"Well, we didn't get any better yet, but we will tomorrow," Broncos executive vice president John Elway said at a press conference after round one of the 2012 NFL draft concluded Thursday night with the Broncos drafting not a single player.
The Broncos began the first round at No. 25. But, about an hour before they would have made their pick it was announced that they had dealt No. 25 to the New England Patriots for New England's No. 31 choice and a fourth-rounder (No. 126 overall), according to The Associated Press. The Pats picked up Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower and the Broncos just waited some more.
Then the Broncos traded both of those spots they picked up from the Patriots and sent them to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Tampa's second-rounder (No. 36 overall) and a fourth-rounder (No. 101 overall).
"We moved up twenty-five spots to the top of the fourth [round]," Elway said at the post-draft press conference about the deal-making. "We really believe this is a deep draft."
This is the first time since 2005 that the Broncos did not pick in the opening round, The Denver Post reports, and it was kind of a let down for fans. "I feel for the fans, obviously they were downtown, excitement was rolling, they couldn't wait to get a pick... I can understand the fans being a little bit disappointed because they want to get excited and see who is going to be the next Denver Bronco," Elway said. The Broncos EVP also joked about the pressure that the fans were feeling, "I had a friend of mine say: 'You need to pick. I can't have another drink.'"
But Elway remains hopeful about Friday's second round, "We want to find a couple tomorrow," Elway said. "We still feel those impact guys are there."
ESPN reports that there most certainly are "impact" players left giving the Broncos solid options on Friday with Michigan State's defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, Connecticut defensive tackle Kendall Reyes, Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill and many more. ESPN's Bill Williamson thinks that the Broncos might even go for a quarterback on Friday as well -- a backup for Manning that could lead the team in the long-term whenever the Manning era ends.
However not everyone was as confident this was the best decision for the Broncos. Bleacher Report called the Patriots-Broncos deal a win for the Broncos, but the Buccaneers-Broncos deal a loser for Denver with concerns that the farther they trade down the less of a chance there is for that "impact" player Elway is looking for.
Mark Kiszla at The Denver Post wanted Elway to "pull the trigger" in round one -- giving Elway the same advice that Elway himself famously gave to Tim Tebow to snap him out of his three-game losing funk at the end of the 2011 season. Kiszla questions the thinking of this kind of late-draft picking which generally leads to a longer-term building of the roster when the Broncos have a a 36-year-old quarterback with four recent neck surgeries -- the Broncos are not in a long-term team building mode, this draft should about the short term win.
Sporting News has a nice breakdown of the remaining picks for the Broncos (eight total) and solid analysis of Denver's most pressing needs -- namely, players at defensive tackle, running back and cornerback.
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