GM George Paton and the Denver Broncos' coaches are racking up the frequent flyer miles to scout two of the top-rated quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft class in Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance at their respective Pro Days.
Paton is a 'trust the process' type of NFL executive, doing his due diligence even if he is unlikely to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade to acquire one of these top QBs. The Broncos have the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, which kicks off in less than two weeks.
Reaching out to his counterpart in Atlanta Falcons' GM Terry Fontenot to sacrifice multiple first-round selections to secure the No. 4 overall pick appears to be out of Paton's comfort zone. Or maybe the Broncos' scouting department has evaluated both prospects and determined that neither brings enough value to mortgage the farm.
Broncos fans need to prepare themselves for two likely scenarios.
Paton holds firm with pick No. 9: Current draft models project that teams ahead of the Broncos will target offensive talent with their first picks, giving Paton a window to draft the top defensive player on the board, which is a great opportunity for head coach Vic Fangio to get his hands on the long sought-after three-down linebacker — Penn State All-American Micah Parsons.
Paton trades down: Maybe striking a deal with his old organization the Minnesota Vikings, who have the No. 14 overall pick, to acquire additional draft capital to shore up the gaps on the Broncos' roster.
No matter which path the GM selects, based on film study from last season, the organization must infuse talent at the quarterback position to compete with Drew Lock. There are Day 2 draft options that could vie for a spot on the roster and provide Lock with a little competitive anxiety.
Davis Mills | Stanford
The 6-foot-4, 217-pound quarterback threw for 1,508 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions in a pandemic-shortened season. Mills is a prototypical new generation quarterback and scouts believe he has the tools to become an NFL starter.
Mills has a strong pocket presence, processes information quickly, and he can make every throw. To compete and win at the NFL level, he will need to get the ball out of his hands more quickly and use his eyes to look off defenders. He as a second-to-third-round draft grade.
Kellen Mond | Texas A&M
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Senior Bowl MVP threw for 2,082 yards and 19 TDs with three interceptions last year. Mond is a good athlete that possess the arm strength to attack the defense with effective short, intermediate, and deep throws.
He makes good decisions with ball placement, keeping his interception rate low and can pick up extra yards with his legs. Mond ran a 4.57-second 40, at his Pro Day. However, scouts have expressed concerned about his hot and cold throwing streaks.
Mond’s passes are inconsistent due to throwing off his back foot (sound familiar?). He has potential but he is likely not a day-one starter. He will need time to marinate prior to facing NFL-caliber defenders. Mond has a fourth-round draft grade.
Paton has a laundry list of roster needs to fill in this year’s draft. The Broncos' draft priorities are linebacker, offensive tackle, and the safety positions.
Mills is likely long gone before Paton turns his vision towards drafting a quarterback. Mond, however, could be available for the Broncos' fourth-round pick at 114th overall.
The projected 2021 Broncos' quarterback room could be Lock, Teddy Bridgewater (on a team-friendly deal), and Kevin Mond. Paton’s orderly process should lead to improved competition at the quarterback position.
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