With the way the draft board looks like it will fall right now, there will be for sure 3 QB’s taken before the Broncos get to make their selection at number 9 overall.
The teams that come into question that pick before the Broncos are the Falcons, Lions, and the Panthers. I seriously doubt any of these teams will take a QB. Matt Ryan is still a very good QB in my opinion and the Falcons would assume a huge cap hit if they were to move on from him in the next two seasons. The Lions have gaping holes across their entire team, and they can’t afford to draft a QB when the quarterback position is one of their few spots that is already maintained by a serviceable guy in Jared Goff. Also, the Lions GM Brad Holmes has a close relationship with Goff, as he was hired out of the Rams front office, and I’m sure he wants to give him a chance as the starter. The Panthers could be a wild card because they have an aggressive owner who may not believe in Sam Darnold as much as the coaching staff. If the right QB falls, the owner could force their hand into taking him. I still think it’s more likely they stick with Darnold as they did just give up decent draft value to acquire him.
I think it will be difficult for teams picking after the Broncos to get in front of them as (bedsides the Patriots) the QB needy teams a quite a ways down the draft board. The two teams I’m speaking of in particular here are the Washington Football Team at 19 and the Bears at 20. The reason why I don’t see these teams moving up to the top 8 is because of the value they would have to give up. When you are looking at jump 10 plus spots, we’re talking about having to give up 2-3 first-round picks. For the WFT, that will probably not be worth the risk as they don’t need an immediate fix at the position, and the team is set for long-term success, with or without a star QB. For the Bears, I could see Nagy and Pace wanting to make a move like this but I think the ownership would block it. No owner is going to let a HC/GM duo both on the hot seat make a decision that could impact the team very negatively in the long term (but then again, we are dealing with the Bears here).
Something to remember here is that the best players in this draft are not just QB’s. The Falcons, Bengals, Dolphins, Lions, Panthers, and every other team below the Broncos in the draft order have team needs. If there is a great player available, those top-of-the-order teams are not going to risk trading back if they don’t get enough compensation in return. They’re gonna take the Pitts’, Chase’s, Sewell’s, and the Slater’s of the world. Teams have needs and just because there’s a QB available they aren’t going to abandon that.
So that brings me back to my point that the only team the Broncos really have to worry about trading up is the Patriots, and even then, nobody knows if they’re a team wanting to invest big time in a rookie QB. If a team trades up for a QB, it’s going to be them in my opinion.
So to recap, the Broncos can land their QB at 9 overall whether it is Fields or Lance. With today’s San Francisco 49ers press conference, my belief has been furthered that they are going to take Mac Jones. It seems as if HC Kyle Shanahan wants Jones while the GM John Lynch wants Trey Lance. With Shanahan being the offensive guru he is, I believe he wins this battle and Mac Jones becomes the newest QB of the Niners.
Even if the Falcons take a QB or the Patriots trade up, the Broncos could still very well be in the exact position they want to. Will it be riskier? Yes. Could it very easily result in an incredible steal, also yes.