The art of the NFL draft is subjective at best.  War rooms filled with billionaires, general managers, and coaches all searching for ways to improve the franchise.  Draft boards in dry erase markers list best players available, positions of need, and potential new faces of a franchise.

For GM’s and head coaches on the hot seat, it is a final chance to save their jobs by selecting a savior quarterback, a much-needed tackle, or a tight end weapon with 4.3 speed.

For Denver’s new general manager, George Paton, it is an opportunity to succeed where John Elway has failed for the last four seasons.  The opportunity to solidify holes in the secondary, add depth to the roster, and most importantly, secure a quarterback that can lead the franchise back to their winning ways.

A look at Denver’s draft picks from last week’s NFL draft, and the grade it received.

Patrick Surtain II – CB/Alabama – It is possible that Paton mistook the word cornerback for quarterback when he selected Surtain over Ohio State’s Justin Fields.  After all, if you do not enunciate the words sound eerily similar.  The selection of Surtain seemed a little odd considering the recent signings of Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, and I would have preferred linebacker Micah Parsons if the team’s grade on Fields was low but selecting the best defender on an Alabama squad is never a bad way to go.

Grade B

Javonte Williams – RB/North Carolina – Despite needing a replacement for Phillip

Lindsay, Paton followed modern-day logic by not selecting a running back in the first round, as the value is low based on their short careers.  Unfortunately, he used precious draft capital to move up five spots in round two to grab one instead.

Grade C

Quinn Meinerz – G/Wisconsin-Whitewater – Meinerz played at a Division III college and apparently shined at this year’s Senior Bowl.  A YouTube sensation with his backwoods workouts that include chopping logs and pushing down small trees, Meinerz looks more like a character from Duck Dynasty than a third-round draft choice.


Grade B-

Baron Browning – LB/Ohio State – After passing on Parsons in round one, Browning was a great pick-up late in round three.  Linebacker is obviously a position of need for Denver and it is surprising that other teams left him on the board this long.  Or that the Raiders did not select Browning instead of Alex Leatherwood.

Grade A

Caden Sterns – S/Texas – and Jamar Johnson – S/Indiana – Sign safety Justin Simmons to a long-term deal, draft a safety in the fifth round with a grade of just 64, then follow it up with another fifth-round safety in Jamar Johnson that grades nine points higher.  Now that is adding depth to a position!

Grade C-

Seth Williams – WR/Auburn – The assumption is that Williams is a project at the receiver position, an option for red zone needs, and a sixth-round special team addition.  Not a complete waste of a draft pick but considering the best wide receiver to ever come out of the sixth round was TJ Houshmandzadeh, it is a reach at best.

Grade C

Kay Vincent Jr – CB/LSU – Jonathon Cooper – Edge/Ohio State – Marquiss Spencer – DE/Mississippi St – The chances of making a team as a seventh-round draft pick are slim, so the best option is either to pick projects from top-tier schools like LSU, Ohio State, and others, like Paton did.  Or go the other way and see if Wisconsin-Whitewater has other players of interest.

Grade C

Final Grade – If you are telling me that George Paton has a deal in place for Aaron Rodgers despite the fact that Rodgers has a contract without a no-trade clause, a dead cap number in the millions, and 31 other teams willing to bid on the MVP quarterback, the grade is an A+ as the Broncos added depth, skill, and protection to a talented starting lineup.

But for now, all we have is a 5-11 team with an improved secondary.  A new offensive lineman with a minor in Forestry.  And a quarterback competition that includes Drew Lock (16 TDs/15 INTs) and Teddy Bridgewater (15 TDs/11 INTs).

That’s a C-.

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Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship