- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A wrap-up of the Denver Broncos' draft.
Best move: It's intriguing to watch how things unfold at times. If Missouri outside linebacker/defensive end Shane Ray had not been stopped by police in the early morning hours of the past Monday, had he not been cited for marijuana possession and had he not slipped down the draft board, the Broncos never would have had a chance to select him without a blockbuster trade. The Broncos did their due diligence following the traffic stop and thought it was worth moving up five spots in the first round to select the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year. If Ray is true to his word that the incident was a one-time thing and "will never happen again," the Broncos have a potential long-term impact player.
Riskiest move: A team that features a Pro Bowl cornerback in Chris Harris Jr. and a leading rusher in C.J. Anderson -- both undrafted players when they joined the Broncos as rookies -- certainly knows the value of the seventh round, as well as those hours following the draft when undrafted free agents are signed. But the Broncos used a seventh-round pick on Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian, who had ACL surgery in November and split snaps with Kain Colter in his sophomore and junior seasons with the Wildcats. The Broncos like his footwork, they see potential in his quick release, and they believe he has the backbone to make a run at a roster spot. Granted, the Broncos had nine picks to go with a roster that doesn't likely have room for nine rookies, but unless they believed they would be unable to sign Siemian as an undrafted rookie, they used a pick when they might not have had to.
Most surprising move: With linebackers Danny Trevathan (left leg/knee) and Brandon Marshall (foot) still not full speed and both slated to start in the two inside linebacker spots in the new 3-4 defense, the Broncos did enter the draft weekend with at least some need to take a look at the position on the draft board. But the Broncos also had a veteran minicamp in the days before the draft -- it was an extra minicamp allowed because they have a new coaching staff -- and saw two things. They saw Trevathan do some limited running to remain on track to be ready for the season, and they saw their other linebackers in Steven Johnson, Corey Nelson, Lamin Barrow and Reggie Walker perform well enough to turn their attention elsewhere on the board. Nelson and Barrow were draft picks last year.
File it away: No, you can't do everything in a draft, and though the Broncos added some potential in the offensive line, found an impact edge roster and selected three players in the secondary, they still have a significant job that needs to be filled. It will bear watching how they find a punt returner who doesn't also play a full allotment of snaps on offense or defense moving forward. It was a spot where they had little real impact in 2014, and for a team with championship designs, it represents a potential lost opportunity to flip the field in important games.
My take: This draft class will always be linked to the move to get Ray. If Ray is the guy the Broncos believe he is -- a high-character player who made one very high-profile mistake at the worst time -- the Broncos secured one of the best edge rushers (the No. 10 player on the Broncos' board) in the draft with the 23rd pick. Tackle Ty Sambrailo (second round) has the look of a potential starter as well. Tight end Jeff Heuerman (third round) and center/guard Max Garcia (fourth round) have the potential to contribute early. The Broncos went for speed and athleticism, for the most part, on the draft's last day, but some others might see some of them as slight reaches. Because of what Ray potentially adds, it's a good draft. Thumbs up