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Denver Broncos News: Broncos' Mailbag


Mason's Mailbag: Draft before free agency?

Broncos fan from the Netherlands here. My suggestion for the upcoming draft: Round 1, Devin White (or Bush). Round 2, Dalton Risner (for center, as he played it before switching to RT), Round 3, (or trade up to middle/late round 2 depends on which teams are ahead of you) Will Grier. Your opinion?

-- Jan Bergmans

Taking an inside linebacker would make sense at the No. 10 pick, whether it is White or Bush. I don't expect White to drop that far, but stranger things have happened. It would be nice if Risner is available in the second round, but that's a roll of the dice hoping that he falls that far given his skill set and versatility.

Grier, I'm cool on him. Once you get out of the first two rounds, you pick a quarterback on upside, because the chances of success plummet after the first round. (Even in Round 1, there is a significant decline in the success rate of quarterbacks taken in the first five picks compared with picks 6-32.) I think the scheme in which he operated provided favorable conditions for Grier to accumulate big numbers. During Senior Bowl practices, Grier needed to be the most accurate quarterback on the field, and he wasn't. I think if you don't take a quarterback in the first round, there are other options such as Auburn's Jarrett Stidham, Boise State's Brett Rypien and Buffalo's Tyree Jackson.

What are the chances for changing the order of the league year and having the NFL Draft BEFORE Free Agency? We saw glimpses of this in the lockout year and I found it accentuated the notion of "build through the draft, complement with free agency."

-- Jose Borrero

I like the idea, because I thought it created a more logical sequence -- as we saw in the 2011 lockout offseason that you referenced -- but I doubt it ever comes to pass.

The NFL has successfully turned the draft into its own season, with a buildup that lasts just over 11 weeks. Free agency grabs the spotlight for about a week, but as you've seen this past week, the focus returns to Pro Day workouts, with quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State and Drew Lock of Missouri attracting live national-TV coverage on consecutive days. So you cannot expect the NFL to push the draft forward. If anything, it could get moved back another week or two into May.

And if you keep the draft in its mid-spring spot, you must leave free agency where it is now, because in non-lockout years, teams will want their players in for two months of organized workouts, meetings and on-field sessions. Theoretically, they could push OTAs back and have them end just before training camp, but the grind of the season is so arduous for coaches in particular that such an arrangement would be unwise. The time off in June and July is essential to get recharged for the 100-hour weeks coaches keep during the season.

Hey, Mase. Where if anywhere do you see Su'a Cravens fitting with the Broncos this season? I know folks were excited about him last year until injury sidelined him. Is he still a viable option and a part of the plan for this year's team?

-- Gary Ukele

Perhaps no player on the roster will benefit more from a fresh start and new sets of eyes on the sideline than Cravens. There should be ample competition at safety, with the release of Darian Stewart and the return of Jamal Carter from a season-ending hamstring injury. If he can't earn a starting spot, Cravens could fit as a sub-package safety who can be used in the box and perhaps on tight ends.

How do the recent free-agent acquisitions affect who the Broncos draft? Do they target middle linebacker or try to gamble on a quarterback? Trade down?

-- Jim Seirer

They reduce the areas with immediate, pressing needs. Cornerback appears to be set now, and the offensive line has a projected starting quintet in which everyone possesses at least several games of starting experience. Inside linebacker would seem to be a spot to target, but it would only take one more veteran acquisition to remove that from the list and give the Broncos maximum flexibility.

All that said, I like the idea of trading down to build draft capital for 2020 while adding a pick or two on Day 2 of this year's draft. The value from approximately pick 20 through early in the third round is above average. But as President of Football Operations/General Manager Elway often says, "You need a trade partner." And you can't take a sub-par deal and move down for the sake of moving down.

Not really a question...more like a request for your Orange and Blue 760 show. We have a LONG ways to go before the draft ... and while talking endlessly about who the Broncos will or will not pick is entertaining ... I'd love to hear a little something different every once in a while. Fans LOVE uniform talk. Maybe a poll about what alternate uniforms the Broncos should wear -- old logo or new logo? I'd love to hear Steve's opinion on the uniforms. I know uniforms are not big with you pros ... but we love it.

-- Robert Jones

Actually, some of the most clicked Mailbags have involved uniform questions. It seems like the topic resonates in this format.

Personally, I enjoy the uniform chatter, because it cuts to the core of what makes the team special in the eyes of fans. The roster is always changing, and you can expect at least 20 percent of the roster to turn over from one year to the next. Coaching staffs change, as well. But the uniform and the colors linger for years or decades, becoming as much a part of the team's identity as its great players.

While this connects on a website, it doesn't seem to work on the radio. In fact, we've received texts to our show complaining if we have an extended conversation about the uniforms.

Perhaps it just goes to show that you can't make everyone happy. While we receive plenty of positive messages, there is one listener who is happy to tell me every day what a "knucklehead" I am. He even sends the same text two, three or four times in succession in case I didn't get the message the first time.

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