John Elway sticks with the courage of his convictions as he rights the ship

Dec 1, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway looks on in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody loves the Denver Broncos more than John Elway. The Broncos and Elway are joined at the hip because of the three Super Bowl championships he helped bring to the Mile High City.

The Broncos have one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL, and demand success on a year-to-year basis. Broncos fans make their feelings known when the team is struggling by skipping out on games and ranting on them across social media platforms.

The last four seasons have been especially brutal for the Broncos and their fans, as the team has failed to reach the playoffs since they won Super Bowl 50. Reasons for the Broncos struggles stretch far and wide, but Elway has been the poster boy for the downturn.

Elway has a murky reputation as an NFL executive. Since he became the Broncos head of football operations in 2011, he has drafted cornerstone Von Miller, signed Peyton Manning and hoisted a Lombardi trophy. At the same time, Denver has shuffled through numerous starting quarterbacks since Manning retired and has had to deal with significant roster turnover given a poor draft history.

Things have been hot and cold under Elway’s command, but the Broncos appear to be trending in the right direction leading up to the 2020 season.

After Elway put together a solid draft in 2019, Broncos Country was buzzing with optimism that Elway would, again, have another splendid draft in 2020.

The first round worked out perfectly as the Broncos drafted Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick.

Based on the team’s perceived needs, many expected the Broncos to target secondary or offensive line help with their second-round draft choices. Instead, to the surprise of many, Elway selected Penn State receiver K.J. Hamler with the 46th pick.

Hamler is a tiny wideout that is lightning quick. While he is loaded with potential, the Broncos reached by drafting him 46th overall as he was projected to be a mid-round draft choice. There were more polished players at different positions of need available when Denver was on the clock, but Elway stuck with his gut and drafted Hamler despite the public opinion.

Denver followed up the selection of Hamler with another stunner by drafting Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia with the 77th pick. This was also a move that had Broncos fans scratching their heads. Ojemudia is a solid prospect, but there were more refined cornerbacks, with fewer questions, available on the board when the Broncos made the pick. Elway once again showed he is willing to roll the dice on the courage of his convictions.

Elway wrapped up the day with two great value picks, drafting LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III and Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim.

Overall, the second day of the draft was a combination of productive and perplexing.

Given the criticism Elway has received over the years about his ability to draft well, there was an expectation the Broncos would be rather conservative with their draft choices, as they were last season.

Instead, Elway grabbed the bull by the horns, and drafted players he felt will help the Broncos immediately.

Of the decision making, Elway had this to say:

“We’re still going to try to find football players that can play in the NFL and not necessarily where we need them.”

Elway likes to take chances when he sees fit. Instead of playing things safe, Elway drafted for impact with the Broncos for three draft picks.

The Broncos motto for the last 30-plus years has been “In Elway We Trust.” While the last few seasons have been frustrating for Broncos Country, Elway has a plan in place that he believes will get the Broncos back to the promised land.

Some of Elway’s recent decisions may be questionable on the surface, but there is undoubtedly a method to the madness that the three-time Super Bowl winner believes will turn the franchise around.

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