Broncos gain more picks and stay patient while fans begin to worry

Sam Cowhick Avatar
March 12, 2016


It is official. Broncos Country is in full blown panic mode.

Even before Friday afternoon’s announcement of quarterback Mark Sanchez’ signing the Super Bowl Champs’ doubters were multiplying. After the eight-year signal caller joined the team via trade (Broncos gave the Eagles a seventh round pick) the doubters grew exponentially. What some, or most of Broncos’ fans missed is the pick-heavy team received three compensatory picks Friday for the upcoming draft.

Yes, the Broncos have lost some big pieces to their Super Bowl winning team but in reality only one came as a surprise. The Broncos willingly released guard Louis Vasquez, long-snapper Aaron Brewer and tight end Owen Daniels and watched linebacker Danny Trevathan and defensive tackle Malik Jackson get contracts that were nowhere near what they were prepared to offer. The only sting of this week has been quarterback Brock Osweiler’s departure and remains the source of Broncos Country’s hyperventilating. Fear not friends, the draft is where the Broncos have, and will continue to get better.

Friday the Broncos gained a third-round pick (98th), fourth-round pick (136th) and a sixth-round pick (219th) due to last year’s purge of free agent’s Elway let walk. Those players, tackle Orlando Franklin, tight end Julius Thomas, linebacker Nate Irving, nose tackle Terrence Knighton, safety Rahim Moore, tight end Jacob Tamme and tackle Will Montgomery all went elsewhere, mostly for big contracts and most if not all underperformed or were injured.

The NFL Management Council uses a formula for determining compensatory free agents based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.

The Broncos now have 10 picks in the 2016 draft and a lot of opportunity to gain talented young players. The three compensatory picks cannot be traded but the remaining seven can be in order to get a player at nearly any position of the draft. The compensatory picks have to be within the third and sixth rounds and next year, due to a rule change, can be traded. The departures of Osweiler, Jackson and Trevathan will help in next years draft as well.

Last year, after the Broncos saw the aforementioned players leave in free agency, they continued to succeed in finding NFL-ready talent in the draft. They actually moved up and grabbed linebacker Shane Ray with the 23rd pick, drafted offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo 59th overall and then stole guard Max Garcia with the 133rd pick. Garcia and Ray played significant time, 48.9 percent and 31 percent of snaps on their sides of the ball respectively, throughout the season while Sambrailo won the left tackle position in training camp before a shoulder injury took him out for the season in week three. Tight end Jeff Heuerman, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo and quarterback Trevor Siemian will also have larger roles this offseason.

If Broncos Country is in a frenzy, as every social media platform suggests, General Manager John Elway is not. He has shown a great track record of allowing free agents that outplay their initial contracts to walk and get their pay days. He has also drafted extremely well in most cases. In each of his seasons at the helm he has drafted players who have gone on to be valuable starters by their first or second year. The skill set Elway possesses, coupled with the abundance of draft picks will be more valuable than ever and will hopefully be more fruitful than ever.

The Broncos were certainly ready to lose players in the offseason after having 26 free agents, a tough payroll situation, and players gaining notoriety after Super Bowl 50, but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the line for the five-consecutive AFC West Champions.

Panic is not necessary. Calm down Broncos Country. The Broncos have the right formula and it does not include bowing to pressure or convention.


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