What Should Denver Do at QB Next Season?
It’s been five years since the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and five years since they last had a winning season. Ever since Peyton Manning retired after the Super Bowl win, Denver and now former GM John Elway has been questioned in regard to scouting quarterback talent. From Paxton Lynch to Case Keenum, the Broncos have had a tough time finding the right man for the job. Second-year quarterback Drew Lock was given his chance last season to prove he was that man, but was underwhelming, to say the least.
With high hopes coming into his sophomore season, Lock underperformed. The Missouri alum had a 4-9 record as the starter with only 16 touchdown passes compared to 15 interceptions. The arm talent showed flashes, but the decision making was just not there. There were too many instances where Lock went for the home run ball instead of the nice, easy completion. The Broncos QB ranked 2nd in turnovers last season and 20th in QB rating.
This is a talented, young team that has tremendous potential. With Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Noah Fant, Denver has one of the best young receiving corps in the entire league. Newly hired GM, George Paton needs to make sure that this talent doesn’t go to waste. Paton believes Lock could potentially develop into a franchise quarterback but hasn’t evaluated him enough to be 100% sure. “I think we all want the franchise quarterback, and that’s the No. 1 goal is trying to draft and develop or acquire any way you can,” said Paton. So what are the options Denver can look at in order to find their franchise quarterback and get back to their winning ways? Here are a few options:
Trade for Deshaun Watson
If I’m the Broncos, I am doing all I can to get my name in the Deshaun Watson conversation. I’m throwing all my chips on the table and doing all I can to get this guy. Watson is a certified franchise quarterback that has been let down by his front office during his first four seasons in the league. You surround him with a respectable front office, solid weapons, and an already good defense, the sky's the limit. In a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, you need a guy like Deshaun Watson to help combat that. Watson is worth giving up a few first and second-round picks.
Draft a QB
This is a very talented draft class with a lot of potential franchise quarterbacks. Denver is set to have the 9th overall pick. They sure cut No. 1 pick will be Trevor Lawrence, but after that who knows. Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson will be in a race for the second quarterback taken. Other quarterbacks that have potential going in the first round are North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones. With the Jets having the 2nd pick, Atlanta with the 4th, and Detroit with the 7th, it seems as if the only possible way of Denver getting Fields or Wilson would be to trade up in the draft. Right now, I can’t see Paton doing that or frankly drafting a quarterback in the first round. If they stay at No. 9, Denver may look elsewhere if Fields and Wilson are off the board, which more than likely will be the case.
Add a Veteran
If a trade doesn't work out or they decide not to draft a quarterback, there will be plenty of solid veteran free agents come March. Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, and Andy Dalton will all be free agents this offseason. Why would Broncos fans want any of these guys? So if things go south, they don't have to rely on Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien to lead the way. Adding a veteran can benefit Lock as well. Learning how to be a solid quarterback and make good decisions from veterans like Fitzpatrick or Dalton could be a boost in Lock's development. Plus is Lock is truly "the guy", he should be able to beat out any of these guys in a competition. If he can play with a chip on his shoulder and compete in camp with guys like this, it would be beneficial for Lock and his development.
Stick with Lock
Although Lock struggled in year two, he has shown flashes of what it takes to become a franchise quarterback. Right now this looks like the most likely direction Denver will go. With Matthew Stafford now off the table, there are not a whole lot of trade options besides Watson that the Broncos could explore. Watson recently stated that his top two trade destinations are New York (Jets) and Miami. Drew Lock hasn’t shown more than a few glimpses that he can lead a winning football team, but youth is on his side. If this is the direction the team goes, they need to somehow push Lock to reach his potential. This young talent on the offensive side along with the solid defense cannot go to waste much longer. What would I do? Even if you have to name him the mayor of Denver, at least go all-in on Deshaun Watson.
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