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Mile High Monday: The Broncos deserve high marks for their draft

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos worked diligently to improve their team in the 2021 NFL Draft. Through seven rounds, the Broncos made various moves and transactions where they tried to find building blocks for the future – in addition to players who could contribute immediately.

I like the day after the draft is over. It’s time to relax, look back on what happened, and think about what comes next for the Broncos and every team around the NFL.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Final Jeopardy

The Broncos might trade for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Things seemed close on the first day of the draft, and when the Broncos were on the clock in the first round, they did not select quarterback Justin Fields from Ohio State. Instead, they went in a different direction and the speculation was that Rodgers may be part of the reason why they didn’t go quarterback.

Rodgers is reportedly unhappy with the Packers for several reasons and the buzz is that he wants to be traded. We learned last week that Rodgers may prefer the Broncos as a new destination. That put Broncos Country into a stir, and fans started going nuts as to what could possibly be if they get the future Hall of Fame quarterback via trade.

No deal was done, much to the chagrin of the entire fan base, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. The Packers are insisting they will not trade Rodgers, but it seems like this relationship is too fractured and a split is inevitable. If the team moves Rodgers after June 1, then the salary cap hit will be smaller. Rodgers does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, so a new deal (which is what he wanted from Green Bay but they wanted only an extension of his current contract) would have to be hammered out before a trade is executed.

It would take a lot for the Broncos to trade for Rodgers. However, he’s worth it as the 2020 MVP still has at least a few years left playing at an incredibly high level. Rodgers makes the Broncos better and he makes them a desired destination for free agents in 2022 and beyond.

If they do make the move for Rodgers, I believe the Broncos can win the Super Bowl in 2021. They have a great roster, and they worked diligently to fill holes in the starting lineup (inside linebacker) and build better depth and competition at key positions (running back, cornerback). Rodgers puts this team over the top, just like Peyton Manning did when he joined the team back in 2012.

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Here We Go Again

Tell me if you’ve heard this before; Drew Lock is going to share reps with a quarterback in practice. News came out after the draft that the Broncos would be splitting reps between Lock and Teddy Bridgewater “50/50” in mincamp and OTAs – and perhaps even into training camp.

This move is a mistake in my opinion. This is also a move they’ve already tried before with Lock back when he was a rookie and Kevin Hogan was getting reps with the second team while Lock would get a few here and there but mostly getting third-string duty.

Do they want Lock to get better or not? Having him miss out on first-team reps doesn’t help him improve his game. Lock has a lot to work on and is far from a finished product as a passer. If he gets all the reps with the first team and Bridgewater gets the second-team work then that would make sense in my eyes.

If Lock struggles again this year, Bridgewater would be more than ready to take over. Bridgewater is smart, accurate and already knows the Pat Shurmur offense from their days working together in Minnesota. Giving Bridgewater first-team reps doesn’t necessarily help him because he already has plenty of starting experience. Bridgewater is ready and capable – but he’s not a star-level quarterback. Lock is the one who needs the work and now will be missing out on more time to do that.

If the Broncos don’t trade for Rodgers and they move forward with Lock and Bridgewater they must find out who is on top ASAP.

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Grading the Draft

Before the draft, the internet is flooded with mock drafts. After the draft, the internet is flooded with draft grades. In addition to grades from multiple sites, in comes the “get off my lawn” guy who says you can’t grade a draft for three years as we haven’t even seen these players play!

Yeah, don’t be that guy. It’s true from a certain point of view, but a draft can be graded based off when players were picked, who was picked and how they project to the pro game.

With that nonsense out of the way, it’s time for my grade of the Broncos draft. I think general manager George Paton did a great job going through the process for the first time in his new position. The draft is like trying to put together a puzzle with pieces that constantly change shape before you can place them where you’d like. It’s not an easy task to put together a draft board, so kudos to Paton and the scouting staff for doing a good job.

I am giving the Broncos a “B+” for this draft. In this draft, they got my No. 1 cornerback (Patrick Surtain), my No. 1 running back (Javonte Williams), one of my favorite inside linebackers (Baron Browning), a tremendous value at safety (Jamar Johnson) and one of my favorite sleeper pass rushers (Jonathon Cooper). This team got better after the draft, and they have players who can contribute this year and in the future.

The Broncos did a fine job in the draft overall, with day two being their best day. So, what kind of grade would you give the Broncos?

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Working Out in a New Way

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a gamer. I don’t get to play video games as much as I used because I’m busy with football (The Fan, Broncos TV, Footballguys) and am starting a small comic book company (Smokin Gun Comics). However, when I get a chance to relax and break away for an hour or so I’ll pick up the controller and fire up the console.

I don’t consider playing video games working out, but with the E-sports landscape growing by leaps and bounds I may have to change that line of thinking. There are arenas for E-sports players and there have been for some time, but now there is a gym in Japan that is for training gamers.

It’s a great idea honestly as people who play competitive games want to get better. That’s why WATCHING other people play video games on Twitch or YouTube has become such a big industry. Gamers are just trying to pick up tricks and tips in any way they can. Going to the gym may soon take on a new meaning!

Would you go to one of these new E-sports gyms? Hit me up on social media and let me know!