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Klee blog: Five things I learned about John Elway's draft plan, including how Peyton Manning shaped the Broncos' quarterback needs

By: Paul Klee
April 19, 2018 Updated: April 20, 2018 at 6:13 am
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photo - John Elway, general manager of the Denver Broncos, talks with reporters during a news conference about the team's priorities in the NFL Draft Thursday, April 19, 2018, in the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
John Elway, general manager of the Denver Broncos, talks with reporters during a news conference about the team's priorities in the NFL Draft Thursday, April 19, 2018, in the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 

The NFL draft starts next Thursday. Here are my five quick takeaways from John Elway's pre-draft press conference at Dove Valley on Thursday:

1. Our Woody Paige suggested Penn State tailback Saquon Barkley should be the Broncos' pick at No. 5. I don't, but here's a nickel that says Denver takes one running back in the top five rounds after the Broncos moved on from C.J. Anderson this week. Elway strongly suggested they will.

"We feel good about the fact we'll be able to get a good one," Elway said. 

2. Should we reserve a seat for Elway on the Bad Baker Bandwagon? If it's a quarterback at 5, sign me up for Mayfield. But with Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch ("He's tall") as examples, the Elway era suggests he's more inclined to draft a quarterback who looks the part. Right? Not with Mayfield, whose 6-foot (and 5/8"!) stature doesn't appear to be a red flag for the quarterback-thirsty Broncos. "I think Russell (Wilson) is a little bit shorter than Baker," Elway said. "(Mayfield has) overcome the size issue."

3. Oh, to be a fly on the Dove Valley walls on Monday. That's when Elway and his merry band of talent evaluators gather 'round for a summit on scenarios: what if the Big Four quarterbacks go 1, 2, 3, 4? What if Josh Rosen falls to the Broncos? What if a team in the 20s eyes the No. 5 pick? Talks will include every possible scenario. "I'm open to trading" the No. 5 pick, Elway said. In that case, the Broncos want to avoid a Nuggets-y situation where they trade down and their guy's not available. "What do we think we're going to get if we move back?" Elway said, for example. 

4. For the first time since Week 10 of the 2013/Super Bowl 50 season, there is no quarterback controversy in Colorado. For now. 

"Case (Keenum) is our starter," Elway said.

5. This is Elway's eighth draft as a Broncos executive. Time flies. I don't know how you quantify such things, but it feels like a biggie. I thought his answer to what type of quarterback he prefers was enlightening. Characteristics of the Tebow/Manning years are peppered throughout his response.

"Peyton was the more cerebral type, so I've learned a lot since I've been doing this job as far as what certain quarterbacks have success and what it takes," Elway said. "The bottom line is I still believe in one thing: that you have to able to win from the pocket. No matter what you do. The one thing I've learned is, as a quarterback, you have to be able to win it from the pocket. You can win games, but you can't win championships unless you have the ability to win from the pocket. Then if you can get out and move around and create those things, that's an added bonus."

-The Broncos' 2018 schedule is expected to be released around 6 p.m. tonight. Check back at Gazette.com tonight for a complete breakdown.

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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