ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Some takeaways from the Denver Broncos' draft weekend:
First impression: When executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway met defensive lineman Adam Gotsis at the NFL combine, his first impression was “that guy is a man." Elway said that Gotsis, who suffered a torn ACL in a game this past Halloween, is expected to be fully ready to play by August so the Broncos will take it slowly through the offseason workouts and parts of training camp.
On quarterbacks: Some folks simply may not believe it until Mark Sanchez lines up behind center Sept. 8 against the Carolina Panthers in the Broncos’ regular-season opener, but throughout the weekend, including when the Broncos traded two picks to move up in the first round to select quarterback Paxton Lynch, Elway and coach Gary Kubiak continue to indicate they like Sanchez’ potential in the team’s offense. And make no mistake: The fact Sanchez and quarterback Trevor Siemian each reached out to Lynch to welcome him to the team shortly after Lynch was selected did not go unnoticed by many with the team. In the end, the Broncos continue to have far less stress about their situation at quarterback than the rest of the Broncos-loving world. Or as Kubiak put it shortly after the Broncos had selected Lynch: “We have a lot of confidence in Mark. He’s doing a great job, working extremely hard."
Booker ready soon: Running back Devontae Booker, the Broncos’ fourth-round pick whose 2015 season ended with a torn meniscus in November, is expected to be ready for full participation by June, Elway said. Booker, with his ability as a receiver to go with his proficiency as a runner, has potential as a three-down back. C.J. Anderson projects as the starter in the Broncos’ backfield, but Booker and Ronnie Hillman could eat into those carries by what they show in the offseason program and training camp.
Money matters: While the Broncos do want to get new deals done with linebacker Brandon Marshall and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who is in the last year of his contract this season, Elway said Saturday night that Von Miller's deal is the top priority. How Miller’s deal shakes out, especially in terms of up-front, guaranteed money, will largely determine when the other two players get contracts. Miller’s contract will require plenty of the cash the Broncos have on hand. The Broncos face a July deadline to get a long-term deal done with Miller, because he carries the franchise-player tag. Otherwise Miller would have to play under the guidelines/salary of the franchise player tag -- a guaranteed one-year deal for just over $14 million.
Hope for Miller deal: Asked after the Broncos closed out the draft whether he believes a deal with Miller can get done before the deadline, Elway said: "I’d like to ... I hope so."
Glad they reached: The Broncos admitted they reached a bit to take Gotsis in the second round Friday night -- the native of Australia was the 63rd player selected overall -- but as Saturday’s business drew to a close the Broncos were glad they did. Elway said, in discussions about potential moves around the board, representatives of three other teams had told him they planned on selecting Gotsis at the top of the third round. The Broncos didn’t have another pick until the bottom of the third round. “When you look at where we are picking at the bottom of each round we kind of need to anticipate that if someone has a third-round grade on him the chances are they aren’t getting to the bottom of the third," Elway said. “He is a guy that we targeted and we didn’t want to take any chances to let him slide. We had a couple chances to move back down and we decided not to."