So you think the Broncos reached on Adam Gotsis?

Sep 19, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) is chased by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive lineman Adam Gotsis (96) in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) is chased by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive lineman Adam Gotsis (96) in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports /

2016 NFL Draft: Did the Denver Broncos reach when they picked defensive lineman Adam Gotsis in the second round?

The Denver Broncos had an amazing 2016 NFL Draft, but did they reach on second round pick Adam Gotsis?

When the Broncos were on the clock in round two, I figured they would go after Florida’s Jonathan Bullard, maybe a defensive back, or perhaps one of the best running backs available. There were even rumors that the Broncos were the team in the NFL that was most interested in Ohio State playmaker Braxton Miller.

So what gives? What were the Broncos thinking taking Adam Gotsis with the 63rd overall pick in the draft?

My good friend Rich Kurtzman, who I had the privilege of spending some time with at training camp last year, wrote an excellent column on Gotsis and how the Broncos might have gotten a player who fits what they like, but they also reached on him.

“Well, prepare yourself for yet another too early judgement of an NFL draft pick. Sorry, Broncos fans, but Elway reached on Adam Gotsis.

Three things jumped out immediately about Gotsis which were like red flags; He’s Australian born, he’s “adapted to American football” Elway tweeted, and he’s coming off a major knee injury.

Hey, if the Broncos picked this guy up on Day 3, where he was projected to land, it’d be a fine selection. But, to take a guy who was graded by as a 5.5 — with 25 defensive linemen graded higher — with a second round pick? That’s a bit of a head-scratcher.”

I immediately responded to Kurtzman on Twitter. After all, Gotsis was the only pick I was really ‘worried’ about in any way, because of the fact that I hadn’t really heard much about him in the pre-draft process. I think I skimmed over his scouting report a time or two, but I never got around to watching any tape. Here was my initial response to Rich:

But as I continued to feel the need to generally agree with everyone that it was a reach, I was convicted that there was more to the story. After all, Bill Kollar made a point to get John Elway to pull the trigger on this guy. That has to mean something, right?

ESPN’s draft crew loved the pick when the Broncos made it, and they gushed about it in their post-draft reviews. Here’s what Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about the selection of Gotsis:

“Adam Gotsis was my No. 55 player in the draft and Denver got him at No. 63 – that’s a nice addition after the departure of Malik Jackson.”

Todd McShay called Gotsis his favorite pick of the Broncos’ class, and lauded Elway and the decision makers in Denver for getting a player who is a perfect fit for the defensive scheme:

“The Broncos knew they had to add a defensive end with versatility after losing Malik Jackson in free agency. They did that with Gotsis, who is a perfect fit for Wade Phillips’ system with his ability to penetrate as an inside rusher and set the edge as a 5-technique. When I first watched his tape, I remember thinking This might be Malik Jackson. Gotsis has a lot of upside within this system.”

McShay was also in on Gotsis well before the Broncos picked him. He had this to say back in March:

McShay said upon Gotsis being drafted by Denver: “The progress that he made in just a few years at Georgia Tech was remarkable…

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network talked about Gotsis back in February:

He also compared the Broncos’ newest defensive lineman to Derek Wolfe during the draft.

So, when you look at the fact that the Denver Broncos had Gotsis graded as a 2nd-3rd round player on their board, Mel Kiper Jr. had him as a mid-2nd round player, Todd McShay loved the value, Daniel Jeremiah thought he was a Derek Wolfe-type of player, and the cherry on top that Bill Kollar wanted this guy in a bad way, it’s reasonable to assume that the Broncos didn’t actually reach on this player.

It would be unfair to assume he was a reach just because one certain outlet didn’t have him graded as a no-doubter 2nd round draft pick. The Broncos didn’t have an early-mid 3rd round pick this year, and they weren’t trying to trade down to acquire more picks. They simply felt like they had an opportunity to get a guy they had targeted, and they made it happen.

Back in 2012, when the Broncos traded out of the first round entirely, they selected Derek Wolfe with their top pick, and I remember almost everyone had Wolfe as a huge reach for Denver at that point. At the time of his drafting, had Wolfe as a ‘late-round value’.

NFL Draft Scout had Wolfe graded as the 82nd best player overall in the 2012 class. The Broncos took him at 36. That would be considered a ‘reach’ as well.

It’s crazy to think where the Broncos were four years ago with Wolfe, and how far they’ve come since then. The combination of great coaching and scouting the Broncos have done over the last five years along the defensive front leads me to believe they know what they are doing with this pick.

Reach or not.