ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos' draft philosophy is simple.
So was Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway's answer when asked whether the team will look to select the best player available.
This Thursday, Denver's first selection comes at No. 28 -- a pick earned by grabbing the AFC's No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 postseason before being defeated in the Divisional Round.
A late pick typically coincides with a talented team not necessarily looking to fill a lot of glaring needs.
Fortunately for the Broncos, Elway said that assessment holds true in 2013.
"I think that we feel much more comfortable going into this draft than we did two years ago in that we’ve been able to fill a lot of holes in the last two years," he said. "So it goes back to the same thing – we feel pretty good about the guys that we have, so therefore we’re going to try to get the best football players that we can.”
On the other hand, picking late often means missing out on some of the biggest "impact players" from the top of the first round. But this year's draft, Elway said, doesn't bring "a ton of impact guys."
"There is a lot of depth to it, and a lot of real good football players," he said. "That's why we feel like at No. 28, we're going to be able to get a pretty darn good football player."
That was a sentiment echoed by NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"I've said several times, if you're a playoff team this year, you're laughing," Mayock said. "Because there's so much depth to this thing that if you're drafting 20 to 30, it's not much different than the fifth or sixth pick."
Elway said "our plan right now" is to hold fast with the 28th pick, but noted that the team is "open to anything" in regards to trades -- both up and down in the draft.
"This is always so fluid," Elway said. "Plus, going up – it’s expensive to go up. That’s not saying we wouldn’t take a chance if there was somebody there to be able to go up to."
"It’s a matter of going with your gut and what you feel is right and what is fair with where you are.”
The idea, Elway said, is to find players that will fit into the Broncos locker room as well as the club's system on the field, regardless of when they're drafted.
That's why the personnel staff puts in so much work leading up to the draft, so that when the time comes, the right decision is made.
"We want to find guys that are going to be 10-year guys, that are going to be good football players for the Denver Broncos for a long time," Elway said. "That's why it's so important. We can't make mistakes with that first-round pick. Because you've got to look at that guy as a guy that's going to be around that you're going to hang your hat on for a long time."
"We want to be able to get some solid contributors out of the class, and hopefully a couple of starters, too," he said. "That's always the goal."