Draft guru Jon Ledyard made it clear on Broncos Country Tonight earlier this week that he does not think Drew Lock “is horrible at all,” but he still doesn’t know how the Broncos go into the 2021 season without drafting a rookie quarterback at the end of this month.
“I have no idea how Denver goes into next season, with the roster that they have, just saying we’re going to put it all in Drew Lock’s hands,” Ledyard told Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright.
To Ledyard’s thinking, looking at the AFC West and knowing that the Chiefs and Chargers have quarterbacks that are likely terrorizing the division for a long time, the Broncos cannot waste a top 10 pick on anything but a quarterback.
“You are at the top of the draft right now, and you’ve drafted a ton of talent, but if you believe in building through the draft...I don’t know how you look at the division and say, ‘we can do this with Drew Lock,’” Ledyard said. “If you’re that high in the draft, get in position and get yourself a quarterback. If you end up with two great options, awesome. But if you end up with just Lock, and he doesn’t mature as you hoped he would, you’re going to miss the playoffs again, and there’s just too much talent on that roster in my opinion to miss the playoffs.”
If the Broncos were unable to get a top rookie quarterback they liked and still needed to add veteran competition for Lock, Ledyard said the only choice in his mind would be trading for Gardner Minshew, but even then he would “probably give it an ‘F.’
“Oh, Minshew for sure. I have zero interest in Nick Foles. Zero interest in Teddy Bridgewater,” Ledyard said, noting that he “very much doubts” Minshew is going to be the guy either. “They are never going to get you where you want to go.”
The main thing for Ledyard is that the Broncos are picking in the top 10, and that is not a spot to waste when you don’t have a sure thing at QB.
“I feel passionately about this. It’s the most important position on the field,” he said, adding that he likes what Denver has done with the roster and believes it just got unlucky with injuries. “I don’t necessarily think Drew Lock is horrible but I don’t think there’s any way you can look at his play and say ‘he’s good enough to get us where we’re trying to go’ and be picking in the top 10 right now.”
When Hall-of-Fame safety Steve Atwater joined Edwards and Allbright on Tuesday, he wasn’t as adamant that the Broncos have to get one of the rookie quarterbacks with their first-round pick, but if George Paton still wants to add to the room, he definitely agrees with Ledyard that the Bridgewater/Foles/Minshew avenue is not the right one.
And so that really only leaves a rookie quarterback.
“George Paton watches a ton of film and he knows the type of quarterback he wants,” Atwater said, pointing out that if Paton had wanted Andy Dalton or Sam Darnold or any other free agent, he would have made a move. “But apparently he didn’t.”
When Allbright used that to say Paton not making a move yet to move up in the Draft proves he’s not as in a rookie quarterback, Atwater wasn’t ready to go that far. He could see the Broncos waiting to see what San Francisco and Atlanta actually do before making calls about trading up.
“Somebody’s B.S-ing,” Atwater said. “We don’t know what some of those teams in the top five are going to do with their picks. And it may be an opportunity to move up on Draft Day and it may be a little bit less if you wait until then versus doing it now when you’re showing your hand.”
On our Something Something Broncos pod this week, Jess Place and I talked about this very thing. While he’s more certain Paton will stick with Lock at quarterback, I kind of see this the way Atwater does.
We know they want to add to the QB room and the options currently out there are only nominally better than Lock if at all. So a rookie seems like the greatest opportunity there. And depending how Draft night goes, Justin Fields or maybe even Trey Lance could be options for the Broncos even at No. 9.
Do agree with Ledyard that it would be a waste of this roster to not go for a quarterback when picking in the top 10?
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