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John Elway: We have a lot of opportunities at five now

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The Denver Broncos signing of Case Keenum gives them some flexibility with the fifth pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After signing Case Keenum, the Denver Broncos will have some flexibility with the fifth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. John Elway, when asked about drafting a quarterback fifth overall, he chose instead to talk a lot about Paxton Lynch.

“Paxton is still young,” Elway said on whether a quarterback will be considered with the fifth overall pick. “We still have high hopes for Paxton. He’s a young guy that is talented. He’s been here for two years and had a tough year last year with the injuries and everything, but we still have high hopes for Paxton to come in here and compete and continue to grow as a quarterback. That is the expectation for Paxton.

“We have a lot of opportunities at five now. We’re in good spots. We’re high in a lot of rounds. As I said, it’s going to be important for us to find guys that can help our football team. We’ll continue to work that. We still have to go through the free agency side. Once we get into our draft meetings the first of April, than we’ll start looking at all of the different ways we could possibly go there.”

That is a lot of time spent talking up a player many fans have already moved on from as a long-term option at quarterback. However, if 3-4 quarterbacks go early before the Broncos pick fifth, then it might make sense to take the best talent available and worry about the long-term quarterback problem at a later date.

Then again, quarterbacks are really hard to find in today’s NFL. Elway is playing his cards close to his vest, but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that quarterback is still the position group at the top of their big board of needs heading into the draft.

“They’re hard to find,” Elway said when asked about quarterbacks. “It’s a tough spot to play. There are a lot of expectations. People around this, as Case knows and I know, you need good people around you to be successful. It’s a hard position. There are a lot pressure on it. You’ve got to play with consistency and there are a lot of people that rely on that position. It’s a hard position to play, especially when you rely on that position so much. We’ll continue to try and get better around it, but it’s a big part of what we can do as a team.”

With Keenum, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the Broncos went out and got a top tier talent at another position - especially if teams ahead of them went heavy on the quarterback position early.

That said, quarterbacks are indeed hard to find and Keenum only received a two-year deal. That tends to suggest the Broncos are still going to target a quarterback with their fifth pick. The future of the franchise is most certainly at stake as Elway enters the most important draft of his tenure as general manager of the Broncos.

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