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Horse Tracks: Should the Broncos trade up for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota?

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It's Draft Week, that means it's time to talk trades!

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond 2015, Denver's quarterback situation is far from finalized.

Peyton Manning is under contract through next season, but it's hard to image him playing a 19th season at 40 years old. Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert will both become free agents in 2016.

So, what do the Broncos have planned at quarterback?

Osweiler is a likely candidate, but the team may not feel that he's the answer. Whether they re-sign Osweiler or not, it appears likely that Denver will draft a quarterback later this week.

RelatedCheck out MHR's 2015 NFL Draft Story Stream

There are several prospects in the draft that are expected to be available in the mid-rounds, and local gunslinger Garrett Grayson is a sleeper to watch for. But why settle for a middle-of-the-pack QB when you can go after a dynamic QB that was arguably the best in the country a season ago?

The Broncos should trade up for Oregon's Marcus Mariota on Thursday.

Here's why it could happen

The Broncos have 13 tradable selections from 2015 and 2016, and at least Mike Klis expects them to trade up in the first round. They have 10 total selections this year, and it would not be surprising to see them move around on draft day.

When Manning first became available in 2012, few expected the Broncos to be among the teams in play for him. But John Elway went after Manning, and Denver got their franchise quarterback. If Elway feels that Mariota gives Denver the best chance to compete beyond 2015, he won't be afraid to pull the trigger. He's proved that during his time as Denver's G.M.

Some mock drafts have had Mariota falling to 10th overall, and even lower.

What would it take to trade from No. 28 to No. 10? A few picks and Osweiler, perhaps?

Osweiler does have some trade value (all QBs do), and the Texans were among several teams that inquired about trading for him last offseason. Trading up for Mariota would likely mean trading away Osweiler.

If Denver is sold on Mariota, it's worth trading up for him. It's hard to think of a QB not named Philip Rivers that would be a better option in 2016. If he falls on draft day, Mariota should be Denver's No. 1 priority.

Here's why it probably won't happen

Teams may not want to trade Mariota, a 21-year-old prospect, for Osweiler, who will turn 25 this fall and is yet to start an NFL game. Osweiler is also in the final year of his contract, so anyone who traded for him would either have to extend him this year or re-sign him after just one season.

It may also be hard for Denver to outbid the other teams interested in Mariota. The Eagles have been connected to Mariota for obvious reasons (Chip Kelly), and the Chargers have also been connected the Oregon QB.

Rumors have been heating up that Rivers may be on the trading block, and more than one journalist has projected a draft day trade that involves Mariota landing in San Diego.

Several teams are expected to try to trade for Mariota, lowering the odds of him landing in Denver.

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Goodbye, and thanks

I have so many people to thank for their support over these past 4.5 years. Obviously, you readers are first, because without you, there never would have been an IAOFM. I have boundless gratitude for your readership, loyalty, compliments, and criticisms; you made all of this worthwhile.

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