The Broncos tackled one of their vital issues — offensive tackle — and cornered another conundrum — cornerback — and confronted the quarterback quandary. But is this the fast fix to the team’s troubles?
Not hardly. A plethora of player personnel problems still must be resolved.
The acquisition of The J.F.K. Trio of Ju’Wuan James, Joe Flacco and Kareem Jackson is a start, and all three will be upgrade starters, but the needs are much more.
John Elway, Ol’ No. 7, must address 7 positions during free agency and the draft.
Who’s going to be No. 1 at center, right guard, tight end, nose tackle, inside linebacker, nickel back and strong safety?
Who’s going to be the backup at quarterback and the reserves on the offensive line, at tight end, in the receiving corps, on the defensive line, among the outside and inside linebackers and in the secondary?
Who are these guys: Khalfani Muhammad, Fred “Downtown’’ Brown, Austin “The Great Dane’’ Schlottman, Andreas “Not My Fault’’ Knappe and Horace “Greeley’’ Richardson?
They currently are on the Broncos’ roster. Each signed a futures contract, but do they have one?
Currently not on the roster are 15 players who were first or second on the Broncos’ depth chart during the 2018 season.
The Dukester just added $147 million in contracts — $63 mil for Joe, $51 million for James and $33 million for Jackson. That’s a lot of Jacksons (20-dollar bills) that the Bowlen Family Trust reacts to with a big gulp.
The Broncos don’t have substantial wiggle allocations left under the salary cap. Now they are shopping at Dollar Tree for bargains. I have a feeling they will attempt to bring back free agents Zach Kerr, Jeff Heuerman, Matt LaCosse and Domata Peko — all who are unsigned by others. Matt Paradis dismissed the Broncos’ proposal and agreed to three years, $27 million with the Panthers.
If the Broncos draft the Penn State center, they would have two players at the position who are named Connor McGovern? Or the elder Connor McGovern could move back to guard, and they’d play alongside each other. Confused already?
The Broncos’ draft next month must be even grander than last year’s. Nine of those 10 rookies made the roster. David Williams was signed to the practice squad, but later was grabbed by the Jaguars. Six — Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, Isaac Yiadom, Josey Jewell and DaeSean Hamilton — were serious contributors. Keishawn “Yogi” Bierria was a special teams participant in all 16 games, and Highlands Ranch’s Own Sam Jones played in five.
This time The Elway Way will have nine selections, beginning with No. 10 overall.
The Broncos obviously should pick an inside linebacker who can make an impact immediately. LSU’s Devin White will be first chosen, and likely won’t last to the Broncos after an exceptional NFL Combine, with a best, among linebackers, 4.42 40-yard dash. The Broncos might get the other Devin — Devin Bush of Michigan — in the second round.
Other areas that will be addressed are nose tackle, wide receiver, defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end and, despite the presence of James and Jackson, offensive line and cornerback.
Yet, the Broncos have met with more tight ends (seven) than players from other positions. They usually draft one from the Big Ten, but Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M is a person of interest at Dove Valley. Another legitimate Aggies’ prospect for the Broncos is nose tackle Daylon Mack. The Broncos have interviewed both.
Guard Chris Lindstrom of Boston College would be a special selection for the Broncos in the second round, and Iman Marshall (not related to either Brandon) is an athlete for the third choice. He will play corner or safety in the NFL. The Broncos care for Kansas State tackle Dalton Risner, and they should consider offensive lineman Olisaemeka Udoh of Elon. He has name and upside value.
Jakobi Meyers, a converted QB, is a receiver the Broncos could choose in a later round, and Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard, a John Lynch clone, and can be a special special teams player for the sixth-seventh round. And Chase Hansen is an outside linebacker-safety. The Broncos adore players from Utah.
Finally, but first, the Broncos should draft Drew Lock No. 10. He could spend a year developing and become the Broncos’ best young quarterback since a fellow named Elway. No problem.