After the first couple weeks of the NFL offseason, the quarterback position remains a giant question mark for the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos had a couple of areas of concern on their roster heading into the 2021 offseason. They were set to lose their two starting safeties in Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan was the only cornerback of note on the roster. But in addition to re-signing the safeties, they also landed Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. But the big question that lingered was at quarterback.
Drew Lock would be the Broncos starter for the 2021 season as of right now. He’s the latest on the list of quarterbacks who have gone under center since Peyton Manning’s retirement. A second-round pick in 2019, he wasn’t a bad selection by any means.
While at Missouri, Lock was a player who was very volatile and had the potential to produce great plays. So far, unfortunately, Lock has not reached the potential that some thought he might attain. But again, that’s why you draft a player of Lock’s ilk in the second round. At the same time, as he hasn’t lived up to the hope had for him, the team can move on.
What can the Denver Broncos do at quarterback to move on from Drew Lock?
Looking towards the draft, Denver is in a rough situation. The Jets, Jaguars and 49ers (after their big move up) are all likely to take quarterbacks. That puts pressure on the Broncos to probably need to move up if they want a top-flight signal-caller in the draft. However, there are other teams looking to do the same. If the Broncos want to trade up, the Falcons at No. 4 are likely the best candidate to swap with but, again, there will be competition.
If a trade up in the draft isn’t feasible, the Broncos could still explore a trade for a current player. They’ve been linked to Deshaun Watson but the recent lawsuits against him have complicated matters. Thus, Denver may distance themselves from the Texans quarterbacks.
Other options for the Broncos include Sam Darnold. The Jets are surely drafting a quarterback at No. 2, which could push the former first-round pick out of New York. He’s young and still has potential to turn into a solid quarterback.
Should both the draft and the trade market come up empty for Denver, though, that would leave them with free agency if they don’t want to stick with Lock. This late in the free agency period, the market is bare. One name that sticks out is Alex Smith, a player who could give Lock competition but his best days are definitely behind him.
There is a chance that the Broncos could give Lock one last crack at earning the long-term starting job and, if so, they could look at some of the quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Having said that, the quality of next year’s quarterback class compared to the one in 2021 is apples to oranges and this year’s is certainly better.
With the quality of the roster in Denver outside of quarterback, though, the importance of what they do at the position can’t be understated. The right move in the draft or otherwise could put them in playoff position. Sticking with Lock, however, they could end up in no man’s land. Their quarterback decision will clearly have a huge impact on the future of the franchise.