KLEE: With the Broncos on draft clock, trust in John

By: Paul Klee
April 22, 2013
photo - John Elway and Peyton Manning have the Broncos in position to win now, but Elway is always thinking about the future.  Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
John Elway and Peyton Manning have the Broncos in position to win now, but Elway is always thinking about the future. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

ENGLEWOOD — The news:

Broncos pass-catcher Eric Decker and country singer Jessie James, his fiancee, will have their own reality show.

The view:

"He came in and talked to me the other day about it," John Elway said Monday. "So I gave him my blessing."

You know who should have our blessing?

Ol' No. 7.

Trust in John.

As the quarterback, Elway was always The Man. As the executive, he is the man with the plan.

This week it is the NFL draft plan. These Broncos don't need much, but they need a running back, defensive back, defensive end and a dome (to keep Peyton Manning warm).

All except the dome will be available when Denver picks at Nos. 28, 58, 90, 125, 161, 234.

Walk the street or surf the web, and everyone knows who the Broncos should pick. There are more mock drafts in the football world than opinions in the free world.

I say: Trust in John. On Elway's watch, the Broncos have gone from the McDaniels mess to where they are now, Super Bowl and NFL favorite.

Think that’s overstating it? Check out how the NFL built its schedule around the Broncos. Of the five most-anticipated games next season, the Broncos are involved in three, at least (vs. Baltimore in the Thursday-night opener, at Indianapolis and at New England).

That's not counting the Manning Bowl, Peyton vs. Eli, at New York, in Week 2.

The Broncos are the show.

And Elway had the biggest hand in building these Broncos. Thirty-three players started for the Broncos in 2012. Twenty-three were secured by Elway.

"I believe he's going to be here a while," Broncos president Joe Ellis said.

Until Elway blows it big time with a personnel decision that backfires, the VP of football operations has earned these three words as they relate to the Broncos:

Trust in John.

What about Elvis, you say? Elway didn’t mess up the Elvis deal. Dumervil, who hired a clownshow agent to handle his millions, messed up the Dumervil deal.

"All I can say is there was a 1 o'clock deadline,” Elway said.

No nonsense, no excuses. No fax? No deal.

"That won’t happen again," Elway said.

Elway turns 52 in June. In the Broncos front office, he uses the same kind of hard-ball stance in negotiations he used as a 22-year-old quarterback coming out of Stanford.

The Baltimore Colts had the No. 1 pick in the 1983 draft. Elway told the Colts he would play baseball, for the Yankees, if the Colts drafted him.

For proof that Elway gets his way, watch the “30 for 30” documentary that airs Tuesday night on ESPN. I watched "Elway to Marino" last week. Two thumbs up.

How would Elway (the stubborn executive) handle Elway (the stubborn player) in that draft?

“I was thinking about that,” he said Monday. “The thing is, Elway in the position I’m in... would have had a much better football organization than (the Baltimore Colts).

"That’s why I don’t think that will ever happen with us.”

In 1983, it was John’s way or the highway.

In 2013, it is John’s way or the highway.

At Dove Valley on Monday, we learned:

—John Elway "likes" doing mock drafts. In fact, he and the Broncos brass will conduct "several" mock drafts, complete with what-if trade scenarios, before the real draft Thursday.

—Asked about Broncos running backs, Elway mentioned Willis McGahee and Ronnie Hillman but not Knowshon Moreno. This could be oversight, but I wonder.

—Elway said "right now" the Broncos are not recruiting free agents John Abraham or Dwight Freeney.

—Quarterback is not a priority, and not simply because Manning is here. Elway thinks Brock Osweiler, a second-round pick last year, might be the first QB taken if he were in this draft.

—Elway is OK with Decker’s decision to appear on his own reality show.

I thought the Broncos had a shaky draft in 2012. I still contend the collapse against the Ravens can be traced to that draft.

Their first three picks were either a bad fit for the playoff game (Ronnie Hillman), on the sideline for the playoff game (Osweiler) or solid in the playoff game (Derek Wolfe).

Considering how far the Broncos have come in Elway's two years, that is nit-picking.

The Broncos went 4-12 in 2010, the season before Elway returned. They are now the NFL favorite, in his third season.

Trust in John.

Paul Klee is the Denver sports columnist for The Gazette. Reach him via email (paul.klee@gazette.com) or on Twitter (@Klee_Gazette).



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