ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The NFL Draft is more than just one weekend. It's the culmination of a year's worth of scouting and preparation to get to those three days in late April.
"It's a year-long process, and those guys do a great job," Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell said of the scouts. "There's a lot of travel involved, there's a lot of hotels involved, rental cars, airplanes. The effort that goes into it is really fascinating. To be where we're at, we were organized, we were ready and prepared and (the draft) fell the way we wanted it to."
Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway echoed that point alongside Head Coach John Fox as the two closed the draft with a press conference.
Before taking questions, he made sure to thank the entire personnel department for a successful draft.
"I appreciate all the work they do," Elway said. "I told them when they came in this week, they are the unsung heroes in this operation because of all the great work that they do. That allows us to do what we do and be able to have the draft that we had today."
Elway and the front office entered the draft with a straightforward strategy -- take the best player available with each of their selections.
Fortunately for the club, it just so happened the club was able to target a number of needs while still accomplishing that goal.
“For the most part that’s how it fell (best player available), but also it fell into the different need areas that we had," Elway said. "Obviously defensive tackle has been a need for us for a while, as well as running backs and corners. Those are always going to be needs that you have. Unless you’ve got two All-Pros inside at defensive tackle, I’m not sure you’re ever going to say it’s not a need. Or pass rush—you can’t have enough pass rushers; you can’t have enough corners and running backs. So, it did fall well for us.”
Here's what Elway had to say on each of the team's seven picks:
No. 28 overall: North Carolina DT
“[DT] ’Sly’ (Sylvester) Williams, as we said, we were thrilled that he was still there at 28. He was a guy that we’ve been looking for, a young anchor in the middle of the defensive line, for some time and were able to find a good one that has a chance to be a great one.
No. 58 overall: Wisconsin RB
“With [RB] Montee Ball, we were in need of a running back. With the situation we were in, to have him fall to us in the second round and him being a top guy on our board, we’re thrilled with that. The production he had in college was tremendous.
No. 90 overall: South Florida CB
“Then we added [CB] Kayvon Webster at corner, to add some depth. You can never have enough good corners. Kayvon is a guy that’s got good size, great speed and he’s tough. He’ll stick his nose in there and run support. He’s got a ton of upsides and we’re happy to get him.
No. 146 overall: Western Kentucky DE
“With [DE] Quanterus Smith, we were able to slide back from a late fourth pick, pick up a sixth and still get Quanterus. We were talking about Quanterus at the end of the fourth [round] so to be able to slide back and get him in the fifth, he was [other than the top players] the guy who was highest rated as far as the pass rushers, so we were happy to get him.
No. 161 overall: Georgia WR
“[WR] Tavarres King is a guy that’s got great speed, was Georgia’s No. 1 guy, and has a ton of upsides too. He’s got good size, he can run, he’s got great depth and deep speed. He’s just a young guy that we think has a lot of improvement ahead of him and a lot of upsides.
No. 173 overall: Virginia Tech T
“[T] Vinston Painter—here’s a guy where we were looking for a swing tackle and he kind of fell to us. He’s a guy that has played defensive line. He’s very young when it comes down to offensive line because he was a defensive lineman, I believe, for the first two years in college. He is really just coming into his own on the offensive side. He’s a big guy 6’6”, 309 [pounds]. I think he’s 16-percent body fat and is a guy we want leading us off the bus because he’s a good-looking guy. I think when you look at the youth and the upside that he has because of the fact that he’s only been on the offensive side for a couple of years so we were happy with that.
No. 234 overall: Miami University QB
“[QB Zac Dysert—he was still there in the seventh. We liked him and a guy that we look at you can never have enough good, young quarterbacks. With only two on the roster we thought he was a perfect fit. We think he’s the kind of guy that has all the tools. He’s going to be able to come in here and learn under [QB] Peyton [Manning] and [QB] Brock [Osweiler]. So we felt that he was a real good fit for us there.
With seven new Broncos on the roster and 15 more college free agents added by the end of the night, Elway said he and his staff can rest easy after a job well done.
“We were real happy with the way the draft fell," he said. "You never get everything you want, but as you said, when you talk about fulfilling the needs we really had, and pinpointing them, we were able to get the guys that we really wanted. We feel pretty good about it and now we turn them over to the coaches and see what they can do.”