Hindsight is always 20/20, especially when it comes to the NFL Draft. We know, for example, that John Elway really couldn’t go wrong with his first-ever pick as general manager of the Denver Broncos. Whether Carolina selected Cam Newton or Von Miller, Elway was getting the other. Elway got the better end of that deal so far, as was evidenced in Super Bowl 50, but his early-round draft results have not always been the same slam-dunk type pick as Miller.

Since 2011, John Elway has made five first-round selections in the NFL draft. Of that bunch, three have proven to be outstanding selections – Miller, Bradley Roby (2014) and Shane Ray (2015). According to Joe Williams, Kent Erickson and Benny Bash of The Big Show on Mile High Sports, things get a bit more murky in the first round.

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Sylvester Williams (2013) played 60 games for Denver at the defensive tackle position, logging 5.5 sacks and 94 tackles (67 solo), but the Broncos declined his fifth-year option after the 2016 season and Williams is now in Tennessee. The guys view Williams as a half-success, as he logged important time but never shined. Also causing mixed reviews is the fact that the tackle position became a rotational spot in Denver during Williams’ tenure. That’s a valuable pick for a guy who played only 56 percent of snaps in his fourth year in the league.

The jury is still out on their 2016 first-round pick, quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was 1-1 as a spot starter last year. He’ll enter this year’s training camp with a chance to steal the starting job away from incumbent Trevor Siemian.

Friday (Rounds 2 and 3) is where Elway has had some of his biggest misses as an executive. Especially in the second round.

The Big Show almost counts Derek Wolfe as a first-round pick, since Denver traded out of the first in 2012 to select him 36th overall. Of Elway’s second-round picks, Wolfe has proved to be the most valuable. He’s also one of the few players from that round still on the roster.

Rahim Moore (2011) and Orlando Franklin (2011) have both moved on from their rookie deals. Moore, after committing one of the biggest gaffes in Broncos history, went to Baltimore. Franklin, after four serviceable years at right tackle, has spent the past two with the Chargers while Denver has been a revolving door at the position.

Brock Osweiler (2012) was the “Plan B” to Peyton Manning, and he did help guide Denver to an AFC West title in 2015 before Manning re-took the reins for the playoff run. He departed for Houston for a big pay day last offseason, turning the Denver QB situation on it’s head. Hindsight is the real winner here, as he struggled with the Texans and is now in QB purgatory with the Browns. Still, he’s another second-round pick that is no longer making a difference for Denver.

Elway’s next three second-rounders have been more or less failures, considering where they were picked. Montee Ball (2013) is out of the league, in part because of an alcohol problem. Cody Latimer (2014) has never fully grasped the offenses (although they’ve changed multiple times in his tenure), and he’s never grabbed the No. 3 receiver spot as he was drafted to do. Ty Sambrailo (2015) has suffered injury setbacks each of his two years, and been vastly underwhelming when he has been on the field. That’s three consecutive second-round picks that haven’t produced a single starter.

Adam Gotsis (2016) was a project pick, an Australian who is still learning the game. He saw some playing time last year, but is still adjusting to the speed of the game. He has a mean streak the Broncos like, but he did seem like a reach in the second round.

Elway earns some redemption with his third round picks, but he’s still had more than a few misses.

Nate Irving (2011) ended up buried behind Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall at inside linebacker, so the Broncos let him walk in 2015. Of course, that means that a third-round pick was beat out by a lower draft pick (Trevathan: sixth round, 2012) and a free agent (Marshall: 2013).

Ronnie Hillman (2012) was Denver’s leading rusher during the Super Bowl season, but he faded down the stretch in that season (among others). He was never the consistent threat the Broncos wanted him to be opposite C.J. Anderson and other backs.

Kayvon Webster (2013) battled some injury problems early in his career, but developed into a lethal special teams weapon in 2015 and 2016. Denver let him go to the Rams in the offseason, as he was an expensive option for primarily a special teams player. Competition was thick ahead of him at cornerback, and he was a luxury the Broncos literally couldn’t afford.

Michael Schofield (2014) took a major step forward as a right guard in 2016, but was an unmitigated disaster as a right tackle in 2015. His struggles caused Denver to go out and sign Ronald Leary to a big contract this offseason to shore up the line.

Jeff Heuerman (2015), like his draft-mate Sambrailo, simply can’t stay healthy. Over three seasons he’s played in just 12 games and made only nine catches.

Elway’s latest third-round pick, Justin Simmons (2016), looks like the real deal. He made some big plays last year on special teams and is learning from two of the best in the business behind Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward. It’s too early to give him a thumbs up or thumbs down.

If you weren’t keeping track… that’s four second-rounders who are no longer in Denver, two that haven’t panned out but are still here, and one who remains a project. Three third-round picks who had an impact but are already out of town, two have effectively been replaced on the roster already, and one who looks like he’s going to pan out.

All told, Fridays haven’t been especially good for John Elway. As he enters a pivotal final year of his contract, how he performs on Friday of this year’s draft will be vital to the long-term success of the Broncos.

Denver has the 19th pick of Round 2 and the 18th and 37th picks of Round 3 in 2017.

Hear The Big Show’s full analysis in the podcast below…

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Catch The Big Show with Joe Williams, Kent Erickson and Benny Bash every weekday from noon to 2 p.m. on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.