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John Elway addresses the draft and the QB's

Posted: 5:18 PM, Apr 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-21 23:18:53Z

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/G.M. JOHN ELWAY

On how the team’s visit with QB Brian Hoyer went

“We had a good visit. I think he’s got another trip lined up. He’s a possibility. He’s a good football player. We wanted to have him in to get a chance to meet him and get to know him a little bit. Nothing to report there.”

On what Hoyer would bring to the team

“He brings competition. We talked about it from the very [beginning]. Earlier in the year I talked about the fact that we’re going to bring in and have somebody compete with [QB] Mark [Sanchez]. He’s one of those possibilities. He’s a guy that had a real good year in Houston last year. [He’s] a guy that is definitely a possibility for us.”

On whether the movement at the top of the draft has influenced the team’s draft

“No. It’s too far from us. It really doesn’t affect us. Obviously they haven’t said who they’re going for, but I think we all have a pretty good idea. We didn’t think they were in the ballgame for us anyway. You never know how it’s going to fall, especially being [at pick No.] 31. We love being there. It’s a good place to be (laughing). We’ll have to wait and see. There are going to be a lot of different options there, so we’ll see how it all takes shape.”

On if the team ever considered moving to the top of the draft

“It’s a long way to move. When you at look at how much they paid for where they moved—both teams moved—I think it might have taken four of our drafts. It would have been a little difficult.”

On if he is comfortable with the options left at quarterback in free agency and the draft

“I am. I think we’re happy with Mark. I think that Mark was the starting point. Now we want to find somebody to come in and compete with him. I know Mark is excited about being here and we’re excited about having him. He was a high draft pick seven years ago. Hopefully we can get somebody in here. That’s why we took our time. You never know how this thing is going to fall. There have been a lot of twists and turns already at this point in time. We’ll just kind of wait and see and we’re going to continue to wait and see how it falls out.”

On how the team reacts to a run on a certain positions in the draft

“When those runs start, you never know where they’re going to be. You just have to sit there and be patient. I think that we feel like there are going to be some good players available for us at 31. We’re excited about that. We just don’t know who it’s going to be, so we’ll have to be patient with it. There are so many things that come up before the draft and until you get to draft day, you don’t know exactly how it’s all going to fall. That’s kind of the exciting part of draft day.”

On whether he has more than two first-round grades at quarterback

“I’m not going to say that. That’s inside info, right (laughing)?

On the quarterback draft class overall

“There are some good players in it. I think that there are plenty of guys in the draft. I think there is going to be some players. There is no question that there are going to be players. I think there will be some guys that have a chance to compete and have good careers. There are going to be some guys that are quality backups.”

On taking the best player available rather than need

“That’s what we try to go into the draft with. We try to go in not having to have some place that we really have to have somebody. I think we feel pretty good about where we are and where our football team is. Everybody has needs. I think the most important thing is to hit on your draft picks. A lot of times when you get in trouble is when you reach. As long as you take what we feel is the best player available at the time—now if it falls into a position of need, then it’s all the better. Our thought process is to make sure that we’re drafting people that are going to have good careers in the NFL.”

On drafting players with character questions

“First of all, we evaluate all of the character concerns and figure out what they are. Is it something that is a trait or is it something [where] a young guy makes a mistake and you grow through it? Every situation is different there. I think one of the best things that we do have is our locker room. We have a lot of good guys with the right mentality. That locker room is a real good locker room right now. We want to continue to add good people to that locker room.”

On the team’s positions of need

“I want to make your job easy, just not that easy (laughing).”

On how the team benefited from the pre-draft visits

“You get know them a little bit. We get 15 minutes with them at the Combine, and so we get to have them in here, spend a lot more time with them and get to know them a lot better. Those 30 visits that are available are always very important. A lot of times there are a lot of things out there about different kids that aren’t true. When you get in here, you kind of find out what is true, what’s not true and get to know them. Those are always good visits to have because you can clear a lot of things up.”

On confidence he’s gained since his first draft as an executive

“I’ve come a long way. There is no question. I think looking back, I said I knew what I didn’t know back then. Obviously with experience and working together with the staff that we have with [Director of Player Personnel] Matt Russell and [Director of Pro Personnel] Tom Heckert and our whole scouting staff, getting to know everybody, I think we’re in good shape. I’m excited about it and feel really good about where we are on the personnel side. It’s a good combination.”

On whether different scouts represent different teams in mock drafts

“We’ve done that. We might change it a little bit this year because what happens is you end of wrecking your own board. What we’re going to do is probably do it off of some other mock drafts and say, ‘OK, go through those mock drafts and look for players that are available. In that situation, see who we would take if ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ were available.’ But those are always important. I think it’s important to go through that exercise because then you have a pretty good idea if ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ or ‘D’ are there, which direction you may go.”

On when the team will start doing mock drafts

“We’ll start those early next week.”

On whether the team is behind in the draft process because of playing in the Super Bowl

“No, we’re not behind. We’re in good shape. We’re right on schedule. There wasn’t a lot of time to breath. One thing I did learn is that it’s much better winning a championship as a player than it is as an executive (laughing). You get much more time off as a player to enjoy it. We got right back into it. Obviously the Combine was two weeks after we got done playing, so we jumped right back into it. It’s been good. I’ll take that problem every year.”

