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Rivals believe Denver Broncos will go in specific direction in Round 1 of the NFL Draft

Denver Broncos
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are a true wild card heading into next week’s NFL Draft. A lot of the talk has surrounded head coach Sean Payton and Co. trading up for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class.

It makes sense. Denver released Russell Wilson earlier in the spring after two drama-filled seasons with the team.

As of right now, Denver has only Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci on its roster at quarterback. Both are nothing more than journeyman backups at this point.

Fresh off an ugly 8-9 showing in Payton’s first season as the Broncos’ head coach, what they do with the 12th pick in next week’s NFL Draft could very well be franchise-altering.

It’s in this that Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post has provided further details about the Broncos’ plans. The NFL insider reports that there is a heavy expectation within the AFC West that Denver is targeting a quarterback in the first round.

Related: Full 7-round Denver Broncos mock draft

Denver Broncos, J.J. McCarthy, 2024 NFL Draft
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

This comes on the heels of another recent report suggesting that the Broncos will be aggressive in pursuing a blockbuster trade up for a quarterback once Round 1 gets going a week from Thursday.

If Denver stands pat, it would likely have to choose between Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) or Bo Nix (Oregon). Each would be seen as somewhat of a reach.

Instead, moving off future draft assets to acquire a potential franchise quarterback could be in the cards. The New England Patriots (No. 3) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 4) could be seen as ideal trade-up candidates for the Broncos.

Payton is said to be infatuated with the idea of potentially adding former Michigan star quarterback J.J. McCarthy to the mix. He’s been rising draft boards and could go as high as No. 2 overall to the Washington Commanders.

At issue with a potential trade up is the assets that would likely be headed out of town. Denver needs to rebuild its offense with skill-position talent. Short of that happening, any young signal caller wouldn’t be set up well to succeed out of the gate.

Related: Denver Broncos standing in Sportsnaut’s NFL power rankings

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