Lets start with what everyone’s talking about – Drew Lock. I naturally love the pick because he’s a khaki-pants quarterback.
By definition, a khaki-pants QB is one who is drafted in rounds two through four. I feel QBs have been over-drafted in recent years because of the herd mentality of NFL general managers; they are so desperate for a franchise quarterback that they reach on players who will never achieve that level and, in the process, pass on real difference making football players. Meanwhile, there are examples galore of quarterbacks taken outside the first round who have had tremendous success, including playing in, and winning, Super Bowls.
Drafting Lock was a masterstroke. The Broncos get a first-round type talent and can now develop him without the pressure that goes along with playing a first-round QB immediately. The problem with drafting these first-round QBs is teams have to justify the pick. So, they play them before they’re ready. Then, when most of them struggle, teams stay with them too long, trying to somehow save face. All that does is prolong the agony and postpone the day of reckoning when the team has to move on to someone else.
The Broncos can take their time with Lock, and don’t give me that nonsense about “He needs to play to improve.” Was Patrick Mahomes hurt by sitting for a year? How about Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Would those QBs have done what they ended up doing if they played right away? Doubtful.
I’m not worried about how this affects Joe Flacco. He’s a pro. He knows how this works. Besides, if a 34-year-old veteran quarterback, who won a Super Bowl, is afraid of a rookie, then shame on Flacco. Clearly, the Broncos don’t have the right guy.
I don’t see that being a problem. I don’t care if Lock ever plays a down for the Broncos. If Flacco goes out and has a heck of a year and proves he still has a lot left in the tank and can be a franchise QB here for the next four to six years, then guess what? The Broncos won!
The vast majority of NFL teams are looking for the answer at quarterback. If they find the guy, that’s all that matters. If Lock doesn’t play, it means the Broncos hit on Flacco. Winner, winner! No one will care that they “wasted” a pick on Lock because they’ll have that most precious of all commodities – a franchise QB!
I also love, love the Dalton Risner pick. Never mind the fact that I got smitten with him when I heard him on “The Drive” doing one of the better player interviews I’ve heard in some time. That’s just a bonus.
The Broncos have been woeful in actually investing in their offensive line, instead choosing to go with the Band-Aid approach to shoring up in the trenches via free agency. Risner plays with an attitude, he is versatile and he’s a great story being a Colorado kid. I really feel good about this pick.
That said, everything Elway did during the draft wasn’t great.
I’m not a huge fan of the Noah Fant pick. I get it. For those who have listened to me over the years, I’ve complained about the Broncos lack of finding a legitimate pass-catching, game-changing, match-up-nightmare tight end. I desperately want them to have one. But, I also know where to find them and a team doesn’t have to use a first-round pick to get one.
Cases in point: Zach Ertz (second round), Gronk (third), Travis Kelce (third), Austin Hooper (third), Jimmy Graham (third), Jared Cook (third), George Kittle (fifth).
For all the complaining about how drafting Lock meant passing on a starter in the second round, how about taking a tight end so early that the Broncos passed on a generational-type player at a position that’s harder to find unless you take him in the first round? Fant better be a multiple-time Pro Bowler to justify taking him where they did.
Hopefully the other guys drafted work out. I know for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons the Broncos will have an undrafted college free agent make the opening day roster. But this draft will go down as the Fant, Risner and especially Lock draft. How they fare could end up being John Elway’s legacy as the Broncos GM.
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