ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Saturday brought the 2012 NFL Draft’s final and longest day, but the Denver Broncos front office never wavered.
With two fourth-round, a fifth-round and sixth-round draft picks, the team of Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, General Manager Brian Xanders, Head Coach John Fox, Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell and the rest of the staff stuck true to their draft board as the hours carried on.
"We were ready for every pick," Xanders said. "We felt good about each level. And that’s what happened when we got some trade calls or we traded up for [RB Ronnie] Hillman. We felt there were certain spots on the board where we needed to move back or move up to get the right guy.”
The Broncos started the fourth and opening round of the day off with a bang as they didn’t have long to wait before their first two selections.
The first pick came just six spots into round as Denver selected Arizona State cornerback
Denver’s Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopolous determined that Bolden was fit to play again so the Broncos happily grabbed him with the 101st overall pick.
"Adding Omar, who we think is a first- or second-round talent that we got in the fourth round...I think we get one very good corner, and we’re very happy with that," Elway said.
Just seven picks later, the Broncos were on the clock again. This time, they nabbed a player on the offensive side of the ball, former Baylor center
Blake, a 6-foot-2, 311-pound lineman from Toronto, impressed the Broncos not only with his strength and power, but also his intelligence.
“He’s very strong. He’s experienced. He is a bit older than some of the guys coming out,” Fox said of the 26-year old. “He has played multiple positions, so he understands offensive line play throughout. I thought he was an excellent pass protector as far as when he got his hands on you, you weren’t going very far.”
“And he’s smart,” Elway added. “He got 35 on the Wonderlic test so he’s very smart.”
The Broncos were able to finally take a breath before their next pick rolled around. When it was time for the second pick of the fifth round, the Broncos went a familiar route and took former University of Tennessee defensive end
“I think line him up at end and see how it goes," Fox said. "This guy has the measurables it takes to play in this league and where he fits, he’ll determine that.”
And to round out their 2012 draft class, the Broncos selected former Kentucky linebacker
“Danny was a very, very productive player in the SEC -- one of the highest levels of competition in college football,” Xanders said. “He actually was the third-most productive linebacker in college football on our board based on how we graded them, graded their production. He's very instinctive. He's a little undersized like (current Broncos linebacker Wesley) Woodyard but he's fast, reads guards, moves off them very quickly and makes a lot of plays."
All-in-all, the Broncos were proud of their picks in the draft’s later rounds and think all of the players can come in and compete for a spot immediately.
“Bolden we think was a first or a second-round talent, and we were able to get him in the fourth; Philip Blake’s a big guy inside, and Malik Jackson will add competition at the end position, and Trevathan at the linebacker spot,” Elway said. “I think that when we look at it, it’s probably as good as it could have gone.”