On Wednesday we reported on the Broncos’ having the largest contingent present at the University of Oklahoma’s pro day to watch Baker Mayfield and his teammates. Denver was the only team to send both their GM and their head coach, and one of only three that sent their GM or head coach at all. The rest of the league was more focused on the first day of free agency and getting all those deals done.
Thursday brought another significant pro day, this time for the UCLA Bruins and quarterback Josh Rosen. And again, the Broncos’ representatives were numerous: John Elway, Vance Joseph, and Gary Kubiak were all in attendance, along with others.
Rosen had a good showing in his pro day, attempting to separate himself from the pack by staging his workout outdoors. Afterward, he laid claim to a distinction that Baker Mayfield is also fond of claiming: that he is the most accurate QB in the 2018 NFL draft class. Both are very accurate QBs, and the point could be argued either way.
Going forward, expect the Broncos to continue the present pattern and heavily attend all of the top quarterback prospects’ pro days.
Sam Darnold’s opportunity is coming up on March 21st, and the young USC passer is certainly another contender for the favor of John Elway & company. Two days later, Josh Allen and the rest of the University of Wyoming’s NFL draft prospects will make their cases. Allen is often noted as being a prototypical Elway quarterback, though the Cowboy has arguably overtaken Mayfield as the most polarizing QB of the draft. Will Gary Kubiak’s influence be enough to sway the Broncos from the traditional Elway pick?
Lamar Jackson will be the last of the anticipated 1st round QB prospects to show his stuff. Louisville’s pro day will be on March 29th, and may play a big role in determining whether Jackson is drafted at or near the end of the 1st round or if he can persuade a team further up the draft board to fall in love with him.
It will be very interesting to watch and see how the Broncos handle scouting for pro days taking place on other dates than those of the top QB prospects. If the Elway, Joseph, Kubiak trifecta split up very often, it would be a strong indicator that their interest in these young signal callers is a top priority. And if they do split up for some of those pro days but not others, it will be interesting to see which non-QB prospects they come back together to watch.
As a rule, the Broncos aren’t great at hiding their intentions in the first round. Last year Garrett Bolles was the expected pick weeks before the draft, and the Paxton Lynch pick surprised no one in 2016 either. When it’s March in Dove Valley, there’s almost always fire where you see smoke. And right now the amount of smoke hanging around the 1st round QB prospects seems to be somewhere between that of a good size forest fire and a small volcano.
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