In the draft, which is a month away, the Broncos, with the fifth pick, will select . . .
Who knows? I don’t know. You don’t know. Mel Kiper Jr. doesn’t know. All the yak jockeys don’t know. The Broncos’ Boss, John Elway, said over the weekend at the league meetings he doesn’t know, and I believe him.
Nobody is even sure that the Broncos will select anybody at No. 5 because they could trade the choice.
Here’s what we do know: If the Broncos hold onto their pick, they can draft a quarterback.
How could that be? There’s supposedly the Fab Four: They are (in alphabetical order) Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen. However, Lamar Jackson also is available, and he did win a Heisman Trophy before Mayfield. Vance Joseph, at the meetings, offered a glowing evaluation about Jackson until the coach said he thought the quarterback would be very good in three or four years. No team will draft a quarterback if the top five if it has to wait that long for a quarterback to develop.
On the surface, it would appear the Broncos could draft a quarterback at the fifth spot because the Browns own two picks (Nos. 1 and 4) before them, and surely wouldn’t draft two players at the same position. The Browns most likely will draft a quarterback (Allen or Darnold) and running back Saquon Barkley, or they could trade the fourth pick to a team such as the Bills, who dearly want a young quarterback – despite the signing of AJ McCarron – or the Cardinals.
Is it possible that three New York teams – it’s generally forgotten that Buffalo is in the state of New York, too – could wind up picking quarterbacks back-to-back-to back? The Giants possess the No. 2 overall, and the Jets traded with the Colts to move up from sixth to third. If the Bills got the fourth, the top four picks could be Allen, Darnold, Rosen and Mayfield.
And the Broncos would get the pick of the litter (not litter, as trash) of the rest of all the players at other positions.
Then they could choose Barkley, pass-rushing defensive end Bradley Chubb, guard Quinton Nelson or versatile defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Or they could a deal with the Cardinals for their first three picks in the draft (15th in each round).
I think that the Broncos won’t actually know until they pick – because of all the possibilities in the four spots ahead of theirs. That’s the reason they’ll be bringing the top four quarterbacks to Dove Valley for pre-draft meetings.
Overall, the Broncos are permitted, by league rule, to bring a maximum of 30 players to their headquarters (but not for testing) before the draft.
Last year the Broncos had close to the max (27 players) visit. They’ve already interviewed approximately 40 players at the East-West Game, the Senior Bowl (coached by the Broncos), the NFL combine and Pro Days. Interestingly, they did talk to Barkley at the combine, but not Chubb, Nelson or Fitzpatrick.
Another aspect to consider is that the Broncos list only three running backs on their current off-season roster. Elway admitted he doesn’t know the future of C.J. Anderson, and the only other two with the Broncos are Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson.
We do know these things:
The Broncos have nine picks, all in the first five rounds. (They owned eight in the first five rounds in 2009, and managed to get only three – Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers and David Bruton – who eventually contributed to the team. Ayers, a first-rounder was not much.)
The Broncos probably will draft (in no certain order) a tight end, a running back, a wide receiver, an offensive guard, a defensive end, an inside linebacker, an outside linebacker, a safety and a cornerback.
But, after daily debate for months, they might not draft even one quarterback.
Elway continues to talk in a positive way about the future of Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly, after a redshirt year, could contend to stay on the roster.
And the Broncos, of course, did sign Case Keenum to a two-year contract.
As Elway says, the Broncos have a month to sort it all out. Then, three more days of the draft.
Last year a prominent draft analyst with NFL.com, Chad Reuter, did not predict correctly any of the eight Broncos picks. Yet, he did have the Broncos taking tackle Ryan Ramczyk and running back Alvin Kamara in the first two rounds. They could have chosen both – who had better seasons with the Saints than Garett Bolles and DeMarcus Walker did with the Broncos. Kamara was the offensive rookie of the year.
Reuter has the Broncos taking Baker Mayfield with the fifth pick.