ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --After trading out of the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said he was excited about the position the Broncos would be in on day two.
"We still feel like those impact guys are there," Elway said Thursday night.
On Friday, Head Coach John Fox confirmed that, in fact, those impact players were available -- and the Broncos took three of them.
"Without an opportunity to go way up in the draft from (pick) 25, we thought it was of a little more value to move down," he said. "We were able to get players that we think can help our football team and guys we think we got good value with."
Fox reiterated that the team "stayed true" to its draft board, and it paid off, as Cincinnati defensive tackle Derek Wolfe, Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler and San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman are now Broncos.
"It worked out," Fox said.
HIGH MOTOR, HIGH CHARACTER
With the team's first selection -- No. 36 overall -- it picked up Wolfe, who Fox said the team had rated highly.
"He is very, very productive as far as creating havoc on the quarterback, mostly because he does a great job with his hands," Fox said. "I think he's the most productive sack guy of all the tackles in the draft. He has a great motor. On some testing things that we do, he is a great-character guy and a guy we think will bring a great attitude to our defense."
In addition to his size -- 6-foot-5, 300 pounds -- speed and length, Fox said Wolfe's effort on the football field helped him stand out.
"A lot of what separates guys at this level -- when we have our first team meeting, everybody that has one of those chairs obviously has some God-given talent or they wouldn't have one of those chairs," he said. "From experience, it's the makeup of a guy that makes the difference. We put a lot of stock in that."
Wolfe confirmed Fox's assessment at the NFL Scouting Combine, saying he believes his mental toughness is what makes him so successful.
"I always say I'm going to take someone to where I've been before, but they've never been," Wolfe said. "So I know what it's like there and I can handle it, but they can't go there with me. That's what I try to do every game. It's just a chess match. Whoever wants to give up first, it's not going to be me."
BRIGHT FUTURE -- IN THE FUTURE
At 6-foot-7, it's hard to miss Osweiler in a crowd.
The Broncos made sure they didn't miss him in the draft, either.
With the 57th overall pick, Denver selected the highest-rated player on its draft board at the time -- the former Arizona State Sun Devil. The Broncos were particularly impressed with Osweiler's accuracy and mobility for such a tall player.
"He's a guy that when we went to visit him, we thought he had an outstanding interview, an outstanding workout, and he's a guy we think has a bright future," Fox said. "He has quick-twitch and having a tall body helps you see through some of those lanes you get in this league. All-in-all, he's what you're looking for in a prototypical quarterback in the National Football League."
Osweiler will compete for the No. 2 quarterback position with Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber, meaning Osweiler will likely sit behind Peyton Manning for a few years in Denver as he learns from the four-time NFL MVP. It's something that Osweiler said he has no problem with and the coaches are excited for him to learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
"The quarterback position in this league – not that over time it hasn't been a key position – I think creating that competition, grooming a guy, bringing a guy in, I think it's always good because it's such a premium position," Fox said. "He was a guy we liked that we think has a bright future -- in the future."
DYNAMIC AND EXPLOSIVE
With their final pick of day two, the Broncos selected Hillman.
The former San Diego State Aztec reminded Fox of Darren Sproles in terms of his playing style, but that wasn't the first player who came to mind.
"No offense to Marshall (Faulk), but he broke all of his records there at San Diego State," Fox said. "He fared pretty well. I think he'd be an example -- that's the first one that comes to mind. That's pretty big shoes to fill. He's that dynamic."
Dynamic and explosive were the two main words Fox used to describe Hillman. The head coach said it's up to Hillman to define if he can be an every-down back, but thinks the Broncos can use him in more ways than one.
"He's dynamic whether you hand it to him, check it down to him or even throw long passes to him," Fox said. "We just liked his production, his explosiveness when he touches the ball. He makes big plays."
The third and final day of the 2012 NFL Draft kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. MDT, and consists of rounds four through seven.
Denver has four selections on Friday -- two fourth-rounders, a fifth-rounder and a sixth-rounder -- and Fox said he expects the Broncos' trend of staying true to its draft board to continue.
"I think our personel people have done a great job," he said. "(Director of Player Personnel) Matt Russell and his staff, all our scouts, they've grinded and worked very hard to stack the board and you have to stay true to your board. As we get ready to pick, we'll slide up or down depending upon what opportunities we have and then we take the next best guy on the board."