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Patience Is A Virtue

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John Elway, with Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in 2011. (credit: CBS)

John Elway, with Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in 2011. (credit: CBS)

Brett Heinzerling By Brett Heinzerling
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The picks are in. Mr. Irrelevant has heard his name called, and everyone already has an opinion on the Denver Broncos first round draft pick Bradley Roby. He’s fast, but does he give full effort? He’ll stick his nose in on the running game, but he’s had off-the-field issues. Now it’s my turn to weigh in on the NFL Draft.

But not this year’s dog-and-pony show. It takes years, at least three by my estimation, to really rate a draft class.

Bradley Roby (credit: CBS)

Bradley Roby (credit: CBS)

So don’t worry, Mr. Roby, that was the last time your name will appear in this column. I’m heading back in time. Way back to John Elway’s first draft. Way back to 2011 to break down how THAT draft turned out.

Elway’s first pick as a Broncos executive was, of course, Von Miller. I’ll grade him as an A+ on the field, and a D off of it. His motor doesn’t shut off, he’s as advertised as a pass-rusher, and he is still nowhere near his ceiling. Off the field, he’s been close to a disaster. Speeding tickets, a 6-game suspension, need I say more?

That said, I’d take Von in that same draft position every day of the week. And twice on Sundays, which is when the games are played, so that’s a good thing.

Next up was Rahim Moore. Moore has the unfortunate and dubious distinction of being the guy that cost Denver a playoff game when he let Jacoby Jones run free into the end zone, sending the Broncos home heartbroken. He’s often blamed because he took the blame. He shouldered the burden and in doing so, he endeared himself to the fans. I like him. He should be 100% healthy next season, and again, I like the pick.

2 for 2.

With the very next pick, they took Orlando Franklin from Miami. He’s a starter, and a stalwart on the offensive line. He’s gearing up for a change to left guard to further protect Manning’s blind side. I love this pick.

3 for 3.

After that, Nate Irving heard his name called. If you are to believe Mr. Elway, the team loves his upside and he’ll be the starting middle linebacker next year. I’d say wait and see. Either way, it was at least an acceptable pick.

Next up was safety Quinton Carter.

Oops.

Then came the unheralded and unheard of unpolished tight end from Portland. You may have heard of him. Julius Thomas ring a bell?

Home run pick late in the draft.

They finished the draft with Michael Mohamed (who?), Virgil Green, a sometimes tight end, good blocker, OK pass-catcher, and Jeremy Beal. 1 of their final three picks is still with the team three years later.

Frankly, I’d call that a huge win.

All told, 4, maybe 5 starters in the coming season, a couple of washouts, and a Quinton Carter later, the 2011 draft class looks pretty solid. I’ll give it another three years before I praise (or mock) Roby and his 2014 classmates.

Patience is a virtue.

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