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Broncos, Briefly: Monday, Sept. 3, 2018

12. Courtland Sutton, Broncos, 22 years old, 79 points
He's built like a power forward (6-3, 218), has the instincts of a safety and the potential to be Demaryius Thomas 2.0 at receiver. The Broncos had a first-round grade on him but landed him in the second round of the 2018 draft, with the hope he could become their No. 1 receiver in the future. He's shown glimpses already with his absurd catch radius and physicality. — Nicki Jhabvala

11. Justin Simmons, Broncos, 24 years old, 86 points
Elevated to a starter in only his second NFL season, Simmons has the versatility, length, IQ and measurables to make him a force in the defensive backfield. He posted a 40-inch vertical at the combine in 2016 and puts it to use regularly on the field (the NFL even made a new rule after his blocked extra point against New Orleans). With his coverage skills and textbook tackling, he figures to see time at both corner and safety this year. — Nicki Jhabvala

When the Browns selected cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4, Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods nearly passed out in the team's draft war room. Miller, some 800 miles away in a Las Vegas hotel room, danced around with glee upon hearing Chubb's name called as the newest Bronco.

And Chubb, standing inside AT&T Stadium, let out a "Yes!" before slipping on a Broncos ball cap and walking across the draft stage. He knew what could be, and the Broncos knew what could be. And together their vision of re-creating something similar to the Ware-Miller duo had a chance to come true.

When healthy, the pecking order along the line is clear, with left tackle Garett Bolles, Leary at left guard, center Matt Paradis, McGovern at right guard and Veldheer at right tackle. The Broncos also believe they are developing quality depth, especially with players such as fourth-year pro Max Garcia, who trained at center and both guard slots during training camp.

But it's Paradis who anchors the group with 51 consecutive starts.

"I love playing with Matt," quarterback Case Keenum said. "He's on top of his game. He's excellent pre- snap identifying defenses. He does a heck of a job getting those guys all on the same page. It's been a nice security blanket for me as a quarterback to know that he's taking care of a lot of the protection stuff. In the heat of the battle, it's nice to have a guy you can lean on like that."

Elway said it's all part of a tug between developing players and keeping the Broncos in the playoff conversation every season, something that owner Pat Bowlen maintained as a foundation principle.

"Because coaches are more 'now' and personnel is a little bit more 'future,'" Elway said. "[Personnel executives] are now and future. That is where discussions are always deep -- a lot of discussions on why we are doing certain things. Eventually we get everybody on the same page realizing that for us to continue to get better we are going to have to take some chances on some guys hoping their upsides are much more than the person we didn't keep. That is why we have 53 slots. You have to take some chances on a couple of those slots."