Denver Broncos: The Draft Plan

By Joe Morrone

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason for NFL teams is a two-part process, the draft and free agency. We’ve all ready addressed at the Denver Broncos basic plan will be in free agency, now it is time to take a look at what they might be thinking about when it comes to the draft. Remember we are not going to discuss specific names, just what the overall strategy is likely to be.

Unlike the first two drafts under John Elway, the 2013 edition is going to have a different feel. When Elway first took over, the roster was starving for talent and the draft picks almost had to play immediately. In 2012, the draft picks contributed but they were not under the same pressure to perform as the group from a year earlier. Now the Broncos are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl in February of 2014 with a roster that is set in a lot of places. So what does that mean for this draft? It’s still very important but for very different reasons.

The Broncos are going to be good as long as Peyton Manning is the quarterback, but his time in Denver is limited and life will go on after he retires. The players from the previous two drafts and this one coming up are going to make up the core of those teams.

Every player the Broncos select they pick with the idea that they are eventually going to be a starter. The draft this April, though, is going to be more about adding depth and players who can contribute in spots. Look back to the 2012 class, linebacker Danny Trevathan was not a starter but he made an impact. Cornerback, Omar Bolden did not play a lot on defense but he was one of the best players on special teams for the Broncos. The idea is that players like Trevathan and Bolden contribute where they can now and eventually move into starting positions.

This is how great teams are built; they draft well and then bring the players up through their system, and they are ready to play when asked to do so. The Pittsburgh Steelers lose free agents every year and rarely sign them, but they are a contender year in and year out. Why? Because when they lose a player, they have a guy ready to step in who has been in the system for two or three years.

That’s where the Broncos are heading into this draft, sure they would love to get a starter or two but the real goal is adding depth. Players that will be ready to play when some of the older veterans retire or others move on in free agency. Bolden wasn’t drafted last season to take over for Champ Bailey in 2012, he was drafted to take over for Bailey in 2014 or 15.

If there’s a position the Broncos will seek immediate help at through the draft it is at defensive tackle. The position is as deep as it has been in years and the Broncos could get a very good player with the 28th pick if they decide to go that way. Other than defensive tackle the Broncos will be looking to add depth at running back, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and in the defensive backfield.

The Broncos, under Elway, have had two productive drafts. They will try to add another one in April.

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