Teams plan future through draft
Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:00 pm
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The haul in free agency and through trades has strengthened the Broncos, Bills and Bears. Now comes the lifeblood of any NFL team: the draft.
Denver merely landed the best quarterback ever to hit free agency, Peyton Manning. Buffalo homed in on one player to be a difference maker, 2006 top overall draft pick Mario Williams, and signed him before his only visit to a team ended. Chicago dealt for the No. 1 receiver it lacked, getting Brandon Marshall, and bolstered its roster by signing running back Michael Bush and even a quality backup quarterback behind the injury-prone Jay Cutler in Jason Campbell.
Those moves make all three franchises, none of which had a winning record in 2011 — yes, we know, the Broncos won the pitiful AFC West at 8-8 — more viable contenders.
With Manning aboard, the Broncos are in a win-now mode.
“I think the bottom line is we want to do the best thing to surround him with a team that’s going to give him an opportunity to win,” Broncos boss John Elway said. “We want to come out of every draft … with players that are impact players. As I said last year, you have a lot more misses in my mind when you draft to need, so we’re going to find the best players in positions of need, but also try to find those impact players that are going to come in and help us right away.
“We’re talking about now.”
Unquestionably, Man-ning is the major addition, as influential a newcomer as you can get. Denver could use an upgrade at receiver, and the Broncos just might target one at No. 25 overall.
The style of defense in Buffalo will be aggressive, with Williams as the focal point. Coming off a torn chest muscle that cost him the final 11 games of last season, the defensive end/linebacker still got the biggest contract in NFL history for someone on that side of the ball: $100 million for six years. Published in The Messenger 4.26.12