DENVER — Through a broadcast on Instagram Live, the masked man offered up some of the most entertaining NFL draft analysis available.
"That boy's got speed!" Von Miller shouted into a smartphone to his nearly 2 million followers.
Great to see Vonnie Football again — healthy, hilarious and thriving, despite testing positive for the coronavirus. Must say, though, with the way the Broncos superstar raced around his home and excitedly broke down much of the draft, is it fair to assume his public service announcements on the dangers of the disease may not have their intended effect?
“Who we gonna get Chubb?!” Miller (@vonmiller) asked his pass-rushing buddy, Bradley Chubb (@astronaut), with the Broncos on the clock in the first round.
"I don't know, bro," Chubb said.
“Who we gonna get?!”
The 2020 NFL draft brought us into the living rooms of the next generation of football stars. It also gave us a live look at the reactions of the athletes who have already made it. As usual, no one was more engaging than Miller, who wore a N95 mask at his home just days after making the media rounds as a celebrity who contracted the coronavirus. While Miller's intentions clearly were good — look, even a world-class athlete can get this thing! — the warnings fall flat when an infected man with asthma has the energy of a teenager after a gallon of ice cream.
"That boy's got speed!" Miller shouted when the Broncos drafted Penn State receiver K.J. Hamler in the second round. “They call him Hollywood 2.0!”
If Hamler develops into a replica of Baltimore star Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, No. 58 won't complain. Yes, it’s fair to say Miller was John Elway’s biggest fan as the president of football operations beefed up the Broncos' offense and answered its need for speed.
“Chubb! We're gonna be good as hell!” Miller hollered.
Since we have some time on our hands, here’s a hypothetical worth considering: What if Joe Flacco never got hurt and the Broncos had kept Drew Lock in depth-chart quarantine? The Broncos based most of their draft decisions on gifting Lock as many fun toys as possible — from Hamler to receiver Jerry Jeudy to tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. But if Flacco doesn't miss eight games due to injury, it figures the Broncos might've gone down the same path they've been pursuing — grow the defense and pray the offense doesn't mess things up.
"We've tried to concentrate on the defensive side (until they found a quarterback)," Elway said.
We'll never know, but good thing Lock got on the field. His promise orchestrated their draft.
"By no means has Drew made it," Elway said.
Credit Elway for tiptoeing a thin line between anointing Lock the savior and making sure the 23-year-old doesn’t get too comfortable as Colorado's QB1.
"I think with the way Drew played at the end of last year, we saw the signs of a guy that has a chance to be very successful in this league,” Elway added. "But to do that he's got to have some good people around him."
The NFL draft conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic was a smash hit — not the negligent hazard that so many in sports media predicted.
"They are determined to put this on while there is carnage in the streets," ESPN ace reporter Adam Schefter said on "SportsCenter" before the draft, presumably while drawing a paycheck as 26 million Americans don't.
Over 19 million viewers tuned in to witness an event to remember. There was the mother of one draft pick nudging his girlfriend off the couch to give her son a hug. There was Javon Kinlaw's dad falling off the couch when his kid was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. Loved that. And the big winner was Bill Belichick seating the family dog at the dining room table in front of his laptop. When the Pats drafted Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, did “Nike” the dog think his last name was Dogger? Makes you wonder.
Who else is on board for living room camerawork during future NFL drafts? Pretty sure Air Force fans would be thrilled to get a peek inside David Cormier’s home when the Falcons receiver hears his name called in 2021. Speaking of speed to burn.
Back to Von’s broadcast. The Super Bowl 50 MVP has a future in TV and did his best Tony Romo with the Tampa Bay Bucs on the clock.
“They need to get a tackle for Tom (Brady),” Miller said.
Boom! The Bucs took a tackle, Tristan Wirfs.
And when the Bucs drafted Antoine Winfield Jr., a safety, Miller aged himself as an NFL veteran: "I played against Antoine Winfield’s daddy. And now his son's in the league. I'm old!"