If there is one thing you should know about the John Elway – Peyton Manning Broncos, it’s that, “We don’t have a plan B. We’re going with plan A.”
When Elway said that over two years ago, he made it clear that the Broncos are going to live and die by the arm of Manning. As long as he is the quarterback, there is a window of opportunity in which Denver can win a championship, and Elway doesn’t plan on wasting it.
Now, after two ringless seasons, the window is closing. Nobody knows exactly how long Manning will continue playing. For all we know, this could be his final year. That being said, if there was ever a time to shove plan A down the throat of the NFL, it’s right now.
So far, Elway has been absolutely fantastic in free agency. Bringing in DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders were big-time moves. Now, it’s time for Elway to do the same thing in this week’s draft.
The Broncos need someone who is going to step in day one and contribute, but they aren’t likely to find that type of player with the 31st pick.
With just one pick in each of the seven rounds, Elway might be thinking about trading back for more selections, and in any other situation that would make sense, but not for this team. The Broncos roster is loaded, and they don’t need seven or eight players to develop for the future. They need one player who is going to help lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory next season.
Denver has two major needs — middle linebacker and cornerback — but neither can be solved with the 31st pick. C.J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier, the top two middle linebacker prospects, are very unlikely to be around when the Broncos select someone, and while the cornerback class is deep this year, the elite prospects will all be off the board by pick 20.
If Elway is serious about winning right now, he needs to make a move up in the draft.
Some may contest that the Broncos need to continue building for the future, but that argument doesn’t work here. Everyone knows that once Manning retires, the Broncos will immediately fall from contention. He’s that good. No matter how much you like Brock Osweiler, he’s not leading this team to the Super Bowl any time soon. Denver needs to milk Manning for all he’s worth, even if that means sacrificing the future.
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