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Mason's Mailbag: It's early, so draft possibilities are wide-open

Posted Jan 7, 2018

Even at No. 5, it's far too soon to pinpoint a targeted player for the Broncos, with too much of the evaluation still left to be done.

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.

How likely is it that the Broncos would look to draft a quarterback with their first round pick and are they interested in Baker Mayfield at that spot?

-- Jesse Langmacher

It's a valid question, but it is impossible to answer accurately. Some people would offer you a guess that would be a line of bull. I'm not going to do that. Anyone who says they could answer that question with any certainty at this point is being dishonest.

Too much could change between now and the draft. We don't know how the free-agent class of quarterbacks is going to look, and what the Broncos do there will have a massive impact on how they use their first-round pick. At the same time, what they think of this year's quarterback class -- including Mayfield, who they will coach in the Senior Bowl -- could determine their free-agency choice, and how much of their cap space is allocated to adding a veteran quarterback.

As for Mayfield specifically, at this point, they're evaluating all possible quarterback options in the draft class, including Mayfield. So there is interest there, but there is interest in a slew of other draft possibilities at quarterback, as well, and there are many factors to valuate, some of which President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway noted at the season-ending press conference Tuesday:

“I think half of it is what you see on film and the other half is figuring out what kind of guy [he] is," Elway said. "I think the biggest challenge about playing the position is there is a lot of good football players and a lot of guys that have a ton of talent out there.

"But again, obviously stepping into that role when you come out of college -- in college you’re allowed to be a kid. You come to the NFL and the expectation levels rise, especially if you’re a high pick. You’re expected to be good or show signs of being a very good player early. The other half is how are they going to handle the situation and how are they going to handle the [significance] of being a quarterback in the NFL.

"That is the biggest part and I say it all the time. Just trying to figure out how these guys can handle the tough times, because there’s going to be tough times. When the world feels like it’s caving in, are they going to be able to battle through that and not lose their confidence? ... What gets you here is your swagger and your confidence as quarterback. You have a chance to play in the NFL and that’s what gets you here and you can’t be afraid of it. Then all of a sudden if you get in the world and all of a sudden things aren’t going well, the world starts caving in on you and you lose that swagger or you lose that confidence, it’s very, very difficult to get it back.

"You have to figure out how strong they are, what they believe in and how strong they are, what they are as a quarterback and to be able to battle through that. If they can do that, then they have a chance to have a great, long career.

"To me, I say it all the time: It’s 50 percent the physical side of it and 50 percent mental side. The heart and finding out what they have inside, that’s the difficult part."

I believe the Broncos would be better drafting a running back like the kid from Penn State [Saquon Barkley] or a linebacker in the first round and addressing the offensive-line need in the second and third round I'm wondering what your opinion is on that.

-- Stacy Poll

I believe that it's Jan. 7, and the Broncos' coaching staff will be at the Senior Bowl in just over two weeks, which will provide a horde of additional bits of information and data points to their evaluations -- especially at quarterback. Free agency also takes place between now and the draft. So it's too early to make that call.

Because head-to-head results have no impact on draft tiebreakers. Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker, with the team whose opponents had the lowest collective winning percentage picking first. The next tiebreakers are conference record, then divisional record -- if both teams are in the same conference or division. After that, it goes to a coin flip.

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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