Elway’s an idiot and then Elway is not an idiot
And we do an about-face on the Broncos' draft
Dude, John, what are you doing?
Round 1 of the NFL Draft panned out perfectly for the Denver Broncos and general manager/franchise icon John Elway. The Arizona Cardinals picked quarterback Kyler Murray from Oklahoma, as expected.
The dregs of the league went for defense with the major exception of the New York Giants pulling the unexpected by tabbing Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6. (The G-men could have taken him at 17 with their second first-round pick from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.)
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was there at No. 10 for Elway to select. Instead, No. 7 traded down with the Steelers to net Pittsburgh’s second-round pick this year and a third rounder in 2020. With the Steelers’ first-round pick at No. 20, GM John to Iowa tight-end Noah Fant.
What. The. Fudge. John.
Elway believes that the Denver Broncos are just a piece or two away from contending for the playoffs. His thought process is that free-agent signee Joe Flacco will remedy the post-Peyton Manning quarterback carousel.
I sort of get the concept behind Noah Fant — tight ends are all the rage in NFL offenses and they also can help with blocking (line him up on the left side with tackle Garett Boles; the man needs some help). Flacco targeted tight ends a ton in Baltimore.
You can see how Elway is arranging offensive players around Flacco. You’ve got Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton at wide receiver. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman had good rookie years at running back. Now you add the tight end with Fant.
The problem is that Flacco, and the offensive line, aren’t going to get it done. Flacco is entering his age-34 season after starting nine games with the Baltimore Ravens and getting benched for Lamar Jackson.
How is Flacco going to turn the Broncos, who have been 5-11 and 6-10 the last two years into a contender in a division that already has the Chiefs and the Chargers?
While Elway seems to believe Denver is one or two players away from contending, the reality is that the championship window closed after the 2016 season, one year after the team’s Super Bowl 50 win.
You. Have. To. Draft. A. Quarterback. John.
And just as I typed that, Elway picked Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, a big offensive tackle, and Missouri quarterback Drew Lock during Round 2. There might be hope for No. 7 yet.
There you go, John. Risner went to Wiggins High School, so he’s an in-state kid, yes, a kid at 6-foot-5 and 312 pounds. He can play the right side of the line, though early Internet reporting has him plugged in at center.
The O-line needs help. Here’s help. Good. This also helps us understand Fant. If Fant were the only thing the Broncos were doing for the line, then Denver was in trouble. Bolstering the line and getting a tight end makes life better.
And, thank you for listening, John. I would have preferred Haskins, but in Lock, you’re getting a guy who played in the SEC for four years. He played against both Alabama and Georgia, both losses, last season. That’s fine. You want experience against the best.
Playing quarterback at Memphis — ahem, Paxton Lynch — is not SEC football. The Broncos are also getting a QB in the second round, so Lock is slotted for less money, ever important in our salary-cap world.
Now it’s going to be tempting to have a quarterback battle during training camp with Flacco and Lock. Don’t. Give Flacco the first quarter snaps during the preseason he needs to be ready. The rest go to Lock to get him familiar with the system. Then Flacco goes to start the regular season.
Let him get the snot kicked out of him early in the season. He’s getting paid $18.5 million for the privilege. After the Week 10 bye, maybe we start thinking about getting Lock in some games.
We use the Bill Walsh approach here when he had Steve DeBerg and a young Joe Montana — at Vikings or at Chiefs during the second half of the season? Flacco starts. Bills, Lions or Raiders? Go get ’em, Drew.
Barring a late trade, Denver is done for Friday. The Broncos have the seventh pick in the third round today, and some secondary help might be the ticket as Chris Harris Jr. is talking about holding out for a new contract.
Harris Jr.’s a good player, but do you want to give a raise and multiple years to a corner back who turns 30 this summer? Ah, no.
ESPN.com has the best available corners at this point as Michigan State’s Justin Layne, Notre Dame’s Julian Love and Michigan’s David Long.
Go, get ’em, John.
And we’re sorry for the “What the fudge” stuff earlier.