MILE HIGH MONDAY

The sky isn’t falling, but the Broncos have a lot of question marks

Jul 1, 2024, 4:00 AM | Updated: 2:45 pm

The summer rolls along, but Denver Broncos training camp will be here before you know it. With the summer days, there’s a lot of relaxation to be had, but football is always on my mind.

I like resting on my back deck while continuing to study this great game. It’s a tradition of mine around the Fourth of July to grab the Phil Steele magazine and dig into what’s possible in the world of college football (it’s essentially very early draft prep for me, LOL).

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler 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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Questions, Answers, Faith

There is no doubt the Broncos have questions on both sides of the ball with training camp on the horizon. I cannot stand the “everything is awesome!” mentality of some in the media. Fans can be full of hope, but the media should be objective when examining the question marks. Simply put, the media should not be fanboys of the team they cover. It’s simply one of the worst trends in all media (not just sports).

However, on the flipside, we in the media should not have a “sky is falling” narrative that is fed to the fan base. We live in a world where attention is the No. 1 asset, and “hot takes” certainly get attention. Even negative attention is attention, but none of that should matter more than the truth. What is truly going to happen with the Broncos? These questions will have to be answered. Everything is not awesome, but everything is not terrible at the same time. It’s the number of questions that have a positive answer which will determine the production of a coach, player, or executive with the Broncos.

True coverage of a team requires balance. It’s fair to bring up questions about everything. There is no debate about that. However, a dash of faith is required to properly ascertain what could be. These coaches, players, executives didn’t get there without some merit. How they perform in their respective jobs will tell us all we need to know about how much merit they should have – and continue to earn.

Make no mistake about it, there are people on the hot seat at Broncos Park presented by Common Spirit. The Walton-Penner group is not going to let these guys continue to do a poor job. The Broncos have been down for too long, and the ownership group is here to find which people they can entrust to bring the Broncos back to prominence. So, that bit of faith required should be placed on ownership. If these coaches, players, executives don’t get it done – they will be replaced. I see 2024 as a make-or-break year for many people at the facility.

They won’t grade 100 percent on answering these questions, and there are unseen questions that will likely arise during the season. The percentage of “hits” on these questions will tell us what the 2024 – and perhaps the beginning of the 2025 season – can look like.

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16 Days of Light

Training camp is not where the work begins. That work has already begun with offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp. Training camp is where that work is built upon with more installation as the regular season draws near.

Those 16 days of camp will be quite illuminating. As aforementioned, there are plenty of questions on this team. Training camp is where you will get some of the answers – or you’ll get clues as to what the answers will be. With fans in attendance and the full practice open to the public, teams can’t hide anything. When a player is struggling, we’re going to witness it. When a player is coming out of nowhere; we’re going to be able to predict it based on camp performance.

I’d like to see more joint practices in the future, but the time they’ll get working against the Green Bay Packers in camp will be paramount. Grinding against your teammates can make players wary. Going up against another team is like a burst of energy that will create even more future possibilities. Often, these joint practices lead to fights, but they also lead to inspired play. In fact, I can gather more information about a team from a joint practice than I can from the first week of the preseason games.

These 16 days will give us the information we need to properly assess what the team can be in 2024 and beyond. I simply can’t wait to learn more about the Broncos by watching them continue the work that began earlier this year.

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No Supplemental Draft…Again

Last week, the NFL announced there was not going to be a Supplemental Draft this summer. This marks the fourth time in five years this event has been cancelled by the league. I’m not sure how many of these we will see in the coming years.

The Supplemental Draft was held for players with eligibility concerns, but the most notable player selected in recent years was WR Josh Gordon (2012). There were two players eligible last year, but neither were selected by teams. In fact, the last player selected was in 2019 when the Arizona Cardinals selected Washington State CB Jalen Thompson. The last player the Broncos selected in this process with RB Bobby Humphrey in 1989.

As the NFL draft changes, it’s going to impact the “baby draft” that is sometimes held in the summer. More players are staying in college football with NIL paying them to play. Fewer underclassmen are declaring for the draft, and that means the pool of players is going to be smaller. Unless there’s a suspension for a notable player (like with WR Cris Carter in 1987), there’s no need for this process.

I know scouts who are not upset at all by the league’s decision to cancel. This is a break for all of us in the league – either those who work for teams or for those who cover the NFL. The work of a scout is largely thankless, with around 250 days a year spent on the road covering these college players. This time of year is about spending a brief amount of time with family and friends at home before hitting the road again in preparation for the draft.

With the changes coming from college football in terms of NIL agreements with players, I’m not sure that many Supplemental Drafts will be happening in the future. In fact, it could quickly become a thing of the past.

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Secret Stash

Everyone knows I love fantasy football. I’ve played fantasy football since 1993, and I broke onto the Denver airwaves (thanks to Mark Schlereth back in the 760 The Zone days) back in 2003 as a fantasy football analyst. Since 2005, I have worked for Footballguys.com as a fantasy expert, and I’m sure many of you know me as a fantasy football guy.

Last week, I decided to take a look at some of my favorite players to stash in dynasty formats. Unlike redraft fantasy football, dynasty leagues allow you to take a long view with your team. You don’t just draft players and then lose them the next year. In dynasty, you get to hold onto players so long as league rules allow. This means you can be patient with players who may take time to break out.

I’m not a Broncos fan (as an analyst you should not be a fan), but two of the players I’m most excited about in dynasty fantasy football play in Denver.

Broncos TE Lucas Krull is a player everyone needs to stash right now. He’s a deep sleeper in redraft leagues, but he could become a regular starter for dynasty owners. Nobody is thinking about him, and he’s the best tight end on the Broncos’ roster – plus, he’s been the star of the offseason. Rookie WR Devaughn Vele is another player I love to stash on my dynasty roster. He showed great chemistry with rookie QB Bo Nix, and Vele could be everything Tim Patrick was supposed to be in Denver. Both players are completely under the radar, and that means you can get them for a cheap price. This is perfect for dynasty fantasy football!

How many Broncos are you stashing on your fantasy roster this year? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

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The sky isn’t falling, but the Broncos have a lot of question marks