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Mason's Mailbag: All about the quarterbacks

Posted Mar 18, 2018

With Case Keenum arriving and Broncos brass visiting Pro Days, the position is in this week's spotlight.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

First of all, there is no guarantee of getting Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen with the No. 5 pick, so you have to be prepared to cultivate myriad options. Furthermore, the chances of having one of the top four quarterbacks available at No. 5 likely dropped a bit after the Jets moved up to the No. 3 selection via their trade with the Colts on Saturday.

Even waiting on White and Lauletta is fraught with risk; if there is a run on quarterbacks, you might need to draft them in the second round -- or, in the case of Lauletta, a team might have to sneak back into the end of the first round to ensure nabbing him if he is the target. That might sound ludicrous in a vacuum, until you consider that Allen, Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen might all be gone within the first four to five picks, which would likely place a premium on the next tiers of quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph, followed by White and Lauletta.

Historically, your chances of finding a franchise quarterback are best in the first five selections, as these numbers breaking down the outcomes for quarterbacks drafted since 1990 detail:

Picks 1-5
(Round 1)
• 19 of 33 were Pro Bowlers (57.6 pct.)
• 8 of 33 started in Super Bowl (24.2 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 6.3

Picks 6-32
(Round 1)
• 7 of 36 were Pro Bowlers (19.4 pct.)
• 6 of 36 started in Super Bowl (16.7 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 3.3

Picks 33-64
(Equivalent of Round 2 in 2018 draft)
• 4 of 32 were Pro Bowlers (12.5 pct.)
• 2 of 32 started in Super Bowl (6.3 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 2.34

Picks 65-100
(Equivalent of Round 3 in 2018 draft)
• 6 of 40 were Pro Bowlers (15 pct.)
• 3 of 40 started in Super Bowl (7.5 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 1.2

Picks 101-137
(Equivalent of Round 4 in 2018 draft)
• 4 of 42 were Pro Bowlers (9.5 pct.)
• 0 of 42 started in Super Bowl (0 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 1.2

Picks 138-174
(Equivalent of Round 5 in 2018 draft)
• 2 of 39 were Pro Bowlers (5.1 pct.)
• 0 of 39 started in Super Bowl (0 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 0.5

Picks 175-218
(Equivalent of Round 6 in 2018 draft)
• 5 of 68 were Pro Bowlers (7.4 pct.)
• 2 of 68 started in Super Bowl (2.9 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 0.7

Picks 219-256
(Equivalent of Round 7 in 2018 draft)
• 4 of 43 were Pro Bowlers (9.3 pct.)
• 1 of 43 started in Super Bowl (2.3 pct.)
• Average years as primary starter: 0.9

While it is possible to find Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in all areas of the draft, as we've seen with Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles, among others, the best odds for finding a franchise quarterback remain at the top of the draft, so if one is there, and your evaluation on him is positive, the numbers say, "Take him." However, that data also means that if others call about a trade up and want a quarterback, the Broncos could be positioned to extract a hefty price -- and with Case Keenum ensuring that they have a viable starter, they have the flexibility to pursue this option if they see fit.

Now that the Broncos have decided on Case Keenum, I think they should take Quenton Nelson with their first pick, and position themselves to draft Lamar Jackson next I’d target Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby with a second-round pick, and supplement as needed with their remaining picks. Also, I wouldn’t rule out Chad Kelly as a legitimate challenger to push Keenum. Your thoughts?

-- Kenny Wikler

You've somehow found a way for the Broncos to have three picks in a span where they currently have two, so I assume you're suggesting they trade down? On the surface, that is a reasonable suggestion, but the likelihood of being able to trade down, add a first-round pick in this year's draft and still select Nelson is minimal, at best. So I don't think your plan is realistic.

And as for Kelly, well ... as I've said on radio, some of y'all need to put the Kelly hype train in reverse and move it back to the garage for a bit. I see the texts and messages every day. I hear the calls on the radio. He's a seventh-round pick who hasn't even thrown a snap in a preseason game.

So can we please just let the guy get some practice repetitions first, learn the scheme and grow before we start anointing him as someon who can push for the starting job? Let's be reasonable here.

How is Case Keenum's contract better than AJ McCarron's contract?

-- Keith Lutter

Because you're paying for experience and proven production over a longer period of time.

Keenum has 40 career starts (including playoffs)l McCarron has four. Keenum has been part of a playoff win; McCarron has not. Keenum has a full season as one of the league's most efficient quarterbacks -- a 2017 campaign in which he was in the league's top 10 in completion percentage, passer rating, interception percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio; McCarron does not. Keenum has produced an average of 6.02 yards per play (attempts plus times sacked plus rushes) in his career; McCarron has produced 5.17 yards per play.

The relative lack of interest in McCarron on the market as the last of the first wave of available quarterbacks to agree to terms speaks volumes of how he was perceived on the market compared to Keenum and others.

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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