While the NFLPA and team owners clash over a tumultuous dispute over voluntary OTAs, one of the most coveted QB prospects held his second Pro Day in Fargo, North Dakota.
On Monday, North Dakota State's Trey Lance participated in a private workout where the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos were in attendance. Although the throwing session was not available to the public, rumors have circulated that the Niners designed a majority of the workout.
San Francisco GM John Lynch, head coach Kyle Shanahan, and QBs coach Rich Scangarello spearheaded the event for NFL personnel. In early March, Broncos' GM George Paton meticulously studied Lance at his first Pro Day with director of college scouting Brian Stark, and QBs coach Mike Shula. On the second Pro Day trip, Paton dispatched offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to study the 20-year-old prospect.
“Now. he’s not there today but their offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is there, just as he was last week at Justin Fields’ pro day and I think you can read into that a little bit,” NFL Insider James Palmer said this week on NFL NOW. “The more people I talk to around the league and within that Broncos building—they are doing a ton of work on all of these quarterbacks to see if any of them are the one that they actually love and could potentially trade up and get. People around the league believe they are a team that could be interested in moving up, but also a team interested in moving back.”
In less than two weeks, Paton will finally have his opportunity to redesign and mold this team under his expertise of drafting and developing. The first-year GM has kept his plans for the No. 9 overall pick mysterious, with nary a whisper or leak coming out of UC Health Training Center. The optics suggest Paton has his best poker face on, isn’t desperate, and will have options on draft night come April 29th.
“We feel we’re in a good spot. There is going to be a really good, impact player (at No. 9) and we have the flexibility with the draft capital we have to move up or move down," Paton said to Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post on Monday.
All eyes are on the Atlanta Falcons who possess the No. 4 overall pick and have been fielding calls from multiple teams — including the Broncos. Various analysts, writers, and network personalities have linked Paton to Lance at multiple spots within the top-10, via trade, and in some rare scenarios, a draft-day slide.
However, the retirement announcement of free-agent QB Alex Smith on Monday has made many fans wonder just who Paton has in mind for the so-called QB competition for Drew Lock, if any. The same retread list of veteran QBs that could possibly be acquired via trade hasn’t changed, including Carolina's Teddy Bridgewater, Chicago's Nick Foles, and Jacksonville's Gardner Minshew.
The dirty little secret in the NFL is that it all comes down to fit, especially at the QB position. Palmer asked the difficult but critical question that might discourage some of Broncos Country.
“When you look at Trey Lance, you look and see is that a fit for the Denver Broncos? He’s a guy that is raw, that could need some time to sit. Who does he sit behind with the Denver Broncos? There is not a veteran quarterback in play right now in Denver for him to sit and learn behind," Palmer queried. "So, you wonder if the fit is entirely there with the Denver Broncos. But Quincey Avery who’s worked with him throughout this offseason, has told people he’s the most mentally prepared quarterback he’s ever worked with coming in. Obviously, there’s other short comings, but at the same time mentally he seems to be in a good spot, smart kid. But at the same time, is it a fit for the Denver Broncos without a veteran quarterback in place, ahead of him?”
As if Monday couldn't have been a busier day of news for the Broncos, the incumbent Lock reported to voluntary OTAs with a $75,000 workout bonus on the line. The third-year signal-caller from Missouri was one of about 20 players that participated in workouts after a player-led vote to boycott the first set of OTAs was announced last week.
Could the bizarre theory that the Bronco's current starting QB, and future starter both worked out on the same day under two drastically different sets of circumstances?
The answer for both players will soon be revealed in a less than two weeks.
Follow Luke on Twitter @LukePattersonLP.
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