Although Gotsis will likely not make his on-field debut until training camp, the Broncos believe that once he develops and channels his athleticism, he can provide the same kind of athletic, long and explosive presence provided by Malik Jackson, who left for the Jaguars in free agency.
“He is the type of player we like,” said Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar, who pushed for Gotsis to be selected. “He plays hard, runs to the ball, has some pass rush ability that we are happy about. When we met him at the combine and found out what type of guy he is, we really liked him. He is a gym rat type of guy that just wants to play football.”
Simmons, a long-striding safety with a 40-inch vertical leap and five interceptions at Boston College last year, could slide into the sub-package safety role handled by David Bruton Jr. last year, which would allow safety T.J. Ward to continue working alongside linebacker Brandon Marshall on passing downs.
“(Simmons) is a big, rangy guy that can play center field and we can leave T.J. in the box,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. “He also has played some corner, so he has cover ability which we really liked.”
–As the draft neared, anonymous criticism of Paxton Lynch’s leadership potential began echoing through circles of scouts, personnel executives and draft pundits around the league.
But after meeting with Lynch at Broncos headquarters in mid-April, Kubiak felt comfortable with how the rookie quarterback would fit in the locker room and work with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
“It was a very good visit,” Kubiak said. “He’d fit in very well. He did a great job when he was here, and that was a very big piece of the puzzle. I thought it was a great visit.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Broncos & The NFL Draft 2016
Lynch’s head coach at Memphis, current Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, saw no issues with Lynch’s leadership style.
“He gets along with everybody and he’s a very laid-back guy,” Fuente said. “The thing I always loved about him as a coach was in the middle of a game, from the first line, he was level-headed. He’s not too high, he’s not too low. He looks you dead in the eye, listens to what you have to say and he tries to do what you need done.”
–With Lynch aboard, the Broncos’ quarterback search is over for the moment.
General manager John Elway said after the third round Friday that the Broncos would not go after any more quarterbacks in the near future, effectively ending their pursuit of Brian Hoyer, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick and any other possibilities to be a bridge quarterback until Lynch is ready.
“We are continuing to look, but we aren’t going to do anything right now,” Elway said.
The reason is simple: The quarterbacks they have on hand need repetitions. Rookie Paxton Lynch and second-year veteran Trevor Siemian have never thrown regular-season passes. Trade acquisition Mark Sanchez, who appears the most likely candidate to start in Week 1, is still learning the scheme.
“The key thing is to make sure everybody is going to get a lot of reps,” Elway said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where everyone isn’t getting the reps that they need. That’s not to say we aren’t going to do anything; we just aren’t going to do anything at this point and time.”
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
A closer look at the Broncos’ picks:
–Round 1/26 — Paxton Lynch, QB, 6-7, 244, Memphis
Lynch was the Broncos’ primary draft target, given that Carson Wentz and Jared Goff were out of reach at the top of the draft. The Broncos would like to give him a year to develop behind Mark Sanchez, which would allow him to refine his work under center, which he did rarely at Memphis. But the Broncos are sold on his potential and his ability to feel the pass rush, extend plays and maintain his accuracy under pressure.
–Round 2/63 — Adam Gotsis, DL, 6-4, 287, Georgia Tech
Gotsis is still raw and developing pass-rush moves, having only taken up American football the last four years after growing up playing Australian rules football in Melbourne. But he’s already a stout run defender, and once he recovers from a torn ACL, should be ready to go by training camp. If he can harness his athleticism, Gotsis could be a steal.
–Round 3/98 — Justin Simmons, S, 6-2, 202, Boston College
An outstanding Combine workout cemented Simmons’ status after a five-interception senior season. The Broncos see him as a replacement for free-agent departure David Bruton Jr. Expect him to slide into Bruton’s sub-package role, allowing T.J. Ward to continue moving into the box when the Broncos use their three-cornerback, three-safety dime package.
–Round 4/136 — Devontae Booker, RB, 5-11, 219, Utah
Gary Kubiak had two effective running backs in Houston in 2011 with Arian Foster and Ben Tate sharing the load, and he hopes that Booker can form a similar partnership with the re-signed C.J. Anderson. A torn meniscus hurt Booker’s draft stock, but Booker said he was at “90 percent” and expects to be full speed by training camp at the latest.
–Round 5/144 — Connor McGovern, G/T, 6-4, 306, Missouri
–The strong, versatile lineman with quick feet is a good fit for the Broncos’ zone-blocking scheme. McGovern started at right guard and both tackle spots at Mizzou, including left tackle last year. He has a good chance to emerge as a swing backup on the offensive line this year.
–Round 6/176 — Andy Janovich, FB, 6-1, 238, Nebraska
Gary Kubiak was looking for a productive fullback to work into the offense, and he expects Janovich to be that man. Janovich was the lead blocker for Ameer Abdullah in 2014 and in 2015 displayed some explosiveness of his own, with two 50-yard gains in his 44 touches. He will also factor on special teams right away.
–Round 6/219 — Will Parks, S, 6-1, 204, Arizona
Parks’ stock jumped after he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day — while carrying 10 pounds of muscle above his previously listed weight. An aggressive safety who can go in the box, Parks could back up T.J. Ward with a strong camp.
–Round 7/228 — Riley Dixon, P, 6-5, 221, Syracuse
One of the best placement punters in college football last year, Dixon could push Britton Colquitt out of a job. Colquitt has a $4 million cap figure, and the Broncos could save $3.25 million if they released him. Will Johnson is also on the roster to provide competition, but if Dixon proves worthy, he could land the job.