According to Mark Schlereth, the national perspective on the Denver Broncos is that the team, which finished 5-11 in 2017, is really just a quarterback away from being playoff-relevant once again.
In his dealings with television for FS1 and radio commitments with Fox, the “Schlereth and Evans” co-host said he’s observed that, outside of Denver, the media has let the Broncos slide on back-to-back seasons without reaching the postseason.
“I just don’t think people really critically look at the Denver Broncos,” Schlereth said on Thursday. “From a national media perspective, I think they’re getting a bit of a hall pass.”
Schlereth said that the allure of the Broncos history, the “success under Pat Bowlen” and, early on, John Elway has led on those outside the Rocky Mountain region.
“This is not the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning, people,” Schlereth said. “This is not the Denver Broncos with a quarterback who covered a lot of warts that you didn’t get to see, that went to the playoffs and had deep runs in the playoffs and went to two Super Bowls because they had a quarterback who could cover a lot of warts and an elite-level defense.
“This is not the Broncos that you remember in 2015.”
On Friday, Sandy Clough said he agreed with Schlereth, that without “manipulating the draft” in a way that they haven’t needed to do in recent years the postseason is a ways off for Denver.
“I don’t think the Broncos are as close, and I think it would even be a challenge for Kirk Cousins to get them back into the playoffs,” Clough said, “unless they really do the kind of job that, frankly, they haven’t done — really haven’t had to do — in manipulating the draft.”
With Friday’s announcement that Denver will receive a third-round compensatory pick for losing Russell Okung in free agency last offseason, the club will have 10 picks April’s draft — two in the third, fourth, and fifth round, along with four more, including the No. 5-overall selection.
“I don’t believe the Broncos will select 10 players, but with 10 picks there are ways to maneuver that might give them a bit of an edge,” Clough said.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.