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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018

By the time all was said and done this season, the Broncos' leading rusher (Phillip Lindsay), their second-leading receiver (Courtland Sutton) and the player who was second in sacks (Bradley Chubb) were all rookies.

"Those guys, the way they approach it, how they played, how they work, they came in ready to be Broncos," linebacker Von Miller said. "Those are the kind of guys who can help us get back to where we want to be. Another group like that and you could see how we would get back doing what everybody is used to us doing here."

"We've got to be good in the draft again," Elway said. "It's got to be important for us to continue to build this way. We had a good year last year and we've got to have another good year this year. We've got nine picks, and so we've got to make those count."

The Broncos, after leaning toward athleticism over college production in their 2016 and 2017 draft work, went back to their roots in the 2018 draft. As they had done early in Elway's tenure, they emphasized multiyear starters in college with former team captains and big-program performers filling the class.

Pagano reportedly interviewed for the Green Bay Packers opening last week. He spent this season working as a consultant in the NFL's New York office.

"I've been able to get my football fix a couple of days a week in New York City," he said last month during a podcast hosted by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "It's been a great year in that regard. Now that I've got that under my belt, I'm chomping on the bit to get involved with the game (as a coach again)."

Pagano called 2018 an "amazing year. I call it the three Rs: Reset, recharge and reflect. After 33 years straight (of coaching), I think everybody should have an opportunity like I've had this year to really catch their breath, sit back and do some things family-wise that you've never been able to do."

Considered a good motivator with a defensive background, Pagano led the Colts to another 11-5 record in 2013, this time with a playoff win, and another 11-5 mark and two playoff wins – including a 24-13 second-round victory against the Broncos at Mile High – in 2014.

Then came back-to-back, 8-8 seasons in 2015 and 2016 before he went 4-12 in 2017 with Luck missing the entire season because of a shoulder injury and Pagano forced to use Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.

Pagano took the past season off but said during his father Sam's Colorado Sports Hall of Fame induction last April that he wanted to get back into the coaching business in 2019.