ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On the first day of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Broncos took full advantage of the primetime spotlight.
Denver began the evening with the 11th overall pick in the draft, but by the end of the day, the team had traded its way to two picks in the 20s, which turned into Georgia Tech wide receiver and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
"It's been, obviously, a busy day for us today and a very productive day," said Head Coach Josh McDaniels, who turned 34 on Thursday. "We were able to get two players who we thought could really come in here and contribute."
No sooner was the team on the clock at 11 than the pick was traded to San Francisco for the 13th overall selection and a fourth-rounder, and the action didn't stop there.
By the end of the night, the team had made four trades. The next in line was trading the 13th selection to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 24th overall pick and two third-rounders.
After swapping first-round picks with the New England Patriots to jump up to the 22nd pick, surrendering the fourth-rounder they gained in the earlier trade, it was finally the Broncos' time to pick. The team didn't hesitate to swoop in for Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was a third-team All-American selection by the Associated Press in 2009, a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award -- given to the top receiver in the collegiate ranks -- and first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pound receiver averaged more than 25 yards per catch last season and ranked second in the ACC in receiving yards per game.
"He's a player that has some unique traits and unique skills," McDaniels said. "He's a smart kid. He understands our system, our offense and what we've asked our receivers to learn. I think that's a thing that he can process and allows him to get on the field and contribute to our team."
In a run-dominated Georgia Tech offense, Thomas amassed 1,154 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, bringing his career totals to 120 receptions, 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Yellow Jackets.
Thomas said he believes he can transfer that production to the NFL, especially in Denver.
"I think that I'll fit well," Thomas said. "I'm a playmaker."
To put his production in perspective, Georgia Tech led the ACC in 2009 by averaging more than 295 rushing yards per game. The Yellow Jackets ranked last in the ACC in passing offense, yet Thomas found a way to excel. His 82.4 yards receiving per game last season came when his team averaged just 126.7 per game.
"He's played in a league with a lot of competition so we're excited about Demaryius being on our football team," McDaniels said. "It certainly gives us the opportunity to have a bigger wide receiver that can do some different things, create some matchup problems and I think that's something that you're looking for now."
Then, with the first round coming to a close, the Broncos jumped back into the fray, trading with Baltimore for 25th overall pick. In return, the Ravens got the 43rd, 70th and 114th overall selections.
With the pick, the Broncos snared one of the most talked-about prospects in this year's class -- Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
"He's intelligent and he's won a lot of games," McDaniels said. "He's a leader, he works hard and he's got all the intangibles that you look for in a player at that position. He's produced a lot of numbers and statistically -- I'm not even going to talk about that because he's one of the best in a long, long time."
Tebow, the only sophomore ever to win the Heisman Trophy, is a two-time BCS national champion -- he won as a freshman and won again in 2008 as the starting quarterback -- and owns five NCAA, 14 SEC and 28 University of Florida records.
The two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Year threw for 9,285 yards and 88 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Gators, while having also gained 2,947 yards on the ground with 57 rushing touchdowns, both school records by a Florida quarterback. In his last game in college, he set Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl records with 533 yards of total offense, 482 passing yards and a completion percentage of 88.6.
"Now we have a deep group of quarterbacks and we expect the competition to be incredible," McDaniels said. "It hasn't changed anything in terms of our depth chart right now. We're looking for that position to be the best player on our team if we can make it that way. Competition is only going to make each one of those players better and that's what we expect him to come in and provide us with."
At the NFL Combine, Tebow was a top performer at his position in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, the 3-cone drill, the 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle.
The quarterback said he's going to do everything in his power to make sure the Broncos are rewarded for taking a chance on him.
"I definitely want to repay Coach McDaniels for the faith he showed in me," Tebow said. "I want to be a great quarterback. I want to pursue that. I've wanted to be a quarterback in the NFL for a great many years. That's my goal and has been my goal since I was 6 years old, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there."
Some still doubt that he can transfer his talent to the next level, but McDaniels said that there is "no question" Tebow will find success in the NFL. The rookie quarterback told NFL Network he has a few words for the critics as well.
"Thank you for the motivation."
McDaniels said he was pleased with the moves the Broncos made on the first of the three days of the draft.
"We want players who are tough, smart, have great character, love football and are passionate about coming here and helping the Broncos win a championship," he said. "I think both players fit that role."
"We'll look to be aggressive again tomorrow and see what we can do to improve our football team."