ENGLEWOOD As the draft droned on and the Denver Broncos slid down the board, John Elways cellphone buzzed yet again.
No, it wasnt another general manager calling to pitch another trade. It was a buddy offering advice via text.
Need to pick, cant have another drink.
The Broncos, though, traded out of the first round entirely Thursday night, sending the draft partiers home disappointed.
The Broncos owned the 25th overall selection when the draft began and traded down twice, leaving them without a first-rounder for the first time since 2005.
Well, we didnt get any better yet, Elway said, but we will (today).
The Broncos initially traded down six spots, acquiring the 31st overall pick and a fourth-rounder (No. 126 overall) from New England for the 25th selection.
Then, they sent both of those picks to Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers second-rounder, No. 36 overall, and the 101st selection, in the fourth round.
I can understand the fans being a little bit disappointed, Elway said. They want to get excited and see whos going to be the next Denver Bronco. I think everybody naturally wants to do that. But that will be over as soon as we get started (today).
Several players with first-round grades defensive tackles Jerel Worthy of Michigan State and Kendall Reyes of Connecticut, along with Stanford tight end Coby Fleener and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill among them are still on the board and could be there when the Broncos make the fourth pick of the second round.
The Broncos greatest need is a big man who can pressure the pocket from the middle, between edge rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, but when Dontari Poe, Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers were all taken in the middle of the first round, the Broncos began entertaining offers to move down.
Everyone else saw the talent that we saw there, too, Elway said. Those guys started going like that and went in a hurry. We thought we were going to have to get a little bit lucky for them to fall to us anyway, but theyre great football players. And so they didnt get to us; that gave us the opportunity to start moving back.
Elway said he figures the same players will be available at 36 that were there at 31 or even at 25, so moving up 25 spots in the fourth round was worth it.
We really believe that this is a deep draft. Its not real thick at the top, but its deep through the middle rounds, Elway said. So we thought adding another pick would give us more options going into (today) and plus wed still have the people we really had targeted that made it to us at 25, well still have them at 36.
I mean, obviously, its a little bit of a downer when you dont have a new player, but were excited about where we sit, and the next two days are going to be exciting.
With a half-dozen picks in the next three rounds, no one should be surprised if Elway isnt done dealing, either.
Everythings a possibility, Elway said. It gives us some good currency to do some things if we decide we wanted to do something (today).
The Broncos wont change their philosophy or draft board overnight, however. They still believe in getting the best player available and if that happens to fit one of their many needs, all the better.
We worked so hard on that board, were going to stay true to the board and the way we grade everybody, Elway said. We did stay true with what we did (Thursday) in moving back the way we did. The guys that we liked and targeted we believe have a chance to be there. There was a big enough group of guys there that we liked that we believe theyll be there at 36.
The Broncos own eight picks over the next two days, and Elways desire to find several impact players hasnt changed.
We want to find a couple (today), Elway said. Any time youre picking in the second weve got two in the second and then one in the third so we still feel like those impact guys are there, and if theyre not impact, theyre definitely contributors. So are the fourth-round guys. And weve done a lot in free agency this offseason, but you know, we also still need to add a lot of depth with young guys, too.
As we talked about last year, were not going to fix this thing overnight, were not going to fix it with one draft. There will be those impact guys. Plus, well be able to get a lot of quality young football players, which is what we need to do to be able to build this base.