Where Do the Broncos Go From Here?

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Where Do the Broncos Go From Here?

Image via FanSided.

Image via FanSided.

Image via FanSided.

Image via FanSided.

Patrick Voelker, Contributing Writer

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For this off-season, the Denver Broncos have many areas of concern to address after a bleak 5-11 season. Especially at the quarterback position, a spot they have failed to replace since the departure of Peyton Manning after he lead the team to win in Super Bowl 50.

Most passionate Bronco fans are advocating for someone like of Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, or another free agent quarterback. While that would solve their problem immediately, it wouldn’t be in the best interest of this franchise.

The cap space the Broncos hold might be dismal to the future contracts that they must pay to keep key players. Paying Cousins, who would demand $30+ million, or Keenum, whose price tag would run around $20 million, would leave the Broncos hung up on the cap to keep a viable football team that can contend for the playoffs.

The more logical choice, though it might not be the sexiest move for a franchise that has been known for the past seven years to do so, would be drafting a quarterback with the 5th overall pick. It would leave this team with a potential franchise quarterback for much cheaper, as well as leave this team with enough cap space to revamp an offensive line that has been god-awful since the 2014 season. In case you didn’t know, cap space is what a team has to spend and every NFL team is limited to $123 Million.

With a team that is in the mindset to win now and still a few pieces away, a monster contract for a quarterback that is almost 30-years-old and hasn’t won a playoff game is absurd. The set back that this team may go through is devastating. Cousins, although a solid NFL quarterback, is not the answer this team needs.

A solid scouting assessment of all four top quarterbacks will determine if this team has learned from its past two quarterback 1st round draft picks (Tim Tebow, Paxton Lynch), whether it be the gunslinger in Josh Allen, the pro-style quarterbacks Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, or the big time star and fan favorite Baker Mayfield (who has similar traits to Tebow and Lynch…). With John Elway at the helm, this team is always looking to win a Super Bowl, so this will be a very important evaluation for a Broncos franchise that needs to make a transition from the Super Bowl that was won two years ago.

Looking at the four quarterbacks that will possibly be available for the Broncos, these are the strengths and weaknesses of all four.

Sam Darnold:

Strengths: Darnold proved that in his two years as the leader of the Trojan’s, he has a toughness and durability that none of the other quarterbacks have shown. He has not missed a game in his entire college career, an important note for the NFL. He also shows a playmaking ability that we haven’t seen from a quarterback since the coming out of Carson Wentz. He has all the intangibles that an NFL quarterback needs to be a winner in this league.

Weaknesses: Darnold was a turnover machine, throwing 13 interceptions and fumbling 11 times. Responsible for 23 turnovers is an issue that they would have to address right away. Hand size is also a slight issue, with his hands only measuring out to 9 3/8 inches (hand size is measured from pinky to thumb.) Most quarterbacks with under a 10-inch hand size have been known to struggle to hold the ball during games with poor weather.

Baker Mayfield:

Strengths: Mayfield was electric at Oklahoma, making everyone on his team better as well as showing strong leadership on the field. He has a Heisman trophy to add to his resume as well as a Big 12 championship. Mayfield has a unique style of quarterbacking that shows accuracy and athleticism. With solid arm strength to go along with this talent, he makes a strong case to be the next Russell Wilson of this league.

Weaknesses: Mayfield has had some off-field issues that might seem concerning to some coaches, as well as on-field issues. He was suspended for taunting a player on the Kansas Jayhawk football team with a crotch grab and dropping a couple f-bombs. While some would call him passionate, others would call it short-tempered and idiotic. With this in mind, he has also shown a lack of height, only measuring at 6′ 5/8″, which is key for quarterbacks that have to throw over a 6’5″ lineman.

Josh Rosen:

Strengths: Rosen has shown throughout this year that he is the purest passer this draft has seen. He exhibits exceptional footwork with pinpoint accuracy and a beautiful arm strength. Going into the draft, he is the most NFL ready quarterback. For this reason, it is unlikely he will drop to 5th where the Broncos reside, but if he were to slip from Cleveland (which isn’t impossible — there is hope) the Broncos would be set up to build a solid team around what could be the best quarterback this draft class has to offer.

Weaknesses: The durability of Rosen has been an issue throughout his college career. He has missed several games in his two seasons at UCLA. He has also been known to be outspoken on some public issues which caught him some flack last season. That criticism came from his comments on an interview from Bleacher Report, about school and athletics not going together and comments about Alabama. This possibly shows a serious flaw in personality, but may also simply be passion for the game. Which one is to be determined.

Josh Allen:

Strengths: Allen has the arm strength and athletic ability that would make any GM or coach excited about what he could produce in this league. Making exceptional throws throughout the year, Allen has the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft class. That can be a huge leverage for his stock come late April.

Weaknesses: Allen has never shown he could win against big-time competition. Playing for Wyoming and playing a weak Mountain West Conference could prove to be the Achilles heel for him. It could be why he’s exhibited amazing upsides but may turn out to be the biggest bust this draft class has to offer.

As most Bronco fans know, this is a vital offseason for this team. This offseason will determine how this team will stack up for the next three years, including the jobs of the head coach and GM, not to mention the possible demise of a once perennial playoff team. What comes next? We will see on March 14th, the day free agency opens.

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