With the benching of Russell Wilson, Sean Payton made it very clear that he is in pursuit of a different quarterback to be the future of the Denver Broncos franchise. The big question remains now is “How is he going to find one?”
The Broncos are currently slated to pick 12th in the 2024 NFL Draft. They are also $20 million dollars over the salary cap. That means bidding on a free agent quarterback or trading for one with a large cap hit seems very unlikely. All and all, the draft—for various reasons—is most certainly the way to go.
But what kind of prospect can the Broncos expect to find at the #12 pick? That’s far too late to select Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels—the prospect triumvirate viewed as the best quarterbacks available and surefire Top 5 locks. Nevertheless, there are some who want the Broncos to be as aggressive as possible. A bold move up to secure one of the top three is their preferred option. But just how realistic would that endeavor be?
Sean Payton believes Caleb Williams is a 'truly generational player' & is good enough that somebody will tank for him+cause the NFL to move to a lottery system to stop it happening again— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) October 13, 2023
I bring this up for no particular reason this October evening...pic.twitter.com/yGqS2YKfeV
The Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots all need quarterbacks. Unless you are operating under the belief that the Bears will choose to retain Justin Field and perhaps trade the #1 pick to the highest bidder. There are also several teams picking behind those spots who could realistically take a quarterback as well. Not to mention the Broncos lack draft capital when compared to those ahead of them.
After the Wilson and Payton trades, the franchise is operating at a three-year deficit of first and second-round draft selections compared to virtually every other team. Considering the roster is filled with a ton of holes as is, I’m not too sure the Broncos are in the position to be giving up at several more drafts worth of premium picks. But for a franchise altering quarterback, perhaps the Broncos’ brass is willing to pull the trigger.
The team does have a proverbial wildcard in Patrick Surtain II. Undoubtedly the best player on the Broncos, some fans have discussed him as a player to be traded in a catapult move up into the Top 3 of this year’s draft. I get the idea, but I’m not sure how keen the decision makers in Dove Valley are on moving him. And in my opinion, trading one of the league’s best defensive players isn’t an apt solution to the Broncos quarterback problem.
Michigan’s J.J McCarthy, whom Jim Harbaugh called “the greatest quarterback” in the school’s history, announced he is declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/q9tOrZDlpo— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 14, 2024
My initial hunch is the Broncos will take a wait and see approach at the position. Several prospects including J.J. McCarthy (who just declared today), Bo Nix, and Michael Penix Jr. should all be available when the Broncos pick. All of them have their flaws, but all of them do possess qualities Payton, George Paton, and the Broncos scouting department will all like quite a bit.
Maybe, just maybe, they will feel strongly about one of those three and take them at with the twelfth selection. If not, they could even try and trade down, acquire more picks, and still have a good shot at getting one of them while boosting their draft selection arsenal. And the least preferable option—skipping out on a first-round quarterback entirely whilst rolling the dice on a Day 2 prospect to bring in as competition alongside a veteran.
So, what’s it going to be, Broncos Country? Should the Broncos be aggressive in their pursuit of a franchise signal caller or be patient during the 2024 NFL Draft? We don’t know what will happen, but it’s going to be exciting to see how it all plays out in the months to come.
How should the Broncos approach finding their quarterback of the future?
This poll is closed
Be aggressive. Even if that means trading someone like Patrick Surtain II.
They can trade multiple years of premium picks to move up. Just don’t trade Patrick Surtain II.
I’d like to see them be patient. Taking one at #12 or even trading down to select one.