The countdown has begun — we’re just about four hours away from the start of the 2011 NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers are essentially on the clock, which means Denver’s pick is a little more than four hours and 10 minutes away.
We’ll update this blog as we can throughout the day, though with the Broncos picking so early, there might not be quite as many updates early on in the draft. Essentially we hope this becomes a gathering place to discuss today’s happenings, so feel free to leave as many comments as you’d like below.
5:55 p.m. MDT: Five minutes until the Panthers are on the clock…we’ll have something on the front of the site as soon as we can after the Broncos pick, which will be somewhere between 6:10 and 6:20 p.m. We’ll try to be more active in the blog as the first round rolls on. In the meantime you can watch the team’s draft war room live. Keep in mind there’s no audio — we can’t give away all our secrets — but you can get a look at John Elway, John Fox, Brian Xanders and the personnel staff at work.
6:01 p.m. MDT: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is fielding a call on his cell phone, and the Carolina Panthers will soon be on the clock. We’ll see if that means the BCS Championship Game winner will be wearing Carolina Blue next year. Now Newton is shaking hands, and it looks like he’ll be the number one pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
6:06 p.m. MDT: Roger Goodell is stepping up to the podium, and he has opened the draft to the Carolina Panthers. Now Goodell is making it official. He has announced Newton as the number one overall selection, which means the Broncos are now on the clock.
6:13 p.m. MDT: Von Miller is fielding a phone call and appears to be getting emotional. He could be the newest Denver Bronco. The executives in the Broncos’ draft war room are high-fiving and celebrating. General Manager Brian Xanders is shaking hands with Owner/CEO Pat Bowlen, and Miller is wiping away tears. Goodell has just announced that the Broncos have selected Von Miller with the second pick of the NFL Draft.
6:27 p.m. MDT: John Elway just spoke to the team’s official draft party downtown at Jackson’s.
“Von is the first step of bringing back the old Orange Crush defense that you’re all used to seeing,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and hopefully we can do as well with the rest of the picks as we’ve done with our first one.”
6:34 p.m. MDT: Just to catch you up on the last few picks, after the Broncos took Miller, Buffalo went with Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Darius, Cincinnati went with Georgia receiver A.J. Green, Arizona took LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Cleveland has just traded with Atlanta, and the Falcons have selected Alabama receiver Julio Jones at No. 6 overall. Just to recap — every single player taken in the draft so far, with the exception of Miller, played their college ball in the SEC.
7:07 p.m. MDT: John Fox has just released a statement on selecting Miller: “We are thrilled to add Von Miller to the Denver Broncos. He’s a big playmaker and a leader who is explosive on the defensive side of the ball. It’s crucial in this league to be able to rush the passer, and Von adds that dimension to our defense. He’s also able to drop back into pass coverage. There’s no doubt that his versatility is going to make us a better football team.
“He’s great on and off the field, and I couldn’t be happier with our first pick in the draft.”
8:53 p.m. MDT: Head Coach John Fox is going to speak at the podium at the conclusion of the first round, and Broncos TV will stream it live. I think we’re shutting down the blog for today — tomorrow should be far more active from the Broncos’ standpoint, with three picks on day two. Be sure to check out the draft page for all of DenverBroncos.com’s coverage.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft