Three good reasons why John Elway and Broncos should attempt to trade up in NFL draft – The Denver Post

This NFL draft is too make-or-break crucial in Broncos Country for John Elway to stand pat at No. 15 in the first round.

There are three significant reasons, and no fewer than three can’t-miss prospects, that should motivate Elway to pull the trigger and move up with a draft-night trade. Pulling off a blockbuster deal is never easy. But here’s the logic behind why Elway should try.

With his 60 birthday around the corner, Elway is in full win-now mode, because it’s seldom a great career move for even a local legend to suffer four straight losing seasons. After wisely accumulating a stockpile of draft picks, the Broncos have the ammunition to make a deal. What’s more, Elway likes that action; he has traded Denver’s first-round pick four times during his stint as a front-office executive.

Yes, Elway could stand pat at No. 15 and have a decent chance of watching an instant starter fall in his lap, whether it’s Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs or Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson.

But it has never been Elway’s style to sit back and wait. What’s more, the silly draft tradition of an early run on quarterbacks — which might well result in Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa all plucked with top 10 picks on Thursday night – should allow big-time talent to slide to the point where the price of moving up isn’t too outrageous for Elway to cut a deal.

The Broncos need big-time play-makers and big-time help at more than one position. History suggests it would cost Denver its own first-round selection, plus two more picks between the second and fifth rounds, in order to move up somewhere between No. 8 and No. 10 in the opening round. Here are three players that could make such a deal a absolute steal.

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson safety/linebacker: Let’s start with a big, crazy dream and shoot for the moon.

At a time when the NFL has embraced many of the forward-thinking offensive concepts developed in football labs on college campuses, never has a pro defense had a greater need for speed and versatility. Simmons is the most versatile tool since the Ronco Pocket Fisherman.

He played outside linebacker, inside linebacker, free safety, strong safety and slot corner for the Tigers, making an impact from sideline to sideline. Under the direction of coach Vic Fangio’s mad genius, Simmons could drive Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes crazy.

I’ll let you take Burrow or Ohio State edge-rusher Chase Young. Simmons is the best football player in this draft. The New York Giants would be absolutely nuts to let Simmons remain on the board past the No. 4 pick. But stranger things have happened on opening night, and if Simmons were to tumble, Elway could do worse than moving heaven and earth to get Simmons in a Broncos uniform.

Jedrick Wills, Alabama offensive tackle: Analysts far smarter than me suggest offensive tackles will rule the 2020 draft. No fewer than six tackles could be selected in the opening round.

Last season, any knucklehead could walk into any Denver sports bar and start a fight simply by uttering two words: Garett Bolles. The Broncos’ greatest position of need? Offensive line. Fight me if you must. But it says here a big dude to protect his blind side would be an even better friend to Broncos quarterback Drew Lock than the fastest wide receiver in America.

The problem? There’s a real possibility Wills, as well as Tristan Wirfs of Iowa, Mekhi Becton of Louisville and Andrew Thomas of Georgia will all be gone early. If Denver wants to tell the story of a man named Jedrick, it will almost certainly require a bold move.

Jerry Jeudy, Alabama receiver: Mock drafts are like Starbucks, with one on every corner and blandly the same. The consensus among mocksters? Receiver is the way for Denver to go with the 15th overall pick. The position is so loaded with legit prospects it might not be a bad gamble for Elway to patiently watch as the selection process unfolds.

In fact, Elway could even wait until the second round, making a smaller trade if injury concerns cause Colorado star Laviska Shenault to drop. What’s more, the Broncos wouldn’t need to expend first-round capital in order to obtain touted pass-catchers such as Michael Pittman of USC, K.J. Hamler of Penn State or Chase Claypool of Notre Dame.

His ability to move the chains on third down and put points on the scoreboard in the red zone has caused me to develop a serious mancrush on LSU’s Justin Jefferson But I happily acknowledge Jeudy, who took 24 of his 145 catches to the house during his final two seasons with the Crimson Tide, is more dangerous after the catch than Jefferson.

Who’s the top receiver in the draft? You tell me. Maybe Elway thinks it’s CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma or the speedy Ruggs.

My point: If Denver really wants a receiver who’s more than a complement to Courtland Sutton, why not effort to trade up and draft the best one on Elway’s board, instead of settling for leftovers at No. 15?