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Debating the Broncos’ first-round options

Until George Paton signals what the Broncos are doing for QB, the questions will abound, the opinions will multiply and the debates will continue.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There was a lot of quarterback talk on Broncos Country Tonight Wednesday, beginning with grilling Pro Football Focus’ George Chahrouri on why he compared Alabama’s Mac Jones to a Honda Accord and culminating with a “Take the case to court” segment with Andrew Mason on whether the Broncos should trade up to get a quarterback in the draft.

Chahrouri had waded into some rough waters last week with Edwards and Allbright -in which he had argued on a PFF podcast that if he were the Broncos and had to choose between Mac Jones or Trey Lance, he’d pick Jones:

“This is tough... but I would Iean Mac Jones,” Chahrouri said, adding that he was even surprised by that answer since he has Lance above Jones on his draft board. But for the Broncos’ offense, Jones’ dependability is a win. “I know Mac Jones can throw the ball accurately, understands schemes well, and I think he’s being underrated because he’s not a freakish athlete.”

So the BCT co-hosts felt compelled to revisit the Jones issue with Chahrouri again this week because the PFF writer compared the Niners’ trade up to No. 3 for Jones “like paying $150,000 for a Honda Accord.”

To which Chahrouri defended his comparison:

“That was not slander toward the Honda Accord, a phenomenal car. You’re not buying a Honda Accord for $150,000. And that was my point. Mac Jones is a perfectly fine car. You might draft him at 15. But you are not drafting him at three. Because at three you are drafting a player whose ceiling is a top three quarterback in the NFL. And Mac Jones’ ceiling is probably Kirk Cousins...and that’s just not a car you’re not paying $150,000 for.”

In truth, the Jones-Lance question was a hypothetical, “what if you had to choose from only these two,” so it wasn’t a completely fair question.

What is a fair question is the million-dollar one - is it worthwhile for the Broncos to trade up for a quarterback in the draft?

“I’m a huge proponent of going up if there is someone in there who you think has a ceiling of a top five guy,” Chahrouri said. “If Mac Jones goes to the 49ers, then the door swings wide open because you have a couple teams who might want to move up and may be a little hesitant and the Broncos just have to move ahead of them.”

Take the case to court

It was the perfect setup for the next segment as counselors Edwards and Allbright made their cases before the Honorable Andrew Mason on this very question of trading up.

Edwards’ case in favor:

Broncos have had sub-par performance at quarterback and we know George Paton has said he will add to the quarterback room. Wouldn’t you want to add upside? People have thrown out some names like..

Nick Foles? Ugh. It’s like eating kale chips - terrible.

Sam Darnold? Well you’ve got to trade a Day 2 pick, and you might use that Day 2 pick on a good player.

Gardner Minshew? Could take a flyer on that.

Or get a guy on his rookie contract that has all the upside in the world, bring him in, opportunity as GM to firmly plant your feet on the ground and set this franchise in a direction it has desperately needed to go for a long time.

With Macorckle Jones could go as early as the third overall pick to the Niners, Trey Lance and Justin Fields could be available. And did you know Fields had an 83.2% adjusted accuracy, according to Football Outsiders, the best rate recorded in past six years?

Justin Fields available at 4 or 5? If that’s all you’ve got to do is tell the Bengals to get their offensive tackle at No. 9, do it. He is a franchise changer. The Broncos need a big boost.

I love Drew Lock, but I’m not willing to risk my career that Drew Lock is going to get it. Get Justin Fields and this team improves.

Allbright’s case against:

The reality is that trading up is inefficient.

The Harvard Sports Collective’s “career added value” is a measurement of how a player does over the course of his career. And the difference between players is significantly less than the exponential cost that it takes to trading up.

So trading up in and of itself is wildly inefficient, especially within the top 10. George Paton should know this. They traded up to get Teddy Bridgewater. If you think he’s a franchise quarterback, let me tell you what the Carolina Panthers are trying to do with him right now. I think George Paton learned his lesson.

If you think you love a quarterback, well ok, go get your guy. But do you really love any of these quarterbacks? If an 80% adjusted accuracy rate meant anything in the NFL, if college statistics meant anything in the NFL, we’d be talking about Hall of Famer Timmy Chang and Klif Klingsbury as quarterbacks instead of a coach and a guy in jail.

Do we need improvement at quarterback? Absolutely.

Do we need to get out over our skis and overextend ourselves? Absolutely not.

The verdict...

Mason found both arguments compelling but ultimately couldn’t give up the draft capital that would be necessary to trade up and liked the argument about the inefficiency of trading up in the draft. But while he gave the victory to Allbright, he added that his personal opinion is “if you love one of these quarterbacks, you need to be bold, move up and get him.”

I was a guest on BCT last Friday and was essentially asked to weigh in on this dilemma as well - should the Broncos trade up to get a quarterback?

Knowing that it’s George Paton’s opinion that’s important not mine, my answer was possibly a cop-out but mostly a plea - I want our GM to make the choice that he believes is the long-term solution for the Broncos and then stick with it, putting every effort into developing that quarterback.

So like Mase, I’m in favor of going after the rookie QB if Paton really likes him and believes he has elite potential. Potential. But if it’s just throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks, then stay at nine or trade back, pick an awesome player and worry about QB another way.

If Paton thinks Drew Lock has enough to really develop into a top-tier quarterback in the NFL, then stick with him but give him every opportunity to make the necessary jump.

If Paton believes Zach Wilson or Justin Fields can be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, then he should do everything he can to trade up and get that guy.

Poll

Don’t tell me you’re tired of QB polls...which choice is the best for Denver right now?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Ride or die with Drew Lock as QB1
    (193 votes)
  • 30%
    Bring in some veteran competition, relatively cheap, to push Lock.
    (328 votes)
  • 45%
    Draft Justin Fields; make him QB1
    (493 votes)
  • 5%
    "Shasta" (other...to be defined in the comments)
    (61 votes)
1075 votes total Vote Now