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The Broncos’ quarterback contenders should be 2K and Josh3.
And neither available ex-Sooner should be a candidate.
I’ve been begging the Broncos to draft specific players since 1975, and they, especially John Elway since 2011, never have listened to me.
But I’ve been right on occasion, and the franchise, obviously, has been wrong.
Allow me to cite a few examples on both sides:
On April 16, 2017, I wrote a column for The Colorado Springs Gazette recommending that the Broncos select Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs in the third round. They didn’t – preferring Chad Kelly, late of Ole Miss, with the final pick in the final round.
I added: The Broncos also should draft Alvin Kamara, the Tennessee running back they’ve interviewed, in the second round. He could be the best of the bunch.
The Broncos didn’t draft Dobbs or Kamara.
Kamara was picked by the Saints in the third round, and Dobbs, who has a degree in aerospace engineering and was the MVP in the Senior Bowl, was chosen by the Steelers in the fourth round.
Dobbs didn’t play a down in the regular season as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones.
But he could be Pittsburgh’s QB of the future.
Kamara was the league’s offensive rookie of the year with 728 yards rushing and 826 yards in receptions, and 13 touchdowns.
Instead of those two, the Broncos drafted defensive end DeMarcus Walker in the second round and wide receiver Carlos Henderson in third. They didn’t factor at all as rookies. Walker was recast for a while as an outside linebacker, then became a healthy inactive. Henderson was unhealthy the entire season.
In 2016 I pushed hard for the Broncos to draft quarterback Dak Prescott. They decided to draft quarterback Paxton Lynch, who I didn’t like.
However, Elway poked fun at me after the 2011 draft because I wanted the Broncos to select LSU cornerback-returner Patrick Peterson, who I believed was the best over player in the process. Cam Newton went 1, and Von Miller was No. 2. The Cardinals selected Peterson with the fifth pick. Newton and Miller played against each other in the Super Bowl, and Miller has been one of the most dominant NFL defensive players after marijuana issues (and a suspension).
Peterson had four touchdown returns as a rookie. He has 32 interceptions and fumble recoveries in seven seasons.
And he has earned a place in the Pro Bowl every season.
Edge to Elway, but I still like my guy Peterson.
Before accepting the sports columnist job in Denver in 1974 (after the NFL draft), I was a columnist for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. In 1972 I wrote about a young running back for Jackson State who was the most sensational I’d ever seen. He scored seven touchdowns, and two two-point conversions, and rushed for 279 yards in one game. He finished his college career with 3,500 yards and 65 touchdowns.
In 1975 I pleaded in the Rocky Mountain News that John Ralston do whatever he could to trade up and draft the kid from Mississippi, who the Broncos coach had seen in the Senior Bowl.
The Broncos stayed at No. 17 and made a great, but controversial, pick in cornerback Louis Wright, who should be in the Hall of Fame. At No. 4, the Bears selected Walter Payton, who ended his Hall of Fame career with the most rushing yardage in NFL history – 16,726 – and 110 touchdowns. He scored six touchdowns (running, receiving, returning) in one game.
Then, during the NFL strike season of ’82, as the sports columnist for The Denver Post, I spent every weekend on the road watching the best college players – including Eric Dickerson, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Following one game, I strolled into the office of Broncos’ coach Dan Reeves and said: “I’ve just seen the future of the NFL, and his name is John Elway. You’ve got to get this guy.”
“Doesn’t matter. There’s no chance at our spot (No. 4 overall),’’ he said. The Colts drafted Elway first overall. The Broncos picked guard Chris Hinton. Hinton was a great pick. He would play in seven Pro Bowls and was a starter for 13 years in the NFL with three teams.
The Broncos traded Hinton (and other items) to the Colts for Elway.
In December 2017, writing for thedenverchannel.com, I implored the Broncos to pursue two veteran quarterbacks – Kirk Cousins, first, and Case Keenum second. Both will be free agents.
But, if they can’t get one, they must draft at No. 5 (or higher via trade) Josh Rosen or Josh Allen, and sign veteran Josh McCown as the bridge starter or backup quarterback, and mentor to the rookie.
And the Broncos must not draft Sam Arnold, who belonged in school for another year, or Baker Mayfield, who won’t become an extraordinary NFL quarterback.