There is no denying that the Denver Broncos have to find an answer at the quarterback position for the future. It isn't surprising to see GM George Paton traveling to scout multiple quarterback prospects over the past month or so.
However, just because Paton scouted them in person doesn't guarantee the Broncos will draft a quarterback in Round 1, if at all and that's for a few reasons. Some of the quarterbacks Paton has analyzed up close are considered to be among the top prospects in the class.
Paton watched Liberty's Malik Willis, Ole Miss' Matt Corral, North Carolina's Sam Howell, and most recently, Nevada's Carson Strong. They each have aspects to their game to like a lot, and they each have significant concerns about their transition to the NFL.
The biggest reason this doesn't necessarily portend a first-round quarterback is that the Broncos' Plan A is purportedly to target a veteran. Denver has been linked to multiple veteran quarterbacks, mainly Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, for a reason.
There is enough smoke here to realize that there is a fire at the base of it. Paton's Broncos want a veteran quarterback, and if they don't get one, then it opens up the possibility of a first-round pick spent at the position.
However, before the 2021 NFL draft, Paton spent a lot of time scouting the top quarterbacks in the class. He attended multiple pro days and spent a lot of time scouting them, yet he passed even when he had Justin Fields and Mac Jones dead to rights without having to trade up.
Clearly, just because Paton is making these trips to scout these quarterbacks doesn't mean he plans to draft one, which makes sense as he is known to be a thorough GM who does his due diligence.
There are a lot of fans and analysts interpreting Paton's pre-draft maneuvers to mean the Broncos are drafting a first-round quarterback no matter what, but that simply isn't the case. The Broncos want to put the work in just in case because what if they find themselves coming up short in the Rodgers or Wilson sweepstakes?
What if one the QBs Paton scouted falls in the draft to a point the Broncos feel comfortable taking them? There are a lot of variables, which is why Paton is doing his due diligence now.
If attending college games meant a GM was hell-bent on taking that quarterback, John Elway would have drafted Josh Allen out of Wyoming a few years back. One thing to remember is teams use games, pro days, and everything else to try and throw other NFL clubs off the scent and obfuscate their true interest in a prospect.
Due diligence will allow Paton to keep his options open when the rubber meets the road and that's what a competent general manager is supposed to do.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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