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Elway would rather have NFL Draft pushed back, but team will be ready to go

NFL-wide, two-week shutdown starting Thursday doesn't give teams much time for final draft preparations that is to be held April 23-25.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway during a combined NFL football training camp at the Broncos' headquarters Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Given his druthers, Broncos general manager John Elway would like the NFL Draft delayed because of health and competitive considerations in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

But if it’s not delayed, Elway said he and his Broncos’ personnel department will be ready, even though the NFL is preventing all football leadership to work from home for at least two weeks starting Thursday.

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 23-25. The full team headquarters shutdown of all football personnel is in effect until at least April 12.

"Obviously, it makes it easier if the draft’s pushed back," Elway told the team website’s Alexis Perry in an interview Thursday in which they were seated 7 feet apart. “Hopefully, we get back in the office in two weeks, April 9 or somewhere in that area.

"Really, we feel pretty good about where we are. We’d rather have it backed up so we can get all our scouts and everybody in. But if it’s limited and they’re not going to move the draft back, we’re in good shape.

"And I think one of the reasons why, with the (assistant) coaches not going to the Combine and them spending the whole week here (watching film) just on the college side, it’s put us way ahead because we have the coaches’ rankings already.

"The scouts are already working on next year a little bit to the 2021 summer manual. So we feel like we’re in pretty good shape. If it moves back, great, we’re ready for that. If it doesn’t move, then we’ll be ready for that, too."

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During the first 10 days of the 2020 league year and free agency that started last Monday, March 16 on through 6 p.m. Wednesday, Elway lead a skeletal personnel crew at team headquarters to one of the league’s most active player spending sprees.

Those working at team headquarters the past 10 days (the building was closed to all other staffers, coaches, etc.) were the GM himself, his top deputy Matt Russell, head coach Vic Fangio, contract negotiator Rich Hurtado, pro personnel director A.J. Durso, administrator Mark Thewes and PR boss Patrick Smyth.

Known as the Elway 7, the group wound up with seven new players – right guard Graham Glasgow, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, running back Melvin Gordon, backup tight end Nick Vannett, backup quarterback Jeff Driskel and punter Sam Martin -- to a total of $58 million in 2020 cash payout – 29 percent of the team’s payroll.

The team also re-signed backup edge rusher Jeremiah Attaochu to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

RELATED: Broncos re-sign Attaochu on one-year, $1.5 million deal

Now the Elway 7 will disperse and work from their respective homes. They do so knowing the critical NFL Draft – where the Broncos need to select at minimum a starting-caliber receiver, another cornerback, another defensive lineman and more offensive line help – is scheduled to begin in four weeks.

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