Lifted Lockout May Have The Broncos Rethinking Draft Plans
Pat Bowlen and the two John’s have the Broncos’ future in their hands. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Image)
In lieu of the tentative news announced that the NFL lockout has been lifted, team general managers and personnel directors are scrambling to normalize their strategy for this week’s Draft. In what has been a build up that was anything but normal, the labor dispute between the owners and players has wreaked havoc on the standard Draft planning that accompanies this exciting time of year. In short, front offices are scurrying to make amendments to their original draft plans- amended by the lockout! The team most affected by the chaos may very well be our Denver Broncos.
Treading down the hallowed halls of change were the newly minted Bronco braintrust of John Elway, John Fox and the incumbent general manager Brian Xanders. That was before the lockout became official. New ideas were premium. Positions were to be evaluated. Directions were to be mapped.
Then came March 11th.
March 11th was the date the NFL players formally decertified thus sending the offseason into chaos mode. Teams such as the Broncos had to alter personnel decisions with varying degrees. There were rumors of Kyle Orton, as well as Tim Tebow, being on the trade market. There was (and still is) a defense that needed some serious tending to. All the plans went out the window as team hands were tied with respect to player movement. Adjustments were made to the strategy and alternate plans revealed that patience was the ultimate virtue as the lockout halted trades, free agency signings and the like.
Then came April 25th!
On the wings of a court ordered mandate to resume operations, NFL clubs are moving at a cheetah’s pace to not only catch up- operationally speaking, but to institute their future plans with the Draft only days away. And this is where our Broncos find themselves- over positioned on offense, undermanned on defense and ready to wheel and deal!
Similar to the Bronco trade phone line, the flood gates are open throughout the league. Heaven only knows what to expect in the next few days. We may see the end of Orton and the beginning of Tebow. We may see the end of Tebow and the beginning of someone else. The obvious defensive overhaul is coming but which direction does the path originate? Will it be the anchor defensive lineman drafted to complement our superstar named Elvis? Or will it be the raising of another Hall of Famer in the secondary? Will it be a shocker pick that will ripen the futures debate similar to Tebow last year?
While we ultimately are unsure as to what will transpire, what we can positively attest to is the fact that there will be change. The time and research invested in this Draft by Elway and Xanders has proven that. Managerially speaking, the cuffed hands are free and the Broncos can pursue whatever deal they wish if they can find the right suitor. Word on the street is that there are many suitors with differing needs. And, in a Draft where we are limited in the amount of picks we have, dealing may be the saving grace.
Unfortunately, only time will tell. But with the Draft hours away, the time is rapidly approaching!
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