Top five picks in my Mock Draft 3.0:— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) March 28, 2018
1. Browns: QB Josh Allen
2. Giants: QB Sam Darnold
3. Jets: QB Josh Rosen
4. Browns: RB Saquon Barkley
5. Broncos: QB Baker Mayfield
Full 1-32: https://t.co/87qnTR2YVB
That quarterback obviously being former Oklahoma and Heisman winning quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Here is what Kiper had to say about his decision to mock Mayfield to the Broncos.
5. Denver Broncos
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Count me among the people who believe the Broncos are still in for a quarterback at No. 5, even after signing Case Keenum to a two-year deal. That’s a short-term commitment with only $25 million guaranteed, and Denver can’t pass up a guy it thinks could be the face of its franchise for at least a decade. General manager John Elway was among the people in attendance at Mayfield’s pro day on the first day of free agency. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner put up huge numbers at Oklahoma, and he has moxie that NFL teams love. If Denver decides against a quarterback, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson fills a major need.”
I agree with Kiper that the Broncos are not out of the quarterback market. Keenum is only a two-year deal and they could part ways with him after realistically after one season. Passing on a quarterback leaves the Broncos in a murky position and going down a risky avenue. Paxton Lynch is a bust and Chad Kelly nearly went undrafted for a reason(and it all wasn’t off the field/injury concerns).
Securing your quarterback of the future who has similar traits to your starter makes a ton of sense. Some will call the Broncos quarterback interest a farce and a smokescreen, but let us be real here. The Broncos first-round picks have been pretty obvious the last few years. (I nailed both, even the trade up for Lynch). History tells us that this is not an elaborate smokescreen.
Now, Kiper does leave a glimmer of hope for the no quarterback crowd. He finishes his thoughts by adding “If Denver decides against a quarterback, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson fills a major need.”.
This is true, and Nelson is arguably the best prospect in the entire draft and would solidify the Broncos interior offensive line. The Broncos did talk up Connor McGovern and J.J. Dielman recently, but they did the same last year with Ty Sambrailo before selecting Garett Bolles in the first-round. So we will have to wait and see there.