John Elway and Denver Broncos formally introduced Case Keenum as a freshly signed free agent quarterback. Elway, in his opening remarks, went a bit further than that and introduced him as the new starting quarterback of the Broncos.
“After talking to our whole coaching staff and personnel department, we were all in agreement that Case was going to be the target,” Elway said of how the Broncos decided on Case Keenum. “He’s the best fit for us, and with his leadership qualities, if you look at Case’s history and what he’s done, he’s come through a lot being undrafted but he’s battled his way through everything. Everything we thought that Case had—not only what he can do on the field but what he can do off the field as far as leadership qualities, the grit that he has, the way that he plays the game and the way that he competes—he was the perfect fit for us. We’re extremely excited to welcome Case to Denver and we really have high expectations for what we can do and what he can add, especially on the offensive side. With that being said, I’d like to introduce you to the new starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Case Keenum.”
Why does it matter? Because even if the Broncos draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, they feel comfortable and confident that Keenum will be the guy heading into the offseason, training camp, and ultimately Week 1 of the regular season.
For the first time since 2015, the Broncos have a firm starting quarterback in mind long before minicamp and training camp.
Head coach Vance Joseph followed up by affirming Elway’s opening statement, going even further than that by saying that Keenum would be the starter regardless of how the draft played itself out.
“No, Case is the starter right now,” Joseph said when asked if drafting a quarterback would change Keenum’s position as the starter. “Having Case as our starter and Paxton as the two right now, with that fifth pick we have flexibility now. To have a chance to pick in the top five is obviously a good thing for this football team. Moving forward, we don’t want to be in the top five so we have to take advantage of being in the top five of the first, second and third round. You can really find impact players. When the Broncos last picked in the top five, who was the pick? Von Miller. We want a guy at the level of Von Miller. We’ll see who that person is, but to have a chance to pick in the top five of the first, second and third round for this place is different. We shouldn’t be there anymore.”
Though he spoke of targeting other positions in the Top 5, the contract Keenum received is one that begs for a “fallback” quarterback and I think most of us realize that isn’t going to be Paxton Lynch.
However, that quarterback isn’t going to be trying to supplant a fringe starter like Trevor Siemian this time. He’ll be going up against a veteran quarterback who is coming off a monster year, so the likelihood of there being any kind of quarterback competition is almost laughable.
This is the kind of situation that could afford the Broncos to opportunity to properly develop a young quarterback, especially if he has the work ethic and drive to be successful in the NFL. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out in April.
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