John Elway is nothing short of a historic figure in Colorado; becoming the first ever person to win a Super Bowl as a player and a general manager. Arguably, Denver wouldn’t have any of its three Super Bowl rings without Elway at the helm.

Elway and Denver, Denver and Elway. A match made in heaven. The perfect superhero for a deserving city that can rest at night with three Lombardi trophies at team headquarters.

Much like his fourth quarter comebacks such as “The Drive,” Elway has crafted masterpieces as an executive. Taking over a 4-12 dumpster fire that Josh McDaniels left burning in the city, Elway’s first season at the helm brought the team right back to the playoffs.

From there, fans in Denver have been fortunately, albeit almost spoiled, to have seen Denver in play for the playoffs every single year. Capped off by a 2015 Super Bowl championship, Elway is truly Denver’s Super-Man.

But just like Super-Man, Elway has one particular weakness: the NFL Draft.

Hold on, don’t roast me on Twitter. I know that Bronco fans want to believe that Elway is as perfect as perfect gets. And some will point to stars like Von Miller and Derek Wolfe and say: “Elway drafts just fine, you don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Well, I agree, to an extent. Elway has drafted some studs over the years, notably on the defensive side of the ball. But looking at the draft as a whole, the results aren’t great.

Yes, Elway has found great success with Miller, Wolfe, Malik Jackson and others. But particularly on offense, who has Elway drafted that has contributed in a significant way?

C.J. Anderson? Perhaps, but only when he’s not spending time on the trainer’s table. Besides, Anderson and stud cornerback Chris Harris Jr. weren’t drafted by Elway or anyone. They signed as college free agents.

Just this past draft, Elway’s first two picks Paxton Lynch and Adam Gotsis contributed very little to the team in 2016. Some fans have gone as far as to say that Lynch can already be labeled a “bust.”

I wouldn’t go that far. But it’s concerning that a fanbase and media outlets want a 37-year-old quarterback with an extensive injury history over a team’s first round “QB of the future” entering his second year.

Part of the reason for the lack of success of the two quarterbacks this past year had been the play of the offensive line, where former second round pick Ty Sambrailo has failed to make an impact at left tackle, right guard and/or right tackle.

And please, let’s not even get started on the colossal bust that was Cody Latimer.

Even Brock Osweiler, the one-time heir-apparent to Peyton Manning and future of Denver has been a massive flop with the Houston Texans (whom he left Denver for in a story for the ages offseason headline). So much so, they surrendered a second-round pick to the CLeveland Browns just to be rid of him.

Side note, but couldn’t Denver potentially have FOUR Super Bowl rings if former second rounder Rahim Moore doesn’t make the worst play in the history of Mile High?

The point is that Denver’s draft picks have not been good. And those who have been very good have left via free agency. For as many NFL analysts who preach about teams being built “through the draft,” Elway’s lack of success in doing so consistently is a head-scratcher.

Many would think I’m just dragging Elway through the mud. But on the contrary, it’s the opposite. The fact that Denver has been competitive and a playoff-caliber team for just about every year under Elway is nothing short of an incredible accomplishment.

Elway has done what other league execs and analysts would consider taboo: building through free agency.

The cream of the crop free agents have all found their way to Denver since Elway has taken over. Highlighted by future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, Elway has also brought in leaders of the “No Fly Zone” with Darian Stewart, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib.

On offense, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders have both seen tremendous success in Denver. Guard Louis Vasquez was a solid starting lineman for many years, including the 2015 team.

The best party about Elway’s success in free agency is that he has a knack for making all sorts of deals. Modest signings such as Sanders’ three-year $15 million or Stewart’s two-year $4.75 million pacts carry just as much importance as cap-busting deals such as Talib’s 6-year $57 million or Manning’s 5-year $96 million deal.

Instead of shelling out the team’s mortgage, Elway looks closer for better deals and free agent bargains. Players who fit the scheme and the culture that he expects all Broncos to adhere to. When Elway finds a free agent that requires a hefty price tag, he pays what it takes to get them here, but will never overspend and jeopardize the team’s future salary cap.

Check your closet, there’s a good chance there’s a No. 7 hanging up in there, heck, there’s even media members with a John Elway picture or poster somewhere in their office. As a league executive, he has all but earned the respect of every NFL personnel.

And while yes, Elway must improve the way he operates and selects the draft. But even with multiple draft misses, Elway’s Broncos continue to be contenders in a very grueling, quick-changing NFL.

Hats off to The Duke.