Denver was the best team in the NFL last year and got to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February after beating the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. But as soon as they were done celebrating Broncos GM John Elway was already getting to work on the 2016 season. Brock Osweiler was thought to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning after the future Hall of Famer announced his retirement in March. Osweiler bolted for Houston at the start of free agency and suddenly the Super Bowl champs are looking at starting over under center. Elway traded for Mark Sanchez but he isn’t the guy to lead the Broncos back to the Super Bowl. There have been rumors for a few weeks that 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick would be traded to Denver but it hasn’t materialized.
The good news is that the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The bad news is that means that Denver will pick last at #31 in the 2016 NFL Draft later this month. That means that every other team, excluding New England who is without a first round pick will get to have their pick of the QBs on the board and picking 31st means that the top tier quarterback prospects will be gone. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff will likely be selected with the first two picks and Paxton Lynch won’t make it past the mid-first round. With Buffalo picking at #19 and Arizona at #29 Lynch won’t make it to the Broncos. Picking last in the first round doesn’t give Elway a lot of ammunition to move to grab the Memphis QB.
We saw that Titans’ GM Jon Robinson is all about wheeling and dealing. If he and Elway could work something out for the Broncos first and second round pick this year and a first round next year it’s possible Denver could jump up to 15 and grab Lynch. It’s not known if Robinson would want to fall even further back in the draft with all of Tennessee’s needs at offensive line, cornerback and receiver. But with the last pick in the first round, four second rounders and three first round picks next year the Titans could stock up this year and in 2017 and make themselves relevant for years to come.
The Broncos are high on Lynch and brought him in to Denver earlier this week. Team scouts were at his Pro Day in Memphis earlier this month as well. If Elway wants him he will have to figure out a way to move up 10 to 15 picks to snag him.
But if Denver can’t get Lynch they have already been kicking the tires on other prospects. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott was in town last week meeting with team officials. Prescott was thought to be a second round pick before getting a DUI last month after his Pro Day. The Bulldogs QB will still get drafted but he may slide until the late second or third round. If Denver can draft him at #63 in the second round they may have their guy. Prescott may have to sit behind Sanchez for year but he could be the guy to take over under center in 2017. He’s built like Tim Tebow but is more like Donovan McNabb or Cam Newton. If Prescott has a good offensive line to play with he could be dominant.
Connor Cook also had a predraft visit with the Broncos this week. Cook could be had at #31 but he’s projected to be a second round pick and I’m not sure he’s worthy of reaching for. He turned down an invitation to the Senior Bowl in January and there are some questions about his leadership and he was awful against the Alabama defense in the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Eve. If an elite SEC defense can dominate him what will happen when he plays the Chiefs or Patriots?
The Broncos also recently met with Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel. Driskel was originally at Florida but injuries and the depth chart influenced him to transfer to a smaller school were he was dominant. He put up big numbers as a Senior and also did well in the Senior Bowl in February. If Denver wanted to bring him and groom him Driskel could be had in the sixth or seventh round.