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Woody Paige: Denver Broncos draft speed, attitude, toughness

April 29, 2017 Updated: April 29, 2017 at 9:33 pm
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Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Walker, left, who was the team's second-round pick in the NFL Draft, left, and third-round-pick Brendan Langley hold their jerseys during a news conference as they are introduced to reporters Saturday, April 29, 2017, at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Walker was selected from Florida State, Langley played at Lamar University. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Broncos' Braintrust believes it nailed The SAT Draft Test.

Ol' No. 7 John Elway, commander-'n-boss of the Broncos' draft, declared Saturday evening he was "proud'' of and "happy'' about the draft. Coach Vance Joseph was gratified with the "Speed,'' "Attitude," "Toughness'' of the eight players the Broncos picked.

Considering this was my 43rd Broncos' draft, I give them a good grade.

Broncozealots craved Christian McCaffrey for the offense.

Instead, they can cheer Carlosjakeisaiahde'angelochad Henderson(s)buttmckenziekelly.

The Broncos weren't able to procure the Swiss Army Knife, but they did seem to draft the entire Swiss Army for the offense.

McCaffrey, selected by the Super Bowl 50 losers, is a slash running back/wide receiver/slot receiver/punt returner/kickoff returner/wildcat quarterback.

The Super Bowl 50 winners chose a running back, two slash wide receivers/slot receivers/punt returners/kickoff returners/end-around scampers/special teamers; stole a tight end, and ended the draft by plucking a provocative quarterback as Mr. Irrelevant. Plenty of ifs, ands and a Butt.

Got Milk? No. But the Broncos Got Juice.

Vance Joseph had asserted recently that the Broncos needed more "juice'' on offense - and The Duke of Denver has provided the new coach with six offensive players, including the final four the Broncos took Saturday. The Broncos didn't start with sexy picks, but finished with The Juice Boys.

The question is: Did the Broncos actually draft for 2018, or does Elway et al. think the Class of '17 will help put the team back on top this season?

The answer is blowin' in the snow.

The Broncos did acquire more SAT - Speed. Attitude. Toughness. Toughness in the first two rounds with offensive tackle Garett Bolles and defensive end DeMarcus Walker, Speed with wide receivers Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, running back De(apostrophe) Henderson (no relation), defensive back Brendan Langley (a former wide receiver), and attitude with tight end Jake Butt and quarterback Chad Kelly - and the others.

However, are they all, or some, immediate contributors, and will they survive? The Broncos still have all eight draft picks from 2016 on the roster, seven of nine from 2015 and five of six from 2014. The seven players selected in 2013 are gone; only Derek Wolfe remains from 2012, and Von Miller and Virgil Green are the only players of Elway's first draft in 2011. DeMaryius Thomas is the Lone Ranger from '10.

Here are my evaluation grades of the Broncos picks:

1 - Bolles solves left tackle dilemma. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After his Mormon mission in Colorado Springs 50 pounds heavier and two inches taller, Garett returned to Utah with an uncertain future. It was suggested he try college football. At Snow Junior College he was given a five-day tryout. He passed, earned the last scholarship, became an All-American, was recruited by 30 major football programs, was all-Pac 12 last season and promises to be an All-Pro. "I'm a mean machine.'' B+.

2 - Walker can be the next Malik Jackson as an inside rusher and run stopper; 53 tackles and 25 sacks past two seasons. He is self-possessed. If only he's half the player DeMarcus Ware was. B.

3A - Carlos Henderson is the prime candidate for starting slot receiver. Finished with 5,231 all-purpose yards at Louisiana Tech. Better than advertised. B+.

3B - Langley was picked too early. Project cornerback. Weak Senior Bowl. Mostly will play in dime defense and on special teams. C-.

5A - Butt would have been third tight end drafted (in second round) if he hadn't torn ACL in knee (second time in two seasons) in Orange Bowl. More a receiver than a blocker. Won't be ready for beginning of season, but is a player and has attitude and toughness. A-.

5B - McKenzie will be backup receiver and could replace second-round bust Cody Latimer. Speed. Oddly, only University of Georgia player drafted. (Langley was moved to wide receiver at Georgia before transferring to Lamar.) Burner. B-.

6 - De'Angelo Henderson scored a touchdown in 35 consecutive games. Had 58 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 per carry, with 97 receptions, for Coastal Carolina. This is the round in which Terrell Davis was selected. B.

7 - Kelly is the nephew of Jim Kelly, Hall of Fame quarterback picked same year (1983) as Elway. Nicknamed Machine Gun Kelly. Described as having "entitled ego.'' Outstanding college QB at Ole Miss with baggage that no airline would handle. Damaged thumb that won't let him participate in drills all summer. Practice squader if he stays out of trouble and keeps mouth shut. D-

Overall Broncos: B.

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