ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Nine days from now, when the Broncos are put on the clock during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Joe Flacco likely won’t be watching.
He plans to be on a plane to Philadelphia that night, and he may not land until after the Broncos make their selection with the 10th-overall pick.
And even if he weren’t in the air, he would only pay so much attention to which prospect John Elway and the Broncos select on the night of April 25.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to the draft,” Flacco said Tuesday after the Broncos’ voluntary veteran minicamp practice. “You never know who is going to trade up, who’s going to get picked where and how things are going to fall into place. I’m just kind of a fan at that point.”
Flacco, of course, is more than just a fan. He’s the team’s starting quarterback, and if it were up to him, he would choose a player that could make an instant impact for the Broncos.
That presumably means a position player that can add to the Broncos’ offense or defense.
“I don’t really care about whether they take a quarterback or not,” Flacco said. “Whether it’s [with the] 10[th pick] or whatnot, the only thing I care about is, like I said, I want this team to be as good as they can with me at quarterback. If we feel like as a team and an organization that we can add value to our team at the 10th pick, then I’m all for getting a guy that can add value to the team with me as the understood quarterback.”
If the Broncos do choose to take a quarterback with the 10th pick, though, Flacco won’t be concerned.
He faced the same situation last year in Baltimore when the Ravens selected Lamar Jackson late in the first round — and Flacco thinks he handled the situation well.
“I think I had a pretty good outlook on it last year,” Flacco said. “It is what it is. I want to get this team to be the best it is with me at quarterback position. Obviously, that is not of most importance to draft a quarterback. But if we do, that’s completely out of my control.”
And if it happens, Flacco won’t back down from competition.
“I’m going to go out here and I’m going to compete and he’s going to have to come out here and be on the field with me every day, too,” Flacco said. “I’m all ready for that.”
His current focus is much larger than any presumed draft selections. As the Broncos continue with their offseason program, Flacco will have a lot to work toward.
A mastery of the offensive system. A refined relationship with his receivers. A role as the team’s unquestioned leader.
“I’m the new guy, so a lot can be accomplished besides football,” Flacco said. “You’re going to develop your team and really gain the confidence to carry into what you believe you are going to be that season. I think the offseason can do a ton for that. As a new quarterback, it’s natural to be a leader on the team. It’s my job. The first thing I want to do is prove to everyone on this football team, the guys that play on this field, that I can play and I can be their quarterback. Because then anything is possible.
“If they really believe that I’m the guy — I believe that I’m the guy — if they start to believe that I’m the guy, that’s when your leadership can take off and your team can take off.”