After months of speculation of who the Denver Broncos will draft, the picture has become a little bit clearer, but the positions the Broncos have been scouting are raising some eyebrows.
The Broncos have scouted more than a handful of the draft's top quarterback prospects, and not only that, they have been bringing these guys to Dove Valley to get to know them better. When asked if the Broncos' interest in quarterbacks was merely a smokescreen, John Elway had this to say:
"It's not a smokescreen," Elway said. "We realize, and I realize, how important that position is, and if there's a franchise guy there that we know is a franchise guy, we'd have to look at it."
Per a report from the Sporting news, the Broncos have or will add Ryan Mallett to the list of players they will look at more closely.
The question right now that everyone is wondering--whether you think this interest is a smokescreen or not--is, "Are the Broncos going to actually draft a quarterback?"
Fans would be shocked, to be sure, if the Broncos did decide to go forward and add another quarterback in the draft, especially if they are not eligible to trade any of the guys they currently have on the roster. Right now, the Broncos have taken a close look or will eventually take a close look at Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, and Ryan Mallett.
Kaepernick had a private workout for Broncos officials on March 31st, and will be back some time this month for a visit to Dove Valley. Jake Locker had a visit to Denver on April 1st, and it's been reported that he will also have a private workout for them.
Cam Newton will be in town on April 18th, and the Broncos sent a contingent (Elway, Fox, Xanders) to the Auburn pro day. They also sent their group to Missouri's pro day, and will have a private workout/visit with quarterback Blaine Gabbert (DE Aldon Smith, too).
Should Broncos fans be expecting the team to pick up a quarterback in April?
Right now, my best guess would be "yes" and I would expect them to do it within the first three rounds. I believe John Elway is not only posturing when he says the Broncos' interest in quarterbacks is not a smokescreen, but I also believe he is telling the honest-to-goodness truth.
As horrible as I think it would be, I think the Broncos believe there is a better quarterback in this draft long term than they have on their roster, and I think they are seriously going to consider picking one with one of their first four picks, and that includes the second overall pick.
In the first round, their options will likely be either Newton or Gabbert, and they would likely have to trade down or back into the first round to get Mallett or Locker. Ponder and Kaepernick are probably options in the 2nd-3rd round range.
The best option for the Broncos would be to stay away from the quarterbacks in this draft, but if they must take one, it would be prudent to wait until after their first round pick. Creating a giant logjam at quarterback is not going to fix the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL.