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Denver Broncos have called Atlanta Falcons about fourth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

Vincent Frank

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It’s becoming pretty clear that Denver Broncos general manager George Paton is not satisfied with the struggling Drew Lock at quarterback.

Denver was in on Matthew Stafford before the veteran was dealt from the Detroit Lions to the Los Angeles Rams. The team was also seen as one of the favorites to land Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans prior to multiple allegations of sexual assault were levied in his direction.

Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, rumors suggesting that the Denver Broncos are looking to trade up for a quarterback continue to float about.

“He’ll (Paton) ultimately make the final call, but already has made the first call to the Falcons,” Woody Paige of The Denver Gazette noted recently. “Paton could do the deal if he’s willing to pay the price.”

Selecting ninth overall in the coming 2021 NFL Draft, Denver would have to pay a premium to move up for a quarterback. Said trade would also likely lead to a separate deal to move off Drew Lock.

As of right now, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are projected to be the first two players off the board to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively.

The true wildcard here are the San Francisco 49ers after they pulled off a massive trade up with the Miami Dolphins to the third overall pick. San Francisco certainly will select a quarterback. However, it remains to be seen if said pick is going to be Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones.

Read More: 3 Denver Broncos quarterback options after missing out on Sam Darnold

Who would the Denver Broncos target in a trade up?

Mac Jones, Denver Broncos
Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to joining the Broncos earlier this offseason, Paton was a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ front office for 14 years. This could be a tell as it relates to the type of quarterback the new general manager might be targeting.

From John David Booty in 2008 to Teddy Bridgewater in 2014, the Vikings seemed to value more prototypical drop-back quarterbacks during the draft. The team’s decision to sign Kirk Cousins ahead of the 2018 NFL season adds another layer to this.

This could very well mean that Denver is targeting reigning Heisman finalist Mac Jones from Alabama. Initially, the quarterback was seen as a second-tier option and late first-round pick in the pre-draft process. However, he’s now getting play as high as No. 3 overall to the 49ers.

San Francisco’s decision will likely play a role in whether the Denver Broncos move up for a quarterback. The Broncos have scouted all three potential options behind Lawrence and Wilson in recent weeks.

Read More: Denver Broncos mock draft: 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections with trades

What would it cost for the Denver Broncos to move up?

We can pretty much throw out the generic NFL trade value charts floating about. Said charts indicate that the Broncos would have to give up a second-round pick. Unfortunately for Paton and Co., it will cost a lot more than that.

San Francisco dealt away two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to move up from 12 to three. While it wouldn’t cost that much to move up with Atlanta, the starting-off point would be Denver’s first-round pick in 2022.

As for the Falcons, they are said to be interested in trading down. Whether it’s smoke or not, Falcons owner Arthur Blank is also intrigued by top-end quarterbacks as a potential heir-apparent to veteran Pro Bowler Matt Ryan. That could very well be a way for Atlanta to increase its asking price in a potential trade down with the Denver Broncos.