“By the time we get through tomorrow, they’re going to call us the Big Ten Broncos,” said Elway, who welcomed first-round pick Bradley Roby of Ohio State to team headquarters earlier in the day.
With a run on wide receivers taking place and the Broncos anticipating as many as four compensatory picks next season, Elway moved up seven spots in a trade with San Francisco to take Latimer, a 6-foot-2½-inch, 215-pounder, with the 56th overall pick.
Latimer’s draft stock soared when he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and posted a vertical jump of 39 inches on his pro day, then added 23 reps on the bench press at the combine.
He brings speed, size and strength to an offense intent on adding toughness and balance with a stouter ground game in 2014.
“He was the best-blocking wide receiver by far in the draft,” Elway said.
Latimer is a two-time All-Big Ten selection who finished his three-year college career with 135 catches, 2,152 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s the perfect present for Manning, who set NFL records last season by throwing for 55 touchdowns and 5,447 yards with the highest-scoring team in league history.
“This is going to be awesome (to) get to play with a record-setting offense,” Latimer said. “I came from an offense that was powerful and record-setting at IU. I hope to add on to this offense, contribute the best way I can.”
And in Schofield, the Broncos have the right tackle they coveted.
Elway is shuffling his offensive line, which was manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, putting a damper on an otherwise spectacular season. He let Zane Beadles go in free agency and moved right tackle Orlando Franklin to left guard.
With star left tackle Ryan Clady returning from the foot surgery that sidelined him almost all of last season, Chris Clark moves over to right tackle and now will vie with Schofield, a 6-foot-7, 305-pounder who can also play guard, for the starting job.
Despite becoming the first team in league history to score more than 600 points, the Broncos surrendered a whopping 24.9 points a game - 25.3 if you count the playoffs - and Elway focused on fixing his defense this offseason.