Broncos Hope to Fill Roster Holes Via NFL Draft

Dale Perth | Updated Apr 23, 2013

John Elway Denver Broncos

There’s one thing John Elway seems certain about prior to the 2013 NFL Draft: he figures the Denver Broncos are set at quarterback. At least, that’s what he’s saying publicly.

When asked about it, Elway — a former star quarterback himself with the Broncos and now executive vice-president of football operations for the club — made a statement that is probably not music to the ears of Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. “I’m just glad we’re not in that market, let’s put it that way,” Elway told USA Today in the run-up to the draft, which begins Thursday and where Denver picks 28th of 32.

Elway says the club is happy with the development of last year’s second-round pick, Arizona State signal-caller Brock Osweiler, and they expect him to ride the pine in Denver a few more years until Peyton Manning gets injured or retires. But hold on there: according to one report, the Broncos have been looking at the likes of Miami’s Zac Dysert and Arizona’s Matt Scout. Could it be that Elway is trying to distract others from Denver’s true intentions?

After all, the Broncos are a graying team. Along with the 37-year-old Manning, cornerback Champ Bailey will be 35 before the season starts. Their big free-agent signing so far is receiver Wes Welker, who will turn 32 next month. They probably won’t have a shot at Smith or Barkley, and this Denver Post pundit is saying the team’s best option at the draft is to pick a player for the defensive secondary such as cornerbacks D.J. Hayden of Houston or Boise State’s Jamar Taylor, or safeties Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International) or Matt Elam (Florida).

The mock draft at has Denver selecting North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, while two of the analysts at the mock think the Broncos will choose defensive end Bjoern Werner of Florida State. After losing Elvis Dumervil in a sloppy fax-message faux pas which forced the Broncos to release him and allowed the Ravens to swoop in, Denver needs to rebuild their pass rush.

If they have so much faith in Osweiler, it would seem foolish for Denver to waste a pick on a “maybe” like Dysert or Scout when they have other positions to consider. If they really needed a third-string pivot, there are players who have pro experience and wouldn’t cost them that much to sign — Caleb Hanie, for instance.

With Elway being a self-confessed fan of mock drafts, and his unwillingness (for the most part) to trade draft picks for anything other than draft picks, look for them to stay put on Thursday with their 28th pick and to use it on a defensive player. The Broncos are not known for being big wheeler-dealers; then again, anything can happen on NFL Draft Day.