Trask Talk: Broncos Only On The Upswing
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If you are a Denver Broncos fan, like myself, you know that right now is the time to be a Broncos fan. They are coming off a Super Bowl win against an elite Carolina Panthers team and keeping most of the starters on the star studded defense that led them to Super Bowl 50. Though the team is losing two quarterbacks (Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler), you should be ecstatic about the future of this team based off this year’s draft.
When Osweiler packed his bag for Houston, Denver fans found themselves in a bit of a state of panic. The options seemed slim and no QB option really jumped off the page at you. But, no need to fret because GMs in the league are playing checkers while John Elway is playing chess. Elway always seems to be one step ahead of the game and whenever he puts his mind to something, he gets it. He has brought in superstars Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Demarcus Ware and has seen numerous draft picks pan out. He is about to see many more of his picks flourish into stars.
With the 26th pick, the Broncos selected QB Paxton Lynch out of Memphis. Lynch is head coach Gary Kubiak’s dream QB as he is big, mobile and has a rifle for an arm. He will run the bootleg offense that Kubiak has installed much more efficiently than Manning because Paxton is a threat to run. Lynch clocked a 4.8 second 40 yard dash and proved he was a red zone threat with his legs at Memphis. I can only imagine how excited the Bronco’s war room was when they were presented with the opportunity to trade up to draft him. It is unknown when he will be ready to be the starter, but when he does, one can only expect star numbers.
At 63rd, Denver selected Adam Gotsis from Georgia Tech. Gotsis is a DT who has immeasurable potential because of his lack of American football experience. Gotsis has played four years of American football and eight of Australian. Now that he is a Bronco, Bill Kollar can tap into his potential and mold him into a future starter for the front seven.
My favorite pick of the draft for the Broncos, aside from Paxton Lynch, was Boston College safety Justin Simmons. Simmons is an uber athletic safety who has a knack for forcing turnovers and making plays. At BC, he forced four fumbles and picked off eight passes. The Broncos forced 27 turnovers last season which was good for ninth in the league. Simmons jumped up on a lot of team’s draft boards after he made a name for himself at the combine. He was a top the leaderboard in the 20 yard and 60 yard shuttle. With Ward and his fellow safety Darian Stewart both missing games last year, I expect Simmons to see the field a good amount and force his share of turnovers.
Last season, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman were shaky coming out of the backfield receiving passes. Devontae Booker out of Utah will provide a solution to that minor issue perfectly. Booker was one of my favorite RBs coming into the draft and dropped down into the fourth round because he is returning from a torn meniscus. Once he is healthy, he will be competing for play time with the late season star Anderson and change of pace back Hillman. With Hillman only signing a one year deal, Booker could be the RB2 after this season and learn under Anderson to hopefully develop into a three down back knowing his powerful running style
Aside from these first four picks, the only other pick that caught my eye was punter Riley Dixon from Syracuse. Dixon is big and has a great leg with good control. The Broncos could be trying to save themselves a good chunk of money with developing Dixon into the starting punter. Britton Colquitt is making almost four million a year so if Dixon can develop into what he was at Syracuse, the Broncos can get rid of Colquitt and free up some cap space.
I give the Broncos a solid A grade in this year’s draft. They answered the QB question, picked up some studs to further strengthen the defense and grabbed a solid guard and passing down back to help the offense. Many believe that last year was the Bronco’s last shot at being great, but I believe the glory years are just beginning.