With the NFL Draft just hours away, the chatter about who the Broncos might pick in the first round is getting louder. Read on to see which players have been projected to Denver, which is scheduled to make the ninth-overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via mock trade up to No. 7]
There are a lot of rumblings about the Broncos' interest in Fields, even after the trade to acquire Teddy Bridgewater. It would make sense for them to position themselves ahead of the Panthers to make sure they get him.
Ryan O'Halloran, The Denver Post: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via mock trade up to No. 4]
The Broncos make the big move up from No. 9 to pair Fields with Bridgewater
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Does the trade for Teddy Bridgewater take the Broncos out of the quarterback discussion? It shouldn't, not with the team easily being able to move on from Bridgewater and Drew Lock in 2022. I'm a huge fan of Fields, and Denver should pounce if he's still on the board.
Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus: T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
He's not nearly as physical as Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw, but Slater is an incredible pass protector. His father played in the NBA for eight years, and if Rashawn's feet are anything to go by, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Slater's footwork might not yet be on the same level as David Bakhtiari's, but his ability to stay in front of elite pass-rushers will keep him in the league for a long time.
Todd McShay, ESPN: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Make no mistake, trading for Teddy Bridgewater doesn't take Denver out of the QB running. Making such a move further calls into question whether the Broncos believe Drew Lock can be their guy, and if they don't, then Bridgewater shouldn't be the final answer, either. Fields is extremely accurate with a big arm, and he could be the franchise starter the Broncos are looking for.
Peter Schrager, NFL.com: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
I think the Broncos could look long and hard at Rashawn Slater, but if they're willing to be patient with Lance, the rewards could be far greater. No team wants to take the fifth quarterback in a draft. But not all teams have these QBs ordered alike.
John Clayton, The Washington Post: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
The Broncos get lucky in this scenario: Fields drops to them, and they land a quarterback who could challenge incumbent starter Drew Lock. Another possible QB solution is a trade with the Panthers for Teddy Bridgewater.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky [via mock trade down to No. 19]
They trade down, add some picks, and still land a player I think is the best linebacker in this class. Davis will be a star.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
If this happens, Drew Lock likely would get another shot early on to put some good tape out there before Lance gets his crack — eventually.
Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Both the Broncos and Panthers liked Fields. The Panthers liked him just a little bit more. The Broncos should be tickled with the idea of avoiding a bidding war, standing pat and getting their man at No. 9. Lance fits ideally in Denver, a place where he can sit behind a top-notch mentor (new arrival Teddy Bridgewater) and emerge as a mid-season threat.
Charles Davis, NFL.com: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Horn believes he's the best corner in the draft, and he very well could be correct.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
They can help whoever their quarterback will be by adding a flexible piece to the offensive line.
Charley Casserly, NFL.com: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
With Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater already on the roster, the Broncos add another player to the QB room. They are determined to get the position fixed.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
In a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and the often overlooked Derek Carr, it's baptism by fire for corners. Horn is ready.
Aqib Talib, Call to the Booth: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
I think, just from talking to some guys around who study these quarterbacks — some of the gurus, so to speak — that Trey Lance, he got something about him that where he gets in the room — teams, guys, everybody — he's the most likable guy. And he gets guys to run through walls for him. He just knows how to treat people. He knows how to run the building. ... They're gonna try to at least see. You don't got nothing to lose. You've got a good defense, you've got good weapons right now. I think quarterback is the only spot they really need to focus on. You've got the No. 9 pick — you might as well go for quarterback, and i think it's going to be a good move for them. He's probably going to start the season for them.
Dane Brugler, The Athletic: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Yes, the Broncos acquired Teddy Bridgewater, but he is more of an insurance policy than the long-term answer. If the right quarterback falls to No. 9, Bridgewater will not stop Denver from adding a promising passer like Lance who can be part of an improved quarterback room and develop at his own pace.
Nate Davis, USA TODAY: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Vic Fangio's defense relies on OLBs Bradley Chubb and Von Miller creating pressure off the edge ... which means you need a pair of capable off-ball backers patrolling behind the line. Exceptionally rangy Parsons fits the mold for a team that addressed its issues at corner during free agency.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Fields can be a great fit in Denver, which should take good advantage of his dual threat.
Nick Klopsis, Newsday: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Denver could move on from Drew Lock, who has had a bumpy start to his career, but if they decide to keep him they could instead choose to reinforce a run defense that allowed 130 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. Micah Parsons opted out of the 2020 season, but he's a versatile linebacker who can do anything asked of him.
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
[T]he Broncos aren't brimming with young, elite, physical, press coverage corners right now and Horn has major upside, especially under Vic Fangio's tutelage.
Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Denver will need to have a plan for Lance, but I've had a bunch of scouts rubber-stamp the Josh Allen comp for me—with Lance being a raw, uber-talented passer with the intangibles to develop potential into production. Thing is, Allen had an ideal environment to grow within, so if they take Lance, it'll be on Broncos coach Vic Fangio (who I've heard likes Parsons, if this pick isn't a quarterback) and new GM George Paton to create one, like Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have for Allen in Buffalo.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
The Broncos sit tight and have Fields fall right into their lap. The addition of Teddy Bridgewater could make Drew Lock expendable in this scenario.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
[I]f the North Dakota State star falls into their lap at no. 9, it's still tough for me to see them passing on him.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Some teams like Horn more than Patrick Surtain II, so it won't be a huge surprise if he goes off the board first.
Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
One of the more fascinating subplots of the top 10 is whether the Broncos blink and pay up to get a QB or stay put. The Fields discussions have taken a life of their own but in the end, Mile High gets a player who can go toe-to-toe with some of the others in the AFC.
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Hello, crowded quarterback room. Denver only moved a sixth-round pick to acquire Teddy Bridgewater, so it shouldn't stop them from picking Fields here.
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
The Broncos would love it if one of the top four quarterbacks fell to them, but that's not the case in this mock draft update. If all four are off the board, Denver could opt to address its defense. Linebacker has been a problem for a while.
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
After being left out in the cold in the quarterback market, Denver stays put to take an offensive lineman with five-position flexibility. The Broncos' offensive line has been unstable for many years and this is a step to correct it.
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
This might seem like a hodgepodge of options at quarterback after Denver brought on Teddy Bridgewater via trade to compete with Drew Lock. But bringing the talented yet underdeveloped Lance into this dynamic might be sensible, as he could sit and learn as a rookie while the Broncos try to be competitive in 2021. If GM George Paton wants to bow out of the quarterback sweepstakes, however, he might be best served by trading back with a team eager to scoop up Lance so that he can pick up more draft assets while still positioning himself for a top defensive prospect.
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
The Broncos will be ready to jump on Fields if Lance is off the board, but the fact they got Bridgewater as a contingency on top of third-year second-rounder Drew Lock says they could now wait a season to unleash a dynamic dual threat with high upside for John Elway. Fields is a great fit, too, but Lance comes with a higher ceiling for Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula.
Jeff Legwold, ESPN NFL Nation: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Lance gives them the flexibility of the developmental prospect with the opportunity to see what Drew Lock will become in 2021. Lance won't turn 21 until May and will need some time to get his NFL footing after one full season as a starter (2019) and one game played in the 2020 season.
Rob Rang, FOX Sports: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Teddy Bridgewater may be the eyes on the sideline needed to tutor Drew Lock and help him live up to his rocket armed potential. But if the Broncos aren't convinced of that and the even rarer talent, Lance, is available, the Broncos shouldn't hesitate.