Published: May 5, 2014
DENVER — If we're going off what happened to the Broncos in the Super Bowl, their needs in the NFL draft are pretty obvious.
They need someone to not snap the ball over Peyton Manning's head.
They need someone to prevent Manning from being assaulted.
They need someone — maybe from Fox? — to pull a plug when the ball is snapped over Manning's head and he's being assaulted.
That should cover it, right?
But we're not just going off the Super Bowl. Neither is John Elway.
"We're thrilled to be picking 31," Elway said Monday. "I wish we were picking 32."
That's a funny thing about the overdone, overhyped, overanalyzed NFL draft that runs Thursday through Saturday. Every team wants to have a worse pick next year.
The Broncos have the 31st pick of the first round. That says more about the Broncos' needs than what all the draftniks and talking heads and 40 times and bench-press reps could say in a two-hour draft special that seems to last two weeks.
It says the Broncos don't need much. They are really close to picking 32nd in 2015.
So here's how you know if the Broncos had a good draft or a bad draft. If theirs was a boring draft, it was probably a good draft. Going into this draft, their needs aren't the flashy, skill-position players who trigger group hugs from fantasy enthusiasts.
The Broncos need a boring draft. They could use depth on the defensive line, help on the offensive line, a middle linebacker and another cornerback.
They don't need a quarterback, a wideout in the first three rounds ("Looking at wide receivers, it's a deep draft," Elway said) or a running back, unless an Eddie Lacy-type falls to them.
The NFL draft is quite a show. Is it how you reach the Super Bowl? The Seahawks suggest so. But the rest of the AFC is playing catch-up to the Broncos and Patriots, and neither has drafted particularly well in recent years.
So maybe the draft hullabaloo is a tad overdone?
Entering his third draft week as the Broncos' chief decision-maker, Elway discussed a number of topics.
He talked quarterbacks (and didn't sound too stoked on the options in this draft): "It really comes down to your preference and what you like."
He talked about how he weighs off-field issues (and didn't sound like he wants another Von Miller offseason): "Whether it be character, mentality, football mentality, that all goes along with the player."
He talked about whether the Broncos will draft for need: "No, we want to take the best available (player). We feel like we've done a nice job in free agency, filling most of our holes there."
The Broncos do weird things in the draft. The former regime used a first-round pick on Tim Tebow, the new regime a third-round pick on Ronnie Hillman. They draft quarterbacks in consecutive years (Brock Osweiler in 2012, Zac Dysert in 2013) when their starting quarterback is entering consecutive MVP-caliber seasons.
"We're preparing as if Brock is our next guy," Elway said.
These Broncos don't need weird. Their big splashes come in free agency. If the first two days of their draft consist of a center (where's that petition to draft Colorado State's Weston Richburg?), another defensive tackle (like timeouts, you can't have too many) and a linebacker (preferably Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, since guys with 143 tackles in their final college season usually translate to the pros), applaud them.
Those types of draft picks won't thrill folks who prefer to imagine Manning with yet another offensive weapon. Those types of draft picks are boring.
In this case, boring is good. With a draft class heavy on big, boring bodies on the offensive and defensive lines, the Broncos would strengthen their case for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
That's not so boring.