos Henderson, Broncos Country turns its lonely, third-receiver-hungry eyes to you.

Was it really just a year ago that former head coach Gary Kubiak bragged about how this was the deepest wide receiving group he’d ever coached?

The hype never materialized during the season. At some point, Denver has to develop a third receiver, preferably in the slot, to complement Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Now it’s Henderson’s turn.

  1. I know the Broncos need a boost in the return game, but …

… I thought they went overboard in touting three of their picks for their return abilities.

Let’s not go crazy with the return angle. In half of their games, they won’t even be returning kicks. And how many big plays really come out of the punt return game?

I only care that they have someone reliable to catch the ball.

So the Hendersons, Langleys and McKenzies need to be able to contribute in their chosen positions, not just in the return game.

  1. I love the Chad Kelly pick.

First of all, the Broncos should develop a quarterback every draft. Using him for yourself or flipping to a quarterback-starved team for a higher pick just makes sense in today’s NFL.

Secondly, if Trevor Siemian proved anything, it’s you don’t discount seventh-round picks.

Thirdly, with the uncertainty surrounding Siemian and Paxton Lynch, why not have another quarterback compete?

And fourthly, this kid tore it up at times for Ole Miss in the best conference in college football — the SEC. That’s good enough for me to give him a chance.

All of the off-the-field stuff? Who cares? This is a talent-wins league, not a character-wins league. Sure, I’d like to have both, but give me the talent first.

Kelly’s talent is intriguing. I’ll worry about the other stuff later.

  1. Now that both free agency and the draft are over …

… I still see the Broncos as a 9-7 team that will be in the fight for a wild card spot.

There are still too many unanswered questions on the offensive line and at quarterback.

Add in a brand new coaching staff, a first-year head coach, a very difficult division, and a daunting schedule, and the Broncos will have a dogfight on its hands.


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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