After just over a month into the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ve already seen a serious shift to the top of the draft, but the Denver Broncos couldn’t pull the trigger.
The Miami Dolphins, who participated in both moves on the 26th. March was involved – first he dropped to 12th in a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, then he dropped back to 6th in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. But the team that wasn’t involved in the deal may be the biggest loser of all the hype.
The Broncos entered the season with a shakeup in their front office, as John Elway stepped down as general manager and they brought in George Patton, who led the team in defensive additions for the first time. But their offense falls short, especially at quarterback, and they would be wise to set their sights on the Dolphins’ No. 3 right tackle.
Drew Lock is currently Denver’s starting QB, a candidate acquired from Elway who was considered an unimpressive option but, if placed in a favorable position, could grow into a top-15 starter. Not only has Locke had enough chances to prove he deserves the role with the Broncos, but he has repeatedly failed to produce enough on the field to justify not being the starter.
With at least four QBs (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance) in the first round this year, and the possibility of Mac Jones or Kyle Trask joining them, Patton and the Broncos certainly have options to pursue. But what keeps this Broncos team from keeping pace with the AFC West division is their inability to take risks.
Lock hasn’t done anything yet to have a chance at the starting position, but Patton may want to see him on the offensive with his arsenal before making a final decision.
Rookie Jerry Jeudy was solid last year, but Courtland Sutton, the current top option, missed the entire year with an injury. So it will be important for this attack to see both options coexist. Noah Fant’s timing was impressive last year, and his bond with Lock certainly got stronger as the season progressed, but because Lock also missed time on the injury list, they didn’t have a full season together.
The offensive line is underrated and perfectly positioned to help the rookie QB acclimate to the league, making this year’s draft the perfect time for the Broncos to take a leap forward.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and now the Niners likely to take the QB, the top three seems solid. The fourth team to decide to take a QB in the first round, and that seems to be between Fields and Lance, should be the Broncos, but Denver will probably have to move up from 9th if they want that last signal caller.
In a tight battle in the highly competitive AFC West division, the Broncos did themselves a disservice by not going for a much needed QB upgrade. With this draft offering a number of options for a first round franchise change, there is no better time than now to make those changes.
Patton just put his fingerprints on this team, and adding a starting QB puts most offensive weapons on the same timeline – Lock isn’t going to be the future starter of this team and hasn’t shown anything to indicate he’s already taken that role, so this draft is the best time to use the prospects of the QB class to see if this team is ready for the future.
Let’s hope for Denver fans that giving up on the Dolphins doesn’t hurt them in their search for a new option at the QB position.
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