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Why Trading Up Makes the Most Sense for Broncos in Draft

Should the Denver Broncos make a blockbuster move to get their next QB?

The Denver Broncos currently hold the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. This team has holes across the board, but none more significant than the quarterback position. Sean Payton didn’t see Russell Wilson as the long-term answer for the Broncos, and whether he decides to sign a free agent or even trade for a lower-tier signal-caller, Denver will be looking hard at all options in the draft.

Trading up in this year's draft is their best shot at securing one of the Top 4 quarterback prospects. The only reason the Broncos should trade up in this year's draft is to secure whatever quarterback they believe can turn their franchise around. Let’s dive into why trading up makes sense for Denver.

The Top 4 quarterback prospects in this year's draft are Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, and JJ McCarthy. Each signal-caller has their own set of skills and varying degrees of potential that set them apart from the rest of their peers.

Caleb Williams is all but confirmed to be the Chicago Bears' selection 1st overall, and the Washington Commanders seem to lean towards taking Jayden Daniels 2nd due to their offensive coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury’s ability to utilize mobile quarterbacks. That leaves Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy as possible options for the Broncos

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Maye is comparable to the Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert regarding arm talent, frame, and potential. McCarthy won a National Championship playing under center for the Michigan Wolverines in a pro-style system where his arm talent was on display and his efficiency on third down. Either quarterback is an excellent option for sitting under Sean Payton and learning.

Maye has fallen a bit due to concerns about his throwing motion and footwork, which have led to inaccurate passes. McCarthy is only 21 years old, making him the youngest of the top quarterback prospects. He wasn’t the main focus of the Michigan offense, which had a dominant run game and defense, so he wasn’t asked to do too much.

Either man could be taken between three and eight, and with Denver sitting at 12, they’d have to move up. If Sean Payton is enamored with either prospect, there’s a good chance he’d trade up to get them. If Payton does love either Maye or McCarthy, he should do what it takes to grab his guy. Denver needs a young quarterback to groom and bring back the winning culture.

In the last six years, fifteen quarterbacks have been drafted in the top ten, and nine of those fifteen were hits: Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovialoa, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, CJ Stroud, and Anthony Richardson. Obviously, Stroud and Richardson have only been in the league for a year, but both showed enough promise to be considered hits.

A 60% hit rate for a quarterback in the top ten should make Denver consider moving up to secure their future. Taking a quarterback isn’t an exact science, but recent history shows that selecting one in the top ten is the way to go. If Denver decides they love a prospect enough to move up for them, then they should pull the trigger. 

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