Denver brass talks about draft

April, 20, 2011
4/20/11
7:33
PM ET
Denver vice president of football operations John Elway and general manager Brian Xanders conducted a pre-draft news briefing. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

[+] EnlargeJohn Elway
Kyle Terada/US PresswireJohn Elway is preparing for his first draft as Denver's vice president of football operations.
On whether Denver has been contacted by teams wanting to trade for the No. 2 overall pick

Elway: “We’ve had no contact yet on any of the possible trades. We’ve had no contact with anybody yet.”

Xanders: “Most of those calls will likely occur the day of the draft. It starts at 6 p.m., Mountain Time, so those hours preceding we could get calls or we might not get any calls.”

My take: I think Xanders is right. Trade talks would likely heat up during the draft. I’m sure Denver knows what it wants and is prepared if the situation presents itself.

On how the uncertainty of there being a rookie wage scale in a new CBA affects the draft process

Elway: “I think we’re going to find out. I don’t know that we can predict that just yet. Obviously there is some uncertainty if there is going to be a rookie wage scale and what the price of the second pick is going to be for the player. With the inability for us to know wage scale at this point in time and not really knowing what it’s going to be, it could restrict (the process) but we don’t know yet.”

My take: It’s the only view to take with the uncertainty of the situation.

On how the draft process is different for Xanders than in previous years with the Broncos

Xanders: “This year has been a lot more inclusive, a lot more meetings, group meetings. It’s been a great process with everybody contributing. The scouts all had their cases stated in February, all of their research -- personal and football character. With this process we had more pro guys brought in because there are no UFA’s, no free agency. So we have Keith Kidd, Matt Russell, Lenny McGill, Champ Kelly (and) other scouts all voicing their cross-check positions. I’ve done 90 percent of the board, and so we go around the room and the position coach gets to speak first and state his case of where he thinks he is and how (the prospect) fits with the Broncos and then anybody else in the room that has evaluated him gets to state their case. Then we watch a lot of tape, usually over 150 plays and then we roll into the All-Star games, watch that and then we watch the Combine and then we compare the numbers. So it’s more of an intensive meeting. It’s more inclusive and it’s been very positive.”

My take: Former coach Josh McDaniels was in charge of the draft the past two years and it is a big reason why he is no longer in Denver. So switching it up this year was a good idea. After having a single-minded organization in the Mike Shanahan and McDaniels eras, this is a refreshing approach.

On if taking a foundation player with an early pick trumps multiple value picks to build a roster

Elway: “I would like to get four really, really, really good players. I think we’d all like to do that. The better players we have at each position the better off we are. That’s where we have to look at it as a group and say ‘At the two position we’re going to get a dynamite (player).’ We feel like we’re going to get a dynamic player at that position.

My take: Denver needs as many quality players as possible. That’s why a trade down could be appealing.

On who breaks a tie if there is not a consensus on a player?

Elway: “Maybe he’s not the right guy. I think we’ve looked at it and I think mine, Brian and John’s relationship is so good that we’ll come to an agreement that we all feel good about and I think that with the amount of picks that we have and the experience that we have in that room we’re going to find the right guy to pick.”

My take: It seems like this group is prepared. Let’s see if it works.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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