INDIANAPOLIS (CBS4) – The NFL Draft is the first test for the new Broncos brain trust. They’ve got the highest pick in team history: No. 2.
CBS4′s Gary Miller caught up with John Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
It’s known the Broncos have many needs, but the Broncos new front office team has a hard decision — to draft the most talented player, or draft a player at their biggest position of need.
“You’ve got to get the best football player. Everybody you pick, whether it’s a fifth rounder, first rounder; the more guys that you can get that play on Sundays; that’s how you win games and you need to have that kind of success in the draft,” Coach Fox said. “I’m a firm believer you built through the draft.”
Miller asked Elway, Vice President of Football Operations, if he was a “need” guy, or a “talent” guy.
“Both,” Elway responded. “I think that obviously that where we are, we have a lot of needs, so I think we need to figure out who that guy is and where he fits that need and that guy who has all the other parameters too. Where he fits into the Broncos, where he fits into the community, and also be a great football player.”
“It’s really a blend of both. We say the best player available at a position of need,” said Xanders, Broncos General Manager. “So let’s say you were strong at receiver, and there’s a receiver versus a defensive lineman there, we’re going to go best player available at the position of need.”
Fox has been down the same road before when he helped take the Carolina Panthers from the depths of the NFC all the way to the Super Bowl. He did it in large part because when the Panthers had the No. 2 pick in the draft, Fox hit the jackpot with Julius Peppers.
“I’d take a few of them,” Fox laughed. “One of them would be fine … we just want a good football player. We’ve got enough needs with the Denver Broncos that the key for us is going to be finding a guy that’s going to start eight to 10 years and help us win football games. It won’t matter what position.”
“Hopefully we get a dynamic football player that’s going to be with the Broncos for a long time,” Elway said. “We need a guy that’s going to be a starter for us for 10 to 12 years.”
If the Broncos keep the second pick, the leading candidates could all be defensive linemen. Nick Fairley of Auburn is one, but he may go first to Carolina. Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson or Marcell Dareus could also be picked.
If they look for a linebacker, Texas A&M’s Von Miller could be their man. And cornerback Patrick Peterson is near the top of everyone’s list.
The bottom line is the Broncos can’t afford to miss with the highest pick in team history.
“We can’t miss in the draft, especially where we are,” Elway said. “We don’t have the luxury of having many misses, especially when you have those picks that we have.”
No matter what happens with the lockout business, the NFL still plans on holding a draft the last week in April.