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Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett Mocked to Broncos by Daniel Jeremiah

Does Daniel Jeremiah have a crystal ball?

Mock draft season is officially underway and with the Denver Broncos once again owning the No. 9 overall selection, all eyes fall on GM George Paton to see whether he will finally pull the trigger on a quarterback. 

Unfortunately for the Broncos, the current consensus is that 2022 is a 'down' year in terms of first-round-graded quarterback prospects. Given the Broncos' current level of desperation at the position, could the team find a quarterback they can talk itself into enough to take at No. 9 overall?

In his first mock draft of the season, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah not only had the Broncos selecting University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett but also had Denver taking the first quarterback off the board

I’m sure the Broncos will pursue a trade for a premier quarterback (Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson) this offseason, but if they are unable to land one, Pickett is the best option in this draft class. He is ready to play right away. The Pitt product doesn’t have a huge arm, but he can make all the throws and he’s proven he can create when the pocket breaks down.

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Pickett is not without his warts. While he doesn’t have elite arm talent like some of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, it is his tendency to bail out the back of pockets that should worry NFL evaluators. 

Pickett is also older for the quarterback position for a rookie (will turn 24 in June). If rumors are true, he has historically small hands for the quarterback position as well, which are purported to measure only 8-1/4 inches.

On the Move the Sticks Podcast, Jeremiah explained why Pickett should be in play for Denver at pick No. 9:

"This kid has really established himself as a solid player who is a little more sudden and a little more of a playmaker than what we previously saw of him at Pitt. He’s very accurate. To me, he upgrades what they got (at the quarterback position in Denver)."

The Broncos can’t feel much of any buyer's remorse after selecting Patrick Surtain II in the first round last year instead of quarterback Justin Fields or Mac Jones, given how great the cornerback looked in his rookie campaign and the value of a potentially elite player at the position for the next decade. 

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Unfortunately, the Broncos are still in the same spot that they were at a year ago: not having the slightest clue what they are going to do at the quarterback position and needing a better solution going forward.

Can that solution come from the 2022 draft? Jeremiah seems to think so. 

With the lack of any sort of consensus in ranking the QB position for this draft class, the Broncos’ severe need under center doesn’t appear to match the talent available in the upcoming draft.

Luckily for Denver, if there is any position experts tend to get wrong at the top of the draft, it's quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky was selected before the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold before Josh Allen. Justin Herbert was picked after Tua Tagovailoa. 

There is a lot of variance and randomness in predicting which players will work out in the league. You can have a great process and still get it wrong and you can have a horrid process and simply get lucky.

If Paton believes that Pickett is a viable long-term franchise quarterback, then the Broncos shouldn’t wince at outside criticism and evaluations of this year’s crop of quarterbacks. However, even if Denver believes Pickett can provide value at the position on his rookie deal and upgrade the room, giving the team a more viable option for the next few seasons, Pickett or another quarterback might be a viable option.

By trade, free agency, or draft, until Denver has a solution at quarterback, the end result of the season will almost surely be the same.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickKendellMHH.

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