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Future Broncos: Franchise quarterback unlikely to be found in 2019 NFL Draft

A long-term franchise quarterback is undoubtedly the biggest need for the Denver Broncos moving forward. Unfortunately, the 2019 NFL Draft doesn’t seem to offer much in that respect.

NCAA Football: Duke at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have underwhelmed in their 2018 campaign and are currently sporting a lackluster 3-6 record during their bye week. In fact, underwhelmed is probably a huge understatement. Without question, it has been a season plagued with poor performances across the board and a forgettable adventure to say the least. At each and every turn, the Broncos can’t seem to get out of their own way.

In order to find their way, the franchise needs to (and will) revamp its coaching staff for next season. It would be a great surprise and almost unfathomable to see Vance Joseph on the sidelines leading the team in 2019. Who is on John Elway’s shortlist of candidates? That’s anybody’s guess, but finding a coach with the vision and creativity to rejuvenate their offense and get the most out of their young talent seems likely. Above all else, finding a coach who can develop and groom a quarterback for the future, which is most certainly the team’s greatest need moving forward should be a top priority.

If the franchise continues to embark on a familiar road to nowhere the rest of the season they will likely wind up with a top ten selection. Though all of Broncos Country would love to find their future signal caller as soon as possible, this year’s crop of talent is tenuous at best and the odds of Denver finding themselves a top-tier quarterback seems quite dubious. While it is entirely possible for the Broncos to make a bold move up the draft boards to select their top-ranked quarterback, the 2020 NFL Draft appears to be much deeper and should provide a handful of quality prospects to choose from. Even though the desperation for a franchise quarterback is at an all-time high, it is unlikely to be the best move the franchise can make in the upcoming draft — a statement I have made for months.

But if not a quarterback, what would be the best route for the Broncos to go in the first round in the 2019 NFL Draft?

A premium pick should necessitate addressing a premium position. It is a loaded defensive line class and Denver most certainly has a long-term need on the interior. With two phenomenal edge rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, adding another blue-chip defender to their trenches would be the start of making the Broncos’ defense a fearsome for to reckon with for years to come. If the franchise can’t find their quarterback of a future, doing whatever they can to make the lives of their opponents who have one difficult isn’t a terrible consolation plan.

We have all witnessed the struggle of second-year offensive tackle Garett Bolles and know that Jared Veldheer is only a one-year rental. The free agency crop at offensive tackle doesn’t seem too great and the franchise has made a lot of poor investments in that regard over the past few seasons — so I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar they will find a solution on that avenue. Alabama’s Jonah Williams would be a remedy for the Broncos’ dire need at tackle, but outside of him there doesn’t appear to be a top ten caliber prospect available.

While I’m a fan of Greg Little, Yodny Cajuste and have raved above Dalton Risner in an earlier segment, they probably aren’t guys you take that early on. If it isn’t Williams, I don’t see anyone else worth picking in the first round at the position unless the Broncos trade back — which could very well be the direction they go to amass future picks to ensure they can get their guy (quarterback wise) in 2020.

Everyone knows that the No Fly Zone has had it’s share of ups and downs this season, with soon to be free agent Bradley Roby being a player who hasn’t stepped up like the team had hoped. You can definitely mark cornerback down as one of the team’s biggest needs entering the draft. As I mentioned in an earlier Future Broncos segment, you should hone in on Greedy Williams of Louisiana State and Deandre Baker of Georgia. Those are two candidates who will be considered greatly in the first round for Denver.

Outside of those prospects names I’m high on at positions of need, albeit positions that may not necessarily “move the marker” so to say are tight end Noah Fant out of Iowa, inside linebacker’s Mack Wilson of Alabama and Devin White of LSU, as well as safety Deionte Thompson of Alabama. I would even throw Josh Allen out of Kentucky into the mix as well, because he may be too darn good to pass up and may be the best defender in all of college football. The versatile Wildcat defender has racked up 59 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles in just nine games. He is definitely someone you will want to keep your eye on.

So Broncos Country, are you up or down on this year’s quarterback class? If so, tell us who you love and think the franchise should consider at the position in the first round. If you are down on this year’s crop of quarterbacks, let us know who you would be thrilled if the Broncos’ selected early on.