On the difference in the new contracts for RBs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman

“I think Ronnie is motivated and we’re glad he’s back. Those are the types of things, when you’re out on the market, the market kind of sets that value. C.J. got out there and there was obviously somebody that set his value. That’s the hard thing, but I think once you’re in the locker room—players understand where the money is—but once you get into the locker room and things start moving forward, I don’t think it’s a big topic. They’ve been around each other for a long time; I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. If anything, I think that will help.”

On LB Von Miller not attending offseason workouts

“This is all voluntary. If Von chooses to be here then great. You always hope that everybody is here but players have different things they have going on in the offseason. It’s a voluntary session.”

On if he thinks the negotiations with Miller will go right to the deadline

“I don’t know. I would hope not but we’ll see. I think that it’s not nearly as bad as people have it portrayed at being out there. I know what I think of Von Miller and I know what this organization thinks of Von Miller. He is very important to us, and we’re going to work our tails off to try and get something done with him.”

On how he would characterize the negotiations with Miller

“There has been one offer and then there has been a counter. We’ve been in draft meetings, too, so there haven’t been a whole lot of conversations. We’re still in draft meetings but not in them for eight hours a day, [so] there will be some more conversations.”

On how he feels about the distance between the offer and counter 

“You would like to be a little bit closer but that’s where you start. We’ll continue to work on it and hopefully be able to get something done.”

On how the absence of QB Peyton Manning has impacted the team

“As far as guys wanting to come play here, they still want to come play here. I think we were successful in free agency in what we wanted to do, especially shoring up the offensive line with [T] Russell Okung and [T Donald] Stephenson coming in. We feel really good about those two and then [DE Jared] Crick coming in on the defensive line. As far as people wanting to play here, that hasn’t changed a lot. Obviously you are going to go through growing pains with Peyton not being here. We are one week into it. I think [QB] Mark [Sanchez] has done a tremendous job of getting introduced to his teammates and fitting into the locker room. That will just continue. With the draft, we’ll have the young guys coming in that will be fitting into the locker room and we’ll fill out the 90[-man roster]. That’s kind of the process that happens this time of year. We will always miss Peyton. Peyton was always a big part of this. There will always be a little bit of an adjustment when you have a guy that has created a legacy that he created when he left the game. Leaving the locker room, it’s always a bit of an adjustment.”

On evaluating vs. projecting production in draft prospects 

“That’s part of the game—trying to figure out the potential there and why maybe he hasn’t reached his potential at a certain point in time, the production you see right now and how much upside [he has]. There are so many different things with every position that goes into the equation of where you stack a guy on your board and where you would take him. That’s part of the game. That’s part of hopefully why we’re able to pick the right guys and have guys that we draft that stay here for a long time.”

On his expectations of second-year TE Jeff Heuerman this season

“We expect him to step in and be a force at the tight end position—him and [TE] Virgil [Green] right now. He have high expectations as we did last year. Now he is healthy. I know he is excited about getting going and being healthy. He’s biting at the bit to get back out there.”

On the positions with depth in the draft

“I think at both offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary. There are a lot of good football players in this draft. I think offensive line is one area [where] there is a lot of depth.”

On projecting draft prospects that played in and/or against spread offenses

“It goes into that formula—athletic ability, what you see on tape and play speed. Obviously what they do at the Combine plays into that, personal character—all of those things go into the process of trying to figure out who’s the best fit for us.”

On how he would characterize the situation with 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick 

“It’s dormant. He’s been working out [with San Francisco] from what I understand so that’s all I can really say.”

On if he would revisit talks about Kaepernick

“It’s never been [dismissed]. Everything is right there. So that’s kind of where it is.”

On if what he offered is still on the table

“It’s there.”

On QB Trevor Siemian

“We are really happy with Trevor and the way that he’s played. He’s very talented. He’s got great arm talent and he’s a young guy. He came off an ACL [injury] last year so he will be much better coming in this offseason program. Plus, he’s got a year under his belt as far as the offense so he’ll feel a lot more comfortable. Trevor is going to compete, too. Whether we bring in three or even four—we’ve talked about just staying at three and throwing the ball out there and seeing who comes out with it. He will be in the hunt. He will be right there in the middle of it and competing.”

On what has allowed the team to stay patient internally with the quarterback position

“First of all, we feel good with Mark. But you also know that there are going to be a lot of different things that happen. To really have to rush into a decision, we didn’t want to have to do that. Because if you run into one and all of a sudden here falls another one, another apple over there that you kind of like—I just didn’t want to get us to where we were going down one road and didn’t have the option to look at all of the others. That’s why we’ve stayed patient. Again, what’s helped is having Mark. [He’s] a guy that we feel like has got the experience in the league and can play in this league. That’s why we’ve been patient.”

On filling needs with free agency so that you don’t have to fill holes in the draft

“That’s the key—try not to go in with a big need. As I said, that’s when you kind of reach a little bit. We don’t want to do that. We’ve had to shore everything up. [On the] offensive line we were able to do that with the signings that we’ve had as well as Ronnie coming back, C.J. coming back and [Shiloh] Keo at safety. Depth-wise, even though we have lost guys, there is turnover every year. That’s why these drafts are so important because you know you’re going to have turnover. You have to have the young guys and draft well to where they can step up for the guys when they do leave. We feel great. We have [10] picks. We’re in good shape there. We’re going to have a bunch of picks again next year. We’ll continue with the philosophy of trying to build through the draft and add free agents that we think can help us.”

On draft superstitions 

“Not yet. I haven’t. Other than schedule, I really haven’t. As a player I had a lot of those things, but I haven’t created any yet.”