As the NFL Draft inches closer, 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.
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.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The Broncos could go quarterback here — keep an eye on Trey Lance — but they also could use an eventual quarterback of their defense.
Charles Davis, NFL.com: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
There are many options for the Broncos to consider here, including drafting QB Trey Lance, but they opt for the best LB on the board.
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
There are plenty of rumors that the Broncos may be looking to trade up for a quarterback, but in this iteration, they can stand pat and take another shot at the position with Jones, who posted a gaudy 95.8 PFF grade last season.
Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via mock trade up to No. 4]
With Fields still sitting on the board at No. 4 overall, the Broncos make the Falcons an offer they can't refuse (No. 9, 40, 144, and next year's second-round pick) to move up for their new quarterback.
Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
It's not just that Fields would be an upgrade on Drew Lock for an already solid roster but could be a missing piece to contend in a division that already has two young, very good dynamic QBs calling the shots.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
They might be able to trade out of this spot since they aren't taking a quarterback here in this mock, but I have them staying and taking Parsons to upgrade the middle of their defense.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Remember: This mock draft is what I would do, and I don't think Drew Lock is the long-term answer in Denver. Lance is only 20, and he'll need some time, but he has a high ceiling.
Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Here we have them standing pat at No. 9 and being able to take the fifth QB, who in this exercise is Jones, thought by many evaluators to be a lower-ceiling/higher-floor prospect.
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State [via mock trade up to No. 7]
The Broncos can't just wait and hope Lance falls to them; therefore, they swing a trade with Detroit to get the raw but ultra-talented passer.
Nate Davis, USA TODAY: QB Mac Jones, Alabama [via mock trade up to No. 6]
By leapfrogging Detroit in this scenario, he'd get to choose between Lance and Jones. The latter could have real appeal given all the weapons already in place on Denver's offense, one undermined last season by QB Drew Lock's league-high 15 interceptions.
Charley Casserly, NFL.com: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The Broncos' cornerback need was filled in free agency, so they add the best defensive player on my draft board to Vic Fangio's unit.
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via mock trade up to No. 6]
The Broncos get No. 6 and No. 81 overall in exchange for No. 9 and No. 40 overall.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via trade up to No. 4]
The lean should be Fields because they would want to get him on the field right away vs. the more developmental Lance. Fields would be served well by the structure and scheme of Denver's offense.
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.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote last week that Teddy Bridgewater could be in Denver by draft weekend, which would indicate they're not in the market for a rookie QB here. It also means they can target their defense with the No. 9 pick.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Parsons's skill set will allow him to wear multiple hats in Vic Fangio's scheme. He can take on early-down, off-ball linebacker duties or be deployed in a subpackage pass-rusher role.
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com: LB Micah Parsons, Penn 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.
John McClain, Houston Chronicle: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
John Clayton, The Washington Post: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
This is a likely landing spot for a QB, either with Denver or a team that trades into this spot. The Broncos need to add competition for Drew Lock, but could consider Slater if he drops to this spot.
Jonathan Jones, CBS Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State [via mock trade up to No. 7]
Denver was never going into training camp without providing real competition for Drew Lock. New GM George Paton trades up here because he's not entirely sure the Panthers won't take Fields since they have not yet picked up Sam Darnold's fifth-year option (which they appear to be waiting until after the draft to do for a reason ... hmmm).
Dane Brugler, The Athletic: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Drew Lock hasn't done enough to secure the starting job and Fields' talent might be too good to pass up.
Maurice Jones-Drew, NFL.com: T Jalen Mayfield, Michigan [via mock trade down to No. 19]
The Broncos already have the weapons around Drew Lock. Now they draft Mayfield to give them two bookend tackles, having locked up Garett Bolles late last year.
Connor Orr, Sports Illustrated: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Why Jones over Fields? I think Jones is slightly better under pressure. I think Pat Shurmur's connections to Alabama's pro-style staff will probably result in some tea leaves pointing to Jones. I think the Broncos staff probably saw a lot of Jones in person during the scouting process of Jerry Jeudy, which is why I wouldn't put a ton of stock into GM George Paton skipping the Crimson Tide's pro day in 2021 to attend Ohio State's with Fields.