A Plan and Direction for HC Sean Payton, GM George Paton, and the FO: Trade up scenarios, trade down, stay where they are? article by Travis Wakeman of Predominantly Orange actually has a few proposal trades that gets Denver moving up to the top 3. Each of those are costly, but does limit the damage that would otherwise not get rid of any one of their other players in the process. Here's what his trade ideas consist of:

If they trade for NE's #3 pick:

New England gets: 2024 first-round pick (No. 12 overall) and third-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 second-round pick, WR Jerry Jeudy

Denver gets: #3 pick

In this scenario, the Broncos would finally rid themselves of Jerry Jeudy who could get a fresh start in New England with a team that could use another playmaker at the wide receiver position.

The Broncos would have the No. 3 choice and would be free to take either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels, this year's Heisman Trophy winner, but they would sure pay for it and would not have another first-round choice until 2026, unless they were able to acquire one another way.

This ensures that Denver can keep CS as their primary WR and keeps PSII while dishing away a disgruntled WR that the fans have been really mixed over.

If they trade for Washington's #2 pick:

Washington gets: 2024 first-round pick (No. 12 overall), 2025 first-round pick, 2026 first and third-round picks, LT Garett Bolles

Denver gets: #2 pick

The Commanders would end up with a total of two extra first-round picks as well as Garett Bolles, one of the better left tackles in the league, one who would be a big upgrade over the player they currently have at the left tackle spot, Charles Leno.

If the Broncos made this trade, either Maye or Daniels, whoever they chose, would have to be a home run selection. And then some.

This is an odd choice right there because...while Denver does get freed of G-Bolles' $20M cap hit, would it be worth sacrificing him just to grab a QB? Denver would still have Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Patrick Surtain sticking around for the time being, but it would make LT a very big need in the draft/FA.

And finally, the Chicago Bears and their #1 pick. This is where it gets juicy from TW.

Chicago gets: 2024 first-round pick (No. 12 overall), 2025 first and second-round picks, 2026 first-round pick, CB Pat Surtain II

Denver gets: #1 pick

If you are shaking your head at the thought of that trade, you should be. The Bears would get four picks from the Broncos as well as Pat Surtain II, the player many feel is the best cornerback in the NFL and one who is thought to be worth at least two first-round picks in any potential trade the Broncos could consider for him.

You may be thinking that there is no way the team would have to give this much up but when you consider that it Williams (a much higher rated prospect than Young), I can promise you a potential deal would look very much like this.

As painful as it is to look at this particular trade, I will tell you that it's better than one Peter Jurich had in mind, which was that Denver offers 3 1sts, 2 2nds, and Courtland Sutton.

The problem one would have with Denver is that...should they trade down, you risk some other QB-needy team to swoop in and steal the QB that the Broncos maybe perhaps would want in the draft. Seattle and LV are the only two teams that would be of worry to see Denver trade back past since LV is in question of finding a long-term solution there and Seattle has question marks surrounding Geno Smith and Drew Lock's futures.

And this is the part where it gets interesting involving Sean Payton because...Sayre Bedinger said in an article that a long while ago, in 2017, when Payton and the Saints held the 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft, they made a "secret" trip to Lubbock, Texas to visit Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes, a player who was polarizing during the lead up to the 2017 NFL Draft. It's funny to look back on now, but people were turned off by comparisons to Brett Favre with Mahomes' game. There were people who said at the time that you "don't take Texas Tech QBs" because those guys never work out in the NFL.

Link can be found right here:

Sean Payton and his coaching staff were enamored with Mahomes and they were so blown away by him in their pre-draft meetings that Payton didn't even want anyone to know the Saints had made the trip to visit Mahomes. They kept their interest in him quiet leading up to the NFL Draft, but perhaps not quiet enough.

As the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft went along, the Saints had apparently resolved to select either Mahomes or Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with that 11th overall pick. As Payton tells the story, the Saints felt that by the time the Bills were on the clock with the 10th overall pick, they were satisfied with landing either Mahomes or Lattimore. But the Bills traded the 10th pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, who selected Mahomes.

Taking Mahomes would have been a clear investment in the future, and the Saints weren't in nearly the same "desperate" kind of position back then as Payton and the Broncos are in right now.

But the Saints' reticence to go get Mahomes based on how highly they thought of him in the lead-up to the 2017 NFL Draft is a cautionary tale for Payton now.

Almost in an eerily similar way, the Denver Broncos are picking 12th overall in this year's NFL Draft with the quarterback position clearly in focus.

If they stay where they are, it likely gets them Bo Nix, Michael Penix or J.J. McCarthy, assuming some other team ahead of them doesn't take any one of those three.

Trading back could get Denver a 2nd, but it wouldn't be wise if you let some other QB-needy team to steal a QB ahead of Denver that they may not like. If Sean Payton has learned anything from his 2017 mistake, one can surely hope he does not do the same thing while with Denver.

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