John Elway walked through the door and up to the podium Thursday afternoon with his patented smile and announced, “Welcome to Bronco Land.” The media forced a chuckle but the enthusiasm out of the vice president and general manager was hard to miss.

The draft represents a chance to vastly improve any football club and the Broncos are fortunate enough to only lack a few pieces. With ten picks in the 2015 draft Elway and Co. will have a lot of chances to develop the roster now and well into the future.

“For us, this is the exciting time of the year,” Elway said from Dove Valley. “Through the draft is when we start feeling we are making our team better. It’s the same thing with free agency. Once we get into free agency and you get through there and get guys signed that we feel like can make the team better, that is to me what I like. That is why the draft is a big part of it, too, because we have a chance to make the Broncos better.”

Entering his fifth draft, Elway has selected 29 players who have accounted for 330 starts in the NFL with 19 of them on the current roster. While he acknowledges mistakes he also believes that he and his staff have done pretty well.

“When it comes down to doing different things, I don’t think we’ve made a whole lot of mistakes. Obviously every pick has not been perfect and it’s not going to continue to be and we’ve made some mistakes, but we’ve also had some hits. That’s going to be the goal again. You’re always trying to eliminate the misses and accentuate the hits, and hopefully we can do that again this year.”

This year he will be looking to add players like Bradley Roby and not guys like Mike Mohammad or Vinston Painter. Elway emphasized how his staff projects players and looks for them to contribute early in their careers.

“When we project guys, we project guys in the draft if they are going to be starters in their second year. That’s how we try to project guys. We don’t think about them coming out and being starters right away. When we grade them that is what our projection is.”

Elway spoke briefly about his desire for Cody Latimer and Michael Schofield to step up in their second year with the team while Broncos fans are also hoping that Kayvon Webster, Sylvester Williams and Derek Wolfe can make major contributions as they enter their third and fourth seasons.

Elway sees a lot of potential in this year’s talent pool and remains focused on being a balanced team entering the draft in order to take the best talent available wherever they pick from.

“It’s hard to go into the draft with a big need. That’s the last thing you want to do because that’s when you end up chasing them. We always try to be solid at all positions going into the draft with some veteran presence. To be able to go into the draft and then when you get to the draft, take that player that you think is the best player available and has a chance to have to have a good NFL career.”

With that said he also briefly mentioned the obvious talent at offensive tackle in the draft before speaking about the other top positions in regards to talent in the draft.

“There are a lot of wide receivers. I think running back is definitely deeper this year. There are some corners. I think the offensive side is probably a little bit deeper than the defensive side. There are still a lot of good football players.”

Elway’s talent at evaluating running backs remains in limbo with Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman still attempting to prove their high draft status in the NFL. He also stated several times that they are not opposed to drafting at any position regardless of their current roster.

Despite his insistence that the team does not have big areas of need the Broncos will likely be looking to bolster their offensive and defensive lines, then look elsewhere in the later rounds.

Elway remained adamant that they will be prepared for several scenarios as the draft plays out and jokingly gave a little insight into the difficulty and uniqueness of each year’s draft.

“The hardest thing about the draft that no one realizes is that you can’t move when you want to move. Everyone says, ‘Move down.’ Really? We need someone to move down with or move up. We tried to move up last year with a team and they wanted my three first grandchildren, and I said, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ It didn’t happen. That’s why those types of things just don’t happen. That’s why the draft is intriguing because so many things have to happen the right way.”

Elway’s demeanor and jovial nature Thursday highlighted the importance of the draft for Broncos Country. He not only appears to be ready for the draft but is genuinely excited at the prospect of moving his team forward in 2015 and beyond. As he noted the scenarios for trades and moves next week are endless and however much fun speculating and completing “mock drafts” may be everyone, including Elway, will have to stifle their excitement for one more week.

Other Notes:

Elway was asked Thursday about the health of Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall and he replied, “Greek’ (Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos) says they should be ready for training camp. It’s not going to help them missing the OTAs, but that is what it is.”

In an interesting twist in the final questions of the presser Elway was asked about the ongoing situation with Demaryius Thomas and his absence from the team as they install the new offense. The former quarterback replied sternly.

“To be dead honest, I see absolutely zero value in him being away from here—zero value for him. There is no value for him not to be here with his teammates. As far as negotiations and his new deal and what’s going on, we’d like to get something done. By him being away from here, there is zero value not only to us, but also to him. To me, it makes no sense. That actually has no effect on anything that we’re talking to about trying to get a contract done with him, because that’s what we’d ultimately like to do.”

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