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Denver Broncos general manager has interesting take about passing up on QB in NFL Draft

The Denver Broncos surprised everyone during April’s NFL Draft by passing up on both Mac Jones and Justin Fields for star cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Corner didn’t seem to be too much of a need in Denver. Meanwhile, the Broncos had just added veteran journeyman Teddy Bridgewater to compete for the starting job with a struggling Drew Lock — the latter of whom tied for the league lead in interceptions a season ago.

In talking with Peter King of NBC Sports recently, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton had a rather interesting reason for passing up on a quarterback.

“Plus—and this is not why we did it [draft Surtain]—but quarterbacks are available more than franchise corners every year, at least the last couple of years,” Paton told King.

We’re not even sure where to go with this one. Sure franchise-level cornerbacks can change the dynamics for a team. But there’s not a single objective observer who believes that players at this position are as franchise-altering as quarterbacks. It’s just not close.

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Denver Broncos remain in quarterback purgatory

denver broncos quarterback competition: drew lock
Jul 29, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) talks with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur during training camp at UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There’s this thing out there around the NFL world called “quarterback purgatory.” It’s when a team is stuck between having a proven franchise quarterback and someone who can potentially lead it into the future.

As a sophomore last season, Lock proved that he wasn’t the franchise guy in Denver. The former second-round pick from Missouri completed a mere 57.3% of his passes for 2,933 yards with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater is coming off a miserable 2020 campaign with the Carolina Panthers that saw him throw 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 15 starts. Neither guy has the “it factor,” pushing Denver down in our preseason NFL power rankings in a big way.

With all due respect to Surtain II, he’s not going to be that franchise-altering player. The former Alabama standout will be a good player in the NFL. Heck, he could play at a Hall of Fame level out of the gate. Even if that happens, Denver would be narrowly closing the wide gap between itself and the two-time defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

As for Paton pushing the quarterback situation down the road, the 2021 Draft was historical at this position. There’s no telling whether a 2022 NFL Draft class headed by Spencer Rattler, Malik Willis, Carson Strong and Sam Howell will be as good as this year’s crop. That’s the problem with quarterback purgatory, and it has Denver’s outlook for the 2021 season pretty bleak.