John Elway has a lot to think about regarding the NFL draft this Thursday. At number five, the Denver Broncos have many options. This draft is very quarterback rich, and the signing of Case Keenum does not mean the Broncos are not going to target a quarterback in the first round. The Denver Broncos have many needs they could address in the draft, and here are their top five options with the fifth pick.
Five Options for the Denver Broncos at Number Five
1. Baker Mayfield: Quarterback, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield is the most polarizing prospect in the draft this year. His talent is unquestionable. One of the biggest issue college quarterbacks have when transitioning to the NFL is making throws under pressure. Perhaps, no one in this draft class is better at that than Baker. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), his passer rating under pressure was first in the nation in every year at Oklahoma. Adjusting to NFL blitzes and heavy pressures will not bother him as much as other quarterbacks transitioning to the pro game. Since the Broncos did just sign Case Keenum, Baker likely wouldn’t begin his first season as a starter. However, the Broncos have not locked up Keenum for many years. The Broncos can opt out of their contract with the former Viking next year, and Baker would be able to begin his second season as the starter if Case fails to impress.
2. Josh Rosen: Quarterback, UCLA
Josh Rosen is arguably the most talented quarterback in this draft class. He can truly make all the throws. He showed incredible ability to fit throws into tight spaces down the field. According to CFB Film Room, out of all the top quarterbacks in this draft class, Rosen was the most accurate thrower of passes 15+ yards down the field. Defensive backs in the NFL are faster than in college, but Rosen has shown he has the ability to make tight throws down the field. Many of the criticisms of Rosen surround his arrogance and leadership ability. Many of the same criticisms were the same ones given to Aaron Rodgers, and it seemed he turned out pretty well. He may never be Aaron Rodgers, but his talent is too intriguing to pass up on if he is still available at number five.
3. Quenton Nelson: Offensive Guard, Notre Dame
Now a shift away from quarterback, to someone who will be protecting the QB. Over the past few years, the Denver Broncos offensive line has been among the worst in the NFL. Quenton Nelson is one of the best guards to come out of college in the past 10 years. He has great strength, is very quick for his size and does not get beat off the snap by fast defensive linemen. He is a terrific run blocker and a very underrated pass blocker as well. Nelson may finally help offer the Broncos stability for their offensive line. Elway understands how important it is to protect the quarterback and the 2017 draft selection of Garett Boles, followed by a pick of Nelson this year will provide the Broncos a very solid base for their offensive line for years to come.
4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cornerback/Safety, Alabama
The Broncos No Fly Zone has been dismantled. Over the last two years the Broncos have lost Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. Their secondary is still elite, but the addition of a talent like Minkah Fitzpatrick would offer them something they do not have. Minkah can play both safety as well as cornerback. He is incredibly versatile and arguably the best defensive player in the open field in the draft. He has some issues in coverage, but that is common for younger defensive backs. His talent and versatility is very attractive to Elway and co. The Broncos addressed some of their defensive back needs in free agency with the signings of Tramaine Brock and Su’a Cravens, but Fitzpatrick’s versatility as a defensive back may be too difficult to pass up on.
5. Bradley Chubb: Defensive End, NC State
The Broncos defense is still one of the best in the NFL, but they are no longer the deep defensive team they were in years past. The Denver Broncos need front seven depth. Bradley Chubb, who Von Miller described as a mix of himself and Khalil Mack is far and away the best pass rusher in the draft. Defensive end may not seem like an immediate need, but it is unclear if Shane Ray is in the Broncos’ future plans, and Von Miller is much more effective with a great passer rush opposite him. Chubb has a plethora of pass rushing moves and can even drop back in coverage. He may not be the mix of Miller and Mack as Von describes, but if he can be anything that resembles that, the Broncos will be thrilled with him at number five.
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