Ever since it became clear earlier in the season that the 2023 Denver Broncos were not much better than the 2022 group, the mindset of many in Broncos Country seems to be hoping for one of two paths forward.
Either engineer a complete, miraculous turnaround or just completely tank the rest of the way. In other words, be really good, or be so bad to the point of having the position to draft people to make the team really good.
The nightmare scenario would be to be simply mediocre. Think a 6-11, 7-10 type of season. That will likely get Denver drafting in the top 15 but once again out of reach for generational type prospects like Drake Maye and Caleb Williams.
And that is a plausible fear for fans if the Broncos pull off the upset at home and beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time in 16 tries.
The Chiefs are once again Super Bowl contenders, but they are not playing like the juggernaut they’ve been in recent seasons, and the Broncos have been competitive with them the last three matchups. Beating anyone 16 times in a row in a professional league is astounding (as is 15, 14, 13, etc...), and that streak can’t last forever despite how it seems.
Yet, the question isn’t so much if the Chiefs are beatable, but what becomes the future outlook for the Broncos if they are indeed beat?
Many thought after the embarrassing loss to the Jets and Jerry Jeudy’s harsh comments about the offense that the team would embark on a fire sale of sorts, selling off any valuable asset they could for draft stock.
Leading up to the game Sunday, that has not yet happened, although perhaps the outcome of this game will determine any moves made before the Tuesday trade deadline.
From @AlbertBreer:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) October 25, 2023
“The Broncos are going to listen to trade inquiries on Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Garett Bolles, Josey Jewell, Justin Simmons and even Patrick Surtain II over the next six days.“
Should the Chiefs do as expected and leave town with a win, it’s more likely to see some of those names shipped off and the Broncos position themselves for a franchise changer in the draft.
Yet, should the Broncos put up an upset for their second win in a row, it would of course create a sense of pride to put down a division rival, one who has bested you 16 straight times. it would also come with questions such as, “Did we just screw away our future?”
IF the Broncos win, of course, it could mean the start of a miraculous turnaround mentioned above, and it’s fair to say most fans would be more than okay with that. Yet, in the more logical sense of it being more of a one-off, and the team goes back to losing, one couldn’t blame fans for being frustrated.
This is a league when the best QBs are young talents picked in the earlier part of the first round. Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, and Mahomes are proof of that. The best two Broncos QBs in team history were both #1 overall picks...by the Colts, but ended up Broncos. Having a guy who can reshape the direction of the franchise is enticing.
Unfortunately, guys like that don’t come around often. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye sit alone in that regard for this coming draft (although, that isn’t to say there aren’t other good prospects at the position as well). And even a couple of wins could take a team out of the running for them.
The Panthers, Bears, Patriots, Cardinals, Giants, and others are all teams who could see themselves drafting among the top three.
Would a win over the Chiefs be fun? Sure. Of course it would. Yet, would it be worth it in the long run if it means the Broncos are stuck drafting too late in the first round and miss their window to draft the next face of the franchise?
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