By Romi Bean
DENVER (CBS4) – The Broncos selected eight future stars in the 2017 NFL Draft and addressed many of their needs, especially on offense.
75% of the draft picks are offensive players ranging from tackle to tight end to return specialists. Broncos head coach Vance Joseph made it clear from day one that he was looking for players with “juice.”
What is “juice”?
It’s an attitude on and off the field. It’s playmakers with speed and explosion. It’s the “do anything to win” mentality.
On Day 2 and 3 of the draft, the Broncos picked up three players that fit VJ’s “juice” mold. Wide receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie and running back De’Angelo Henderson have the potential to create matchup problems for interior linebackers and slot cornerbacks — something last year’s offense failed to produce.
In the coach’s words:
“We’ve added speed. With (WR Carlos) Henderson at receiver in the slot, I mean he is a machine after the catch. With (WR Isaiah) McKenzie as a returner, also a slot player, he’s a 4.4 guy. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands.
“(RB) De’Angelo Henderson, as a 5-9, 200-pound guy, 4.4 guy, he’s got great burst. Our goal going into the draft was to add speed, especially speed in the interior of the offense. We’ve got those two guys outside (WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders) and most teams are going to play in bracket or shell coverage, so you have to have guys inside to attack linebackers and attack the slot players. That was accomplished with Carlos and De’Angelo and Isaiah McKenzie. I’m excited about that. We’ve added some real speed to the football team.”
Broncos added more “juice” with a steal in the fifth in tight end Jake Butt. Butt is considered by many a first round talent and only fell to day three because of an ACL. He is exactly what the Broncos have been looking for — he can block on the line and has the receiving skills to be a threat in the slot and the outside. The Broncos have struggled in recent years to find a tight end with both blocking and receiving skills. They may have finally found the answer in Jake Butt.
While the Broncos don’t have many needs on defense, they still added two players keeping with John Elway’s promise to maintain their elite level. In the second round, they grabbed pass rusher DeMarcus Walker, and in the third, cornerback Brendan Langley. These two are the type of players that can help the defense maintain its elite standards in the coming years.
And finally, Mr. Irrelevant is not so irrelevant after all. With the last pick in the draft, the Broncos selected quarterback Chad Kelly. Last name sound familiar? That’s because Kelly is the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly — who was in the same draft class as Elway. Kelly has some off field concerns, but Elway and Joseph feel confident it won’t be a problem going forward.
All eight draft picks have the on-field talent to make a statement. But they also have the type of attitude VJ wants from his team — toughness, grit, and a whole lot of fight.
“You want guys who love to play and hate to lose, and these eight guys we picked this weekend all fall in that category,” Joseph said. “They want to win. They hate to lose and they’re tough guys, but all good kids. We’re excited about that. It’s an attitude game, and you have to acquire guys with those attitudes. You can’t hope that players will have that. You have to go find those guys with that certain attitude.”