The NFL Draft is less than 30 days away and at #9, the Denver Broncos have a pretty big decision to make. Will new General Manager George Paton take a QB, signaling the end for Drew Lock as a starter? If there’s a chance all QB’s will be gone by 9, does he get super aggressive and trade several 1st round picks to move up? Will he go for a position of need on the defensive side of the ball such as inside linebacker or cornerback? Or could they trade the pick to acquire more picks in the late 1st/early 2nd rounds? Whatever Denver decides to do, this pick or move will have a big impact on the Broncos and ultimately, Paton’s legacy as a GM.
When looking at the QB situation this year, it’s safe to say there’s a TON of talent. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones certainly have the NFL talking but could we really see the Broncos land one of these highly touted men under center? Lawrence is going to Jacksonville so there’s no chance for Denver there. And unless Paton is willing to trade at least 3 first round picks (including #9) and perhaps a 2nd rounder, landing Zach Wilson is highly unlikely. So that leaves Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Jones’ stock has been on the rise since his pro day and Fields’ has been on a slight decline. Lance is a stud but the bottom line there is that he played in the FCS. Sure, plenty of players bust out of the FCS and manage very productive NFL careers, even hall of fame like, but there’s still some hesitation from me regardless of his insanely good numbers. My guess is San Francisco will take either Fields or Jones at 3, meaning Denver didn’t take the bait to slide up in the draft. Could the Falcons begin their process of replacing Matt Ryan and select a QB? Carolina is in the market as well so to me, outside of Trey Lance, I don’t think a quarterback will be around by pick 9 and from our small sample size of George Paton as a GM, I don’t see him getting too aggressive when it comes to moving up. I’m thinking Denver runs it back ONE more year with Lock.
So what then? No QB for the Broncos but there’s plenty of game changers in this one outside of the most important position in sports. Defensively, Paton has already improved Denver’s defense with a few free agent moves and simply securing their proven stars like Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Shelby Harris and Von Miller. Signing both Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby significantly upgraded a shaky cornerback room that was certainly a huge need before we hit free agency. However, Fuller and Bryce Callahan are only under contract for next season. There’s no guarantee either one of them will be back, plus, Head Coach Vic Fangio loves a room full of talented CB’s. Alabama’s Patrick Surtain, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley SHOULD all be there at 9 so it would be very tempting to stack your DB depth chart with a pick of one of those guys.
The defensive line is OK with Harris and Dre’Mont Jones in the mix but future improvement and depth will be likely addressed in a later round, not #9. Inside linebacker is the biggie for me. Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson are nice players but not much better than average at this stage. We still don’t know much about 5th round pick from 2020’s draft, Justin Strnad, after he suffered a season ending injury before the season began but If standout LB from Penn State, Micah Parsons is there at 9 it would be hard to pass up. It could very well come down to corner or linebacker for Paton and company.
IF Denver likes a mid to late first round guy like Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, I could see them trading back and perhaps acquiring a better second round pick similar to what they did 2 years ago with their 10th pick; moving back to select Noah Fant and acquiring an extra 2nd rounder to land both Dalton Risner and Drew Lock. If that happens, could they look at a RB in the second round with an extra selection on top of #40? Melvin Gordon has one year left on his deal and he’s not a top 10 back anymore. After the Broncos and Phillip Lindsay went their separate ways, a running back in an early round doesn’t seem that far fetched. Alabama’s Najee Harris is being compared to guys like Le’Veon Bell, big bodied and more importantly a dual-threat back, a skillset we know offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is big on.
So what to do at 9? Will Paton get crafty and wheel and deal a bit on day 1 of the draft? Move up, move back or stand pat? I know we haven’t learned THAT much about Paton but judging by his moves in free agency, he seems to take things a bit slower than John Elway did. Perhaps more calculated and willing to let moves play out or come to him rather than pouncing on every shiny object he sees. My prediction? Denver stays put at 9. IF Justin Fields somehow drops to 9, I think they go QB. But if not, which is more than likely, and Parsons is there at 9, I think the Broncos will have a stud Inside LB for the first time in a while. There’s a chance Parson’s and Fields are both gone by 9 so if that’s the case, look for Denver to grab another corner like Surtain, Farley or Horn.
Check out my top 5 board for Denver below:
- Micah Parsons LB
- Patrick Surtain CB
- Caleb Farley CB
- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB
- Jaycee Horn – CB
My unlikely move but would sign off:
- Denver trades 2 first round picks including #9 and a 3rd rounder to move up to #4 (Atlanta) and get Justin Fields.
My pick friendly move:
- Trade #9 back and set up in the 20’s to select Owusu-Koramoah while acquiring an extra second rounder.
- take RB Harris inside #40
- take a Corner or LT at #40