John Elway didn’t dare draft another quarterback in the first round. Twenty four hours later, he didn’t hesitate to select Missouri’s Drew Lock, the QB so many mock drafts had him selecting with the 10th overall pick.
Instead, Elway got his man at No. 42.
“We’re very fortunate. We didn’t think he would fall nearly this far,” Elway said. “Right now, we’ve got a starting quarterback in Joe Flacco, so he’ll be an understudy .”
Elway entered Day 2 with two second-round selections but after taking Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner, who grew up in Colorado, at 41, Elway scrambled to get back-to-back picks, trading No. 52 to Cincinnati along with fourth- and sixth-rounders Saturday to move up 10 spots.
While Risner could start at right guard right away for Denver, there’s no pressure to throw Lock into the lineup, especially because he’s not the pressure-packed first-rounder he was expected to be.
Burned by bad QB decisions since Peyton Manning’s retirement three years ago, most notably first-round bust Paxton Lynch, Elway acquired Flacco from the Ravens this winter and doubled down this month by declaring the 34-year-old veteran was still in his prime.
Sliding into the second round, however, brings more motivation into the mix for Lock, who watched Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins go in the first round.
“It certainly does,” Lock said. “I know the kind of player I am. I know the kind of player I’m going to be. This adds a little chip to the shoulder bigger than the one that’s already on there.”
Lock was among the two dozen prospects invited to the draft in Nashville, and about an hour after Elway drafted him, he was brought out onto the stage to get the traditional hug and handshake with the commissioner that he’d expected 24 hours earlier.
Before Day 2 got going, first-round pick Iowa tight end Noah Fant arrived in Denver to pose for pictures and talk about how thrilled he was to join a team intent on upgrading a deficient offense under new head coach Vic Fangio and his staff.
The Broncos selected Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones with the 71st overall pick in the third round, the first defender selected on Fangio’s watch.
Jones has the first step and ability to get through the gaps defensive line coaches love. The big question is if his 2018 production — 13 tackles for loss were more than 2016 and 2017 combined — is a sign of things to come. He also needs to develop some counter moves.
So far, Fant has said he’s “super excited and super stoked” to be a Bronco, “super hyped” about playing with Flacco and “super excited” that he’s in Denver. Taking a call from Elway was a “super special moment” that made him “super emotional and super happy.” And knowing Flacco likes to target his tight ends makes him “super, super — I can’t express how happy I am about that.”
Meeting last year’s first-round pick Bradley Chubb upon his arrival at team headquarters was “super cool,” and he reiterated he was “super happy” to get selected by Denver and his family was “super happy,” too.
Fant added that “having a Super Bowl quarterback like Joe Flacco is going to be a lot of fun.”