It was supposed to be a quiet morning at Dove Valley, with the Broncos not expected to go on the clock until the sixth round.
But at 10:19 a.m., the facility burst into motion with the news that the Broncos had moved into the No. 121 slot, placing them back into the fourth round and allowing them to take defensive tackle Marcus Thomas from the University of Florida.
The pick — which originally belonged to the Broncos but was sent to Atlanta and then on to Minnesota — gives the Broncos three defensive linemen in their four picks — which will be all the Broncos have unless they trade back into the last three rounds. Denver dealt its sixth- and seventh-round selections this year and a third-rounder next year to the Vikings in exchange for the No. 121 selection.
UPDATE — 11:44 A.M. MDT:
With the Broncos’ draft over unless they trade back into the later rounds, Head Coach Mike Shanahan offered some thoughts about the pick of Marcus Thomas, whom he referred to as a “natural leader.”
“We research people,” Shanahan said. “I’ve got a good gut feeling about Marcus.
“We just couldn’t pass it up … I was trying to get that pick from the latter part of the third round to the fourth round.”
Shanahan was later asked about the picks the Broncos surrendered to select Thomas, and was specifically queried about whether the three selections — including a 2008 third-round pick — was a “steep price” to pay.
“Not if you have him ranked as a first-round pick, it’s certainly not a steep price to pay. If he’s not with our program, it’s a steep price.
“I really think if he would have played this year he would have been drafted early in the first round, maybe in the second. But all that doesn’t matter right now.”
UPDATE — 12:15 P.M. MDT:
Jarvis Moss on Marcus Thomas: “Hands down, he was the best player on our national-championship football team this past year.”