The Broncos are not Lock-ed in to any one draft slot.
Of all the teams picking in the top 10 of the NFL Draft, the Broncos, at No. 9, might be the most intriguing because their present and future quarterback situation is in flux. They could stick with Drew Lock – a second-round pick in 2019 – or they could replace him with a first-rounder, possibly by aggressively trading up in the first round.
Quarterbacks will be the first three picks, but two of Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance will be available when the Falcons are on the clock at No. 4. The Bengals (No. 5) and Dolphins (No. 6) drafted first-round quarterbacks last year. So, are the Broncos looking to trade up?
“If we feel a player is good enough to go up and get,” first-year general manager George Paton said in leaving the door open. “There may be players in this draft that are worthy of that.”
Paton said he has fielded calls inquiring about trading down but he has not yet made any about trading up because he has to see how the board shakes out and who is available.
“We do like Drew Lock,” Paton said. “What we don’t want to do is force it and bring a guy in, overpay a guy to come in, and maybe he’s not as good as the guy we have. Maybe he’s not good enough to compete. We want to get the right guy, and we still have time.”
Adding a free agent or a mid-round quarterback can be seen as competition for Lock. Adding a quarterback picked in the top 10 is replacing Lock, whether sooner or later. Paton described both Lance and Fields as “elite athletes.”
“Both [have] really strong arms, both really talented, smart,” Paton said. “They have all the intangibles you want in quarterbacks and in football players. They’re raw a little bit, but really high ceilings [for] both players.”
The last two quarterbacks the Broncos picked in the first round – Tim Tebow and Paxton Lynch – made a combined 20 career NFL starts and both are out of the NFL. Lock is 8-10 as a starter.
“As you know, he has a lot of talent,” Paton said. “I think he’s becoming a better pro, but we’re still going to look at the quarterback position. I’ve said since I got here, we want to bring in competition; that’s the goal, and we plan on doing that.”