Landing spot goes a long way to determining the success of a young quarterback, so Josh Rosen should want to play for the Denver Broncos.
Ask five NFL Draft analysts, and you’ll get five different rankings of the top five quarterbacks in this year’s class. Josh Rosen is No. 1 for some, or tabbed as a guy who could fall in the first round by others because being “intellectually curious” is somehow a bad thing for a potential franchise quarterback.
The current buzz suggests the Cleveland Browns may be honing in on Josh Allen with the No. 1 overall pick, with the New York Giants at No. 2 overall rumored to prefer Sam Darnold to Rosen if they take a quarterback. The New York Jets at No. 3 could take Rosen, but Baker Mayfield is visiting this week and CEO Christopher Johnson is involved in the process now.
The Denver Broncos are sitting with the No. 5 pick right now, and they are in the market for a young quarterback with 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch falling out of the mix. They are vetting the top quarterback prospects in this year’s class, including Allen most recently for essentially a third go-round after meeting him at the Senior Bowl and the combine.
Rosen visited the Broncos last week. Among the teams in position to draft him, Rosen should see Denver as his ideal landing spot.
Broncos’ general manager John Elway was a highly drafted quarterback himself, as the No. 1 pick in a 1983 draft that was similarly loaded at the position. He recruited Peyton Manning to Denver in 2012, with two Super Bowl appearances and one win to show for it. Lynch was a mistake, but missing on a quarterback in the draft hardly makes Elway unique and he knows what it takes to succeed at the position in the NFL. As a Stanford grad, Rosen’s intelligence should not be seen as a negative by Elway.
The Broncos don’t quite the have the same elite defense they had on their way to winning Super Bowl 50. But they were top-five in the league against the pass (fourth), against the run (fifth) and of course in total defense (third) last year, and other than cornerback Aqib Talib all the key pieces of that unit will be back.
Bad quarterback play has stymied Denver’s passing game over the last couple seasons. But Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are still one of the top wide receiver duos in the league, and 2017 third-round pick Carlos Henderson has sneaky upside as the No. 3 receiver after a thumb injury cost him his entire rookie season.
Case Keenum is in line to be the Broncos’ Week 1 starter under center. But Rosen could be allowed to compete for the job in training camp, and if the ruby slipper falls off Keenum this year there would be an opportunity to play relatively quickly.
A team with a top-five pick in a draft rarely has a good situation for a rookie quarterback. But with the other pieces of a playoff team in place, and a potential opportunity to play right away, the Broncos stand out as the top situation among teams with the best chance to draft Rosen.