Breaking News
More () »

Broncos Mailbag: Adam Jones and the fountain of age; re-examining Elway's drafts

9NEWS Broncos Insider Mike Klis answers your questions about Adam Jones, Chad Kelly, Demaryius and local star Phillip Lindsay.
Credit: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports

Well, I guess if the Rockies can sign an aging Matt Holliday, then the Broncos can sign Adam Jones. But neither one has enough speed to play left field at Coors.

Why not go after Darrell Green? He's only 58!

Dennis DeJulio

Dennis – You're good. Holliday’s best year was 2007, when he was 27 and helped carry the Rockies through their magical Rocktober. Jones’ best year, at least as a punt returner, was 2006, when he was 23. And Green stopped returning punts 30 years ago, when he was 28.

In Jones’ case, he may not run as well at 34 as the rookie Isaac Yiadom can at 22 or Brendan Langley at 23. But the Broncos’ bosses are confident the player no longer known as Pacman can cover better, at least through the first half of the season.

Credit: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports

Any word on DT getting traded to NE or Dallas? I had a friend from Texas text me and ask if I heard anything here?

Joe Trujillo

Joe – I heard about the speculation of Demaryius Thomas and New England and ran it by some folks. I was told there’s nothing to it. He is on the books for $8.5 million (his $4 million bonus exercised in March went on the 2017 salary cap) which is tied for the 21th-highest receiver payout this year. Not bad for one of the top 5 receivers of the past six seasons.

Thomas had a quiet training camp and preseason compared to Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton, but the hope is he’s simply a vet who knows time it is. And the time to go is September 9 against Seattle.

I did not hear about any recent Dallas rumor.

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports
Demaryius Thomas

Do you have an update on Phillip Lindsay? I’m stressed out.

Ariel Peele

Ariel – Don’t stress, Ariel! Lindsay, the former Denver South and University of Colorado standout, is going to make the team as an undrafted rookie and third-down running back. It doesn’t look like he’ll be returning punts, but he should return the occasional kickoff.

Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports
Phillip Lindsay

Do you think that Chad Kelly will get a good look this season? I think that was one of the reasons why Elway signed Keenum to a short-term contract. They definitely saw something special in him.

Eddie Krivca

Eddie – If all goes well, Kelly will only get a few mop-up snaps this season. This is Keenum’s team and nothing but.

And the reason why Keenum only got a two-year contract is it was his wish. At $18 million a year, Keenum got a huge raise from the $2 million he made last year with the Minnesota Vikings -- he was supposed to be backup, but he wound up as the 7th-highest rated QB in the NFL – but he’s only tied for 18th among all quarterbacks in average annual payout.

The idea is for Keenum to prove he’s a top 12 quarterback with a second and/or third quality season as a starter, which in turn would lead to an extension worth around $25 million per. Until then, he has his two-year “bridge” contract from really good, first-year starter to established, upper-tier starter.

Credit: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports
Chad Kelly

In your opinion, do you think John Elway would ever look to improve his drafting results? Yes, I really like the Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman and DaeSean Hamilton selections. My drive is to have a team draft great every year. No reason for "busts". It is just difficult for any owner or GM to think that they can do better. I don't go with that philosophy.

Examples: If Colts drafted great every year, they wouldn't be terrible without Andrew Luck. If Patriots drafted great every year they would be deeper at WR, OL, and LB right now.

Broncos would be deeper at QB and would not have gone through the Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly experiment. I just want what any team is supposed to be doing. Draft the best every year. I have the BEST Player Evaluation System and can prove it to any owner or GM who is willing to be open minded.

Also, I wish the best for the Broncos as my wife and I were Elway fans in his playing days.

Dan Marsh

Dan – Let’s go through this. Elway had terrific drafts in 2011 (Von Miller, Orlando Franklin, Julius Thomas, Virgil Green and undrafted Chris Harris Jr.) and 2012 (Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman), a poor draft in 2013 (other than the undrafted C.J. Anderson) when he picked No. 28 and rebounded in 2014 with Bradley Roby and Matt Paradis.

The highlight of his 2015 draft were Trevor Siemian and Max Garcia with Shane Ray and Jeff Heuerman having a chance to up that grade in season 4.

In 2016, even with first-rounder Paxton Lynch not working out, the Broncos still drafted starters Justin Simmons, Adam Gotsis, Connor McGovern and Andy Janovich and got significant contributions from Devontae Booker and Will Parks.

The 2017 draft already has some misses, but Garett Bolles is entrenched at left tackle and DeMarcus Walker, Jake Butt and Chad Kelly are coming on.

The early indication is the Broncos’ 2018 draft will be Elway’s best one yet, anchored by Bradley Chubb.

If you have the full-proof system, Dan, more power to you. There does have to be a better way. But I’m convinced the draft will always be a crap-shoot and here’s my example:

Tom Brady and his unimpressive physique didn’t start developing as a quality NFL quarterback until after he turned 24 years old. Strong-bodied Jake Locker peaked at 21, his junior year at Washington.

How is mortal man or computer with input from mortal man, supposed to accurately project who has peaked and who is about to blossom? How to project injuries? Then there is the coach/system factor.

I mean, even Bill Belichick hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowler since Jamie Collins in 2013.

Consider this: If the Broncos take Russell Wilson instead of Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 – and there was considerable discussion about this in the days and weeks leading up to the draft – Wilson sits on the bench for 3 ½ years behind Peyton Manning. He may have never made it. There is so much more involved to the success of a draft pick than just the selection.

The two biggest problems Elway had from 2012-17 was one, he was selecting near the bottom of the round, and two, he had Super Bowl-caliber rosters that made it difficult for rookies to break in. He didn’t have those problems this year and he may well have a great draft.

Some problems, though, you’d rather have.

Credit: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports

You've mentioned that you'd be surprised if John Elway doesn't soon pick up a veteran QB to either be the backup QB or the 3rd string QB behind Chad Kelly.

But I was wondering about a hypothetical scenario. Had Paxton been playing better than Chad during this preseason to currently keep the backup QB position, would Elway still be looking for a veteran QB (and cut Chad)? Or would he think Paxton would be "veteran" enough to be the backup QB?

What I'm getting at is I think Paxton is not that much more of a "veteran QB" than Chad, so why did the "veteran QB" talk only come up after Chad took over the backup QB position from Paxton, but not before?

Bud Chandra

Bud – Good point. Had Lynch played well enough to earn the backup job, the Broncos probably would not consider bringing in a veteran quarterback. In this scenario, Lynch would be viewed as a first-round draft pick who would continue to develop with the occasional practice reps.

However, Lynch does have considerably more experience than Kelly. It’s not just four starts and five games. It’s two more year’s worth of practice. Kelly had zero practice reps as a rookie last year because of injuries and injured-reserve rules.

It’s my position that because Keenum is 30, the Broncos are coming off 5-11, and their first-rounder hasn’t been working out, they need to develop a young quarterback. There are no promises the Broncos will pick up a quarterback in next year’s draft. Therefore, the Broncos should keep Kelly as the No. 2 so he can get some limited practice this season.

In fact, I’m hearing now there is some chance – not sure how great a chance, but some -- the Broncos keep both Kelly and Lynch on their 53-man roster.

The Broncos don’t want to give up a draft pick for a veteran backup quarterback and the QB release heap Saturday may not be all that attractive, especially if Arizona keeps Mike Glennon as protection against injured rookie Josh Rosen.

Elway and head coach Vance Joseph will wait to see how Kelly and Lynch play Thursday at Arizona before making a final determination on how they want their quarterback room situated for the regular season.

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports

Before You Leave, Check This Out